Inca – Prologue and First Chapter

February 17, 2017

Cover_ImprovedAs I mentioned earlier in the week, I expect there’s going to be a spike in traffic to this blog in the coming days. A friend recommended I should put up sample chapters of my novels. I will start with Inca, which is my most popular book to date. It really seems to have found a home with people going to Peru as tourists, as it isn’t a travel guide or a text book.

It’s the life story of a high-ranking Inca bureaucrat: He is born into wealth and privilege; he spends his early adulthood living as a fugitive from Imperial justice; his middle years see him watch the Empire he loves tear itself apart, and by his old age he lives in the ruin of his life’s work, telling a Spanish friar to write down what he has to say so that through his words, his people will be remembered.

Here’s the Prologue and First Chapter:

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My (Belated) Favourite 15 Tweets of 2015 and 16 Tweets of 2016

February 14, 2017

toptweetsHello again everyone,

Once upon a time I made a regular habit of picking out my favourite tweets of the previous year and posting them on this site. Here are the posts for 2010, 2011, and 2012. I did 2013 & 2014 as a combined post, as I am now doing 2015 and 2016 together.

I have my tweets from @faceintheblue set up to automatically post as Facebook updates, so I get a lot of enjoyment from micro-blogging: It keeps me writing even when I only have a few seconds; it gives me something to look back on to reflect upon; it lets me engage with friends and strangers.

Anyway, if I am going to start building new content into this blog, I suppose resurrecting this little tradition will be a good place to start. It’s worth pointing out Twitter now allows line breaks in exchange for a character, so some of these tweets will use that freedom to allow multi-line structure.

Here are my favourites from the last couple of years. Enjoy!

 

My Favourite 15 Tweets of 2015

Feb 21, 2015

Through a Toucan Sam-like ability to follow my nose, I have found a bar specializing in local craft beer. I am establishing base camp…

(I tweeted this upon my first visit as an adult to Atlanta, Georgia. The beer was excellent.)

April 3, 2015

Saw my first guy out in shorts non-ironically: His legs are the same sun-starved white as his tube socks. #Toronto #SpringHasSprung.

(Spring in Toronto is often a fickle, tentative thing.)

June 8, 2015

This is a lot of rain, #Toronto. I’m pretty sure there’s a field mouse equivalent of Noah leading earthworms two by two into a shoebox ark.

July 24, 2015

A friend and I were talking politics at lunch with such gusto that the guy at the table next to us bought us a round and paid for our meal!

September 5, 2015

I have a theory that my cat’s joy in life is eating spiders while I’m away. In four and a half years I’ve never seen a spider in my home.

September 27, 2015

I just caught myself having an opinion about soup spoons: I prefer a broad, shallow bowl. Child-Me is appalled at what Adult-Me cares about.

September 30, 2015

That raccoon (or “trash panda” as I’ve lately heard them called) was the size of an obese border collie. I’m crossing the street. #Toronto

October 3, 2015

Forgot to buy cat food yesterday. My cat is having cat treats for breakfast. This does not bode well for my hypothetical future children…

October 10, 2015

Ah, the old ‘Visit your parents on Thanksgiving weekend with a suitcase of dirty laundry’ trick. It’s a classic!

October 29, 2015

Co-workers have discovered a service that rents kittens by 15-min increments. A new office threat? “I’m going to rent you so many kittens!”

November 12, 2015

#FIFA’s presidential candidates sound like Bond villains: Prince Ali Al Hussein? Jérôme Champagne? Gianni Infantino? Tokyo Sexwale? C’mon!

November 14, 2015

Thoughts on the flight: The distance between Air Canada Rouge’s seat rows is exactly equal to the length of my femur. Ask how I know that?

November 15, 2015

Disconcerting: When my drycleaner puts a note in with my suits & shirts saying, “Sorry, this is the best we can do”  but nothing is wrong.

(I never did figure out what was wrong.)

November 22, 2015

Half of the conversations at antique fairs are customers telling exhibitors what they would do if they were exhibitors instead of customers.

December 10, 2015

My co-worker has taken ordering food online too far: He just had a cup of coffee delivered by bike messenger. He’s gone mad with power.

