Green Grass Running Water 383-395 (3:7)

Each student will be assigned a section of the novel Green Grass Running Water (pages will be divided by the number of students). The task at hand is to first discover as many allusions as you can to historical references (people and events), literary references (characters and authors), mythical references (symbols and metaphors).*

*Though I was assigned to pages 288 – 296, in my copy of the novel, that section aligns with pages 383-395, and all references will be in line with my version.



Brief summary of the section: The section of Green Grass Running Water that I was assigned can be split into three distinct parts. In the first part, Dr. Joe Hovaugh and Babo discover their car has gone missing while they are on the hunt for the Indians. Babo signs the two up for a bus tour of a local dam in order to continue their search. In the second section, I tells the story of Old Woman and Young Man Walking on Water to I. In the third section, Alberta stands out in the rain, is soaked and nearly hypothermic, and she is warmed by Latisha with a hair dryer in the restaurant, where they discuss pregnancy. Because we as a class have already discussed Coyote, my focus will be primarily on the relationship between Dr. Joe Hovaugh and Babo, which I think is pretty interesting.

As Flick states, Hovaugh is a play on Jehovah, and acts as an authority figure who “is more interested in contemplating his garden than in most other things. Note Gen. 1:31 ‘And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good'” (Flick 144). Babo, as Flick notes is the main character in Melville’s “Benito Cereno”, where he is “the black slave who is the barber and the leader of the slave revolt on board the San Dominick” (Flick 145). The Babo in Green Grass Running Water is overtly related to the Babo in Melville’s story, as she mentions that her great-great-grandfather worked on ships:

‘Did you know that my great-great-grandfather was a barber?…Cut hair. Shaved faces with the best of them. He worked on ships.’
‘Cruise ships?’
‘Something like that, said Babo. (King 348-349)

There are many instances throughout the text that compare Hovaugh to a slave-owner/explorer/colonizer/sailor and Babo to his slave. One explicit example is when Hovaugh is told to register Babo when they cross into Canada, as “all personal property has to be registered…for your protection as well as ours” (King 260). Neither Hovaugh or Babo remark on this objectification, making it evident that both are aware of their colonial relationship.

Flick notes that the three cars that go missing, the Nissan, the Pinto, and the Karmann-Ghia, the latter of which Hovaugh drives, are plays on the ships of Columbus named the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria (Flick 146), which correlates Hovaugh with the role of colonizer/conquistador. Columbus himself commanded the Santa Maria, which leaked and became sunken and lodged in a reef. This is similar to Hovaugh’s Karmann-Ghia, which, as a convertible (a play on words with colonial Christian conversion of Native peoples), is prone to leaks, and which Hovaugh and Babo are concerned about with storms on the horizon, furthering the ship comparison. Lastly, as the car disappears, leaving nothing but a puddle (King 390), Hovaugh and Babo’s vessel is seemingly overpowered by water, similar to Columbus’ Santa Maria.

All three parts of the section I was assigned deal with water (Alberta is soaked in the rain, Babo and Hovaugh sign up for a tour of a dam, I tells a story about water), and Coyote notes that “all this water imagery must mean something” (King 391), which tells the reader that we need to pay attention to the subtleties of King’s water usage.

Hovaugh forces Babo to do all the work in finding a new ride (furthering the slave  comparison), and when he returns to see what she’s found, she tells him that the coffee shop they’re at has “some great cinnamon tea” (King 384). Both cinnamon (as a spice) and tea leaves were brought to Europe by “explorers”/conquistadors. Instead of finding a new car, Babo signs the two up for a bus tour of Parliament Lake and the Grand Baleen Dam (King 385). As Flick notes,  the Grand Baleen is a play on the Great Whale (or Grand Baleine) river project, in which “massive diversions of water…destroyed traditional Cree hunting territories” (King 150), illustrating the devastating effects of colonialism, and directly contradicting King’s title of Green Grass Running Water, because a dam ensures that the grass on the other side isn’t green and the water is stilled. Parliament Lake’s name can also be noted as a jab at white government and how it unfairly treats Native peoples in Canada, as well as how Canada’s system is derived from British/colonial ideals.

