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The Ubyssey Feb 29, 2008

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Array  W> oMa#/U4 \44A4
ftJU*A? 2f*. 2009 The Ubyssey
by Joe Rayment,
literary Issue
elcome       to
the    literary
issue — t he
Ubyssey's annual celebration of fiction and
creative non-fiction.
Unlike previous years, there's no
theme to the stories; what we asked
students for was their takes on what a
story, fiction or otherwise, should do.
Obviously, everyone's got a different
answer: Orwell wrote to inspire change.
Vladimir Nabokov (who wrote Lolita)
L3-laid into him about it—to Nabokov, the
only purpose of fiction was beauty.
William Gibson (author of Neuro-
mancer, the sort of precursor to The
'Matrix) refuses to put meaning in his
stories. He says his goal is to create a
world/characters of depth,
and meaning will come
from that, just as it does
in real life. A writer
rites, he says; it's
Sjv    up to the reader to
^^ read.
A The authors who
t A responded had their
own take on this question—Goh Iromoto, for
example, created a photo slideshow
that used text and audio to tell a story
about collecting cans in Vancouver,
shirking the old medium almost entirely (you can view it at ubyssey.ca).
Joanna Kordus, on the other
hand, wrote about the impact of
meeting an Auschwitz survivor. CJ
The entries will be judged by
UBC professors and we'll announce
the winner in our March 2 issue.
In the  mean time, go to  our
website and tell us what you think.
All  the   writers   gave   us   their
take on what stories should
do—how'd they do? How
would you do it? \a
Judges for the Literary Issue
Terry Glavin is an author, journalist, and
creative writing professor at UBC. He writes
for publications such as
The Vancouver Sun, The
Globe and Mail, and the
Georgia Straight.
Il>   ?
1 vm
1    ■
Dr Travis Mason teaches
in UBC's English department. He was recently
awarded the Andrew
Mellon Postdoctoral
Fellowship to study at
Rhodes University in
Grahamstown, South
by M Un
She couldn't help being Canadian,
A faceless pedigree.
Europeans—even Australians—have glamour,
Americans have more say.
Within a national swirl of colours,
One known distinction
Of politeness.
Yet deep inside,
One alert awareness.
She lives in a Winnebago beside the dorm.
Her neighbours weary huddled masses,
A study in stupor.
Wary conformists—to what?
She decides to swim upstream.
See? A scornful sneer.
Easier to live a free life,
The necessary alternative.
Parking tickets for rent, slab of wood for bed
Burnt beans on camper stove.
She sneaks next door for cold showers.
Midnight moon, a guitar rift arches
Thready voice wobbles words.
Her grandmother's half-Asian, really.
So, she's more exotic than she feels.
But careful not to say it often
Like a fact, a daily description.
She pulls it out at gatherings
The surprise element.
The impressive bit.
See? I'm more than I look.
The Arts Undergraduate
Society General Elections
are underway! Nomination
forms due Friday, Feb. 29
at 2:00pm. Nomination
packages are available at
www.aus.ubc.ca, or from
Buchanan D-140.
Campaigning takes place
Feb. 29 to March 14. Arts
students can vote by paper
ballot March 11 to 14 at the
SUB and in Buchanan. An
info session will be held on
Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 1 pm
in MASS (Buchanan D-140)
for those interested in
running to find out more.
Community Eats is holding a
free/by donation lunch today
the Sprouts store, located
in the basement of the SUB.
5how up with your container
and fork! Community Eats is
looking for volunteers to help
with lunches every second
week. Contact
for more info.
FREE 8 Week Course at
Library Square. Starts:
March 8,1:30-2:30 pm.
1-877-GN0SIS-1. Vancouver©
Mumia Abu-Jamal is an
innocent Man: Free him now.
Video presentation of "From
Death Row this is Mumia
Abu-Jamal."Wed. March 5 at
1:30 pm. Room 211, Student
Union Building.
Candidates debate climate
change. March 6th, 7pm.
St. James Community Square.
W10th Avenue and Trutch.
Moderate by Kirk Lapointe,
Managing Editor of the
Vancouver Sun. Want
to pose a question to the
candidates? Get it in early by
cl i mate_action@vtacc.org.
Faculty of Law Professor will
be performing his new
translation of PLATO'S
APOLOGY February 28,
7:00 pm, Regent College.
March 3,11:45 am, March
8, 2:30 pm and March 10,
3:00 pm at the Faculty of
Law, Moot Court and March
14, 7:30pm at UBC Robson
Information section. Coast
Mental Health is in search for
individuals who are in their
final year or with completed
degrees in psychology.
1 pm. UBC Buchanan, www.
Professionals in business over
20 years. Call
1-800-345-8295 or email
customessay@bell net.ca
Prof editor will polish papers/
theses until you shine, www.
pto-editing.com, pto_edit@
help wanted
Work part-time during the
year as a part of the
marketing team &/or work
during the summer as a
Free classifieds for Students: For more information, visit Room 23 in the sub or call: 604-822-1654
February 29th, 2008
Vol. LXXXIX N°42
Editorial Board
liteary issue coordinator
Joe Rayment
Champagne Choquer
news editors brandon adams &
Boris Korby
features/national editor
Matthew Jewkes
production manager
Kellan Higgins
Levi Barnett
volunteer coordinator
Stephanie Findlay
cally run student organisation, and all students are encouraged to
Room 24, Student Union Building
6138 Student Union Boulevard
Vancouver, BCV6T lZl
tel: 604-822-2301
fax: 604-822-9279
web: www.ubyssey.bc.ca
e-mail: feedback@ubyssey.bc.ca
Room 23, Student Union Building
advertising: 604-822-1654
business office: 604-822-6681
fax: 604-822-1658
e-mail: advertising@ubyssey.bc.ca
business manager Fernie Pereira
ad traffic Jesse Marchand
ad design Michael Bround
Brandon Adams. Joe Rayment silently pointed to Sam Jung. Sam was
pointing to Marie Burgoyne. Marie was laughing at Matthew Jewkes
...i,,. u~i a...i—i ..... „< ^g r00m Levj Barnett had headlocked Jor-
t to get him to confess. But alas! Gerald Deo
awoke from his nap to blame Trevor Wolf. Not to be confused with Trevor
u~' u ---■-ii ■-■—-1 Jse ne a|wayS ducked out
aybe it was the returning
Simon Underwood who wasthe tainted one in our underground fluorescent castle of doom. Inconceivable! That's what Larissa Baijs said, anyway.
But Graham Cunningham produced evidencethatfingered Marie-Helene
Westgate.Objection! Shouted Dell Catherall,who was representing her in
the court of law. Judge Charlotte Phillips had him overruled, until M.K.
Scribbler stormed in, wrenched his mask off and proclaimed himself to
be both M Lin, and the traitor, all along.
Oker Chen
Canadian   Canada post Sales Agreement
University  Number 0o40878022
Kress ftl>»«*» ffi, 2009 The Ubyssey
tfa VsfateAM, \44jaI
Why I write and why it sometimes rains in September
"Over the years, then, if you are a poet, you will, perhaps without being conscious of it, find a way to write—I guess it would be better to say
you will always be chasing a way to write. Actually, you never really find it, or writing would be much easier than it is."
—Richard Hugo, The Triggering Town
by Utn'ssa Buifs
In my recent search for an answer
to the question that plagues many
writers besides myself—why do you
write?—I have become convinced it's
something I simply do not understand.
However, I'm primarily making a living
at writing, and hope to continue to do
so. Some kind of reason, be it sane or
inexplicable, is in order.
Why have I not attempted to figure
it out yet? Well, life's been one roller
coaster after another and I finally have
a chance to sit down and ponder it. That
and the fact I'm currently a candidate for
a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
and more than once have questioned
why I'm wasting my time, if writing indeed is a skill one gains over a lifetime
rather than in school.
That "writing can't be taught" is a
long-standing idiom both within and
outside university walls, popular mostly
among hopeful or unsuccessful writers.
But does that dismiss the validity of
spending two focused years writing, or
attempting to write? Now that I have the
time, I'm asking the question.
Why, on God's green Earth, did I
decide I wanted to write? Some days I
feel like I should have been a musician,
or a mother, or something that gets me
out of doors.
But no, here I slog away to the tune of
a very modest salary—if any at all, some
years—to produce what may seldom be
seen by an audience of anything but
friends and family.
I started writing bad poetry when I
was 15 or 16, which makes it 13 years
and just about half my life looking for
ways to make a page shimmy. I moved
on to fiction, stage play, some good
poetry (I think), screenplay, some very
bad TV scripts, and, finally non-fiction.
This is where I found my fire and an
oasis of markets. After graduating with
an undergrad degree, also in creative
writing, I loped into the freelancer's
lifestyle, doing travel stories, environ
mental stories, minor news reporting,
numerous profiles, and some opinion
pieces. As a young writer, this was great.