My Favourite 16 Tweets of 2016

January 9, 2016

I’m a bachelor. I don’t know how to shop for babies. I’m about to give a 3-month-old a copy of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax. He’ll grow into it…

February 20, 2016

There must be a class at Barber College about hating sideburns. I asked to keep mine as I sat down. “What? You want-a look-a like Elvis?!”

March 17, 2016

An old man asked if I was in line. I told him there’s no line at the bar.

“Aye? Then it’s a race, then!” He said.

I won.

#StPats

(This was on St. Patrick’s Day at a crowded Irish pub. I ruled that place with an iron fist. No one seems to understand the importance of eye contact, tipping early and well, and knowing what you want when it comes to getting a bartender to serve you over someone else.)

March 31, 2016

Shooting some of the best pool of my life on a first date. This was not the plan.

April 21, 2016

I’m trying to think of the last time I bought new underwear when I was not also out of clean underwear. So far nothing. #BachelorLife

(The hashtag #BachelorLife is a barrel of laughs, by the way.)

April 24, 2016

Just thinking about lucky rabbit feet: How lucky can they be? The rabbits had four apiece, and it didn’t do them any good.

May 22, 2016

I just passed a man walking a dog so pregnant the word ‘gravid’ came to me unbidden. That was one gravid bitch, technically speaking.

May 27, 2016

Some say I chose the Procrastinator’s Life. I disagree. The Procrastinator’s Life chose me… Eventually.

June 17, 2016

Sentences you don’t expect to say? I’ve joined my mother & father at a high-end hotdog joint to hear what Dad describes as, “A Hootenanny.”

(Note: This may have been tweeted after midnight on the 18th. If so, I stayed at the ‘hootenanny’ for a long time. It was a lot of fun!)

June 18, 2016

After the first stop, the only free seat on an otherwise sold-out bus is the one next to me. I feel like a leper: A leper with elbow room.

June 23, 2016

If I can liken my work computer to a dog –and I believe I can– it is starting to look like the last twenty minutes of Old Yeller in here.

(I did not end up having to put my computer down.)

July 8, 2016

‘By the skin of my teeth’ is an expression in the Bible. Exactly how much dental plaque do you need before you start calling it skin?

August 9, 2016

Trump gets that it’s not a dog whistle if everyone can hear him, right? I’d make a slide whistle joke, but he’s in trombone country now.

(This was when Trump said Second Amendment People should do something about Clinton after she wins the election.)

September 24, 2016

It’s interesting how often men in their 60s refer to table salt as ‘White Death.’ Oh, they still eat it, but they know they’re doing wrong.

October 20, 2016

“Trivia starts in 15 minutes. It can get a little loud.”

“That’s my fault,”” I admit.

The cafe’s polite laughter confirms it is true.

November 20, 2016

Baileys on the rocks? Check.

Music from 30-300 years before my birth? Check.

Very old Santa hat? Check.

Let’s decorate a Xmas Tree!

#HoHoHo


Not Quite a Shaggy Dog Story

February 14, 2017

border_collie_liver_portraitHello everyone,

I have reason to believe there is going to be a spike in traffic to this blog in the next few days. I will have more to say about about that after it happens, no doubt. In the meantime, I have not done much with this blog in some time. Now I have a very good excuse: I’ve written the first draft of another book since my last post, so how much time should I have put into this blog instead of that project? Still, I want to do a few posts between now and the arrival of a wave of first-time visitors.

I thought I would open with a joke, but for my own amusement it will be a long and rambling one that walks the edge of being a shaggy dog story. I saw a version of this on Reddit a few months back, and I enjoyed horrifying friends and family with my own rendition over the Christmas holidays. I encourage anyone who makes it all the way to the end to make this their own joke to torture people with: Put your own spin on it –make it longer or shorter as needed. This is a storyteller’s joke, so don’t be afraid to put some mustard on it.

Here goes:

There once was a farmer –well, a shepherd really. He was good at what he did, and he was fortunate as well. Over the years he managed to build up his flock from about forty sheep in the beginning to seven hundred and ninety-three sheep by his middle years through hard work, an abiding understanding of the fundamentals of animal husbandry, a local vet, and a faithful sheepdog. The shepherd and his sheepdog were damned near inseparable, and the shepherd gave the sheepdog equal credit in their shared success over the years.

