Saturday, 31 December 2011

Do you want to be a Master?

...of Arts that is.  I'm currently on the fence about this whole furthering my education business.

I have always loved school: I got to learn interesting things, spend time with people I would not have otherwise met, and being a good student came fairly easy. But now that I'm finishing my BA and seriously looking at what the future may hold, I am wondering - will an MA in English get me any farther?  Will a Creative Writing degree make me a better writer or put me into an even more rigid box of thinking?  What does God have in store for me?  It's all a big mystery.  I have so much on the go where I am right now, leaving for two years would be incredibly difficult.

So yes, I'm on the fence.

But I did learn, in Canada, for a MA in Creative Writing, one must go to UBC, or the U of C and write the English MA thesis as a Creative piece. Hmmm...

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

time for Tesseracts


  [tes-uh-rakt]  Show IPA
the generalization of a cube to four dimensions.

or, EDGE Publishing's series of anthologies focused on publishing sci-fi/ fantasy works by Canadian authours.  This year, their theme is "Parnassus Unbound", encouraging writers to incorporate cultural references (from art, literature, and music) as integral parts of their work.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

book swap

My sister invited me to swap books with her over the next little while: we're both looking to read more in the new year, and I'm looking forward to reading material that I may not have otherwise picked up!

How about you? What are you reading?

Monday, 12 December 2011

it's been a while...

to be honest, i've become rather disillusioned with all this Englishiness: i don't read for fun anymore. writing is a chore.  i've written six essays in four months, and they no longer have a purpose - writing has become economical, because once it gets a mark it expires.  nothing made to last...and due to some friends who are freer-thinking than i, i have been corrupted. no longer can i remain in a system which teaches me to consider texts from angles and not do the same to it and everything around it.  revolutionary jargon.  it scares me.  i've long wanted to break out of something, but have been too good of a student to do so.

i'm ready to be done this degree and move onto something - though, this too is frightening. i have a bit of a cushion now though - my friend and i are starting a theatre company. it's going to be great it's going to be great it's going to be great, in the words of tigger.  he's writing a steampunk play to kick it off, i've got a one act on the go...still, there's a page missing somewhere...

Thursday, 22 September 2011

kerouac points of spontaneous prose

reading beat poetry from the 50s fills me with visions.  i also found this explanation of jack kerouac's method refreshing:

1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
3.Try never get drunk outside yr own house
4.Be in love with yr life
5. Something that you feel will find its own form
6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
7. Blow as deep as you want to blow
8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
9. The unspeakable visions of the individual
10. No time for poetry but exactly what is
11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest
12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time
15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
19. Accept loss forever
20. Believe in the holy contour of life
21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in the mind
22. Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better
23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
24. No fear of shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
25. Write for ht eworld to read and see yr exact pictures of it
26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
28. Composing wild,undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
29. You're a Genius all the time
30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven*

*from The Portable Beat Reader ed. Ann Charters (Penguin, New York:1992) 58-59.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


oh my gosh everyone, i  just sent this one act i've been working on into a competition.  and i'm kind of nervous, because reading it over, it seems a little, what's it, not empty, but unfilled, like a line drawing that hasn't been filled in yet.  minimalistic. a blueprint, like tennesse said.  that's what a script is, i suppose, but i have this river shack in my head already built. maybe it's too crude, won't keep warm in the winter, but it's the best i've built so far, in some senses. characters, for one thing.  usually i can't keep them straight, but i kind of have faces in this one, some really interesting personalities only half-explored. kind of exciting, maybe i'll tweak it a bit.  i wanted the play to deal with family relationships, but it turned out to be powered more by guilt and forgiveness. maybe i didn't need a deus ex machina, but that's all that myrna seemed to be - though her arrival was inevitable. i wish deluge had been more of a christ figure, and that he and skitters could've made something more happen in the end. oh well. it's sent, it's done, and that's that.

Monday, 12 September 2011

new books

It has come to that time of year where I cease to choose what I read.  It's September, I have my booklist, and a substantial amount missing from my wallet, but a sacrifice worth making.  Must admit, rather a good line up: beat poetry, Atlas Shrugged, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof for American Lit; a gothic novel and Dr. Jonson for The Age of Sensibility; Midnight's Children for International Lit.  I'm ready to be inspired!