But I couldn't entirely make ends meet
and needed to find other work. I started
an intensive full-time job as a writer and
editor for a fundraising office, and didn't
pick my head back up for four years.
All good experiences, yes. But it's
somehow not validation enough, the
mere "doing." Isn't one judged for good
writing in the successful conveyance
of emotion and ideas, of insight that
prods or provokes? Taking a chance—as
you must if you want to fall in love—involves risking disclosure, vulnerability
and reputation. As poet Richard Hugo
indicates, writing can be seen as an
unconscious compulsion. We are always
"chasing a way to write," he says in The
Triggering Town, his expose on creative
writing, and "actually, you will never really find it."
Margaret Atwood, in Where The
Words Come From, a collection of conversations between older and younger
Canadian poets, is asked if she has any
explanation about the muse behind her
work or why she became a poet. It's a
romantic moment, which everyone in
the book is asked, and one Atwood shuts
down with a flat and typically cryptic
response: "Zero," she says. "Zero explanation. I have no idea."
The younger poet interviewing Atwood, Norm Sacuta, pushes again ever
so lightly.
"In an earlier interview, you said that
you really didn't want to know where
your voice comes from."
"I don't know where it comes from,"
the great literary matriarch reiterates.
"I've never known where it comes from
and I don't want to know where it comes
Gee. I admire her sincerity on the
(For the record, Sacuta dares ask the
question a third time, in different words,
and gets the following from Atwood:
"I didn't want to write. I didn't want
to write even when I started writing. It
wasn't a desire that preceded an act. It
was an act that preceded a desire.")
In the same book, Michael Ondaatje
admits he becomes self-conscious if he
thinks about an audience while writing.
He has to believe his work will never
be read by anybody, that it's "utterly
private" and "just for myself," or he becomes too critical to write. He still keeps
his manuscripts from seeing another
set of eyes until he's completely done.
Fair enough. I probably wrote my most
potent material as an angsty teen, spilling blood and tears on the pages of my
journal knowing I'd never show it to anybody. But now? I may know more about
line breaks and brevity, but I happen to
agree with Ondaatje. Who would readily share their most intimate material:
jealousy, fear, arrogant self-proclamations or the bittersweet disappointment
festering inside. We're just not that kind
of society. Everybody has to seem competent, even actualized.
I have long asserted that the poetry
I write is for me and me alone. (Never
mind that most of the non-academic
world thinks it's "dead"; that's a different conversation.) Not unlike the
private-public fagade of court jesters
or CEOs, I've got other stuff people can
read. However, as Ondaatje implies,
the dirty laundry I try to stuff under my
bed is precisely what constitutes real
Hugo, to come back to a man of great
prosaic style (who, by chance, also claims
"you have to be silly to write poems at
all"), seems to have an easy manner of
discussing the nature of meaning. He
says things are the way they are because
the poet put them there. That's it. Like
snow in September, it's just the way it is.
But Hugo's perspective can be interpreted as a tidy dismissal, something akin
to the discussion about what constitutes
art for the sake of justifying a $30,000
price tag on a giant orange canvas. I and
many others have bigger plans for the
power of language. Of course everything
is the way it is. That's the whole point:
we don't understand it, but some of us
would like to. However, in writing as in
life, Hugo seems to believe, if you ever
found the reason for it, it would be much
easier than it is.
That I can agree with. And perhaps
my query is not to be satisfied by asking questions about why one writes—Atwood was onto something, it seems—but
where this compulsion comes from. I
suppose asking why one writes is akin to
the question, why live? The stuff of great
writers attempts to answer that, too, but
the search for explanations for some
of the world's biggest mysteries—why
we were put on the planet, why we try
to scribble things on paper—is perhaps
the point itself. We'll never know, but we
keep doing it.
Since I went back to school last
September, my writing has definitely
improved. Under the direction and
encouragement of my teachers, I have
found myself freeing up the old impulses again. I've written about some
troublesome subjects, and others I don't
fully understand. Soon, I'll be teaching a
course on autobiography during which
I plan to have participants jot down ten
things they want to write about and ten
things they don't want to write about.
Chances are the latter is going to get
their attention. Marian MacCurdy, in
Writing & Healing, says "happy times do
not need to be processed. They can recede into the general soup of life to add
to our sense of well-being..." and "Pain is
an exquisitely efficient teacher."
When, someday, I am again questioning my life and why I live it this way
(probably when I want to buy a house),
this is the knowledge I will cherish: that
to write is not a glorious or conscious effort, but something one must do. "Itwas
a sudden development," cedes Atwood,
finally, in her interview with Sacuta, "an
occurrence." If she's okay with that, I
can be too.Xj
Educating my vagus nerve
by ftrakam CuMivykam
The first time I "blacked out" was in the front rows
of the Rex at Norbury (part of London, England)
looking up at the huge black and white screen with
Movietone News showing Jersey Joe Walcott being beaten
almost senseless by Rocky Marciano. My best girlfriend
Elizabeth was concerned but I was embarrassed because I
could feel a tell-tale wetness in my corduroys that I didn't
want to admit was there, so I insisted that "I'm okay."
That happened when I was 21, but I can remember
at age 8 seeing a cat run over very slowly (cats had not
learned that sleeping under cars was dangerous—no one
on our street had a car) by a starting car, the cat's mouth
opened as if to cry but blood was forced into the mouth
and eyes creating the most ferocious looking dead cat.
That is when my Mum dragged me away from what I
found at that time to be very interesting.
From Jersey Joe's bloodiness I learned that I was sensitive to the sight of blood so I started avoiding bloody
situations until the TV started running documentaries
showing heart transplants, hip replacements, breast enhancements, etc., and I decided to try and look at blood
more rationally. I would watch these TV operations as
an education and try and overcome my disability. Over
a period of some months it worked. At the start if I felt
nauseous I would get horizontal till I felt better. In the end
I could watch TV operations right through, no problem.
Last Friday, I had a terrible cold and stayed in bed till
the afternoon when I had an appointment with my Doctor
to discuss my vitamin B12 deficiency. The discussion went
from dementia, colonoscopy, polyps, and biopsy to cancer
and at the C word I felt the nausea in my stomach and the
blood draining from my brain. I asked to get horizontal
and within seconds
was "out cold." On
regaining consciousness I was told that
for a few moments I
had no pulse because the
vagus nerve had directed
all my blood to my stomach area away from my
brain,   which   needed
the force of the heart
for its supply.
Wikipedia       explains     that     this
action of the vagus
nerve is in response
to fear, but to shut
down       consciousness in response to
a word is not helpful   today   although
it may have been a
useful response in times
when we needed to flee the
scene. The word cancer has become a fear word
because we are discussing what will be done to me
rather than how I would deal with a cancer diagnosis. It is time to take back the power, to educate my
brain away from fear towards understanding and
a planned response.
In today's society much of what moves us is artificial. It behooves us to educate our nervous system
into being able to discriminate between real and
imagined danger. \a
illustration by Trevor lAJolf "^ 1 W& Itf&ifrUA, \44**&
ftl>u**» 2f*. 2009 The Ubyssey
Vancouver Welsh Men's Choir
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Vancouver's Premier Welsh Male Choir
Celebrates St. David's Day
A Scholarship Fundraiser Sponsored by the
UBC Faculty Women's Club
Celebrating 90 years of Service to the UBC Community
Saturday, March 1, 8:00 pm
St. Patrick's Catholic Church
2881 Main Street, Vancouver
Tickets: $20
For tickets: VWMC 604-878-1190, email vwmc@shaw.ca
FWC 604-263-9567 or 604-224-3941
Spor^iHCd In Whik Spot
We like it when you
push our buttons
ur uuiiunb... _.  -*-
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Apply now for Fall 2008
Breakfast with
by Maric-ltclcvic h/cstgate
I didn't come into the Mardi Gras I set out for. Just a lukewarm
line-up at Money Mart (intersection), and depravity and its
usual trimmings. I wanted the spectacle of clever Canadian alliterations in the good old East Side. Instead, I rode the Powell
far east, too far east, into industrial wasteland. What year were
those Powell buses built, anyways? They're like something out
of a 1940s prison movie, the kind of vehicle that shuttles new
inmates through the gates to lockdown.
I eventually got off the bus and waited for the one heading
back downtown. I boarded with my student pass, feet poised to
hold my weight without having to hold on anywhere. I was that
girl who wouldn't sit down or touch anything, and tried to do
so pleasantly because I am the girl in men's dress shoes who
forgets that nobody is watching her. Especially not the elderly
gentleman who holds on to every seat, every bar, every pole, every possible available surface with both hands; hands covered
in open sores, reaching across his neck and over his face to
scratch at scabs on his forehead, around his eyes, on his scalp
deep down below oily folds of hair.
I probably left too late this morning, or they changed the
day. I don't know who they is, but I should have asked someone
instead of relying on the Internet to reveal the details of welfare
Wednesday. So I guess now it's the next best thing, the grope
for some similar feeling. Breakfast at Denny's with Bukowski
over tales of ordinary madness. Let's talk, Hank.
