October 2, 2005

Leacock rocks

Going through some papers, and found some scraps worth sharing before they hit the recycle bin. The first are some notes I took this summer when I was contemplating my return to school. As mentioned here, I have since re-enrolled at UBC; sadly, I'm only enjoying one of my two courses.

Stephen Leacock, Canadian humourist extraordinaire, continues to amaze even 61 years after his passing. No wonder our award for work in funny, capital L literature bears his name.

Two bits of brilliance from the preface of Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, the main text of which is largely considered to be:

I was what is called a distinguished graduate, and, as such, I took to school teaching as the only trade I could find that needs neither experience nor intellect.

Many of my friends are under the impression that I write these humorous nothings in idle moments when the wearied brain is unable to perform the serious labours of the economist. My own experience is exactly the other way. The writing of solid, instructive stuff fortified by facts and figures is easy enough. There is no trouble in writing a scientific treatise on the folk-lore of Central China, or a statistical enquiry into the declining population of Prince Edward Island. But to write something out of one's own mind, worth reading for its own sake, is an arduous contrivance to be achieved in fortunate moments, few and far between. Personally, i would sooner have written 'Alice in Wonderland' than the whole Encyclopaedia Britannica

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