Saturday, 4 April 2009

My Undergraduate Career, City of Ember, Bone, and More About Life

I have not written a substantial post in some time. Now I will. I hope I have time to discuss all that I would like.

1) City of Ember: This is a kid's movie, and there's no avoiding it. The pacing, the characters, the conflicts involved...these are all limited by the audience this movie was made for. And, as is often the case, the special effects do not live up to my expectations (that's a post in itself--how things like The Lord of the Rings and other masterpieces have made my expectations too high for your average movie to meet).
Nonetheless, I found it enjoyable. There's a sort of fierce desperation in the premise, the likes of which you don't often see in any fiction today. They community lives in a city deep underground, powered by a generator which will last for only two hundred years. Those years have now elapsed, and the city--the only world the citizens of Ember have ever known, and the only world the believe was even inhabitable--is falling apart. The terror this causes is creates one of the strongest tensions in the movie (or at least so I thought). It reminds me of the quiet nervousness of The Pied Piper (a novel that takes place during WWII).
As with all kid's movies, there's bound to be a discussion of the morals it suggests. In this case, I'd have to say: bravery, family loyalty, critical thinking, perseverence, and perhaps following cryptic instructions. There's also the necessary condemnations of selfishness, gluttony, and blindness.
Also, I have to say that the girl's red cape is pretty cool and that the construction of the setting is admirable.

2) I have now taken the last classes at this university and of my undergraduate career. It hasn't fully sunk it yet. My final class was with Professor Gwynn Dujardin. It works for me. I suppose the most fitting would be if it were Professor Ware (my first English prof ever), but that would be unlikely, as I haven't had him since. Gwynn is a professor who've I known fairly well since second year, though, so it's still quite appropriate.
Now, the morning of my final day of classes was spent performing a part of the play Mankind (c. 1500) in Middle English--that is, both in the class Middle English and in the language Middle English. Yeah, that's right. I can read in Middle English. Well, sort of.
What else is noteworthy? I had my grad photos taken. I wore a white shirt and tie and everything. I like my new tie. I bought it for formal.
I have one essay left, and three exams. And then I'm gone. It feels so weird. I'm not really thinking about it. The future--without Queen's, without this same house, without a real plan for my life--looks unreal and uncertain. The move from highschool to university was a step from a world I was familiar with to one that I wasn't familiar with. The move from undergraduate to... wherever is a step from a world that is structured and defined to one that has no edges or paths at all. I hope to get into a school for February--applying will be a good start--so then I'll get that definition again, but I will have no real direction... Well, we'll see how it goes.
More personally, a friend I've known since the first week of Queen's told me this past Monday that she's liked me since first year. I was sad about that for a few days: I felt bad for her, that she "lost" a whole undergraduate career to liking someone who would never reciprocate. Not that I'm much better--I lost two years being utterly numb to romantic relationships at all, which was perhaps more depressing for me than pining over an unrequited crush. I still felt a little bad about it. I hope she goes off into the world and finds someone to make up for it all.

3) As a grad present, my folks have said they will give me some spending money. Now, I'm putting most of it toward a roadtrip, but I spent a little yesterday on Books 5 & 6 of the Bone graphic novel series, by Jeff Smith. Oh, man, is that a cool series. It starts off small and fun, but it's like Lord of the Rings in epicness by Book 6. Oh man oh man. We're talking dragons and secret orders of royal mystic warriors and a hidden bloodline and hooded rogue seers who weild awesome scythes and a mountain guardian named Roque Ja and talking bugs and baby 'possums and cow races and stubborn Grandma Ben and a pretty girl named Thorn. It's just so cool, but it's also fun, with goofiness and personality quirks and funny pictures. I want to write something like this when I grow up.

4) On which note, I also recently realized that my Creative Writing classes are now done. With my portfolio sumbitted, the anthology published, and no workshopping in the foreseeable future, I realize that for the first time in three years I am thrown upon my own motivation to produce any writing. There is nothing to look forward to that might prod me into writing, except for getting a novel or collection of shorts published. It's a little scary, since I've never done well at self-motivation for this sort of thing. Hopefully I manage, right?

5) I swear there was more that I was going to write about, but I can't remember. Nuts.
Well, OK, I've just rented three movies: Elektra, Blood & Chocolate, and Eragon. I'll let you know when I finish.

6) Oo! I remember! The launch!
It went well. I got there early and we prepared the Gallery, and then we milled nervously, waiting for it to start. The publisher began, and then my prof, Carolyn Smart, opened it up--sarcastic and antiauthoritarian as ever--and introduced the first reader (we went alphabetically), and then introduced me, the second reader. Now, the introductions were coded, so that only the class really knows what each intro meant--but if you understood half of them, you'd realize how embarassing it would be for the reader. There were some exceptions--Alec was said to have "perverse dyslexia" and Anna had a very sexual introduction, including a refrence to her attraction to gay men and her desire to receive the fetish chart on a poster for her birthday. Mine were not too clean, either, but were at least coded well. Unless you know what "suitcasing" means, I don't suppose you'd see what was so odd about it.
Anyway, I read "fort mcmurray weather report," "Frontier," and "My Lady Mandeville." The first two have appeared in much earlier incarnations on this blog, but the version I read--significantly edited--were from the anthology. "My Lady Mandeville" was relatively new. Sometime I may post it here. Until then, know it's based on the voyages of Sir John Mandeville.
I was quite nervous, but I was fine once I started reading. Apparently I read quite well--at least, that's what everyone told me.
I didn't make anyone cry, though. That honour was reserved for Angela's memorial to her grandfather.

And now for real that's all.

I'll see you later, then.


Jon Wong said...

Per number 4. You and I can race each other! Motivation much?!

Also, I don't know if it's just my weird habit but I always read the "word verification" things before I type them in and wonder what the word could mean if it existed. For example. The one below is:


Like nation-it with a g. Hmm...

Cait said...

you were awesome at the launch :)

FYI I need your Fort M. address again so I can mail you letters in general and postcards from New Zealand.

And knowing you, you will totally keep on writing - besides Jon and I will keep bugging you about it, and be your kick in the ass motivation :) Don't you love us ;)

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