Still, sheepdogs do not live forever, and when the old dog started becoming truly an old dog, the shepherd started thinking about how he was going to make do with seven hundred and ninety-three sheep and no sheepdog. To be honest with you, even one dog even in the peak of physical fitness really had its paws full running all over hill and dale all day every day gathering up all those sheep. The shepherd starts wondering if maybe he has to buy a whole litter of sheepdogs to replace his current sheepdog when the time comes. It sounds expensive and exhausting. If only there was a way he could make do with one new dog, but it seemed impossible.

One day the shepherd is talking about his problem with that local vet I mentioned earlier. “I mean, when I started, one dog and forty sheep made perfect sense. But how is one new dog supposed to round up seven hundred and ninety-three sheep?”

“It can be done,” the vet says.

“Really?”

“Oh, yes. You’d be amazed what the latest breeders are training their dogs to do. You wouldn’t even have to bring this new dog up to speed. It’ll cost a little more, but I can definitely recommend someone with a dog that will suit your needs.”

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Epigrams

September 20, 2016

epigramHello everyone,

I believe I have mentioned several times both on this blog and via Twitter that I am active redditor. I don’t think I would be surprising anyone by saying one of the subreddits I frequent is /r/writing, which puts me in touch with other writers all over the world to talk about our craft. Yesterday someone asked, “Do you have a quote/song lyric/poem at the beginning of your book?” The general consensus seemed to be it usually does more harm than good, but I do include a couple of quotes at the start of each of my novels. I read and write historical fiction, and the little extras like epigraphs, maps, and end notes from the author are pretty common in that genre. I went on to list the quotes I used for each book and why I chose them, and within six hours I had received a message from someone who bought one of my books based on my post.

Well, that certainly got my attention!

Several times on this blog I have talked about why I wrote something or how I wrote something, so why not take that random post on reddit and expand upon it here?

Cover_ImprovedLet me begin by saying for each of my three novels to date I have made a point of sourcing two quotes that I believe reference my plot and help fit my book into a larger literary space. For Inca I went with:

“Explain your words so that I can understand them.
They are like a tangled skein.
You should put the threads in order for me.”

— Act 1, Scene I of the Quechua play Ollantay

and

“Tempus edax rerum.”
Time, the devourer of all things.

— Ovid

I chose them because the book’s premise is an Inca bureaucrat translating his memoirs into Spanish before his story is lost to time. The Inca had a record-keeping system of knotted string called quipus, so using a line from an old Peruvian play about putting the tangled threads in order is a direct reference to what the narrator is doing as he tells his story. For a long time I toyed with the idea of actually calling the book The Tangled Skein, but eventually I decided that would be a very poor choice from a marketing perspective. Still, I know these two quotes have resonated with my readers. A couple years back I even received an email from one man saying he planned to get, “Tempus edax rerum” tattooed on his arm.

That was not an eventuality I envisioned when I first starting writing the book!

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Why and How I Wrote Beginning

September 2, 2016

Cover - FinalHello again everyone,

Shortly after publishing Inca I wrote a blog post explaining what led me to write about that empire and its people. A year later when I published Zulu I blogged about what drew me to the story of that kingdom and its people. I suppose now that Beginning is in the process of going live across the various regional Amazon websites, the time has come to talk about why I wrote this book.

Unlike Inca and Zulu, where my interest was first sparked by looking for more information about a civilization I did not know much about, Beginning began with me being self-conscious about my work. I suspect most writers after they have written a couple of books start worrying their stuff is all of a type, and maybe not the type they would have chosen if they had to do it over again. I have written two lengthy novels about cultures that are relatively little-known to my friends and family. If I wanted to write something much shorter with a broader appeal, what would that look like?

Inca and Zulu, much as I love them, ask for a lot of a reader’s time and attention. You cannot do a deep dive into the history and culture of people who most people are unfamiliar with while worrying about word count. They are by necessity long and dense. If I was free to write something where I knew my readers would understand everything from page one, what would I write about?

I have come up with half a dozen answers to that question so far, and most of them exist as a hundred pages or so of abandoned first draft material. One of the primary hurdles about completing a novel –long or short—is that you have to be excited about the subject matter and the plot and the characters for months and probably years of research and writing before you have a finished first draft to start editing and polishing. There were a lot of false starts as I searched for something I was sure I would finish. For maybe two years I despaired of finishing a third novel for want of an idea I knew would hold my interest.

