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No One Else Cares About the Zit on My Chin

Today, like most days, one of my friend was freaking out about the way her face looked. She hadn’t put on makeup this morning and was pointing out an acne situation that was developing on her forehead.

“Oh good,” I said in response to her unmade-up face. “I also didn’t have time for makeup this morning.”

“Me neither,” lamented Friend Two.

“Yeah,” said Friend One, “but you look good without makeup.”

look good?” I asked.

I hadn’t even noticed Friend One’s lack of makeup or acne situation, because, if anything, I was too concerned with what was happening on my own face. I wasn’t looking at her forehead, because I was thinking about my own chin. I didn’t even realize that she had anything wrong with her face until she pointed it out — and she probably felt the same about my face.

Because, as I regularly realize, people are so focussed on their own flaws that they don’t tend to notice yours.

We notice and are quick to laud each other’s positive traits — a perfect shade of lipstick, matching minute accessories, a new pair of earrings — but unconsciously brush over each others flaws. Maybe it’s because we’re too busy fixating on our own flaws, but maybe it’s just because no one cares as deeply about your appearanceas you do. While I spend plenty of time in front of a mirror, over-analyzing each of my perceived flaws, it’s not as though that’s what my friends do that with my face.

That isn’t to say that you can just look like a slob and no one will notice, but I don’t think people notice as much as we think they do. And people, especially the girls you see everyday and are therefore pretty good friends with, aren’t judging you as harshly as you’re inclined to judge yourself.

A similar thing happened at my prom last June. Most of the girls had gotten their hair curled 0r the like and by the end of the (humid and then rainy) evening curls were falling, straightened hair was getting frizzy and girls were stressing. In the bathroom a girl I wasn’t even really friends with was flipping out about whatever was wrong with her hair.

I told her that it looked fine to me and that everyone else was concerned with their own hair-related-crises so no one was even looking at her hair. She thought about this for a few seconds and then quickly resumed her composure. Hmmm, her face said, that actually makes a lot of sense.

So sometimes I sit in class, wishing I’d either woken up early enough to deal with the distaster I call my face or at least brought some concealer to school. And then remember the prom incident and get over myself. Because most of the time I’m the only one one who’s judging me.


The Best Medicine (But Not for a Cough)

Everyone knows that moderation and balance are super important — right? A little coffee will wake you up, too much will mess up your sleep schedule. Socializing is great, but it’s also good to fit in some alone time. Sometimes you need to take a break from writing or *cough* blogging, sometimes that break goes on for far too long.

But what about laughter? Isn’t it the best medicine? How can you have too much laughter? Well, today I nearly died laughing. Twice. Okay, well, not quite literally, but still.

I’m off at my gap year program, away from home for the first time, having the time of my life and all that. Earlier, I was sitting in a class, minding my own business, drinking some tea to (hopefully) soothe my cough/sore throat.

One of my friends raised her hand and made a funny contribution to the (relaxed) class, most people giggled, I took a sip of tea. Then I started laughing. The tea made its way down the wrong tube and a whole choking, coughing, laughing situation ensued.

Being a small class, the discussion was put on pause so that everyone could gape at me and make sure I was okay. This just made matters worse, and elevated my hysteria — it’s awkward enough to have a coughing fit and freak out that you can’t breathe without everyone in the room watching you do so. And I’m a nervous giggler (by which I mean I giggle in  awkward situations, not giggling makes me nervous), so by this point I was laughing too hard to even try to start breathing again or even catch my breath.

So that was a nice way to break the ice with a roomful of people I met five days ago.


Later, there was a bug in my room. It made my roommate very nervous, but, while I didn’t mind its presence, I wasn’t about to get my hands dirty catching it.

