Happy Birthday Shannon Smart


in Daily updates

Saint Mary's Church, from the High Street

Today was the kind of day where things click together. I spent a few hours dealing with the banks in Canada and the U.K. and we are now set to make another attempt at a transfer. In the process, I even managed to unfreeze my application for a NatWest credit card. In the morning, I finished a stats assignment that I am more confident about than either of its predecessors. I also managed to secure some books for the two upcoming papers. In the afternoon, I began reading Jonathan Spence’s The Search for Modern China.

Good things are also happening on various non-academic fronts. Tomorrow night, I have an engagement to spend some time with Emily: something that has definitely been missed of late. Friday, I am having dinner at New College. Saturday, if I am lucky, I might snap up a spot for the Walking Club’s trip to the south coast. Getting out of Oxford, particularly for a bit of a hike, would be excellent. Next Wednesday, I am going to dinner and a movie at St. Antony’s.

Looking out into a fast-darkening world at five in the evening is definitely one of the stranger and more difficult things about the fall. It requires you to rewire the bits of your brain that tell you what kind of lighting conditions you really ought to be doing work in the presence of: widening that set to include some rather more sombre ones. That said, the work these days is interesting. As we get into the timeframe of the second world war, we get into the period when all the major elements of the present international system emerged. It cannot help feeling relevant and important, especially when expressed with such obvious passion as Donald Watt has injected into his book. I was struck by the incredibly wounded tone of his introduction, in which he lists the destruction wrought by the war that he is about to describe the emergence of.

My favourite thing about the fall are the blustery days. Those at UBC should take a walk to the top of the sandstone escarpment near Place Vanier during one of them, when the wind has contributed white-capping energy to the sea, when the sun is glinting off of it, and when there are enough low-lying clouds about to get the full sense of a planet in motion.

In the midst of tonight’s reading, I had the chance to talk with Astrid for about three hours. I won’t say much about it. Just that it’s a relationship that has always had an astonishing ability to avoid becoming mundane. I also got to speak to Alison, for the first time in what has become too long. She will definitely be among those who I write to when the inter-term break allows it.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Ben November 11, 2005 at 11:29 pm

Working in the dark is annoying. Having to remember cycle lights, in case one isn’t home by 3pm, is just as bad.

Is it you? November 14, 2009 at 4:38 am

Your writing…it makes me envious. I write too and hope that sometime soon I will discover an old piece that I wrote and think someone else must have written it. Each piece of your writing is like this. Remarkable. Your mother will soon have another birthday card to forward along, you most interesting Google.

Clued Out November 14, 2009 at 4:42 am

I thought you ARE Shannon Smart. But no. Still, your writing is enchanting

Emily November 15, 2009 at 11:18 am

While we’re on the topic, reading this post and comparing it to your more recent posts reflects a drastic style shift in your writing.

This one is rather romantical.

Milan November 15, 2009 at 1:40 pm

I ceased being romantical when I joined the cubicalled office-working masses.

Emily November 15, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Sounds like someone needs the romance of… an entry level job!

Milan November 16, 2009 at 8:53 am

I hope not. I have had plenty of those already: muffin seller, juice bar operator, newspaper delivery person, cashier, computer salesperson, operating system/hard drive installer, solderer, telemarketer, mail room staff member, janitor, landscaper, etc.

Shannon Smart November 22, 2009 at 12:49 am

I owe you a thank you for the birthday wishes (albeit a belated one). I’ve gotta say, the comment from Clued Out has me rather creeped out, but what can you do? What are you up to?

Milan November 25, 2009 at 11:17 am

This and that, living in Ottawa, worrying about climate change.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: