Archive for April, 2011

April 20th, 2011

Ghost Bus

Ghost Bus

by Iden Ford Photography (Photography Studies)

To see more of Iden’s photos, visit his website:

This photo was taken while Iden was enrolled in Andrej Kopac’s course on business practices for media businesses: ‘Media Business Studies’ (CFPN 536).

April 11th, 2011

Excerpt from Ashes

by Costi Gurgu, Learner, Writing Workshops

“Is it my imagination, or do I see a cockroach staring at me?”

Sebastian started, then put the pen down. He looked at the clock—it was ten to ten. He’d worked uninterrupted for more than two hours. It had been a long time since he’d done that.

Razvan rose from the couch and scooped a slipper from the floor, eyes on a corner of the living room where a roach did indeed seem to be staring at his brother.

“Put the slipper down, Razvan.”

“There is a cockroach in your home!”

“Yes, but it’s not mine.”

Razvan stopped and turned. He looked baffled. He opened his mouth to speak, shut it again.

“It’s my downstairs neighbours’ cockroach, from the tenth floor,” supplied Sebastian. “Its name…its name is Sun Tzu. They brought it from China. To bring them luck.”

“Sun Tzu?”

Sebastian gathered the pieces of paper from the table, arranging them by subject. He hadn’t finished the last sentence he was writing and with Razvan bent on crushing Sun Tzu, he couldn’t focus on writing anymore. He pursed his lips, mildly irritated by the interruption.

“Accepting that somebody would actually give a name to a cockroach, how do you know this is the lucky Sun Tzu and not just another pest?”

“First, because we don’t have roaches in our building, so there’s no other. And second, because it is the only roach I’ve seen that stares. They generally tend to hide.”

Sebastian walked over and stopped in front of the bug. Razvan joined him. Sun Tzu stayed in the same position, moving its antennas and turning its minuscule head from one man to the other.

“Aren’t’ you afraid it could multiply and a little army of Chinese philosophers will infest your building?”

“No. My neighbours guaranteed that Sun Tzu has been neutered…uh, castrated.”

Razvan laughed. He returned to sit on the couch. “Do you mean to tell me that they have little knives to cut the thing? I bet that guy is a nephew of the old Sun Tzu, and it’s making fun of us.”

“You can laugh, but apparently the Chinese have a method to neuter them, chemicals that control the roach populations in their cities. They don’t kill them because it would mean bad luck, so they have to somehow keep the population at a minimum.”

“The Chinese from the floor below told you this?”

“No. I read it on the Internet. Like you, I was tempted in the beginning to…crush it. Once you’ve lived in Bucharest in the eighties, it’s hard not to instinctively kill a roach whenever you see one.”

Sebastian went to the kitchen and poured coffee for Razvan, then refilled his own mug. He returned with the coffee to the living room.

“I thought we could have breakfast, then maybe go out and I’ll show you the city, if you like.”

About Costi Gurgu:

Costi Gurgu is a writer born in the city of Constanta, on the Black Sea shore. He currently lives in Toronto with his wife, Vali. He is a graphic designer and an illustrator and has been the Art Director of Playboy Magazine, Madame Figaro Magazine and Tabu Magazine.
His more than 40 stories have appeared in different European magazines and anthologies, and have won numerous awards. He has a story collection, a novel and has edited three
KULT anthologies. His first North American sell is the short storyAngels and Moths, published in the anthology AGES OF WONDER.

He had a turtle, Cleo, which apparently suffered of seasickness and fly-sickness and couldn’t cross the ocean to their new homes. He is sure Cleo will roam the Carpathians for many centuries.

This text is an excerpt of Costi’s short story entitled “Ashes,” which was written for Cordelia Strube’s introductory short fiction workshop: ‘Short Fiction Writing – Level I’ (CWWR 410).

April 8th, 2011

Screen Door/Screen Memory

by Pat Woods, Learner, Writing Workshops

Standing at the front door, face pressed against the screen, which yields slightly – as if to caress the small cheek resting against it.
It is November.
Little children in caps and coats can be seen walking across the street.

Sometimes, but not today, the tangy metal smell and fine raspy texture have been interesting sensations to explore; to get lost in. Today being lost means something else.

Looking back on this time, events have no proper order. They exist in little bits of this and that – and great dark spaces of nothing and not knowing. Blank.

