Understanding lack, understanding mind

poverty-ball-and-chain-940pxThe image is apt, but why do we need to show a person of colour in the example, when in any other context Caucasian is the default choice?


This article from Harvard Magazine is very interesting. But what I want to know, and what it doesn’t address is how growing up in scarcity –economic and spiritual – effects the developing brain, and how do these impacts become permanent features of personality?

It seems so surprising that this is something new and exciting in economics, given that we have known about it in psychology for a long time: that emotional arousal is inversely correlated to cognitive performance. An extreme example is in so-called crimes of passion, but it operates at much lower levels as well: when we are stressed we can’t think clearly. This isn’t weakness, it’s a fact of an organic reptilian brain. Continue reading

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Selling out?


I’ve started working on my next novel, and I’ve decided to ask for help. My novel that just came out, A Dark and Promised Land was the culmination of years of unpaid work, not to mention direct costs associated with research and professional editing. Several years ago I read an article that estimated that the average novelist invests about 50 grand into their first book.

That sounds cheap to me. We all love–no, need–culture, but as a society we are very unwilling to pay for it’s production. With so many of us willing to provide it for free, as in this blog, more rigorous forms such as novels have become devalued and economic support for the arts has declined.

That means writers must find other ways to support themselves, unless you happen to be one of the few who have reached stardom, a tiny fraction of Canada’s wordsmiths. Artists these days need to be as much businesspeople as creatives.

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In Defence of Jian Ghomeshi



I feel sorry for Jian Ghomeshi. Not because he is innocent, but because the media, having fed upon his corpse and moved on, has destroyed his career. His life, as he knew it, is over. I hope he has enough stash away to pay for training for a new kind of livelihood somewhere remote. Maybe a geologist or something.

Most people feel little sympathy for the guy and at first neither did I, but I’m starting to see him as nothing more than a whipping boy for society’s dark underbelly. When evil appears kill the messenger but ignore what he is saying about us.

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