Finally, and perhaps most obviously, Babo and Hovaugh sign up for an exploration of this dam in order to see the countryside and “spot the Indians” (King 385), a reference to the “explorers” (a guilt-free way to describe colonizers) of the New World.

I’m sure I missed a lot of the references within this passage, and would love to hear other people’s thoughts, and I wish that I could have gone into more detail about the Coyote section and Alberta’s section, but that would be way too long for this blog post and I found the Hovaugh/Babo relationship to be the most fascinating. Overall, King’s work was really interesting to read, and though it was frustrating to know I likely missed many of his allusions, it was intriguing and refreshing to read a book where the majority of the meaning is hidden from the reader.




Flick, Jane. “Reading Notes for Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water.” Canadian Literature 161/162 (1999). Web. July 09 2015.

King, Thomas. Green Grass Running Water. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1993. Print.

Maclean, Frances. “The Lost Fort of Columbus.” Smithsonian., 2008. Web. 09 July 2015.


Creation Stories (3:5)

What are the major differences or similarities between the ethos of the creation story or stories you are familiar with and the story King tells in The Truth About Stories ?


The creation story detailed by King in The Truth About Stories is different from the creation story I was raised with in two distinct ways. To give a short background on my own creation story history, I was raised with the “traditionally” Western Judeo-Christian “Adam and Eve eat some unspecified fruit, become painfully aware of their own nakedness and humanity, get banned from Eden and essentially ruin perfection for the rest of us and the rest of time, blah blah blah” story that’s drilled into us over and over throughout popular culture.

The first major difference I see between the two stories is the presence of animals within King’s narrative. Though the Western creation story has the infamous serpent and some other animals in the garden of Eden, the focus is solely on Adam and Eve and their realization of their own humanity/their original sin. In King’s story, the animals all play different parts, and the story does not focus on any human characters, but balances them with the animal characters, not placing one on a pedestal above the other.

I think this is especially interesting given how each culture views the relationship between humans and nature–Western culture dictates that nature owes humanity, placing mankind at the centre of the Earth’s needs and using and abusing natural resources to further ourselves; Aboriginal culture (in general) more peacefully co-exists with the natural world.

The second major difference I see between the two stories is the presence of shame and sin, or the lack thereof. In Western creation stories, sin and shame are the two fundamental emotions/themes behind human creation: Eve sinned when she ate the fruit from the Garden of Eden, condemning us all as sinners. Eve and Adam are ashamed of their nakedness, and are banned from the Garden of Eden, which makes the reader feel ashamed about their own humanity. This vicious, shaming element is absent from King’s story, which personally made me more open to his message, instead of feeling trapped in believing in the biblical creation story for threat of shame as the Judeo-Christian creation story I grew up with tended to do.

Ultimately, due to my own cultural upbringing and inherent bias, it was difficult to read King’s story and digest it as a creation myth and not just any other magical story because of how ingrained into popular culture the Western creation story is, as well as how ingrained it is into my own religious background. Reading King’s story was a great way to begin opening my eyes to a different perspective, as well as a way to critically look at the flaws present in the stories I grew up with and now consider to be second nature.



Michaelangelo. Creation of Adam. 1512. Paint. Sistine Chapel,

Sowa, Cora Angier. “Ancient Myths in Modern Movies.” Weblog post. Ancient Myths in Modern Movies. Minerva Systems, n.d. Web. 03 July 2015.


Style Comparisons (3:2)

For this blog assignment I would like you to make some comparisons between Harry Robinson’s writing style in “Coyote Makes a Deal with the King Of England” and King’s style in Green Grass, Running Water. What similarities can you find between the two story-telling voices? Coyote and God are present in both texts, how do they compare in character and voice across the stories?



A note to Erika: I’m sorry that this post totally derailed!

This semester, as I have mentioned in past blog posts, I was able to take a really fascinating course on “hyphenated” contemporary American literature. In other words, the class focused on those American writers who are defined by what their American identity is hyphenated with. This included Asian-American authors, Native American authors, African-American authors and Mexican-American authors.