So our friend in the next room came in to deal with it. While my roommate was hiding in the hall, our friend from the next room was trying to coax the bug down from the ceiling, asking it to demonstrate how well it can fly and begging it not to smell up the room (it was a stink bug). Meanwhile, I was watching from my bed, barely controlling yet another outbreak of laughter. I was paying more attention to the laptop I was holding and the bug-catching expedition than to how close I was to the edge of my bed.

I bet you can imagine what happened next — good thing my bed isn’t too high off the ground!

For Whom Do We Write and Why and How?

Writing’s paradoxical. Write for yourself. But have the reader in mind. But write for the sake of writing. But make sure it’s good enough to be read and (hopefully) published. Of course, that’s creative, fictitious writing. What about blogging? Blogging is extra egotistic. You can say whatever you want, about whatever you want and publish it by yourself as easily, and as quickly, as you can click a button. And then you actually expect people to read what you’ve written. People you’ve never met, who know nothing about you and have no reason to care about what you have to say. People who really have no business caring about whatever problems you’re either making light of or melodramatizing for their reading pleasure.

Blogging is probably, for me, the ultimate combination of writing for others and yourself at the same time, from the moment your fingertips touch the keyboard. On the one hand, it’s very much a thing of vanity, in the same way self-publishing is often referred to as  vanity publishing. You do it so you can say (and/or feel), hey look, there are people who read what I write — don’t I feel special for having readers? Aren’t I such a great writer? I’m published, on the internet, for the whole world to read! But, while it is very self-centred in one sense, you also tend to be be very aware of the fact that people will read what you’re writing — and very soon. You’ll “publish” it as soon as it’s “perfect” or sometimes just “good enough” and people will read it (if they do at all) somewhat immediately. It doesn’t have to go through any third parties. No one has to validate what you’ve written. No one censors it. No one even looks it over for spelling errors. This sounds pretty powerful, but in itself, it isn’t. Because you need readers. Readers are what makes it powerful. Without readers, you’re just some loser, sitting at a keyboard. Writing for yourself.


But what about “real” writing? Fiction writing? Fiction that you don’t plan on self-publishing online? Who do you write it for? For yourself? Or for your readers? Who knows if you’ll ever even have readers? Who knows if it will ever even be published? And if it is published, so what? What then? Will it last? If it’s in a magazine, will it ever be read more than once, before the magazine is tossed to the side to make way for the next issue? If it’s a book, will it sell? Will it survive? Or will it shortly (or even not so shortly) go out of print — which to me sounds like the most horrible, tragic thing imaginable.

And what matters, anyways? Success when a book is published, during the author’s lifetime? Or a book that doesn’t go out of print for years and years, even after the author has died, but didn’t have much acclaim while the author was living? Of course, I’m thinking of literary fiction here. In principle, I think that’s all that really counts. That’s all I think is worthy of a writer’s time. I know this probably sounds very snobby, and I’m probably stepping on a few feet (something I tend to accidentally do literally). But I stand by that. Because, while I’m on this whole, existential, why do we write, “to be or not to be” style rant, I may as well throw the literary vs. “mainstream” fiction debate into the mix. I mean, yes, sure, people who write bestsellers must enjoy their vanity-filled, money-making fifteen minutes of fame. But then what? What happens when those fifteen minutes (or in some cases fifteen years) of fame end? Some may argue that those few authors are pretty damn happy, sipping champagne from the top of their piles of money. “Who cares that they’ll be forgotten?” some people say. Well I think, that if they’re real, introspective, insightful writers, then they should care. What about leaving a legacy? Don’t people care to change to world? To leave something behind? To touch other’s lives for longer than the time it takes them to get from the front cover to the back?

I probably sound like a bit of a naïve, idealistic teenager. But I know this, which tends to get in the way of that wonderful, youthful idealism. In fact, this idealism takes a hit from reality quite often. And, perhaps because of the way I cleave to this idealism, reality tends to come at me like a slap in the face and leave me sore for days. I sit up on my (very) high horse, criticizing authors like E. L. James (the woman gave the world the pleasure of Fifty Shades of Grey), whose work I would never condescend to read, and yet I often wonder who am I to criticize? At least this E. L. James woman has taken pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and had enough discipline to sit down and get out enough words to fill three entire “novels” (if they’re even deserving of that title). And yet, here I am, criticizing myself for criticizing her, and I can’t even do that without poking fun at her and her books.

