Monday, April 25, 2016

Late April grab bag

This post will probably touch on most of the posts I have made over the past week, but I am feeling too lazy to actually link back to them.

In terms of reading, I am finding Naipaul's The Enigma of Arrival to be pretty slow going, but I'll probably wrap it up by the weekend.  I've also dipped a little bit into the books on relativity.  I think it will be good to change things up a bit, since my reading has been so dominated by fiction for such a long time.

I did finish my Canadian taxes over the weekend, though I am missing some RRSP form, and of course the bank is so far behind the times they can't just scan it and send it over.  I'm getting pretty frustrated with this company, and I think I'll end up submitting the taxes with a note about the missing form that will have to follow later.  I find myself really annoyed at how frequently the Canadian tax code shifts, particularly in the tax treatment of children.  I had originally followed my previous year's return, then realized that they had zeroed out one of the credits unless your child had severe mental or physical problems, which is not the case for us fortunately.  But there is no point in rehashing all the problems with the way that Canada Revenue treats individuals as monads with little reference to their place in a larger household.

It was touch and go, but I have managed to pull together a presentation for a transportation conference, and the deadline isn't until the 29th.  Now I have a bit of time to get feedback from others.  Unfortunately, I have a second paper and that one may be a bit late, since the data came to me so late, but I'll see what I can do over the next two or three days.

Given all the upheaval last month, I didn't get more than a page into my latest short dramatic work, The Re-up.  It is a piece about relationships and what would happen if marriage more or less withered away and most people just signed short- to medium-term contracts instead of all this til-death-do-us-part business.  It's only slightly futuristic.  Anyway, I managed to finish that up as well and sent it in for the May SFYS.  I still don't know why they didn't accept my piece on an alien invading a 7-11, but you can read it here.  The new piece is here.  Hopefully, I will hear back by late Sat. or Sunday if it was accepted.  I'm not really supposed to check email at work (if I don't get word until Monday), but I may make an exception -- or see if I can check on my phone over lunch.  I don't have all that many remaining ideas for short pieces, though I do have a slightly manic scene set around the delivery of a file cabinet (directly inspired by Slesinger's The Unpossessed), but I have to admit, I don't think that would go over all that well.  I think regardless of whether this piece is accepted, I'm probably done with Sing-for-Your-Supper for the time being.  I want to focus on the longer pieces, either finally revising them and editing them down a bit or working on Straying South or The Study Group.  I probably actually will have the energy now that I am not working absurd hours anymore and feeling squeezed all the time.  (Famous last words...)

I'll end with a poem I wrote many years ago with some unorthodox reflections on Shakespeare.

Shakespeare and Company

Shakespeare leers back at me;
through the dark centuries he can still slight me
and my contemporary sensibilities.
There is bad blood between us.
That there is any blood between us is a minor miracle
and is totally the fault of my mother
and her mother.

He looks grubbier somehow,
though not in that studied grungy look that has taken over the West.
I can feel dirt under his tight collar.
Perhaps I can even feel the lice crawling around
somewhere beneath those elaborate expansive costumes.
I eventually stop staring and go take another bath.

When I return he is still there --
obviously less tense but still silent.
Perhaps I can crack his resistance.
Should I ask "What's up?" or
"Shoot some hoops, Bill?"
or would that only make it worse?
I might be able to manage "Nice weather, eh?"
However, it is snowing outside
as if God sent the Flood in the dead heart of winter,
which is why I am inside in the first place,
looking through my books
and getting ever so slightly bent out of shape.

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