Each week, my professor selected two novels for us to read, compare, and contrast, usually by authors of similar heritage and backgrounds. During one class, in which we were comparing Ha Jin’s War Trash with Chang-rae Lee’s Native Speaker, someone brought up that though both authors are Asian-American, they wrote about completely different subjects and from completely different perspectives, and thus our comparison was based solely upon their shared ethnic background instead of the content of their work. I think that it is important to keep in mind that, when a majority audience (which UBC, as a school whose largest ethnic group is white, qualifies as) compares two members of the same minority group, much of the comparison stems from their shared ethnic background and not the merit of their work, which is inherently problematic.

With that in mind, I think that there is a lot to compare between Robinson’s “Coyote Makes a Deal with the King of England” and King’s Green Grass, Running Water, but my focus will be on the fragmented nature of both pieces. Robinson’s story is formatted like a poem or speech–there are spaces on the page which the oral reader is forced to mirror in speech, giving the work a natural cadence. Robinson “overuses” conjunctions throughout the text, which make it feel more like a recited tale in the oral tradition than a Westernized written work. Similarly, King’s Green Grass, Running Water, though more traditionally Western in the sense that it is a fully-fledged novel, is also incredibly fragmented. The novel is woven from vignettes, rapidly moving from one facet of a character to the next, creating a whirlwind of imagery from the reader.

An emphasis in this class when discussing both of these works has been on how they are part of an oral tradition and not a written tradition, and so to conclude this blog post, I think this article by Blanca Schorcht is not only completely relevant but completely fascinating. Schorcht criticizes the way that Aboriginal works are analyzed by a Western public:

In reading works written by Aboriginal authors, critics often point to characteristics of written texts that reveal their “origins” in oral tradition. The idea of orality and writing as existing on an evolutionary time line, however, has been complicated by the development of deconstruction and poststructural literary theory. Jacques Derrida, for instance, observes that, because of the underlying grammar of language, anything spoken must always already have been “written.” Speaking must be viewed as a form of writing, according to Derrida, because it follows convention (a grammar) that pre-exists actualized speech. Differences between oral and written traditions, therefore, reveal themselves in complex and intersecting ways, and the two can no longer be seen as mutually exclusive. Yet similarities, or links, between oral and written genres still seem most evident in texts where orally performed stories and narratives have been recorded and then translated into written form. (Schorcht  145-146)

It is important to remember that when analyzing a tradition that we would categorize as “oral”, that these hierarchies between written and spoken word are not so cut and dried. Though both King and Robinson’s texts are meant to be read as well as heard, since they are both released in print form, their fragmented nature and use of colloquialisms reminds the reader of the roots of this oral tradition, but it is important to not let their merit and basis of comparison as talented writers be overshadowed by their shared linguistic and cultural heritage.




King, Thomas. Green Grass Running Water. Toronto: Harper Collins, 1993. Print.

“Chang-rae Lee – The New Yorker.” The New Yorker. Web. 26 June 2015.

Robinson, Harry. “Coyote Makes a Deal with the King Of England.” Living by Stories: a Journey of Landscape and Memory.  64-85.

Schorcht, Blanca. “The Storied World of Harry Robinson: Emerging Dialogues.” BC Studies 135 (2002): 145-62. Print.



The Sound of Stories (2:6)

1] In his article, “Godzilla vs. Post-Colonial,” King discusses Robinson’s collection of stories. King explains that while the stories are written in English, “the patterns, metaphors, structures as well as the themes and characters come primarily from oral literature.” More than this, Robinson, he says “develops what we might want to call an oral syntax that defeats reader’s efforts to read the stories silently to themselves, a syntax that encourages readers to read aloud” and in so doing, “recreating at once the storyteller and the performance” (186). Read “Coyote Makes a Deal with King of England”, in Living by Stories. Read it silently, read it out loud, read it to a friend, and have a friend read it to you. See if you can discover how this oral syntax works to shape meaning for the story by shaping your reading and listening of the story. Write a blog about this reading/listening experience that provides references to the story.