Kill the crazies, you said so yourself: Even a madman eats
too much and needs a place to sleep. You escaped because you
didn't ask anything ofthe system. You're a madman, that's
exactly how you put yourself through a lifetime of such formidable alcoholism. It paid your way.
What do you think of it, that your pockmarked legend lives
on, in this moment, in the soft little hands of a French Canadian girl come all the Canadian way west? It would be too writ-
erly of me to say I'd come all the way west seeking Mardi Gras.
Too obvious a reiteration to use so soon. But there was a time,
another time, when my notebooks overflowed with abandon;
with song titles and the canons of idealism.
So where is the music that makes my wandering mean
something? Is it the black man's relentless wail—we never
caught up to his rhythm—while that lady, that twisted waste
of a woman's body, contorts to his every note, champions in
one jagged move from bend to dip all of our failures? Risks
everything, throws it all down right across from our street view
window, Charlie? Can I call you Charlie? Can I lean in close
so we watch her elbows and knees release in every which way
except/but proper together?
Wikked rotten-toothed smile, callused feet sauntering out
of ragged white tennis shoes my mom had in the '80s. You can
whisper to me, I'll tell you girlie, she's my kind of lady.
I might laugh or cheer you on, but there's something too
feminine about those shoes that made me sad even twenty
years ago. Something like the martyred novelty of treading
so lightly that you're not even there. Ballerinas dismembered
from the dance. A mother without her child. Woman is the nigger of the world,* I hope we can all agree, but the woman here
only cooks substances. She cleans her baby's dress at the launderette and pays for the load with change left over from the
welfare cheque. She washes her baby out of town, in grama's
sink. In the city she offers up a broken womb. If she forgets her
baby in the sink, for a sick moment of magic, she can flail her
limbs about along Main Street; aim her wide open pores, her
festering sores, at the sky's grey drizzle. And I can see the way
you watch her, Charlie. Oh, that's meth baby.
J Bring me to my bowl ol shit, Bukowski. ,-*
iBring me: I never wanted to end up here any-
guy, you'll get me back, somehow, next time.'V
kWhen we meet here again in four weeks if IJJ
laaOimmamsatt!g  (
a ftl>»«*» ffi, 2009 The Ubyssey
tfa VsfateAM, \44jaI
By M. K. Scribbler
Another day. A new location, but just
another day. I'm starting school once
more, a graduate degree. Days spent
poring over books, solitary study.
Nights that run long and bare, afflicted
with the perennial bout of loneliness.
These are my expectations. This is a
new city, after all, and I'm no good at
making friends.
It's day two, not 24 hours since
my arrival, I walk out of the doors of
my new abode and—Bam!—a familiar
face. A fellow from high school, a fellow I held in some regard. I haven't
seen him in five plus years so there's
an awkward moment of half-recognition which I assume will be followed
by awkward, stilted conversation. Not
really, though. The exchange is easy,
easy enough. A little of this and a little
of that and Ian and I are reacquainted.
One day and already a friend. That's remarkable by my standards, unheard of,
really. I usually average one new friend
a year.
We start hanging out, Ian and I do.
It's relaxed, it's casual, pleasant. He's
funnier than I remember, I like him
well. It happens that I start to feel small
swirls of excitement when I expect to
see him, predictable stuff, I guess. One
afternoon we decide to go to the beach,
we descend the long, long stairs that
lead down the cliffside to the shore.
I'm behind him, I watch him, watch his
heavy, purposeful gait and wonder if
I'm going to let this guy touch me, lick
me, fuck me. Maybe, I think.
We lie on the sand for an hour or
so. He decides to swim in the ice cold
water, I stay ashore and watch. He asks
me to hold his glasses, I do. He messes
around in the ocean, submerging himself and rising once more, taking joy
in these movements, in the wide open
water. And still, there's a sadness in his
play, like he's been wounded somehow,
but is grateful for the recovery. It makes
me want to reach out to him, to hold
him. Later he invites me to his place,
I accept.
Side by side on the small sofa,
watching an old movie. He edges closer
to me, at least I think that's what he's
doing. Maybe he just likes to sprawl
out, maybe he's entirely unaffected by
our thighs touching, the gap between
our bodies dissipating. Hmmm, it's
frustrating, it's just too hard to know.
I see him looking at me from time to
time. I want to return the look, but
worry he'll try to kiss me. I wouldn't
know how to respond. Or worse still
would be the alternate possibility, he
wouldn't try at all and I'd be forced to
feel uncomfortable and foolish. These
sentiments are all very familiar ones,
cliched really, and so barely require
further description.
To the point: time seems to stretch
and stretch and I wish something
would happen here. Maybe if I just sort
of lean up against him a bit more, like
this, make it clear that I'm willing, he'll
advance the march. No, my action elicits no obvious response. We seem to be
at a stalemate. I make a quiet decision:
should this impasse continue for a half
hour's time, I'll casually, simply, loop
my arm through his. Two old friends
hanging out, right? It needn't be a big
deal, right?
The half hour passes. Anxiety heightens. Am I really going to do this? I'm
shy, I frighten easily, such bold gestures are not my style. I can't say where
I get the nerve to do it, it must be some
deep, latent reservoir of courage that
I've stumbled upon, but I make the
move, take the plunge, loop the arm. He
responds beautifully—a soft murmur
of approval. Then he strokes my hand
with his own, makes circles with his
thumb. We sit arm in arm for another
half hour, an hour, a month, a year.
This movie is taking forever to end,
forever and a day. And when at last it
does, more discomfort. Aahhh, what
next, what now? Relax, no worries. Ian
assumes the reins. He leans around
and on top of me, he kisses me. There
Another day
it is: my first sober kiss. Not serious or
solemn or of some great importance,
just the first time a kiss hasn't arrived
at the tail-end of a bender. And in fact as
I engage in this bit of alcohol-free making out. I'm having serious doubts that
I'm performing it correctly. How about
that? Coming up on 26 and untrained
in the delivery of a simple kiss.
I find the kissing a strange sensation, not great, kind of toothy, but then
I doubt I'm giving it a fair shake. Most
of my thoughts are tied up in concerns
that I'm doing it badly. Now he's fondling me, it's nice—that part is really
nice—and he suggests we adjourn to
my place, my bachelor's apartment
just down the hall, away from the prying eyes and eavesdropping ears of his
roommates. I lead the way.
So. The two of us are near naked on
my bed, touching each other, exciting
each other. Okay, now here's the thing:
I've never actually done this before.
Why have I not done this before?
No great answer. No vows of virtue, no
ardent promise to myself to wait till I'd
found someone special, nothing so dramatic. It'sjust that the opportunity, well
it never really arose. We can't chalk it
up to pickiness on my part, the number
continued on page 6
Through the eyes of a survivor
by dogma Kordus.
There is a beige mountain that stands
against the milieu of a sky, a midnight
sky resplendent with Jewish stars.
A large, single hand reaches across
this entire vista; there is an eye in the
middle of that hand, and a green tear
drop begins to fall from the blue eye's
slightly red corner. It cries, it is downcast, and yet it reaches out with all its
fingers up into hopefulness; in sorrow,
it grows a tree, and it's consoled by two
angelic white doves that fly toward it.
It is mystic, it is cloudy; its symbolism
cries out something unmistakably authentic. The fantastical image speaks
of the real. A gentle cloud envelops
the bottom of the hand, the hand that
protrudes from the earth—it says we
are still here, we are not forgotten, our
tears and hopes and spirits are imbedded in this earth forever. The cloud of
memory stirs the hand gently.
This is the card that Mancy Koe-
nigsberg gives me. It speaks in images,
transmitting what is beyond words to
transmit. A reminder of human history
that is mine to keep for always. She
brings me sweet scones and Nescafe
instant coffee, and places them on the
table in a touching European gesture. A
few minutes into our quiet conversation
in her tiny living room and she wipes
her reddened eyes, complaining about
the dust in the air, about allergies. My
heart twists in on itself, because I know
that it is memory that brings the mist
into her blue eyes, not the dust or the
They sat the way we do right now,
having coffee and sweets, like this by
the table, on the couches, when they
stormed into their home. It is 1944,
it is Satmar, it is Hungary, and in my
mind's eye, I see them now, barging
through this door, roaring, hitting
us like Lucifer's messengers, rushing us out and carting us up, as if we
weren't human, as if we weren't like
them, breathing the same air, sharing
the same continent, the same rights
to life, equally enjoying the gentle sea
breeze and the quiet lull of a slow jazz
song on a hot summer night. Mancy
presents the image to me and I know
the reality of it, the humanity of it; it
isn't about numbers, dates and events,
about sequential timetables. It is about
man. I am shocked into awareness. I
am frightened, too.