Friday, 2 September 2011

through the wardrobe

One of my favourite series from childhood (and I'm sure one of yours) is C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia.  I remember sitting cross-legged amongst twenty other nine-year-olds taking turns reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe aloud (as I skimmed three chapters ahead).  I remember watching the BBC videos and thinking the White Witch was scary.  I remember my favourite scene from Prince Caspian in which Aslan calls the schoolteacher.  I remember Puddleglum choosing a real Narnia over a lamp in The Silver Chair.  I loved the charm of The Horse and His Boy and its unique viewpoint.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, however, was always my favourite.  A huge sense of adventure on the high seas, episodes of strange happenings, and good old Eustace.  I admire Lewis' style in general, an accessible storytelling that is clever and clear. And such beautiful pictures and metaphors!  The sweet lily-strewed oceans at the end of the world gives me shivers to this day.

I finally watched the new film version of the Dawn Treader, and though I was disappointed in some of the dialogue quality and the changes they made to the plot, I was still inspired to stay up and scribble down the opening of a fantasy novel.  Lewis has written one of the greatest works in children's (and fantasy) literature - I wonder what inspired him?

Sunday, 28 August 2011

matcha powder

Currently, this short story I'm writing for a steampunk/ wu xia contest consists of one page and a lot of vagueness.  I've been to the library three times to find books and maps of China, and I even managed to score a picture book about the folk story of the Monkey King.  China really has a fascinating history.  Rebellions and wars over opium and giant empires...I'm feeling inspired, though more punk is needed...

Friday, 26 August 2011

Book Review: Technicolor Ultra Mall by Ryan Oakley

I haven't read something this red since 1984.  Speaking of, that's the way I described this book to a friend of mine: 1984 times a million.  Orwell approaches Dystopia through the eyes of a government employee, placing us in a bureaucratic and middle-aged environment where the politics are there, but the horror of the thing understated, at least at the beginning; Technicolor Ultra Mall, on the other hand, approaches the subject of societal corruption from a completely different level.  After setting the stage with a quote from Newton Minnow ("Theme Song") and a slew of ads ("Product Placement"), Technicolor Ultra Mall begins with a knife fight and the beautiful phrase "[his] stomach was a huge red mouth that vomited a rainbow of intestines" (5).  The language gets a lot more colourful.  Most of Ryan Oakley's novel takes place in the red levels, the lowest level of the mall in which everyone lives to escape the polluted outside.  The reds are where criminals, prostitutes, junkies, body snatchers, gangs, and gamblers live, a society defined by violence and powered by greed, the darkest superficiality imaginable.  Thankfully, we are immediately presented with a relatable character that becomes our link to the humanity still struggling to survive in the reds: Budgie.  Though his efforts to escape the reds to the middle level, the greens, are a theme throughout the book, it doesn't take centre stage - and I appreciate that.  This is not just another rising-above-the-circumstances, making-your-own-destiny, kind of novel.  Because at the core of this story is something more real and more important that raising your social status.

I won't give too much more away.  I thought it a strong piece of work with a lot going for it - a television feel with multiple plot lines woven together, strong world-building, vivid characters, incredibly disturbing visuals.  I did feel at some points that Oakley indulged a bit in exploring extraneous material, but altogether, quite brilliant, I loved it.  I do say that with slight hesitation, because this book doesn't shy away from demonstrating the full extent of depravity that the Mall society has fallen into.  Be prepared for gang violence, the objectification of women, swearing, sexual scenes and language, torture, dismemberment, drug usage, adverts, and Santa's name being used as a curse word.  Anyways, consider yourself warned, and enjoy the show.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

welcome to the blog

Hey all, I'm excited and nervous to be starting this blog.  Let me tell you how it began...

A couple weeks ago, I attended a sci-fi conference for writers and readers in Calgary.  Great Canadian writers such as Robert J. Sawyer, Jack White, and a myriad of other writers and editors and publishers led panels on such topics as writing difficult scenes, world-building, and young adult fiction.  At a slush reading, the first page of my NaNoWriMo manuscript was rejected, which I found funny and slightly disappointing; at another session, Facebook, blogs, e-books, and Twitter were the main topic of concern.  How does a writer, especially an emerging writer, interact with readers?  It's become easier, and indeed more necessary, than ever to network online.  And so, I bit the bullet and started this blog.  Not that I was loathe to do so: I've been thinking about it for a while, and this conference was enough to jump-start this beast to life.

So here we are.  In this space, I will be sharing my thoughts on being a writer and the wide expanse of writing out there, and maybe even post some of my successes and failures (hopefully there will be both) on my journey as a literary type.  Hope you enjoy, feel free to comment or contact me at, I love discussion!

Brittni Carey