I thought that this blog prompt was particularly interesting. I don’t know much about oral syntax, but it did remind me about an experience with poetry that I had in class a few years ago. The class was exploring slam poetry, and we were given a printed out poem to read: a version of Neil Hilborn’s OCD. 

We read it as a class and discussed how the poem seemed–most people said it was nice, but the general consensus was that the poem, though sometimes eloquent, was nothing special. Then, my instructor had us watch a video of Hilborn performing his piece, and asked us what we thought of it. We all agreed that the piece came alive in its intended oral medium, and concluded that slam poetry is distinct from regular poetry because of how it is supposed to be processed.

When I first read Robinson’s piece silently, I wasn’t too impressed. While he had some really interesting lines, most of them fell flat in my reading and felt really repetitive. I didn’t get caught up in the language, and wasn’t engaged by the storyline. Reading it out loud and to my friend didn’t really have a better effect–I am not great at reading out loud, and I definitely didn’t do Robinson’s work justice.

The friend who I read the piece to is from a town in Georgia, and as such, she has a pretty thick Southern US accent. She (very graciously) agreed to read Robsion’s piece back to me, and the experience completely changed. What I found repetitive in my reading of the piece now became lyrical. I was able to appreciate the alliteration within the piece, as it was much more obvious when heard than it was when read silently.

What was the most interesting for me about this experience was the contrast between hearing it read out loud and reading it out loud myself. I wasn’t sure why there was such a difference in my appreciation of the piece–after all, I heard it both times, and my reading, though clumsy, wasn’t too different from my friends, so what exactly altered my appreciation of Robinson’s work? After rereading it a few times, I realized it’s because, when hearing it be read by someone else, I was able to forget that the piece was written at all. I got to hear it in its intended form, instead of it being translated into something more “accessible”, but ultimately far less powerful.



Button Poetry. Neil Hilborn – “OCD”. 2013. Youtube. Web. 19 June 2015.

“The City of Statesboro.” Home. Web. 19 June 2015.


Assumptions (2:4)

Response to: We began this unit by discussing assumptions and differences that we carry into our class. In “First Contact as Spiritual Performance,” Lutz makes an assumption about his readers (Lutz, “First Contact” 32). He asks us to begin with the assumption that comprehending the performances of the Indigenous participants is “one of the most obvious difficulties.” He explains that this is so because “one must of necessity enter a world that is distant in time and alien in culture, attempting to perceive indigenous performance through their eyes as well as those of the Europeans.” Here, Lutz is assuming either that his readers belong to the European tradition, or he is assuming that it is more difficult for a European to understand Indigenous performances – than the other way around. What do you make of this reading? Am I being fair when I point to this assumption? If so, is Lutz being fair when he makes this assumption? (Paterson)

Lutz’s article makes two basic assumptions about the readers of his work. The first assumption is that the reader finds Indigenous cultures “distant in time and alien in culture” (Lutz 32), and that understanding these cultures is a challenge that can be met, but “only partially” (Lutz 32). The second assumption Lutz makes in this article is that all of his readers come from a European cultural background, and in particular, that none of his readers could come from the “distant world” of Indigenous peoples and cultures.

Because Lutz is an academic, and because his work is accessible through the University of Victoria’s online platform, he is certainly aware that the main audience for his literature is comprised of other individuals in the field of academe, of a which a large percentage are university students. By stating that Indigenous cultures are hard to understand for the European reader, he assumes firstly that his academic audience is of exclusively European heritage, and, by extension, that no one of Indigenous heritage is a part of the academic community.

This assumption, whether or not it was intentional, feeds into a long line of  othering Indigenous peoples. Othering is “the process of casting a group, an individual, or an object into the role of the ‘other’ and establishing one’s own identity through opposition to and, frequently, vilification of this Other” (Gabriel). By calling the cultures of Indigenous peoples “alien”, and using vague descriptors such as “the Natives” (Lutz 32), “Indigenous peoples on the northwest coast” (Lutz 35) and “[west coast] native and stranger” (Lutz 42), painting the many different subsets of culture that layer into the Indigenous experience into a one-dimensional group, and furthers to other Indigenous peoples by not differentiating them to his assumed Eurocentric audience.