Mancy, then a young girl, and her
family are told they are being taken to
a German prison labour camp. They
are packed like sardines onto the
cattle trains and spend days travelling,
trapped in the claustrophobic space of
a nightmare, a nightmare enveloped
with vomit, excrement, the dead, and
the unjustly doomed ones' thoughts.
The train stops, the dogs can be heard
barking, the doors slide open, and the
uniformed officers start to bark too,
outdoing the dogs, proving that they
themselves are the animals here, as
a matter of fact. Mancy lands on the
ground. Mancy lands in Auschwitz.
She labours in Bergen-Belsen till
she loses her former physical self and
looks more like a walking skeleton. She
does not get into the details of camp
life, of camp conditions. No one can
pass judgment on her reluctance. She
says she saw violence only once, when
a Kapo hit a girl on the head so hard
blood gushed out and the girl fell to the
ground. They were walking, and this
girl, she turned her head—she wasn't
supposed to turn her head, it was
against the Nazi's whim.
Mancy survives. Her immediate
family does not. The Nazis begin to flee,
destroying as much of the evidence of
their crimes as they can. She is liberated from Belsen in 1945.
She and her sister Leah are together
on a cart, leaving Auschwitz with the
liberators, when the Allies' bombs start
to fall. Everyone begins to rush and
run in any direction they can, panic-
stricken, trying to escape the bombs.
Mancy holds up her pinkie and tells
me that this is how thin she was then;
it hurt her to move; she could feel the
pain and the brittleness of her bones
when she stirred. She did not want to
run. It was impossible to. The two sisters hug each other, lower their heads
as the bombs fall like metallic hail all
around them, trying to get at the Nazis.
Miraculously, by staying static, Mancy
and Leah survive the bombardment.
She is taken to Sweden for recuperation. It takes two long years to recover.
She tells me she began training as a
beautician. She wanted to make people
beautiful, after seeing so much of their
ugliness. I look out the window behind
her, breathing.
The air in the living room is heavy. I
can feel it. Can she? The past has crept
back with grave and profound force.
Suddenly I feel guilty for making her
remember it; I feel responsible for
these tears whose presence she is trying to deny. I feel besieged with guilt.
I want to reach out but I don't know
how. Mancy's eyes begin to brighten,
however, because she has a miracle to
tell me about. It is about a mantle.
Mancy tells me that she has promised her family that, if she survives,
she will present a Jewish symbol to a
synagogue in memory of the pain and
destruction her family suffered during
the Nazi occupation of Satmar. It was
a dream that seemed impossible, because it seemed impossible to survive.
She does not tell me what kept her alive,
what thoughts or faith sustained her
and allowed her to survive. I have a feeling itwas the promise she had made to
her family, that mental determination;
by dreaming of fulfilling it, by refusing
to give up, she would be taking her revenge against these crimes, deaths and
personal losses. Her act of maintaining memory and awareness continues
to fight the inhumanity. 1988 arrives,
and Mancy presents—most likely with
those blue misty eyes—a new High Holy
Day Torah mantle to Congregation Beth
Israel. The impossible dream has been
fulfilled. She smiles.
I look at the little old lady before me
and I see a bright soul who thrives and
exists actively, boldly, and generously,
in spite of the Holocaust. She is ready
to smile, she loves to laugh and even to
crack jokes. You couldn't guess her history if you didn't know. She has risen
above it. Her husband comes in and out
with groceries, and I see the love, bond,
and faith they have between each other
when she says something to him. She
believes in forgiveness, but not in for-
getfulness. She hates the Nazis, not the
Germans, because the Germans, like
she and I, are people, she says. I see
Mancy and I see a soul who has faith
in life, who has not been shattered and
defeated, whose inner strength is overwhelming. She is a survivor who seems
to me like an ancient goddess—who has
used her inner powers to go on, to live,
to love, to share, and to inspire strength
and perseverance in those who meet
her, and to believe in, and never ever
be ashamed of, the person that one
really is. She preserves memory and
keeps alive those who are deceased.
She hands me the gift now, this card.
The hand in the picture stands tall,
stands centre-stage, unwaveringly; blue
veins of life and vigour flow beneath
the pink skin like meandering rivers.
They give life. I think: this is a representation of Mancy's heart. Strength
and faith live among the defining parts
of her sad history. She carries the past
with her always, but it motivates her to
believe further, not just in her existence
and in her rightful place in this world,
but also in the Jewish faith and Jewish
culture—she is part of the whole, and
she is undoubtedly whole herself.
There is a house at the bottom ofthe
hand, and cut-up wood placed before
that house, waiting to be taken up, to be
shaped into a meaningful entity. It is a
wooden house, the backdrop clearly the
Canadian wilderness. A symbolic beginning of a future, in a new land. Mancy
has built herself and her life here, from
foundation to rooftop. Her existence is
whole and complete. She has built her
house and used the remaining woods
for continuous and unbroken growth,
progress and creation. The symbolic
doves of peace fly towards this home
and the tree of life grows within it. The
past gives her strength and motivation.
It will not be buried, not in this picture,
not in her, not in me.
The eye in the hand is bright-blue,
but it is clearly subdued-looking. But
every time I remember Mancy, I see
incredibly sharp, clear, intense and
youthful blue eyes that looked at me
keenly and kindly. In her eyes, I see the
determined young woman. In her eyes,
I see a reflection of her experiences. In
her eyes, I see a woman's history. She
may shed tears but, unlike the picture,
her eyes—her spirit—are never subdued, not even behind the fog of tears.
Her eyes are so alive that it amazes me,
I think to myself. This is the moment I
learn to carry her spirit with me.
She smiles at me and pleads that I
have one more scone before I go. vl 6
tlU VsfateAM, ^44AaI
ftl>u**» 2f*. 200? The Ubyssey
from page 5
of propositions was far too scant for
that sort of judgment to be made.
I'd often hear hours after some
uneventful encounter that a particular
gentleman had been pleasantly interested, asked about me, but none of
these would-be suitors were interested
enough to ask me for even a phone
number. Am I a tad abrupt in speech?
Yes. A wee bit standoffish at times?
Perhaps. But would we not still expect
that in 24 years time a few souls would
have sought to overcome these small
obstacles and felt compelled to rise to
the occasion, and seek my company?
We might, but we'd be grossly misguided in these expectations, because
all but none did.
High school was as fruitful a time
as ever I had. Drunken parties, randy
boys. But the nearest I ever got to the
deed was an instance of rolling around
with a disgusting young man in an
upstairs bedroom of a party house. A
chap with whom I'd exchanged barely
a handful of sentences, who doubtfully
even knew my name, but implored
me nonetheless to take off my pants.
My shirt was still on at the time of that
particular request. That struck me as
This one, though, he'd have fucked
me without looking at me at all. I don't
think he'd have even recognized me
walking down the street the morning
after. Should we really be tallying up
these sorts of propositions? I wasn't
looking for much, not even a phone
call the next day, just a reasonable
probability that the deed would go
acknowledged. But such hopes are
perhaps too great for the high school
College. College would be different. Everyone has sex in college, right?
Nope, not all, not me. What tales of
romance can I report from those
heady academic days? Let's see, there
was once a certain Paul who courted
me, sought to win my affections with
the offering of a gift; not flowers, he
had to be original, he bought me a
cantaloupe. He told me he'd been deciding between the cantaloupe and a
I thanked him for the melon, but
suggested the pineapple would have
been the more pleasing choice. Not
only did I prefer the sweet taste of
that fruit, but the terrific craziness
of its shape made it the hands down
I thought my tone was endearingly cheeky; he apparently thought
otherwise and arrested the courtship,
stopped bringing me produce. ButPaul
was not the end of all amorous adventure. Let's not forget the groping that
happened on the seedy dance floors of
those squalid college clubs. The sexy,
flirty dancers who loved to grind up
against all limber girls nearby, but
this was all harmless fun. No one ever
asked for or invited more. With one
exception, a very small exception that
arose around the time I was riding the
crest of my binge drinking, averaging
a nice round ten drinks a night. Some
festive occasion, the specifics of which
escape me, landed me at a dirty, dirty
A tallish, thinnish, blondish fellow
joined our circle of be-boppers and
foot-tappers and it somehow happened
that ten minutes later he and I were
seated alone together across a small,
round table at the side of the club. He
leaned in or I leaned in, the memory
is not too lucid, but one of us leaned in
and initiated the smooching.
A small session. Only noteworthy
in it marking the end of all that sort
of activity for a while. Six years actually. It was just about six years and the
chance meeting with the old school
friend, Ian, before I got kissed again.
In the meantime, months passed,
years passed, time passed. I lived in
Europe and New York and Montreal
l Nothing ever came of anything.
And it was during that time that I fell
prey to loneliness. It's a sad business
being by yourself for stretches of time
that seem to span forever in every direction with no real hope of a change
in course. I think I'd done all right
stemming the loneliness while I still
held great hope for the future, but once
I'd graduated from college and moved
back home, jobless, living with my
parents, most of that hope gave way.
