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    Sobriquet 39.15

    Saturday, February 16, 2008
    I just realized that the t-shirt I put on this morning, before looking at the newspaper, was one given to me when I attended my first literary conference back in 2003, at Northern Illinois University. I'd forgotten I'd selected it until just now when, removing my sweatshirt, I saw the school's name on the upper left breast of the shirt...I wish I could say I chose to wear it as a sign of support for the grieving families, but I'd be lying. Instead, I will use this space to express my condolences. This is the second time a massive shooting has taken place at a school I have visited. I used to walk past Dawson College on an almost daily basis when I lived in Montreal, just a couple of blocks down Boulevard De Maisonneuve from the campus. I can remember the disbelief of seeing my old stomping grounds on television after Kimveer Gill opened fire at the CEGEP and I have some of the same feelings now regarding the NIU shooting. I remember thinking how pretty the campus was, how nice and peaceful a town DeKalb seemed to be and I am sorry to see that placid milieu shattered and the lives of NIU students and their families, the school's faculty, and its staff irrevocably damaged by the unfathomable. My thoughts are with you all.

    Having said that, it seems almost inappropriate to discuss my dissertation, so I will keep this night's entry brief. I've begin rereading The Master of Petersburg and have been underlining like mad. Having so recently reviewed the criticism on the novel, it seems, I am noticing quite a few details I missed the first go-round. Reflecting on what other folks have been discussing as I review the novel has really made certain aspects of the book--especially the subtly predatory behavior of the fictional Dostoevsky at the outset of the novel--jump out.

    Also, with the extremely positive response my Age of Iron section ended up getting, I have a whole new anxiety: keeping it up.


    For tomorrow: Learn to ski or snowboard and read another twenty pages of the novel.

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