Unfortunately, though Lutz’s assumption that his reader is not of Aboriginal descent is inherently problematic, it is rooted in fact. According to a study at the University of British Columbia, out of the Aboriginal students who graduated from British Columbia high schools between 2002 and 2006, only  16% transitioned to a British Columbia university, as compared to 37% of their non-Aboriginal peers. Furthermore, only 2% of UBC’s 2013 undergraduate population identified as Aboriginal, whereas 5.4% of British Columbia residents identified as Aboriginal according to a National Household Survey from the same year.

This disparity between the general Aboriginal population and the Aboriginal population in places of higher education is rooted in Canada’s systemically racist society, which can be traced back to the residential school systems and the “first contact” that Lutz’s article describes. Ultimately, this systemic disadvantage is reflected in a variety of aspects of Canada’s culture, from university enrollment to the assumption that to be an academic, you’ve got to be white.



“Infoline Blog: Aboriginal Population.” BC Stats. BC Stats, 16 Sept. 2013. Web. 12 June 2015.

Farrar, David. University of British Columbia 2013 Annual Report on Enrolment: Vancouver Campus. Vancouver: U of British Columbia, 2013. Print.

Gabriel, Yiannis. “The Other and Othering: A Short Introduction.” Yiannis Gabriel. 9 Sept. 2012. Web. 12 June 2015.

Lutz, John. “First Contact as a Spiritual Performance: Aboriginal — Non-Aboriginal Encounters on the North American West Coast.” Myth and Memory: Rethinking Stories of Indigenous-European Contact. Ed. Lutz. Vancouver: U of British Columbia P, 2007. 30-45. Print.



Responses to “Home” (2:3)

I really enjoyed this assignment—both writing what home means to me and reading what home means to my classmates. I think that it is a great way to get to know other students (which is especially useful, given that an online blogging course doesn’t really aid to the whole “socializing in class” thing) and to reflect on our own lives outside of school.

With that in mind, I was surprised as to how similar everyone’s views on home were. I don’t mean that in a “everyone comes from the same place” sort of way. Everyone thought about their home differently: some students, like Whitney Millar, wrote about the places they’ve lived and how exactly one goes about making a temporary house into a home. Other students didn’t focus as much on the places that comprise a home, but the people, and I thought that Jamie King’s tribute to Harry, a technical director at a farm in the Okanagan, was especially powerful and very well done.

Some students, such as Charmaine Li, blended this experience and found a middle ground. Charmaine’s blog post talked about the idea of home and how it relates to others; in her case, she discussed the experience of living on the traditional and unceded homeland of the Musqueam people and how it shaped her sense of “home”.

While these three blogs, and the countless others that I browsed, all approached the topic of “home” in their own unique ways, as one would expect people from vastly different backgrounds and lives to do, there was a thread of similar sentiment that stitched all of our works together: home is not necessarily a physical space, but instead is comprised of the people and memories that make it feel familiar and comforting. The knowledge that no matter where you go, you can find a sense of home, is ultimately a driving force in why humanity evades stasis. I think this blog assignment was a great reminder that even though everyone operates in different ways and lives their own unique experience, we all have some of the same basic wirings below the surface.

I’ll conclude this with the quotes that resonate with me from each of the blogs. Thank you to the three bloggers I was able to read and respond to!

-“When it comes to my personal ideas of home, there is a sense of shared experience that creates a space rather than a permanence of location” (King “Home. Yes, we are home”)

-“I’d like to think that as long as you’re free to roam the wooded trails and breathe the ocean breeze, you are home” (Li, “A Home with Many Adventures”)

-“For me, coming home is about the rediscovery of the familiar, while not feeling at home is about being uncomfortable and unfamiliar” (Millar, “Let Me Come Home”)



King, Jamie. “Home. Yes, we are home.” English 470A: Oh, Canada. UBC Blogs. 05 June 2015. Web.08 June 2015.