I firmly believe writers need to read widely and deeply to develop their own craft. One of the most flattering things I have seen in the reviews for Inca is when someone says they can see some of Gary Jennings’ Aztec in my own work. Zulu was very much inspired by the early few decades of Wilbur Smith’s work. So who should I take as my muse for my third novel? Who writes the shorter novels that I adore?

I cast about through a few options, but again and again I kept coming back to Kurt Vonnegut.

Let me say categorically that Beginning is not a Kurt Vonnegut-esque novel, much to my regret. I lack his brevity and his wit. I am just telling the story of how I got started, and I started with Vonnegut.

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My Third Novel is Now Published on Amazon

August 26, 2016

Cover - FinalHello everyone,

My last blog post was about a year ago now. I apologized at the time, saying I was working on another writing project that was more important to me. It is with great pleasure that I return to this blog, then, to say I have now completed my third novel, Beginning. The e-book version is available on Amazon as of this post, and I expect the trade paperback version to be available sometime next week.

I am very happy with how this novel came together. One of my proofreaders called it, “Some of your best writing, and certainly your most accessible,” which has to be the nicest way anyone can say that Inca and Zulu can be a little dense for people who do not read historical fiction on a regular basis.

I will be blogging on a regular basis for the foreseeable future to support this book, so I suppose I do not need to say everything all at once. As long as I am blogging, I also have some other ideas for content that might be fun to share on this site. We will see how those ideas develop, I am sure.

One thing I would like to encourage people to do if you are reading this blog because you enjoy my novels, please join The Novels of Geoff Micks page I set up on Facebook. I share pictures and links there that will not appear on this blog, and comments on that page board go through to my phone where I will actually engage with them, rather than the WordPress comments section that I clean out once ever six months or so.

Anyway, you can expect to hear a lot from me in the coming days and weeks. In the meantime, best regards and have a great day!

–Geoff


An Apology, an Update, Fifty Ideas that Could Have Been, and What is Still to Come

September 4, 2015

shrugHello again everyone,

Well, here I stand with metaphorical egg on my face. Back in April I made a rather bold promise to start this blog up again with at least some attempt at regularity, and I contributed an impressive total of three posts to the archives before the site went dark again for four months and more. Strictly speaking I suppose I owe anyone who actually follows this thing an apology, but in the bigger picture I’m guessing the majority of you are doing so because you enjoy my writing, so I’m going to temper my mea culpa with some exciting news: I have probably done more writing in the last five months than in the last five years. You haven’t seen it because it’s the first draft of my third novel, and even in the 21st Century by and large you don’t put lengthy excerpts of your first drafts online when you’re still figuring out what you’re doing with them –Fifty Shades of Grey notwithstanding.

So what am I going to do with this blog moving forward? I don’t know. I haven’t decided yet. The trouble with writing for this thing is it takes me away from my next book(s), and in the grand scheme of things I’m going to be happier writing that than anything I write here. I guess the answer in the short term is this blog is returning to the back burner until I have a bad day with my big project while still feeling like puttering around with some ‘fun’ writing. Anyone who has ever suffered writers’ block is probably chortling at how often that’s ever going to come up.

Anyway, for the sake of demonstrating that I do think about this blog from time to time with some lingering guilt, here are fifty blog post ideas that I’ve kicked around in passing but will likely never get around to actually writing in full. Many of them were flippant, but some were deadly serious. I leave it to you to guess which is which. Have fun with that.