Where would I ever meet anyone? I'd
wander the streets with no real purpose, dress up to spend three hours
in a bookstore, call that an active day.
Or out with a friend from time to time,
hitting a bar or nice little restaurant.
Maybe that would yield some results.
But my increasing displeasure with
things and life must have manifested
itself in my expression making me
even less approachable than I had
been before.
It consoles me to think so, because
whenever I found myself sitting at a
table with any number of lady friends
it was never I who became the quarry
ofthe handsome stranger.
It happened only once that a man
struck up a conversation with me and
asked me right out. I was stunned, I
accepted. He was intolerable. He sold
himself as a young artist. I asked him
what sort of art he engaged himself
with, he was cagey. Turned out his art
was crafting hemp jewelry.
I almost lost my lunch when that
was revealed. We went out for several
weeks, each meeting was customarily
followed by an hour of angry venting
on my part, during which time I harshly criticized everything about the idiot
and myself for indulging him. Still,
though, whenever he called, I rose to
answer. But this experience, as all before it, came to absolutely nothing.
No sex, the guy didn't even try.
Had it gone on longer, the physicality
might have escalated, but at that time
circumstances aligned to send me to
the Big Apple for a year and so I abandoned the hemp weaver to try my luck
in the Empire State.
New York was the worst. Days and
days and days and days during which
I'd scarce rid myself of ten sentences.
My time, in theory, was to be spent
writing the great novel, but in practice
was spent watching television, sitting,
cooking, and wallowing. I lived with a
cousin I rarely saw, I had few acquaintances, but certainly no friends.
I'd cling to the perfunctory words
of a store clerk and replay them in my
head for the rest of the day to keep
some sort of dialogue happening.
Social skills dwindled dramatically. It
got so that my heart would race when
I knew any kind of interaction was
required of me. Conversations would
have to be rehearsed in detail before
I could pick up the phone to call even
an operator. My grip on sanity seemed
more precarious every day. The nights
became later and longer, still always
passing in solitude. I'd try to fend off
sleep as the thought of waking up to
start another day like the one I'd just
had was crippling. I'm probably not
photos illustration by Levi Barnett
actually crazy, I thought, but then why
do I want to kill myself every morning?
When it feels like your heart is breaking, collapsing on itself on account of
it being just so empty, that's a kind of
loneliness that scars. I don't know if
you bounce back from that.
But what can you do? You bow
out suicide-style or resolve to try, try
again. And so I tried again. A different
city, a different school, something to
do at least, something to be part of,
someone to talk to. I wasn't holding
out for much, some small improvements maybe, but mostly I anticipated
more ofthe same.
Surprise! Now suddenly, out of
nowhere, two weeks into this change
of scenery, I'm flat on my back with
a man on top of me, eager to mount
me. And both of us sober. I'm remarkably composed about the whole thing,
too, can't say why. I've heard of people
staying level-headed in emergencies,
crumpling only after the threat has
been averted, the shock of the situation being too great to absorb at the
time. Maybe my current poise stems
from something like that, maybe the
thrill of actual contact has numbed
my senses. It's strange, though, I'm
not even concerned it'll hurt, I'm just
looking to get it done.
And I get what I'm looking for. It
doesn't feel like much, but it lasts a
long time. I didn't realize it lasted this
long. I wonder about that, wonder if
my sex appeal falls short and he's having difficulty making it. My thighs are
straining to hold him between me, I'm
unaccustomed to having them spread
like this, for this length of time. Jesus,
how much longer? Oooohhh, there
it is, here he comes. He pants, he's
pleased, he looks at me and informs
me that I'm really good at it. Huh.
Beginner's luck?
* * *
We reengage a few times over the
next week. It's better, much better for
me. The anxiety is lessened, the kisses
are lovely and without the bafflement
that accompanied the first time I let
myself enjoy it more. After our second
or third tryst, he suggests I regale him
with the story of how I lost It while he
curls up behind me. I don't want to lie
so I keep quiet. Does it occur to me
to tell him the truth? Not even for a
second. It'd lend him the wrong idea.
It wouldn't be unnatural for him to
jump to the assumption that it meant
something special to me, that the first
time means more.
But it doesn't always mean more,
and it didn't. I wasn't expecting a
great love or even a minor one. I
wasn't looking for anything but a moment of affection. And even if he were
to accept that much, there's the risk of
having him feel superior to me in this
regard. I don't want him to direct our
sex sessions, explaining to me with
unpardonable condescension how he
is the far more experienced player
and as such should dictate the doings.
I don't want him to start in with the
didactics of sexual congress. I don't
want to feel like less than he, so I keep
quiet and he lets it go.
A few days later he brings it up
again, and again a few days after that.
He keeps asking me and I keep hushed.
kBut every time he asks I feel a pang
'of sadness because there's no story to
tell. So I start inventing stories. I lost
it in a treehouse when I was fourteen,
I say or wait no, I was 20 and it was in
the Italian Alps. The stories contradict
each other, he knows I'm lying, but it
feels fairer like this. I'd rather he be
uncertain, than be convinced of any
one particular falsehood. So I tell him
of men I've fucked and how. I tell him
of things I used to dream about, things
which of course never happened. I
don't feel good about it, I don't want to
lie to him, but more than that I don't
want him to know.
I ask him once or twice if he'd
sleep with a virgin. He answers me
definitively no. I ask him why not,
he tells me there's certainly got to be
something fundamentally fucked up
about even a 20-year-old virgin. A virgin at twenty-four, well, there's got to
be something especially screwy with
that one.
More or less what I expect, but
it hurts to hear. It was unpleasant
enough having to wonder every day
for years whether there was indeed
something defective in me, it doesn't
help to hear someone punctuate those
suspicions. He tells me a girl being a
virgin would be a deal-breaker. I keep
inventing my stories.
* * *
Surprisingly, Ian and I remain
fond of each other. I hadn't expected
that. He's sharp, he's clever, saddled
with a sense of humour that agrees
with my own.
The sex is beautiful, engaging, dynamic and frequent—making up for
lost time, maybe. And I like it so much
now, the feel of him inside me. When
I daydream about it, I'm not moist,
I'm dripping. Most often we fuck each
other hard, with punch and hunger.
Sometimes, though, sometimes he
wants to slow down, kiss me tenderly,
He holds me afterward, it makes
me teary-eyed. Makes me think of
days when no one held me, not even
a little, not even kind of. Those were
times when my stomach would flip
because a stranger's hand accidentally
brushed against mine. This change of
states is overwhelming.
We get along nicely. Only I'm beginning to annoy him, I can tell. He gets
upset when I lie to him now and asks
me for the truth about my past with
increased frequency. He tells me he's
never met anyone as reticent about
such matters as I am, lovers owe each
other disclosure, I'm being unfair, he
says. I tell him I'm uncomfortable talking about it, he's unsympathetic.
He tries to be, but he finds no
well of sympathy to draw from here.
He thinks I'm selfish. He's irritated,
frustrated with me. And hurt, maybe.
We lie beside each other, he looks at
me with sad eyes and beseeches my
honesty, candour, intimacy. I let little
truths escape. I tell him I was chaste at
college, he finds even that much hard
to believe.
It seems like a complete unburdening would leave him angry, troubled
by the scope of my fabrications. I've
told too many stories now, too many
to apologize for. I'm not even sure
he'd believe the truth. And if he did,
where's the good in it? He'd replay our
time together viewing me under a very
different light, a less flattering light.
Examining my manner, looking
for the reasons that explain why other
men were so unanimously unimpressed with me. I don't want him to
find anything and I don't want him
to be angry with me. Maybe I'm being overly cautious, I wouldn't know,
I've no point of reference, but I don't
want to disappoint him. I don't want
tomorrow to be just another day, I'm
not ready to be lonely again. \a  8
The Ubyssey
An Arts Club Theatre Company presentation of a Cahoots Theatre Projects production
Bombay Black
Now playing to March 15, 2008 GRANVILLE ISLAND STAGE »
by Anosh Irani
"To fall in love, we must fall into the sea. Are you in the
mood to do something dangerous?" In present-day Bombay,
a beautiful dancer casts an erotic spell over her clientele until
a bewildering stranger reveals a secret that jeopardizes their
lives. Vancouver-based and nationally renowned writer
Anosh Irani weaves realism with magic, searing the
imagination with his captivating tale of seduction, betrayal,
and that leap of faith called love.
"Sensuous, lyrical, mysterious, sordid, grotesque,
romantic and highly emblematic..."
"Intrigue, betrayal, love and seduction. This month's
most riveting watch on Mumbai's theatre
circuit is Bombay Black"
Anita Majumdar. Photo by Paula Wilson and BFdesign.
vlB^/BR D!5gRBT!OiV 15 /YDtf I5ED
for tickets:
"Lovely theatre, well-designed, nicely staged, intriguingly acted and
promisingly written...a masterful blend of eroticism and mystery."