Li, Charmaine. “A Home with Many Adventures.” Canadian Yarns and Storytelling Threads. UBC Blogs. 05 June 2015. Web. 06 June 2015.

Millar, Whitney. “Let Me Come Home.” Whitney ENGL 470 Experience. UBC Blogs. 05 June 2015. Web. 08 June 2015.


Home is where I want to be, but I guess I’m already there (2:2)

I’m not the biggest Talking Heads fan, but that lyric has always resonated with me when I think about the idea of ‘home’, and I thought it would be a fitting song to share with this post (also, truth be told, the song’s been stuck in my head for days and I hope that by sharing it I can finally be free of its catchy new wave chorus).  I always feel conflicted about the sense of being home, because my idea of ‘home’ is constantly in motion. Whenever I’m at school in Vancouver, for example, I feel homesick for where I grew up, but the second I’m back for summer break, I’m equally homesick for the life I’ve made in British Columbia–rinse and repeat every time I return in September or leave after winter term.

I’m not sure why I feel this way; it isn’t as if I’ve moved around a lot. I lived in a handful of houses before coming to Vancouver for university, and have come home to four individual residences in three separate countries in the years since I started at UBC. Some of these places have been wonderful to live in, and some have been less than homey in the traditional sense, but I’ve found my place in each of them, and there’s always a sense of loss when I lock my door for the last time. Compared to some people I know, I’m nomadic, but since most of my close friends move house nearly yearly, I’ve always thought of myself as someone who stays still for an adequate amount of time. I suppose my sense of home is less static or concrete than someone who has lived in the same house all of their life, but I don’t think the change of locale factors heavily in my difficulty with pinning down what home means to me.

I think for me, home is less of a physical space than it is a collection of fragments and memories that assemble themselves into a cohesive whole. You can’t carry a place with you, and as much as I wanted to slip my childhood home into my pocket and take it away when we moved, it still stands in the woods where I left it, and I can return to it in memory alone. It is with this in mind that I, subconsciously or otherwise, have constructed a sense of home out of those less tangible things. Home is the smell of my sister’s vanilla perfume, my father blasting NPR as he gets ready for work in the morning. Home is turning past Reykjavíksgatan after a night out with friends and knowing that my bed is only a five-minute walk away. Home is riding the 41 down Marine Drive, hearing the sound of the rain at the window, looking out at the section of Pacific Spirit Park where the highway has no lights and you can feel alone, for once, in the city. Home is listening to music from my childhood. Home is the rare Denver snow day, baking bread with my mother and marathoning Harry Potter movies. Home is driving to the cemetery on important dates and carefully cleaning off graves. Home is potluck dinners with my roommates, curling on the couch to watch classic movies, leaving notes for one another to find throughout the day. Home is driving down Colfax Avenue and seeing my city loom across the horizon, always softer than I remember it. Home is realizing what you miss once you’ve left it, and equally still it is knowing that in some way, you can always come back.



Talking Heads. This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody). 1983. YouTube. Web. 04 June 2015.

Fabianll. Flogsta SCREAM, the real stuff. 2008. YouTube. Web. 04 June 2015.

Mitchell, Joni. A Case of You. 1971. YouTube. Web. 04 June 2015.

“Denver, Colorado.” Map. Google Maps. Google, October 2014. Web. 04 June 2015.


What can’t be taken back (1:5)

When I first read about Leslie Silko in Thomas King’s The Truth About Stories, I was very excited: I was lucky enough to take a class last term on her novel Ceremony (and some equally fascinating secondary works about her life and her impact), and am glad that this course is also giving focus to her work. The following is my attempt at a story about how evil came into the world–definitely not as well-written as Silko’s, but I gave it my best!

Earth was always the favourite planet, the others knew this to be true. She had potential, and Sun made it clear who he liked best, so they said nothing. They orbited around him in neat rows,  pressing year after year away like flowers between pages as Sun and Earth paid attention to no one but each other.

“Why do you find me the most beautiful?” Earth would ask, and Sun would wait a while, sometimes a whole orbit, before answering.

“Because you have life,” he’d say. “I wish I knew what it was like.”