From an upstairs window we watch the black shiny car pull away. Our mother is gone.

I Still Prefer the Melancholy Song
“….someone waits by the garden gate down in the little green valley
‘tis there my homesick heart will trouble me no more…”
Marty Robbins

The doorway of my parent’s room. Shadowy patterns. Streetlights.
Downstairs, dad listens to the news. I recall drifting asleep to mournful songs like “Little Green Valley.” The tender words crack his voice, though I never see him cry.
I’m suddenly overcome with missing him, but that’s silly.
How can I miss him? He’s still here.
Maybe he’s lonely, too.

Mom’s things are gone.
Seeking the powdery scent of her perfume I press my face into her pillow.

Car wheels slick by on the wet street below.

The sound of footsteps. Silence broken by dad’s scolding voice.
Finding my way to my room.

Such misunderstandings color our relationship ‘til the end of his life.
I was too sensitive for his sensitivity, which he preferred to keep hid.
It was helpful to him, up to a point. And to me, too, though I couldn’t see it at the time.

And I still prefer the melancholy song.

About Pat Woods:

Pat Woods is a nurse and trauma therapist with an interest in issues related to grief and loss. This interest arises out of the impact of the early death of her mother as well as an appreciation for the power of having a compassionate witness to our times of loss.

“Jacob’s course has been a great opportunity to express aspects of this childhood experience in story form.”

Pat wrote this piece for Jacob Scheier’s course on creative writing about grief and loss: ‘Writing Creatively About Grief’ (CWWR 530).

April 1st, 2011

Website: Tania Alvarez

Screenshots of website by Tania Alvarez, Learner, New Media

“As a graduate of Ryerson’s Communication and Culture program, I really wanted to explore a more technical approach to visual communication. As an Image Arts certificate student I get to pursue my love of photography, and as a Chang School student I have the option of taking interest courses outside the program. That’s what led me to take ‘Introduction to Web Presentation’ (CDNM 109). I was really just looking to get my feet wet in terms of understanding how to use Dreamweaver to create a website. The course was taught by Rodney Werden. His approach was student focused and flexible. I found his teaching method incredibly engaging and helpful. I never felt overwhelmed and am considering taking more advanced web design courses with The Chang School. Also, the projects I showcased on my site included work I had done in previous continuing education courses including ‘Digital Tools I & II’ with Sean Gallagher, and ‘Digital Capture’ with Rob Davidson. It’s great to be able to add to my skill set and explore creative expression through a variety of media.”

Note: Tania’s website is not published online yet, but you can visit her blog here:

This site was developed for Rodney Werden’s course introducing Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Flash animation: ‘Introduction to Web Presentation’ (CDNM 109).

April 1st, 2011

The Lincoln Suite

by Deanna Kennedy, Learner, Writing Workshops

The screech hovering in this woman’s low, tense voice drags Phil from his reverie. What did she say about pubic hairs in a soap bar, a filthy ring in the bowl of the toilet? Phil drags up a look of concern as she continues to detail problems about the room. Something about sweat-stained pillow covers and a pong in the air that she claims is a mixture of cat piss and smoke.

“I’m sorry. Did you say cat?”

“Yes. Cat piss. It’s Phil, right? You’re the manager?” Shannon takes one step closer to Phil and through a beautifully aligned set of white teeth she spits out “You move me and my son to a cleaner room this instant, or I swear, I will start screaming in the middle of your lobby.”

Phil looks down sympathetically at the small boy who is staring back at him with crystalline blue button-round eyes. Looking into the inquisitive freckled face of this child, the impact of what his wife said to him not an hour ago, in this same spot, about his own son, strikes Phil’s heart.

“Will we move you to the Lincoln suite immediately?”

Seeing the tears welling in the manager’s eyes Shannon is satisfied that her words have had the desired impact.

“Well now, that’s more like it.”

About Deanna Kennedy, first-time writer:

Suffering from a severe bout of empty nester syndrome, Deanna snaps on her swimming cap and dives into the long-harbored desire to try her hand at fiction writing.

This text was a class exercise to show, not tell, the following encounter in a small lively scene:

‘Shannon complained to the hotel manager about the dirty room, but he was not the least bit helpful’

Deanna’s piece was written for Ann Ireland’s online workshop introducing short fiction writing: ‘Short Fiction Writing – Level I’ (CWWR 410).