I believe that stories are given
to writers. We do not choose
stories. They come to us in
dreams, or as voices in our
heads, roaring, full of fire,
challenging us to take
them on.
When Bombay Black began,
all I had was a young woman
dancing in an apartment by
the sea. Her dance was one
of beauty, sweat, and lust,
and everything seemed perfect, except for the blind man
lurking in the shadows. So
I asked myself, "how does a
blind man fall in love with
a dancer?" For more than a
year, I did not write a word.
I kept wondering who this
dancer was, and why a blind
man would pay to watch her.
What did he want from her? I
thought it was love. But once I
started writing, I realized that
a love story is about anything
but love. There is confusion,
pain, anger, revenge—one
has to live in black until that
black is completely consumed.
Perhaps then, with a little nod
from the gods, one can
taste light.      —Anosh Irani
■ S<xrv\e. d<xt4
Vancouver 201 o~
■ ElMCL Motor Cars
i Sandman
The Vancouver Sun
SERIOUSLY WESTCOAST ftk**u, ffi, 2009 The Ubyssey
tfa oMa/j^u \44A&   1
Margret's Transgression
by Trevor Melanson
"By god, I'd rather slave on
earth for another man-
some dirt-poor tenant farmer
who scrapes to keep alive—
than rule down here over all
the breathless dead."
-Homer, The Odyssey
The door to Margret's
apartment creaked open,
and she listened. He was
here, and if she had doubted
his arrival before, she didn't
doubt it now. He had come, and
he had come on time. Margret
wondered, for an instant, if
the door had been locked, but
quickly dismissed it as irrelevant. Locks wouldn't impede
his coming—nothing would.
His footfalls were unobtrusive, but he made no effort to
conceal them. After all, they
had an appointment. His pace
was slow and steady but her
home was a small one, a city
home, and in a moment's time
he was there, standing in the
doorframe of her bedroom.
"Hello Margret," he spoke.
His voice was ageless. His face
was ageless too, and handsome,
and a bit familiar. He wore an
ash-coloured suit.
"I heard you coming," said
Margret, sounding no less tired
than she looked.
"Well, you beckoned me," he
replied. "Most people don't."
"I guess I'm not most people." She exhaled slowly. "And
that's why you're here, isn't
"I don't know why I'm here,
sweetheart. It serves me no
purpose to ask why I go where
I go," he answered matter-of-
factly. "And I'll mention right
now that I have no answers for
"It's a very popular misconception about me: that I
might be able to tell people why
they're here and what it was all
about," he continued. "I'm not
entirely sure who started this
rumour—some God fellow apparently? I don't know who he
is, but he's full of shit. I don't
know what it's all about, darling, and it's not my place to
"Then who does know?" she
He shrugged. "Your guess
is as good as mine—probably
better, actually."
Margret sighed. "Oh well."
Her neck was straining, so she
rested her head onto the pillow.
She was comfortable now.
Her handsome guest
watched her with empty eyes.
Then he lit a cigarette, pocketed
his lighter, inhaled, and let the
smoke trickle out his nostrils.
"You're not allowed to do
that in here," said Margret.
"As if you actually care," he
retorted snappily.
She smiled. "You're right.
And hell, I don't blame you either; I wish I had never quit."
"It's ironic that you say
that," he replied, sharing her
smile. "Most people tell me
quite the contrary."
And in a flash, her smile
turned bittersweet. "What's it
like?" she asked, changing the
"It's like nothing," he explained. "It's like before you
were born: no pain, no pleasure, no experience."
"Did I fuck up?" She gazed
at the ceiling. "I mean, there's
no going back now. You're
here, so I know that much."
"I don't know, I told you.
I'm not scary, though." He took
a long drag on his cigarette.
"Life is scary. And wonderful at
times. If answers are to be had,
life is where you'll find them."
It was nighttime, and the
room was quiet and still. The
lighted bedside lamp tinted everything orange: the queen-size
bed, the unmoving ceiling fan,
the oak dresser that had been
passed down three family generations, and the tired woman
with her head propped up on
two pillows. She conversed with
an unseen man.
"When I was about twenty...
that was the best time of my
life," Margret spoke nostalgically. "That's when I met Michael;
we were in the same political
science class. He was adorable.
Good looking, maybe not the
best looking, but he definitely
had something going for him.
He was always a bit unkempt,
although in an endearing sort
of way. But it was his personality that won my heart. He was
so passionate, so intelligent, so
"It was our second date that
I'll never forget. We climbed to
the top of a high-rise that was
still under construction: twenty
floors up, at least. We sat on the
rooftop, and itwas so windy up
there. You could jump against
the wind and not move an
inch." She smiled. "We talked
for hours. And then we made
love for hours...
"But I was stupid; I left
him. Biggest mistake I've ever
made. Marrying Dan was the
second biggest. And I can't help
but wonder: would I be here—
would you be here—had I made
even a single better choice?"
"Choices are a complex
matter," he replied.
"Yeah," she agreed, "and I
just made a hell of a big one.
Not sure if it was the right one,
but it's too late now."
"Too late to think about the
question?" he asked.
"Well," she responded,
"what's the point? I've swallowed the pills and you're here.
Clearly, there's no going back.
Perhaps everyone should ask
themselves the question 'why
don't I just kill myself?' at some
point in their lifetime, but I
already asked it, and I already
answered it, and I already swallowed the fucking pills. So really, is there any point in asking
the question again—now that
my answer wouldn't change a
goddamn thing?"
He pondered her inquiry in
silence. He didn't have an answer, and this time he wanted
one for her. "I don't know," he
finally conceded, shrugging.
"I don't know if it matters. I
don't know if you should ask
yourself the question again, or
just accept that you've already
answered it once."
He finished his cigarette
and threw it out the window.
They were out of things to say
and stillness permeated the
bedroom. Margret, he realized,
had fallen asleep.
He sighed.
"Good night, Margret,"
Death spoke softly. "I'm sorry if
you had thought I was going to
have answers. And I'm sorry if
you had thought I was going to
be any timelier than life." Xl
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The Ubyssey is hiring for all editor positions
including some you have never heard of.
Applications are due March 21 at noon.
Email coordinating@ubyssey.bc.ca to inquire.
We look forward to working with you.
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actual news
A new play by Nobel Prize-winning chemist
Roald Hoffmann
Death, memories, new bonds; a play about ethics oi science and art
Be among the first to
stop by room 23,
SUB for free passes
to a showing of
March 4-8 '08
at 7:30pm
Frederic Wood
Box Office:
While supplies last
In Theatres
www.theatre.ubc.ca 10
The Ubyssey
ifs yours
This year's Celebrate Research
Week showcases a sensational
week of diverse and exciting events
highlighting areas of research
and cutting-edge work that UBC's
faculties, departments, schools and
partner institutions have to offer.
These events include discussion
forums, lectures, seminars, open
houses and symposia on topical and
timely issues from every discipline
"Should've" Presented by Theatre at UBC
and the Department of Chemistry
March 4 to March 8
Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Roald Hoffmann
explores the ethical dimensions of science in his
latest play Should've. The playwright will be on
hand opening night. Call 604.822.2678, www.
UBC Frederick Wood Theatre - 6354 Crescent
Sci-Trek Science & Research Trade Show
UBC Supply Management presents Sci Trek to
all Faculty and Staff. Here is your opportunity to
meet with UBC's Major Suppliers and see their
latest products. Free admission. Prizes!
Life Sciences Centre - 2350 Health Sciences Mall
Diabetes - Genes or Lifestyle?
Join the Faculty of Medicine for a free interactive
public forum and live webcast with leading
diabetes researchers and CBC News Science and
Environment Reporter Eve Savory.
Visit www.med.ubc.ca/diabetesforum for details.
To register: infobc@diabetes.ca
Victoria Learning Theatre (Rm 182), The Irving K.
Barber Learning Centre - 1961 East Mall
Sleep: A Window on Infant and Young
Children's Development
The area of sleep deprivation for infants and
children is a sometimes controversial topic. Dr.
Hall, who has assisted many families with their
infants' and pre-schoolers' sleep problems,
will provide answers to a number of questions.
Contact: Merrilee Hughes, 604.822.1409,
IRC - Lecture Theatre 6 (Woodward Building)
Art, Fashion, Jazz and Politics Under the
Atomic Cloud, 1945-1956
Prof. Serge Guilbaut presents an illustrated
discussion and examines the extraordinary
cultural diversity produced in cities like New York
and Paris, and the West's rethinking of national
identities during the Cold War Era. Free.
UBC Robson Square - 800 Robson St.
Action on Seafood Sustainability: Consumer
Impact on Dwindling Marine Resources
Join us for an interactive discussion to
highlight issues around seafood sustainability.