She’d blush, always facing him, warming herself beneath his golden fingers. She liked having life, taking care of something, and for the most part, her tenants were pleasant–they were good to her, tilling her soil, taking care of her plants and animals, bathing in her oceans and streams. They spread themselves across her collar and breasts, never daring to move where Sun’s hands didn’t reach.  But eventually, they grew frustrated with her infatuation.

It’s always hot, they’d say. Sun’s light hurts us, after a while. It burns our children and makes us sick from the heat. Please, just a small break, even for a little bit.

Earth listened to them, though it was difficult. She didn’t know why she’d been chosen, why she had such potential, but she did, and it was her duty to do what was best for them. She thought for a long time about what to do, and decided to tell Sun.

“Your heat is hurting my people,” she said. “It burns them, and they need some time to cool off.”

“They’re overreacting,” he said, brushing at her face with his hand, leaving a burning trail in the wake of his fingers. “I give you light, I give you warmth. What more do you need?”

Earth was torn between Sun and her people. “But I’m not delicate like they are. They need a break from it. Let’s compromise. I’ll turn away from you for a little while, but I’ll come right around before you know it.”

Sun wasn’t happy with this decision. “I give you light, I give you warmth,” he repeated. “You don’t want to see what the darkness will bring.”

Earth was scared, but she knew what she had to do for her people, and she turned herself with all her might, closing her eyes as Sun seemed to shift out of her view. She opened them into the cold. The world without Sun was darker than she could ever  fathom, and as she looked at it, she felt as if something was looking back. She could hear her people screaming, taking their fear out on one another, her life chaotic in the darkness. It wasn’t worth it, this world without Sun, and she closed her eyes again, waited to feel his touch, his warmth, before opening them.

“You were right,” she said, “I don’t like the darkness. There’s something frightening out there. I promise I won’t turn away again.”

Sun shook his head. “You can’t stop turning once you’ve started. Things that move can never be halted.”

Earth knew this to be true, even as she tried to knot herself into place. Her people begged her not to turn, preferring the heat and the burns to the unfathomable darkness, but Sun was right–she kept turning, slowly at first, and then seemingly faster and faster, turning her face once again into the darkness, and she couldn’t meet his gaze as over and over he slipped out of her sight.

A funny anecdote about telling this to my floormate (and on the record, I had a very difficult time telling the story, as I much prefer writing my thoughts down than speaking them aloud): “That doesn’t make sense–people live all over the world, right? So some of the inhabitants would always be in the darkness! Your story was flawed.” I guess creative license dictates that in this story, only one hemisphere of Earth is inhabited (and I promise I have taken enough Earth science courses to know that from the get-go), but I’m glad the overall takeaway was so profound.



Allen, Paula Gunn. “Special Problems in Teaching Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony.” American Indian Quarterly (1990): 379-386

Barnett, Louise K. Leslie Marmon Silko: A Collection of Critical Essays. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico, 1999. Print.


Instant Gratification, Self Publication, and the Hyperlinked Internet (1:3)

This blog post is in response to Question 7, relating to the impact of widespread publication and hypertext on literature and story.

The internet has provided many ‘new frontiers’ in the world of literature: eBooks are rising in popularity, and digital libraries allow anyone to freely access information that once was contained to brick-and-mortar establishments. One aspect of digital literature is of particular interest in the context of a blog-based course: the world of ‘self-publishing’. This idea of ‘self-publishing’ can manifest in many ways: aspiring writers can publish on Amazon, Facebook makes it easy to share everything, and anyone can publicize their opinions through blogging platforms like WordPress or Tumblr. Many people criticize self-publishing: though traditional publishing is highly regulated, anyone can self-publish their work if they so desire. While some may argue that unregulated publications decrease the worth of available online literature, I fully disagree. Regulation of literature can very easily lead to overzealous censorship, and the opinions of the individuals in charge of regulating literature do not necessarily reflect those of the general public. Self-publication creates a fascinating online environment in which no one idea is of objective greater worth than another, and allows marginalized and non-normative stories the potential to flourish.