  1. Rob Ford is too sick to run for mayor of Toronto and lose, but he’s well enough to run for his old ward where he’s guaranteed to win. Where’s my pitchfork and torch?
  2. People who can’t believe it’s not butter are far too credulous. How can we exploit that?
  3. “Hey!” (Pronounced ‘Hay!’) “Straw’s cheaper. Grass is free!” and other conversations I had with my father as a child that I did not understand at the time but now fully intend to have with my own future children
  4. I joined a monthly writers’ group, and I’m enjoying it immensely. Here’s everything we are doing in embarrassing and excruciating detail…
  5. Johnny Cash’s 92nd album was called The Personal File. It’s all the stuff his record companies never let him put out when they called all the shots, and it is bloody brilliant!
  6. Everyone who waits in lines for rollercoasters should take a yo-yo with them and practice their skills while they wait. That’s a fad waiting to come back in a big way.
  7. You hate Windows 8? I hate Windows 8 too! We should hang out. A rant against Microsoft’s hubris with a nod to Mike Judge’s under-appreciated gem Idiocracy.
  8. Three years ago or so I reviewed 80% of an international art project producing weekly covers of the entire Beatles discography in various genres by almost 200 artists while always involving a ukulele. Here’s my thoughts on the last 20%.
  9. Writing is like riding a bicycle: You never really forget how to do it, but you also don’t tell anyone when you fall on your face after going back to it after a number of years without regular exercise…
  10. The World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta is not a museum: It’s a place of focused and calculated propaganda, but it was all built around making people happy. Is that evil? I don’t know, but I’ve been drinking a lot more Coca-Cola products since spending three hours there in February…
  11. Bored of beer? Tell people you want to learn more about bourbon and watch the free bottles drift into your home on waves of good will!
  12. My barber retired –or he may have gone blind: The sign on his door was ambiguous. Is there still such a thing as a small-town barber in a big city like Toronto?
  13. John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight is a worthy successor to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It may even surpass it. Yes! I said it…
  14. The last two winters in Toronto were among the coldest in recorded history, so of course I was dating a woman from San Diego the whole time. Now that she and I have parted ways, can we please have one of those mild winters where the rest of Canada says we’re not really Canadian?
  15. The NDP just won a majority in Alberta. I’m not sure I can properly communicate how unlikely that is, and I have no idea what comes next. Shall we run through a few options together?
  16. I miss reading books for fun: Why researching historical fiction is sometimes a drag, and how to find the joy in reading a book an 80-year-old nerd wrote to impress his friends and torture undergrads.
  17. Al Gore guilt-tripped me into going without air conditioning in my home. Here’s why I only think about that for three weeks a year.
  18. Canada’s economy lives and dies by the commodity markets, and I can’t name you a commodity we have at the moment that isn’t in the middle of a once-in-a-generation slump. Let’s talk about BRIC countries in the current political and economic realities, and afterwards we’ll laugh that we did this on WordPress.
  19. Once upon a time no one had ever heard of Reddit. I suffer hipster-angst because I’ve been a daily visitor since before it was cool…
  20. My local pub for four and a half years closed without warning. I am a Norm without his Cheers.
  21. Hawksley Workman and The Weakerthans: My favourite Canadian artists who never made it in America, and are therefore still ours body and soul. Rush and The Tragically Hip are still awesome, as well. I’ll even include BNL too if you can ignore the break up.
  22. Life Hack: Skip spring cleaning and go out of town for a week in the summer. Let your mother use your apartment as base camp for a girl’s week in the city while you’re away. When you come back –in the immortal words of The Lego Movie—Everything is Awesome!
  23. Once upon a time my mother took me to church as a kid and then left me to make my own mind up. Later I went to church as an adult for a couple of years before I stopped. Here are the pros and cons of my ever going back again, and #7 will surprise you! (Buzzfeed and BusinessInsider, don’t you dare poach this off me without accreditation!)
  24. Renting a cottage up north for a week with three professional chefs: Their slumming it is the best camping food I will ever eat.
  25. Canadian craft beers and the lost recipes from the 1940s –Just kidding! I’m not going to write anything that involves research for a long while that doesn’t feed into my next book. Or could I make that a chapter? No, too niche…
  26. Once upon a time I put together a list of my 11 favourite writers of historical fiction, but I only blogged about four or five of them before life caught up with me. Now I can’t remember who the rest of the list was going to be, but I guess I’ll take a stab at it and bluff my way through?
  27. Now that I’m far enough into my thirties to lord it over my younger twenty-something self, here’s what that little punk didn’t understand about the world. (This is going to be good!)
  28. Hey, Canada? Now that we’re all pretty sure Jian Ghomeshi is a creep, can I still enjoy Moxy Früvous for what it was in the 1990s?