I’ve been focussing my writing energies on blogging lately and with less feeling I should be doing it and more just doing it. But then I feel as though blogging isn’t real writing. I feel as though it “doesn’t count”. Because, after all, who’s going to read my blog a hundred years from now? Is there even anyone who’s still reading my posts from a month ago? The awesome, brilliant posts that I put so much love and effort into and care about with all my heart and soul?

And so, with this slightly pressing upon the back of my mind, and feeling a little unsettled that I haven’t written any fiction in the past few weeks, I opened up a notebook, hoping to try out a writing prompt. When I opened the notebook, I found a little sketch I had been working on recently, but abandoned (or got distracted from) after about a page and a half. It was a great idea. Very meta-fictitious. Very satirical. Very awesome. So I started adding to it. Tried to move it forward. But I couldn’t. Because I started thinking too much. What was I going to do with it? Who was going to read it? Could I really make it good enough for people to actually get it? For people to actually enjoy? Could I really pull it off?

Cartoon credit:

My problem, and I assume it’s a very common problem and why there aren’t even more people who have written books, is that once the initial excitement wears off, after the moment of inspiration passes, I get tired of it. I can’t seem to keep going. I get bored of what I’m working on. No, bored probably isn’t the right word. What I get is stressed. I do this thing where I forget how to breathe. I forget how to keep my butt where it is and keep going. I imagine that I’ve forgotten how to write. Because, instead of focussing on writing, I’m focussing on editing the only three words I have until perfection. I’m focussing on what’s going to become of what I’m writing once it’s written. I’m focussing on how certain people may perceive the sentence I’m about to write, but haven’t even gotten onto the page yet.

Writing is a paradox. You need the idealism. You need the inspiration. But you need to be realistic. You need to be persistent. You need to sit down and (very unromantically) get some words onto the page. You have to sit for hours. Sometimes you have to avoid people. And stay away from the internet. But, funnily enough, I think the idealism, the naiveté, the total abandon is most important while you’re unromantically plowing through pages, cranking out some words, trudging through the first draft. It isn’t how you’d idealize the writer’s life, but it’s what needs the most idealism. That’s when you have to stop caring what will happen to it and just write. Write for yourself, write thinking of the best possible fate for your darling brainchild or write thinking nothing at all.

Then rationality and reality can probably return when you edit. Then you can set the inner critic loose and think about what’s going to become of it. All the hoops you’ll have to jump through. All the revisions you’ll have to make to your precious baby. But by then, you’ll have something. And you’ll be proud of it. And (after some time has elapsed and you can look at it realistically again and not as a peace of perfection that’s just emerged from your brilliant brain) you’ll be able to make changes. I’ve seen copies of (and original) manuscripts from classic, brilliant authors and they’re all the same. The rough drafts all crossed out and rewritten and scribbled over so much, you can scarcely see the original text. I imagine very little of what we read was written the same (or even included at all) in the first draft. And yet, there was once a first draft. Even writers whose work is being read years after they died started as a terrible, awful rough draft. And those masterpieces couldn’t have been edited and become what they are now without those original drafts, because without those drafts, there would have been nothing to edit.

Of course, realizing and writing all that was the easy part — now all I have to do is internalize it and try to take some of my own advice. What about you? Do you have any sage wisdom to share? Why do you write? Who do you write for? How do you get through those first drafts? And, most importantly, do you think blogging counts?

Laughing at Spam

Lately it feels as though I’m taking my blog way more seriously than I should and contemplating life and writing and my silly little problems more than is healthy, so today I’m just going to turn off my brain (and the incessant internal monologue) for just a moment so we can all have a good laugh. I’m sure all you bloggers who are reading this get plenty of your own ridiculous spam comments, and I assume that you (like me) have filters to weed out those comments so that they don’t end up on your site. But I’m not sure if there’s anyone else who likes to get a good laugh by going through that spam folder. I know I do and today I’m going to share some of those strange, laughable comments.

Before I do, I need to take a moment to contemplate spam philosophically (just for a minute! I promise). I’m just really not sure what the point of spam is. Yes, I understand that it’s mostly for self-promotion and the likes, but it’s so transparent that I wonder how it could possibly be effective enough to even bother with. I mean, most of these comments are computer-generated or home-made with so little sophistication that they get weeded out immediately by filters and never even see the light of day (or at least never grace the bottoms of enlightening posts). And even if these comments do get posted, what purpose do they serve? They are so obviously spam (as opposed to legitimate comments) that I doubt anyone would bother clicking the links. I mean, my readers rarely click the links post, so why would they click a link in the comments? Although, I guess some people must click these links. I imagine that the same people who believe they’ve won a million dollars for being the trillionth viewer of a random, sketchy website would be the same ones who click the spammy links. Additionally, who are these links trying to hook in anyways? Me (reading them in my spam queue) or my readers (reading them at the bottom of my posts)? Most of them seem to be directed at me, but you never know…

Photo credit:

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, here’s some spam (minus the sketchy links) along with my make-believe replies.

stays on topic and states valid points. Thank you. 493862

No, thank you, for that insightful and original feedback!

I didn’t know bad teachers were reading my posts and marking them. That has got to be one of the most generic, “rubric-style” comments I have ever seen. I’m sure it’s true of my post about the differences between dissecting pigs and dissecting poetry, but if I find out that I have a reader who legitimately wasted their time writing that, I will be very surprised. (And I’ll apologize for making fun of his comment.) Also, what’s with the numbers at the end? Is that my grade? Is that a percent? Or is it out of 500000 marks?

Desensitizing Your Horse To Objects That Spook It at Horse Shoeing:[…] discoverhorses.comHorse Training Videos – Horse Training Tips – Horse Training DVDGetting Back on the Horse // 0) { //0==expires on browser close var cdate = new Date(); […]

It seems as though there’s a link to my blog on a site about horses. Or a site selling stuff for horses. I’m not sure and I don’t particularly care to find out. This ping-back is on my post Getting Back on the Horse. I’m (mostly) using that as a metaphor and that post has (almost) nothing to do with actual horses. Not sure how my post would be any help to people who want to “desensitize [their] horse to objects that spook it”. I actually think this is pretty cool though. Someone has obviously gone to the trouble of placing his spam in an “appropriate place” based on some fancy computer program that searches for certain keywords. (I assume. I may be making that up. I have no idea how computers or spam or fancy computer programs work.)

I had similar comments on my post Literary Baby Names. If I remember correctly, the links in my spam queue for that post wanted to sell me diapers. Clearly the fancy computer technology didn’t understand that I was referring to naming fictitious characters and hypothetical babies. And obviously fictitious characters only need fictitious diapers (if they even need diapers at all) and hypothetical babies only need hypothetical diapers (if they need diapers at all).

Thank you for the good writeup. It in reality was once a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! However, how could we keep in touch?

No problem. I’m sure it was “once a amusement account it”. By the way, what language are you speaking? Is that supposed to be English? Because I think you’re doing it wrong. Those two middle sentences, for example. Are you just throwing words around and hoping they form an original idea? Or is there some method in your madness? If there is, I’d love to hear about it sometime. However, let’s not keep in touch, because, um, WHO ARE YOU!? Don’t we have to be in touch in the first place in order to keep in touch? Is your expectation that I’ll respond by giving you my number? Or were those some randomly flung words, that just happened to fit together to form a somewhat legitimate thought?

hgbzmbtpmjubszsbncmf, [sketchy, gibberish hyperlink], [another weird, sketchy, gibberish hyperlink], [a third link; equally weird, sketchy and nonsensical as the previous two] atfwkghszi

Well ertyulkjhcxdfghjk and trdhyfcj,vj,yfyufk to you to! I will most certainly check out those links, because you asked so kindly and you aren’t being needy with your excessive linkage at all.

If you want to get social bookmarking backlinks that will help skyrocket your website search engine ranking straight to the top, check out this site [site has been omitted because I don’t think any of us should be checking out rude spam sites].

I don’t even know what “social bookmarking backlinks” are. And to be honest, I don’t particularly like your use of the word “skyrocket”. It sounds like an outdated cliché. Also, WHY DO YOU CARE about my search engine ranking. Dude, you’re just being weird.

Of course, there are plenty more about my SEO ranking. I’m not fully aware of what that means, but I feel secure in my understanding that writing good posts is more important than trying ridiculous things to fix my poor SEO ranking. That’s because regardless of how high I rank, no one will keep reading my blog once they get here unless the posts are actually good.  (Or so I’ve heard from non-spam sources that actually want to help bloggers such as myself.) And I’m sure that even if you don’t get a kick out of reading your spam, you know all about these comments heckling you about your poor SEO rating and have either tried to do something about it or decided you don’t care.

My final thought is about a couple of comments I got a while back, which I deleted right away. They were both supremely creepy and supremely entertaining in about equal proportions. The commenters’ names somewhere along the lines of “F***buddy” (those are my asterisks) and the like. I think these awesome spammers wanted to know if I was interested in “having a good time”.

My response would be: Nope. I’m already having a pretty good time. Here. Writing on my blog. Faarrr awwayyy from creepers like you. Thanks for the offer though. I’ll be sure to let you know if I change my mind.

Do you ever go through your spam folder? Find anything worth sharing? If so, tell me about it in the comments, I’m always up for a good laugh! (And if anyone would like to answer any of the questions I raised  in my intro– that would also be awesome.)

Running from Animals in Terror

Today you have the pleasure of reading my ramble about how I believe I developed my fear, and general disapproval, of animals. If you are pro-animals and/or keep pets. And you love those pets. More than the people in your life. I suggest you stop reading. Because if you keep reading, you may come to hate me. And I don’t handle being hated very well.

Now that a few of you have left me (I didn’t really want those readers anyways) I’ll share my theories about animals and my hatred of such creatures.

The Fear of Dogs

When I was little, our neighbours had mean dogs. I think they were Rottweilers or German Shepherds or some other breed that is legitimately scary and from which it is appropriate to run in terror. Especially because these were not particularly well-trained dogs. I have two memories of these dogs, both involve grownups running from them in terror (which was the appropriate reaction to these evil creatures). The first involves the fact that these dogs would often take pleasure in jumping over the hedge that separated our backyard from our neighbour’s. Once, when our babysitter was over, we wanted to go play in the backyard. Unfortunately, our neighbour’s scary dog was hanging out in our backyard. The babysitter frantically ushered us back inside. Panic and pandemonium ensued.

If this had not been enough to scar me for life with regards to dogs and teach me that running and screaming is always the appropriate response to encounters with any dog (big or small, mean or nice) there was another incident involving my dad. Please note that this incident has probably been dramatized, melodramatized and sensationalized in my memory, but regardless, this flawed memory has come to shape my life and who I am as an evil dog-hater. The story (as I remember it) is that my dad was taking in the empty garbage cans from the curb, and he was attacked by one of these dogs. Thankfully, he ran away before they could do anything to him. I don’t think I actually witnessed this, but I do know that I definitely overheard something along those lines and it taught me that those dogs truly are scary — if even my daddy was afraid of them — and that when you see a dog, you should run away — because that’s what my daddy did. (Note: I just fact checked this story with ‘Daddy’ and he denies that it ever happened. I’m sharing anyways, because I’ve been under the conviction that it did for my entire life and I really do blame this ‘memory’ for my fear of dogs.)

Also, I am not just scared of mean dogs. My juvenile mind generalized this fear and couldn’t distinguish between the mean dogs and the nice dogs. They were all evil and I used to run in terror from my grandmother’s stupid little Bijon Frise (may that stupid little dog rest in peace). I’ve had to reign in my terror over the years, as my mother threatens to disown me when I embarrass her by literally running from dogs screaming. Despite my attempts to repress my fear, I still cannot see the point of keeping a dirty, smelly dog in your house. Dog owners and their strange habits (referring to their pets as their ‘babies’, talking to other dog owners while walking their dogs, buying snow boots for their dogs, etc.) will never make sense to me.

The Distaste for Cats

Hopefully this section will be very short, because even just thinking or writing about cats gives me the heebie-jeebies and makes me cringe, but I don’t think I can write a comprehensive post about my hatred for animals without reference to these icky animals. I believe I inherited this irrational fear from my mother, and then multiplied any distaste she has for the animal by about ten. She, at least, has a legitimate reason for her hatred — she’s insanely allergic to cats. (I wish I had such a good excuse and I often tell people I’m allergic so that they keep their vile creatures away from me.) Again, due to my juvenile logic, I assumed that if my mother was allergic to cats, and she didn’t like them near her, they must be a very unique brand of evil, to be avoided at all costs. As with dogs, when I see cats, running and screaming tend to ensue. However, unlike dogs, who like to chase you when you run screaming, this is a very good technique for repelling cats as my shrieks of terror tend to terrify them and they go away.

Before I move on to animals that nauseate me less, I want to make a literary connection, as this was supposed to be a bookish blog. While Anne Shirley and Emily Starr (the heroines of Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery) are very much like myself (and I often wonder how LMM wrote a book about me about a hundred years before I was born) there are a few differences between me and these girls. The key difference is that they both tend to adore cats. I was so conflicted when reading these books, because I had my high and mighty values of feline-hatred to maintain, but LMM is just such a great writer that at one point I even remember sympathizing with Emily’s missing of her cats. This sympathy, however didn’t last long. LMM proceeded to write for two consecutive pages about the ‘loveliness’ of the freaking cats, and those were the only pages in an LMM book that I felt compelled to skip. I didn’t, because I didn’t know how long it would last and I was afraid of missing any of the good stuff, but just know that I felt physically ill as I skimmed through those pages.

Back to the Horses

After my literal experience involving getting back on a horse I don’t recall going horseback riding again for quite a while. Of course, I also don’t remember the original experience (I just know that story that my mom told — it happened when I was really young) so it doesn’t necessarily follow that I didn’t get on another horse between then and the next story. The next story happened at an apple picking farm, when I believe I was in my early to mid teens. We went apple picking one fall day with family friends of ours and besides the horse story I’m about to tell, the only other thing I remember about this day is a black cat among the apple trees that sent me running and screaming. After the running and screaming, there was a merry-go-round, which had real horses (or probably ponies) tethered to a contraption to make them walk in a circle. I was too afraid to try this ride, but our family friend’s child did and proved that staying firmly on the ground had been the right decision. Basically, the horse she was on got spooked and jumped up on its hind legs (much like what had happened to me when I was little). This just reconfirmed what I already knew (about the unpredictability and terrifyingess of animals) and I vowed never to get on a horse again.

But then I did. And it’s a great story about how I ended up having a great time horseback riding along the beach, but that doesn’t really fit in thematically with the rest of this post about how evil and scary animals are, so I’m not going to talk about that experience. Mostly because such experiences (with positive, cliched, happy endings) are rarely as entertaining as experiences that go horribly, hilariously wrong (which is also why there won’t be a post about prom, because everything went boringly well). I will end off with telling the begining of the positive horseback riding story though, because the beginning is pretty humourous. I finally got up on the horse, after much coaching, coaxing and crying and I was very proud of my accomplishment, so I stopped crying and even began to smile. Then I had a minor panic attack and started screaming and crying all over again because “OH MY GOD!! THIS HORSE IS MOVING!! IT JUST TOOK A STEP!!! PLEASE, PLEASE LET ME GET OFF!!”

So, how do you feel about animals? Do you sympathize and like me a little more now? Or do you think I’m an awful person for not loving animals? If you fit into the latter group, you should have stopped reading when I suggested you leave in the first paragraph. So it’s really your fault.

Dissecting Pigs VS Dissecting Poems

Back in when I was in grade 11, I was under the false impression that taking Biology was a good idea. It wasn’t. Towards the end of the year, we had to dissect fetal pigs. I, of course, was the kid who didn’t even bother putting on rubber gloves. Because I was the kid who spent the period curled up on a chair, cowering in the corner, breathing (as little as possible) through my mouth, with my face towards the wall. Needless to say, I do not intend on pursuing a career in medicine.

Then some moron (read: teenage boy) thought it would be a good idea to cut off his pig’s nose and flail it around in front of me. He was very much encroaching on my personal space and I was terrified that he’d touch me with that disgusting, smelly, drippy thing, which was in very close proximity to my face. So I reacted as maturely (read: femininely) as I knew how. I kicked him in the stomach (I was high up on a lab chair, so his stomach just happened to be what was in kicking distance — he’s just lucky he wasn’t a little bit taller). It certainly made him go away. He even apologized and the next class he assured me that he wouldn’t do anything like that again. I obviously made quite an impression.

I have photographic evidence of this experience, but I don’t want to look at those pictures again and I assume you don’t either. Photo credit:

The reason for this outpouring of  a (clearly traumatic) experience which occurred a year ago, is that today I’d like to explore some of the differences between dissecting a fetal pig and dissecting a poem. I like to think of it as a highly analytic and empirical study in contrast, if you will.

Dissecting Pigs

Dissecting Poems

The fetal pig was killed/never even given the chance to be born, so that you could learn from it.

The poem was written, therefore given life, so you could learn from it

Learning from the fetal pig means desecrating and butchering it, especially if your partners are stupid teenage boys. Once a fetal pig has been (sometimes literally) torn to shreds, there is nothing you can do to save it.

Learning from a poem means taking it to a higher level and giving it new life. Even once stupid teenage boys have ruined a good poem, it is not dead. There’s nothing a good English teacher can’t revive.

Once a group of kids have learned by dissecting a pig, no one else can learn from that pig.

There is no limit to the number of people who can learn from the same poem.

Pigs die when people learn from them.

Poems die when people don’t learn from them.

Two more thoughts that are unrelated to the previous train of thought:

Pigs smell like formaldehyde and dead pig.

Poems smell like paper, which is a good thing. Or like the books they’re located in, which is a super good thing. Or, in the best circumstances, they (psychologically) smell like the lilacs or forests or freshly cut grass they’re describing.

All pigs are more or less the same. Everyone learns the same thing from every pig.

Every (good) poem (ideally) has a new, fresh, original message, or at least expresses an old message in new, fresh, original ways. And everyone can perceive and understand each different poem in their own way.


In conclusion:

Dissecting poetry is better (and more awesome) than dissecting pigs. The End.

(Note: This is mostly tongue in cheek. I see the value of learning science and I am totally not  one of those weirdos who refuse to eat meat. If you are one of the weirdos, that’s totally cool, I am just not one of you. My qualm is not so much that animals die to be dissected, it’s that most of the kids in my class were very “disrespectful” to these animals and I think that the exercise (and  the pigs lives) are potentially wasted on high school students who don’t know how to behave themselves.)

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