Holy Literary Quartet

An announcement:

I have found a writer who is, as of this writing, infallible. She is sufficiently infallible that The Holy Literary Trinity has now been up graded to a quartet.

This newest deity is Sara Baume.








Baume is a master at writing sentences that make me stop and re-read them–sentences that make my insides feel all warm and happy.

Samples from the beginning of each book:

  • I’m on my way to purchase a box-load of incandescent bulbs because I can’t bear the dimness of the energy savers, how they hesitate at first and then build to a parasitic humming so soft it hoaxes me into thinking some part of my inner ear has cracked, or some vital vessel of my frontal lobe. (Spill, Simmer, Falter, Wither)
  • The white strata are bunching into clouds. The bunches are competing with each other to imitate animals. A sheep, a platypus, a sheep, a tortoise. A sheep, a sheep, a sheep. (A Line Made by Walking)

She doesn’t lose control throughout the books. Right to the end of both, I had to stop to admire the writing style. There are no flat characters. There is nothing to suggest that the book has been edited for common consumers.

There is only good writing.

Ms. Baume, allow me to add this reminder that your new status doesn’t demand infinite infallibility. I permit my divine beings one literary catastrophe each, so don’t feel you’re under too much pressure. I am a compassionate devotee.

Salmacis’ Press: Books Available Here

Dear Regular Readers (of this irregular blog),

You need more short stories in your life. I recommend these:




the author

Let’s Have a Chat About Accessibility and Being Hard of Hearing

I went to a poetry reading on Saturday night. It was at The FOLD, which seems to pride itself on accessibility–‘cepting it wasn’t accessible for me. Two of the four presenters didn’t use the microphone that was right beside them.

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a few years know that this seems to be a poetic problem

If you want me to pay you for your art, I need to be able to take part in it.

There’s not a lot about accessibility for hard-of-hearing people (though apparently one-quarter of the population has some type of hearing loss). Here are my suggestions for HoH accessibility:

1. Always use a microphone.

OU TUNT BEE I CA UH-UR-TAH OO. (Loud doesn’t mean I can understand you.) The microphone consistently makes all the sounds louder, which means I can pick up more consonants. Make it a good microphone, too. Static and blaring make things unintelligible.

2. Make sure you have decent speakers hooked up to said microphone.

Squawking and fuzzing aren’t good here, either.

3. Light the presenter’s face.

Lipreading doesn’t work well in mood lighting.

Lipreading, though, has drawbacks: B and M look the same; F and V look the same. Accents really mess with lipreading.  Shouting, emphasis and extreme emotion also contort lips. For most people in most situations, lipreading is only half a language.

4. Offer closed-captioned videos or print-outs of the reading.

ASL is nice, but not everyone is fluent in ASL. People who don’t use it regularly might be good enough to have a conversation, but poetic language is probably beyond them.

5. If you can’t make your event accessible for me, just let me know.

I don’t expect everyone to accommodate my ears. People who don’t speak English wouldn’t expect you to translate the whole programme into their language.

Just don’t lie to me and take my money.

For communication tips, read the Canadian Hearing Society’s page.



Reality Check

According to a recent Globe and Mail editorial, this is reality:

Yes, Mr. Suzuki can be strident. He wants the oil sands to be “shut down.” His views on economics are crude. We do not agree with his extreme approach to curbing climate change.

Now, I’m not one for reality. Fiction is the best thing ever created. The only good thing about being human, most days, is fiction. Let’s hear it for dreaming.

However, even I have to acknowledge certain realities. Sadly.

One reality is that digging deep into the Earth, bringing up chthonic substances and letting them run over the top of the Earth is–and always has been–a bad idea.

Another reality is that economics is a human-made thing, as fictional as it comes. (Hesiod was a freaking poet, people.) If, at any point, the economy sucks, we can just change it, or stop it, or do anything we want to it.

Trust me. I rewrite fiction all the time.

By Holger Motzkau 2010

Chicken Soul Soup: God Cares

In which the real problems within organised religion are exposed.

Wee Student: Priests are leaders? One time, I walked into this priest’s office, and he was just sitting there eating potato chips and drinking Coke.

Me: Maybe he was hungry.

Wee Student: He shouldn’t be doing that!

Me: I don’t think there’s anything in their vows about junk food.

Wee Student: There should be. They shouldn’t be allowed to eat that in church. God needs them to be healthy if they’re going to take care of us.

The Prevention Project

There is a new(ish) podcast series about non-offending, anti-contact minor attraction. Interviewees include non-offending, anti-contact MAPs and professionals who have worked with/studied them. The podcasts come out every other Monday. Check them out here:

The Prevention Project podcasts

For those of us who find listening to something difficult, TNF 13 has started doing transcripts and posting them here on Medium.

Nigel Lackland has translated some of the transcripts into French and posted them on his Medium page.

The Power of Positive Thinking

Activity Being Avoided: math. Self-employed people should have fairy godmothers who get off on bookkeeping.
Music In My Head: Our House — Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. I sing it to the cats. They like it, but Esther tells me we lack fireplaces.
Tea Being Drunk: water *sigh*
Books Being Read: Green Grass, Running Water–Thomas King, A Gentle Madness–Nicholas A. Basbanes

A while ago, a student tried to do an essay on the power of positive thinking. It was their first choice of topic.

Positive thinking is very important; positive thinking, they said, is good because it helps you be more positive.

We talked about circular logic.

Positive thinking, they said, is good because it can help you achieve a goal.

We talked about weak arguments.

Positive thinking, they said…

Wait, I said. Lemme get you a book.

The library is stuffed with books on positive thinking. The library is cutting down their print resources by half, but it still requires more than two shelves to hold all the positive-thinking books. The student was unimpressed when I arrived at the table with an armload of what would translate to several hours of research.

The student changed their topic.

Very few cultures or societies appreciate extremes. We cluck our tongues at people who are too thin or too fat, who spend inordinate amounts of time playing video games or reading novels, who spout dogma about a particular deity, who wear clothing too formal or too informal. If someone were to spend all their time thinking negatively, we’d have them committed.

We prefer mediocrity to excess.

Somehow, positive thinking has become a religion, rather fundamentalist in its doctrine. If you have a negative thought, you are weak, have lost control and, therefore, have sinned.

Yeah, no.

Good and evil are intrinsic to this life. We’ve personified both (God and Devil, Batman and The Joker), symbolised both (light and dark, dove and snake). Some of the first words infants learn are bad and no.  We can’t get rid of the negative, no matter how hard we try.

That’s okay, people. Really.

Darkness makes the light such a relief, but there’s also an intrigue to darkness. Like the universe, darkness is infinite and so carries an infinite mystery. We know from experience that light always ends… somewhere, some time.

There’s an irony to the pious positive thinkers wanting to dissuade others from negative thinking–enabling anger, sadness, jealousy, loneliness–as if it might invoke the Evil Eye.

Me, I’d rather receive an evil eye than a rolling one. Perhaps I’m just used to it: the evil eye has nothing on my mother’s thou-hast-done-wrong look. No amount of positive thinking could ward that off….

I find it interesting that we’ll stroke black cats, sweep up the pieces of a shattered mirror, stroll beneath ladders, but not allow ourselves a negative thought.

What then, you ask, is the power of positive thinking? The power is money: self-help writers get to take a lot of Caribbean cruises.

You have a book to fill up your library shelves.