  29. They say everyone in my generation is likely to have five different careers before retirement. This is why I’m starting my third.
  30. I started off researching magic for an episode in a book I’m writing, and now I can’t stop watching Penn & Teller videos on YouTube. Send help!
  31. Since the last time I was single the online dating world has gone insane. Why does every woman have the same five pictures? There’s a group shot where you can’t tell whose profile it is, a shot of someone jumping on a beach silhouetted by the sun, another where she’s standing next to a hopefully sedated predator (ideally a tiger), a formal shot where her last boyfriend has a well-toned arm around her, and a tight headshot taken up almost entirely by face-hiding sunglasses. Did she write anything in her profile? Of course not…
  32. Mad Max: Fury Road is probably the best-realized action movie and chase movie of my generation. How many awards should it win, how many will it win, and what does that say about awards in the film industry?
  33. Dance like no one is watching works best when you are alone and no one is watching. Here’s a playlist, you knucklehead you! Be careful: There is a surprising amount of profanity that the neighbours might hear…
  34. Wait, we care about baseball in August? What the hell has happened to the Blue Jays for the first time in 22 years? (To be honest, I’m less interested in blogging about his than reading blogs about this…)
  35. The (almost certainly in-) complete song list of what I’ve done at karaoke joints in the last 13 years. Be gentle: It’s my 1000th-ish time.
  36. My grandmother just turned 90. Here’s an extensive list of the things she does, says, and believes. Number twelve is where she goes too far. (Again I’m watching you, Buzzfeed and BusinessInsider!)
  37. He called it a doorstop in the making: When your ballooning five-act novel should become a trilogy of three shorter novels, and how to put a positive spin on things.
  38. Then what happened? How a backyard BBQ in Scarborough was visited by an owl, a fox, a lemur, a tortoise, a kangaroo, and much more!
  39. Twitter just might be useless, but I love it all the same. Here’s why most people hate it, and why they’re wrong, wrong, wrong. (I’ll be devastated if that doesn’t fit into the arbitrary 140 characters…)
  40. My new job is one block from St. Lawrence Market. How long will I last before I just start buying oysters as part of my grocery shopping? #Toronto (That’s right! I use hashtags in blog post titles now. Welcome to the mid-Twenty-Tens my friend!)
  41. Persian Poetry: How possibly the whitest brown-haired boy you’ll ever meet accidentally became a fan of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi and Omar Khayyam.
  42. Losing my religion: What no longer having a neighbourhood pub has done to my free time and my neighbourhood social network.
  43. Every other blog is wrong: LinkedIn is not about finding a job; it’s about keeping track of people who move from job to job to job over the course of their careers.
  44. As a young man my best friend said only little kids wear ball caps. He wears ball caps all the time now. Should I call him a hypocrite at my soonest opportunity, or document his countless selfies for a while and save up his hypocrisy for some kind of wedding reception or awards ceremony speech slideshow that might be many years off yet?
  45. Working with people who care about sports: A bluffer’s guide to having a two- to five-minute anecdote for any conversation about athletics and then artfully allowing your compatriots to take over all further dialogue until they change the subject.
  46. Slow cooking in August: A masochist for steaming appliances can still make a pretty amazing stew in the middle of summer for a few dollars’ worth of ingredients.
  47. The Canadian National Exhibition in the 21st Century: How the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers remember The Ex, and why today’s Toronto should nod patiently as they’re talking while still having our own fun after they’re done.
  48. So my sister and my parents are going to live in the same city for the first time in a dozen years: A tutorial in creating new excuses not to visit the small town you grew up in as narrated by your host, Geoff Micks.
  49. Can we clone Bill Burr and train the two Bill Burrs to box one another with the winner immediately delivering a half-hour of new material over the prone figure of his vanquished foe? Because that would gross more that the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight…
  50. A sentence-by-sentence breakdown of James Joyce’s immortal ‘surely no one will ever put up with this nonsense’ classic Ulysses, because of course I am both a fan and have so much time on my hands that I’m happy to do the leg-work for everyone else’s final essay. Also my sarcasm has been known to burn small children in close proximity without the benefit of goggles and gauntlets. Let’s be honest: No one is reading Ulysses for fun. Rise up, young men and women! If you all say the Emperor wears no clothes, maybe the English Literature department of your local post-secondary institutions will finally turtle up and move on to something that isn’t an Irishman’s equivalent of MTV’s Punk’d for the Lost Generation. Bonus points if your professor published an unappreciated (read: awful) gem when he was in his twenties that you can pick apart instead!

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