Tom Simard

Poetry, Music, and Prose

Archive for the tag “university”

The Prodigy

Although I sat in the back of my 10th grade typing class and in no way resembled whatever image if any is conjured up when the word typist comes to mind, my teacher was absolutely delighted to discover there was a prodigy in her midst.

I’ve always felt it some sort of cruel twist of fate to be so gifted at something that is valued so little.

Like so many others, I worked my way through university. (For some reason we have to pay for our education. Of course, every society has its priorities, and ours happens to be this.)  Anyway, I had any number of jobs throughout the many years from start to finish – a decade in total – one of the most frequent of which was as a typist. Every job interview began with disbelief and ended in wonder.

The IBM Selectric was the Stradivarius of typewriters (though I had great respect for the Olivetti).  A picture of my instrument:

Selectric(Photographer: Oliver Kurmis)

It was not my first typewriter. In fact it was never my typewriter. My dad had his own business, much of the time operating out of our basement, so I had access to it. In grad school I was fortunate to be able to rent one from the library.

 My first typewriter was a Smith Corona. It was as cheap as the Selectric was expensive so it’s probably not fair to complain that the keyboard was like playing

696px-Ksylofon_ubt_0053(Photographer: Tomasz Sienicki)

instead of

Vibes_joelocke_koeln2007(Photographer: Nadja von Massow)

And while I always loved the sound of a typewriter forming words, others might prefer hearing the vibraphone, which I should add is a favorite instrument of mine.

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Montreal

Canada is such a beautiful country, and throughout the years I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel through many of its provinces and territories. I’ve been as far west as British Columbia, as far north as well, the Northern Territories, and as far east as Nova Scotia. However, my first trip as a young boy would be by car to Quebec.

My maternal grandfather was born in Montreal but left for the US in his twenties. His brother sometimes came to see him, and as a young child my mom recalls seeing the two of them sitting drinking beer and conversing in French.  It was to his family that we visited that very hot summer.

It was 1968, and although we had missed  Expo 67, Buckminster Fuller’s Geodesic dome remained and impressed me greatly.

Pano_Biosphere_Montreal(Photographer: Rene Ehrhardt)

Very little else has remained. There was the vinegar on the table to be used with French fries. The ice cream sundae gotten for free because a chunk of glass was found in the first one I’d been served, and my brother and I riding the hotel elevator in order to test the quality of the ice cubes on each respective floor, are not I suppose exactly selling points.

Here are some of the places I would visit (or revisit).

Notre-Dame Basilica:

220px-Montreal_NDame1_tango7174(Photographer: Tango 7174):

800px-Montreal_NDRosaire5_tango7174(Photographer: Tango7174)

The Old Port of Montreal:

Montréal_et_ses_reflets_-_Montreal_and_its_reflections(Photographer: French Picman)

The Old City:

Place_Jacques-Cartier,_Montreal_2005-10-21(Photographer: gene.arboit)

177_7738ret(Photographer: GK tramrunner229)

The Montreal Botanical Gardens:

800px-Jardin_alpin_1_JB(Photographer: Cephas)

The Montreal Musem of Fine Arts:

468px-El_Greco_-_Portrait_of_a_Gentleman_from_the_Casa_de_Leiva_-_WGA10455El Greco – Portrait of a Gentleman from the Casa de Leiva

336px-CrownWilliam-Adolphe Bouguereau – Crown of Flowers

I would think a summer visit coinciding with the Montreal International Jazz Festival would be just about perfect.

The Blurb

The Sacred Wall is the last remaining vestige of a temple built in antiquity by those who hearkening to the whisper of the wind fled northward from devastating flames that threatened to engulf the entire world. It is now the resting place of Paul Boulard, celebrated archaeologist and linguist, who stunned a country on the point of revolution by unearthing ancient lost cities long thought to have been a myth. Jean Desjardins, a university student, lives with the consequences of this discovery. Nearing graduation, he watches with concern as his professors fall into disfavor with the harsh nationalist government of François Régimbal. As strict legislation is enacted and freedom of speech curtailed, he falls in love with Marie, an art school graduate with a passion for Dutch still lifes. When his wealthy bumbling landlord takes a mysterious trip abroad leaving him in charge of his affairs, the lucrative contract Jean signs is not everything it seems. But then neither are Enoch and Elijah, the two extraordinary dogs who have befriended the young couple.

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