Representatives of diverse interest groups will
explore ecological, social and economic concerns
that should influence our decisions. Contact:
Amanda Vincent, a.vincent@fisheries.ubc.ca
Robson Square - 800 Robson Street
Solving Complex Real-world Problems:
An Issue-based Interdisciplinary Approach
March 10 to March 14
In this series of lunch-time talks and videos,
faculty and students discuss the collaborative
and interdisciplinary approaches used to address
complex societal and environmental issues.
Contact: John Corry, 604.822.4131 or visit www.
Rm 120 CK Choi Building- 1855 West Mall
Celebrating Women's Health Research
8:00AM - 4:00PM
Women's Health Research Day features keynote
speaker Dr. Joy Johnson. Presentations on topics
such as Women's Heart Health, Reproductive
Health and Infection will be spotlighted. Contact:
Christina Schmidt, 604.875.3459, cschmidt®
UBC Life Sciences Centre, LSC1 - 2350 Health
Sciences Mall
Film Screening of "Double Happiness"
Screening of the hit debut film Double
Happiness, directed by UBC Film alumna Mina
Shum, will be followed by a Q&A session about
her experiences making the movie. More info &
tickets at 604.616.5055, www.ubcfilmalumni.org
Vancity Theatre -1181 Seymour Street
Narratives from Front Lines: The Dangers
of Working as an Investigative Journalist in
the Middle East
Recently returned from some of the hottest
conflict zones of the Middle East, freelance
journalist Deborah Campbell talks about the
strategies required to live in and report from
these areas. Q&A will follow the lecture.
Admission free. Contact: Andreas Schroeder,
Frederick Wood Theatre - UBC
Neuroscience and the Law: A Long-Range
Discoveries in neuroscience are impacting the
world, in ways large and small, predictable and
unexpected.This talk is a preliminary exploration
of three possible areas of change. Contact: Sofia
Lombera, slombera@interchange.ubc.ca
Faculty of Law - 1822 East Mall
Panel Discussion with Dr. Paul Collier: Why
the World's Poorest Countries Are Failing
and What Can Be Done About it.
A team of Liu Institute researchers will respond
to Dr. Paul Collier's research in his recent book,
"The Bottom Billion." Contact: Tim Shew,
Robson Square - 800 Robson Street
Straight From the Heart: Your Guide to
the Latest in Cardiac Research, Care and
7:00PM (doors at 6:30PM)
Get your pulse racing with the latest information
in cardiac research, care and prevention. Our
experts will guide you through the secrets of
caring for the heart. Moderated by Dr. Rhonda
Low. Register free at celebrateresearch@vch.ca
Cordula & Gunter Paetzold Health Education
Centre, VGH - 899 West 12th
Trees: The Building Blocks of a Blobal Bio-
4:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Dr. Ian de la Roche, President and CEO of
FPInnovations, will be the guest speaker at
the Annual Forestry Lecture in Sustainability
sponsored by the Koerner Foundation. All are
welcome to view research poster displays prior
to the lecture and to join us at a reception
immediately following. Admission is free. For
more information, visit www.forestry.ubc.ca or
contact 604-822-6784
Forest Sciences Centre, 2424 Main Mall
Cafe Scientifique - Healthy Cities
Join us to learn about and discuss some of
the health issues in Vancouver. Where are the
pollution hotspots in our city? Is traffic noise
more than just a nuisance? How safe are cycle
paths? Limited seating. Call to reserve: Will
McDowall, will.mcdowall@ubc.ca or visit www.
Steamworks - 375 Water Street
Celebrate Hearing Health - Day 1
Interested in Audiology or Speech-Language
Pathology? Are you a student exploring career
options in health care and technology? Are
you wondering if you're listening to your iPod
at a dangerous level? Discover the career
opportunities available to you I Contact: Valter
Ciocca director@audiospeech@ubc.ca
IRC - B27-28 (Woodward Building)
Food Nutrition and Health Open House
Drop by for a guided tour of the Food Science
laboratory facilities and other presentations.
Check our website for tour and presentation
schedules, www.landfood.ubc.ca
Nutrition and Health Building - 2205 East Mall
Obesity: The Skinny on Weight Loss: Dieting
and Physical Activity in a Weight Conscious
Join the Heart and Stroke Foundation of B.C. &
Yukon for an evening with leading experts in
weight loss, eating, and physical activity who
will answer the age old question: Is dieting safe
and do any diets really work? If not, what is
the alternative? Please RSVP to 604.736.4404
Ext.270 or research@hsf.bc.ca
Robson Square - 800 Robson Street
Wine Library Open House
Free 30 minute tours throughout the day. Tour
the UBC Wine Library, one of the most exclusive
wine libraries in the world. To register contact:
wine@interchange.ubc.ca, www.landfood.ubc.
Nutrition and Health Building - 2205 East Mall
Celebrate Research Gala
UBC's premier annual event! The Gala celebrates
the achievements of UBC's research award
winners of 2007 and entertains with musical
interludes bythe UBC School of Music, UBC
Opera and the Oscar Hicks Septet. Tickets are
free and must be reserved in advance.
Email celebrate.research@ubc.ca or call
The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts - 6265
Crescent Rd.
Sustainability and Social Enterprise - James
This presentation focuses on the findings of a
survey of social enterprises across North America
and Europe and includes presentations by MBA
students who have developed business plans in
this domain. Reception from 5:00PM to 6:00PM
Contact: Jessie Lam, jessie.lam@sauder.ubc.ca,
or visit: www.sauder.ubc.ca
Robson Square Theatre - 800 Robson Street
Celebrate Mech
The Department of Mechanical Engineering
opens its doors to high school students, the
university community and the public for displays,
tours of research labs, lectures for lay people,
information sessions and related activities.
Contact Jennifer Pelletier, jennifer@mech.ubc.ca
Civil and Mech. Engineering - 6250 Applied
Science Lane
Celebrate Hearing Health - Day 2
Interested in Audiology or Speech-Language
Pathology? Are you a student exploring career
options in health care and technology? Are
you wondering if you're listening to your iPod
at a dangerous level? Discover the career
opportunities available to you! Contact: Valter
Ciocca director@audiospeech@ubc.ca
IRC - B27-28 (Woodward Building)
Throughout 2008 UBC will celebrate
100 years of achievement with a
diverse line up of events. Visit the
Centenary website for all the details:
For information on more Celebrate
Research events, please visit:
*•"': ftl>»«*» ffi, 2009 The Ubyssey
tU ItilMAM, IvM 11
by Charlotte Phillips
It wasn't that she wanted to watch
people lying in their beds or using their bathrooms, it's just that
she was forced to observe these
intimate activities. Sarah's only
window in her tiny studio apartment faced the boutique hotel
across the street.
"I'm an accidental voyeur,"
she told herself. And she was
indeed, a reluctant witness
to strangers brushing their
teeth and adjusting their covers. There were other goings
on that she wished she hadn't
seen, but like a traffic accident
from which you cannot avert
your eyes, Sarah felt incapable
of looking away.
"Spying on these unsuspecting people is probably wrong,"
she thought. She sensed this
from deep down inside where
her morals and good judgment
lived. "On the other hand," she
reminded herself, "they're just
as guilty as I am in their blatant
exhibitionism. They could simply
close those curtains when using
their rooms."
But who would think to
do such a thing when visiting
Sarah's magnificent city with its
modern architecture and busy
harbour life. The city practically
begged to be the centre of attention and the tourists always
obliged. Closing the curtains on
this world-famous scenery would
be like wearing earplugs to the
symphony. No, you would simply rush in fromyour sightseeing
excursion or your shopping trip
or the business meeting at the
Starbucks down the street, and
you'd toss your things on the bed
in the abandon you reserve for
your away-from-home self. You'd
do what needs to be done in the
freshly cleaned bathroom, perhaps while watching the tiny TV
or reading the back ofthe miniature shampoo bottle or opening
the emergency sewing kit to see
the little safety pin, white button and colourful collection of
threads inside. You'd do all this
without once thinking to shut the
blinds on the oversized windows
the boutique hotels are famous
for. You'd "manage your situation" oblivious to any on-lookers
from the fifth floor of the building
across the street because "who in
their right mind would want to
look?" Sarah, having observed
these very activities more than
once, had said the same words
to herself.
For Sarah this day was like all
the others. From nine until five,
she came close to making use
of her honours degree in communications at the Spanish Consulate where she earned $ 11.00
an hour as an administrative
assistant. This despite the fact
she could not speak a word of
Spanish and found it difficult to
communicate with the clientele.
At the end ofthe day, she walked
across the lengthy commuter
bridge and stopped to pick up a
single-portion vegetarian dinner
from the health food store next
to her building. She unlocked the
door to her little home, hung up
her coat, placed her dinner on
the table and headed straight to
her small window on her world
The Accidental Voyeur
to take a moment for herself.
