Thirty-Nine Reasons Why I Hate BuzzFeed

Instead of reading “6 Reasons Why You Should Go Birdwatching,” why not just…go birdwatching? Image source:

I hate BuzzFeed with a passion. Most of the time, at least. Sure, making lists is amusing and usually helpful, and the whole identification thing is nice from time to time. But it’s all fun and games until your computer is on its last legs, begging you to stop the torture that is waiting for N gifs to load simultaneously – N, of course, being any number greater than 1. And do we really need to read another yea-long edition of “X Reasons You Know You Were Born in the Multiple-of-Tenties?”

The good news about this post? It has nothing to do with BuzzFeed. But it does have a lot to do with Wallace Stevens, black birds, paper bags – more on that in a minute – and poetic structure, so why not?

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Fiction and Argument: Building a Room of One’s Own

It’s been a painfully slow week. Well, the weekends have gone by quickly – too quickly, to be honest – but the days are dragging on. Maybe it’s a side effect of this frigid (ok, by mid-Atlantic standards) weather…

The irony, of course, is that as I sit in my toasty room, I’ve become too lethargic to really write, or to think about something novel (yes, pun intended) to write about. I’m also painstakingly working my way through reading several books, some of which are closer to being finished than others. It’s at times like these where the next best thing I can do is pull something from my archives, and in this case I’m going to post a short paper I wrote a couple of years ago about fiction and Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. There’s no food this time around, but there is, as Woolf does best, some beautiful prose and intricate structure in her well-known argument for the social and economic advancement of Englishwomen in her time.

Since this post was once a paper, I apologize in advance for the formal tone – it’s not a very technical essay, but I think it’s a good one nevertheless. Hopefully you will, too.

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Waiting for [A New Post]

I apologize for not posting anything new since last Wednesday, but between AMC’s “Godfather Weekend” marathon (during which I saw Part II twice because it’s that good) and other personal projects I’ve found it difficult to read and write a fresh post. That being said, one of these ‘projects’ was a painting I finished the other day, and its inspiration came in part from something I’ve talked about before here. Here it is:

"En attendant Godot." Acrylic on canvas, 5" x 7". Copyright 2013 Chris Chan. All rights reserved.

“En attendant Godot.” Acrylic on canvas, 5″ x 7″. Copyright 2013 Chris Chan. All rights reserved.

Yep – this painting was inspired by Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, and it was my attempt to evoke the play’s minimalistic scenery. To be honest, though, I didn’t feel confident in including any of the characters!

Obviously it is hardly a well-executed painting, but I hope you’ll find it enjoyable. Let me know what you think in the comments, and stay tuned for a more ‘literary’ post next time!

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Le Bourdain Noir


The man…the myth…the legend. Image source: Wikimedia Commons.


Disclaimer: This is not a post about boudin noir – though I can tell you that I’d very much like to eat some – nor is it about Bourdain being black, or a black Bourdain, or…well, it was just a terrible pun, you know, a stupid play on words to grab your attention about the thing that I’m trying to –

The hell with it: let’s talk about Anthony Bourdain.

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“Why We Can’t Wait” (And Why We Shouldn’t)

Image source: The Seattle Times (

Like many other people, I suspect, I only knew about Martin Luther King, Jr. through four terms: civil rights; “I Have A Dream;” his assassination; and the holiday that bears his name. His legacy remains immense in the American consciousness, almost certainly via some combination of these factors.

Last year, though, as our family prepared to move into our current house, I stumbled upon a book that the previous owners had left behind. I kept it on my shelf for several months, only picking it up seriously just a week or so ago – and finishing it earlier today.

Now I think it’s time to write something about it.

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Bookmarks: 12/17/13 – 1/16/14


“The Garden of Earthly Delights” (1480-1505) by Hieronymous Bosch, brother of former Toronto Raptors player Chris. Image source:

In this edition of Bookmarks: inauthentic narratives, “branchy towers,” book-length dreams, indecipherable words, and a favorite city – and book – that will never get old.

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War, in Pieces

A painting (1836), title unknown, of the Battle of Trafalgar by Auguste Mayer. Image source:

Edwin Starr bellowed the message better than anyone else – and in three-and-a-half minutes, to boot. But since war has become a seemingly inescapable (yet all too often, easily dismissible) fact of life, past or present or future, perhaps it’s time to ask another question: How does war affect the literary process?

I’m not going to talk about that book, but I do have two other ones in mind that I think are special. Onwards!

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