Similarly, the rise of hypertext within digital media is extremely fascinating. To preface this, before I decided to take English 470, I devoted no time or energy to the idea of hyperlinks. I’d occasionally get sucked deep into VICE’s article archives through their hyperlinking network, but that was pretty much the extent of my experience. The attention to hypertext within the parameters of this course has spread to other aspects of my online life, and as such, I have noticed two particularly interesting facets of hyperlinking in relation to digital literature and media.

The first element of hypertext I have noticed is that it adds to the immediate nature of our internet consumption. No longer do we have to copy a link and paste it into a new window—we can just click a phrase or sentence and instantly delve into new, contextualized information. I admit that I am much more likely to explore a hyperlinked source than a traditionally-referenced one because of its streamlined simplicity, and this immediacy enriches my digital media experience by exposing me to new ideas that I likely wouldn’t have accessed otherwise.

The second element of hypertext I have noticed is in complete contrast to its immediacy of consumption. Hyperlinks provide direct access to relevant information, but this access is layered, available only for those interested enough to pursue it. This is reminiscent of the endnotes and footnotes of paper books (the first example that comes to mind is Infinite Jest’s elaborate, 100+ page endnotes-within-endnotes system), which gives the dedicated reader a more complex learning experience than if they were to stick to the surface-level text. Hyperlinking is fascinating because it simultaneously makes our digital media experience easier to access and more challenging to comprehend, allowing the digital media user to control the extent and depth of their own online world. Both hyperlinking and self-publishing aid in creating an uninhibited informative experience, and enable stories that may have otherwise stayed silent to finally be heard.


“Digital Public Library of America.” Digital Public Library of America. Web. 20 May 2015.

Wendig, Chuck. “Self-Publishing Is Not The Minor Leagues.” Terrible Minds. 27 Jan. 2014. Web. 20 May 2015.

“Magazine Archive | VICE | Canada.” VICE. Web. 20 May 2015.

Russillo, Steve. “Steve’s Infinite Jest Utilities Page.” Steve Russillo’s Maundering Mess. 9 Dec. 2012. Web. 20 May 2015.


And so it begins.

The places I’ve called home.

Hello there, and welcome to my blog! My name is Hava, and I am entering my fourth (and hopefully final) year at UBC, where I am a double major in Creative Writing and English Literature. As such, I am very interested in the idea of writing as a medium of self-expression, and am particularly fascinated by the many story-telling opportunities that this course presents.

Whenever I tell anyone that I’m taking a course on Canadian literature, they have one of two reactions. The first reaction is a chuckle: I’m not a Canadian citizen, and I’ve lived in the US, Canada, and Sweden, so people are often amused at my decision to take a course on the literature of a country that isn’t “mine”. The second reaction is a question: “Oh, cool. Like Margaret Atwood, right?” Nope! While Atwood’s contributions to Canadian culture and the literary world at large are nothing less than extraordinary, one of the reasons why I chose this section of English 470 was because it didn’t focus on the traditional Canadian literary canon. An English course I took in second year focused on the writing of indigenous Canadians such as Tomson Highway, and I found this to be much more beneficial to my educational experience than rereading writers I was already familiar with. I am looking forward to making further discoveries like this throughout the duration of 470.

The biggest thing I am looking forward to about this course is learning more about the “non-traditional” literary world that is present in Canada. However, I’m also very excited about the prospect of an online seminar. I have not taken many distance education courses while at UBC, and the set-up of a blog-based class is quite daunting (it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out how to post this entry, yikes), but I hope that this will help me to sharpen my web-skills, if nothing else! I am looking forward to reading the blogs of my fellow students, and hope to make connections with others as we begin our summer of learning. Best of luck to everyone!


“Create a Map: Map Customizer.” Create a Map: Map Customizer. Web. 13 May 2015. <>.

“2015 Summer Session: ENGL 470 Canadian Studies (3 Credits).” UBC Department of English. University of British Columbia. Web. 13 May 2015. <>.

“Tomson Highway Official Website.” Tomson Highway Official Website. Web. 13 May 2015. <>.