Leaning out and looking left,
Sarah saw the glass tower up the
street with the two bedroom-
plus-den suites she longed to live
in some day. To the right was
a glimpse of the sailboats and
yachts in the harbour—the ones,
if she played her cards right, she
might set foot on some day. And
there across the street in full view
was that six-story hotel. Some
of its rooms had the curtains
drawn but most offered a wide-
open invitation to peep. "The
only good thing I guess, is the
characters change frequently on
this nightly show," she chuckled
to herself. Sarah never felt her
intruding gaze was of a personal
nature and therefore the privacy
of these anonymous hotel guests
was not too deeply invaded.
"Hmm...there's a new one," she
On a few occasions the hotel
patrons were of the famous variety. The captain from the Star
Trek series, a top jazz singer,
and a heartthrob ex-boy-band
member had all come into view
at one time or another. It was
kind of exciting for Sarah when
that happened. "Hey is that the
guy that played Dr. Evil's son in
Austin Powers?" she wondered
as she peered into the window
on the second floor, third room
from the right. "No, I guess
not." She felt privileged to have
such a front row seat for the
performances these people unknowingly staged. Sometimes,
however, she felt a bit ashamed
and she lumped herself in with
the despicable paparazzi who
stalk the rich and famous and
sell the photos to the magazines
she always bought.
"Wait a minute." A light went
on in Sarah's mind. "It's really a
consolation for putting up with
this view I'm forced to live with.
It's completely justified. They
owe this to me." They being the
hotel for the oversight, the guests
for their indiscretions, and her
landlord for no good reason.
Sarah's thoughts began to race
as she scanned each and every
window in the hotel across the
way. Dollar signs dimmed her
eyesight as she fantasized about
the financial prospect before
Sarah's meagre salary in her
entry level position meant she
could not afford to change her
living situation with its questionable view, and yet that very view
could be her ticket out of there
and up the street to a better life
with more square footage. "I'll
go against my morals and good
judgment just this once," she
schemed. She dug out her digital
camera from her o/ie and only
drawer, positioned it atop the TV
stand at the edge of the window,
and pulled her curtains together
leaving just enough space for the
camera's sights. "I'll snap a few
photos of a celebrity or two and
sell the pictures to the highest bidder!" She smiled as she dreamed
of the hundreds of thousands of
dollars she'd make.
Late into the evening and for
many evenings after that, Sarah
peeked out her window and
searched for the elusive celebrity
in the windows of the hotel. She
hoped for an A-list actor from a
recent film—a George Clooney or
a Vince Vaughn. Each day was the
same. Go to work, come home,
wait for the prey. She thought
about the public television special she'd seen recently about the
National Geographic guy who
waited six months in a remote
Himalayan cave for a fleeting
glimpse of a rare black tiger. Or
was it a cougar? Whatever itwas,
if he could be that patient, so
could she. And she waited. And
watched. Nothing. Soon she lowered her expectations and hoped
for a TV actor or maybe a sibling
of someone famous for being
famous. Anything would do.
Six months later, Sarah came
to her senses and the conclusion
that as soon as you start looking
for something it gets harder to
find. Then one day, she abandoned the project altogether and
put the camera back in its bag.
"Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are
not going to make a difference in
my life after-all," she resigned to
herself. She began not to notice
the goings on across the street.
The hotel room scenes that had
both shocked and amused her
seemed to fade into the ambient
vistas of downtown life. Occasionally when one of her guests
noticed the activities on view,
Sarah would remember how it
had been a novelty at one time
in her life. And sometimes there
was that niggling little feeling in
the pit of her stomach or the back
of her mind or wherever her
morals and good conscience now
lived, that perhaps one day she'd
entertain that paparazzi idea
again. But for now, she'd just sit
back in the place she called home
and ignore the view, tl
Community Contribution Award
At the Ubyssey, we feel that a sense of community on campus is
important. Since 1998, we've been putting our money where our
mouth is, and offering $3,000 Ubyssey
Community Contribution Award. This annual award
recognizes returning UBC students who have made a
significant contribution to developing and strengthening a sense
of community on the UBC campus by:
1. Organizing or administrating an event or project, or
2. Promoting activism and awareness in an academic, cultural,
political, recreational, or social sphere.
The award is open to all returning, full-time UBC students, graduate, undergraduate and unclassified in good standing with the
Ubyssey Publications Society. For the 2007-2008 academic year,
we will award a $3000 award for a project. Deadline will be April
1 2008 and the award will be
disbursed to the successful candidate on April 10 2008.
Nominees for the award will be judged on:
1. The impact of the contribution made - the number off people
involved or affected.
2. The extent of the contribution - the degree to which it
strengthens the sense of community on campus.
3. The innovation of the contribution - preference will be
given to recognizing a new contribution over the
administration of an existing one.
4. The commitment of the individual to UBC as a
Nominations should include a cover letter by the
nominator, either an individual or a group, briefly
stating the nature of the contribution made, the
individual being nominated, contact information of the
nominator and the nominee and a letter (approximately 500
words in length) describing the contribution made and how
the above four criteria have been met.
Students are welcome to nominate themselves, but those
doing so must attach a letter of support from another member
of the campus community. The award will be judged by a
committee chaired by a representative of UBC Student
Financial Assistance and Awards office and members from
various parts of the campus community.
Deadline for submission of completed For  further  information,  please  contact
nominations should reach the Fernie   Pereira,   Business  Manager,  The
Ubyssey, Room 23, SUB, no later than Ubyssey,  at   (604)   822-6681   or   email:
Tuesday, April 1,2008. fpereira@interchange.ubc.ca 12   UU ItilMAM, l*U4
ftl>u**» 2f*. 200? The Ubyssey
The CMA Career Night. Register at cmacareernight.com
Fingers on the map
by Marie-jtelenc Westqate
You probably knocked it
into bed the morning you
left. It came off the night
before; one of those drawn
out nights when everything's
about to disappear. When you
remember spinning a globe,
spinning it as hard as you
could just a summer ago, it
landing wherever and you saying, I could really see myself
Those last hours together
felt doubly cozy, doubly warm,
doubly like the womb I wish I
could climb back into. Every
time I reach into my bag, rummage through my keys, credit
cards, stir around for my map
of the city, your ring wraps
itself around the tip of my finger. I carry it with me.
I guess it fell from the
headrest and landed in our
cave of blankets. The sheets
cooled off when I got up to
pace all around the room. You
gathered your baggage, airline
ticket, searched for your socks.
I knelt before the edge of the
bed to tie your shoes and bid
you adieu.
Glasgow's a good place for
you, your red hair, I said.
I can already hear you
laughing when I come home
with a Scottish drawl, you
You always think I'm making fun of you, I said.
Then why are you laughing,
you insisted.
I laughed in the scene playing out in your head and you
thought it was real. I'll tell you
it was admiration, not mockery, but not now. I'll say so
Oh, I wanted to tell you, I'm
moving too. Not far, but even
a thumb's width will be better
than sleeping here without
you. I stare above all the storefronts, scan the streets for rent
signs everywhere I go. I ride
the bus all over town: arms
crossed, legs tucked in, eyes
gazing out. Once in a while
I glance at an empty seat to
make believe you're there next
to me.
I circled home on the map,
so I remember it when we're
both gone. When I wake up,
I trace Marine Drive all the
way downtown, to school, to
Commercial and back toward
the sea, around all the places
where you could find me.
In the evening I check the
classifieds. Downtown, Main
Street, Davie, no vacancy (but
good old Surrey's always full of
cheap basement suites). I circle apartments on streets that
sound British or Scottish. UK,
you know. Dunsmuir, Salisbury, Princess: all gorgeous
brownstones with floor to ceiling windows, courtyards, high
ceilings, and hardwood floors I
can't afford.
I hope we meet sometime,
halfway between continents.
We could set up camp there
forever. Until then, it's East
Van, East Sixth, sixtieth, six
billion, West End. South is
always the sea, right? North is
the mountains? Maybe that's
only in other cities, but you're
probably really busy right
now, settling in. I'm sure you
haven't even realized yet that
you left your ring, or had time
to wonder if I carry it with me,
everywhere I go, until we meet
Until I tell you I don't want
to be apart anymore, it's lonely
in the city. I've had plenty of
time to miss you. I found my
anonymity. I'll plant the ring
in another bed: spin the globe;
anywhere, I don't care. We
could burrow into each other
until there's nowhere else
imaginable for us to go. vl
Check out the website
on Monday to see who
won the Ubyssey's
Literary Issue
**<—*.^rf>'-*^''1 ■
Turn your DEGREE into a CAREER!
If you have a university degree, you may qualify for Langara
College's 8-month journalism certificate program and get
hands-on experience writing and preparing news and feature
stories for print, broadcast and the web-
Learn more.
Information Session March 25,7 p.m. in room A228.
CO 1.1. T.C, V.
Call 604-323-5415-5335 or
Visit www.langara.bc.ca for more information.
Apply before April 3D far September 2003 intake.


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