Category: Writing

Posts on writing by a writer Jano Klimas, primarily on books, poetry, slams and science writing.

Voice to Voice Book launch June 18, 7 pm, Lost + Found Café, 33 W Hastings‏, Vancouver, BC


Thursdays Writing Collective invites you to celebrate the launch of our seventh anthology, Voice to Voice!

Thursday, June 18, 2015
Lost + Found Café 
7pm-9pm

Join us for a fun evening of socializing and celebration. The evening will include a SHORT reading (15mins), catered free snacks, book sales and some silliness. Details will be posted asap.


This book of poems, stories, songs and memoir by members of the Downtown Eastside community of Vancouver represents a year of thinking about music and transformation. It also represents our collaboration with six composers from UBC School of Music who turned 11 of our poems into original new music art songs. Our collaboration was facilitated by Laura Barron of Instruments of Change.

Beautifully designed by Doris Cheung, Voice to Voice includes score excerpts of the songs which were performed in two concerts (at UBC and at St James Anglican Church).

The book was funded by the community via an Indiegogo campaign and we thank Canada Council for the Arts, UBC School of Music, Peter Wall Centre, Instruments of Change, Carnegie Community Centre and SFU’s Writer’s Studio for support in many guises.

Written, created and brought to life on the unceded territories of the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.

Contributors include: Anita Lo, Antonette Rea, Brian Topp, Cindy McBride, Christiaan Venter, d. n. simmers, Donna Dykeman, Elee Kraljii Gardiner, Eleanor Guerrero-Campbell, Erol Almelek, Gene Emerson, Ghia Aweida, Gilles Cyrenne, Graham Cunningham, Harry Langen, Henry Doyle, Irit Shimrat, James McLean, James Witwicki, Jan Tse, Jane Miller, Jano Klimas, Joan Morelli, John Alan Douglas, Johnny “Chihuahua” Jaworkski, Judy Nordlund, Laura Barron, Leichandra Truong, Lucas Oickle, Martin Ritter, Michael Ducharme, Molly Skye Ancel, Muriel Marjorie, Neil Dato, Patrick Foley, Rena Sharon, Roger Stewart, Ruth Dato

Accessibility Info for Lost + Found Café:
Main entrance: 5 feet wide, double doors that open outwards, wing handles 41” from ground. Weather permitting, doors to street will likely be left open. There are no steps to entrance. The space inside Lost & Found Café is stair-free. Signage is a sandwich board on the sidewalk.

There is parking (paid by metre) on Hastings St directly outside and opposite the café. There are bike lock-ups directly outside café, as well as the Hastings bus stop. There will be transit tickets available at the event for those who need them.

This event is a scent reduced space. Please refrain from wearing heavily scented perfumes and hygiene products.

Readers will use a microphone and the space has minimal echoes. Lighting is even throughout space.

There are a variety of seating options. A variety of upholstered seats & couches with and without armrests. The majority of seating consists of unpadded wooden chairs with no armrests. There will be space for those who wish to stand. There will be priority seating reserved for elders; these seats will be marked “Reserved for elders”, please help yourself as needed. If you need a particular kind of seating for your physical comfort, please contact us beforehand and we will have that set aside for you.

There will be snacks provided for all attendees. There will be vegetarian options. Water is freely available. Alcohol is not provided but is available for purchase in the space. Counters are 3’3” from ground.

There will be two All Genders washrooms for the event.

The hallway leading to the washroom is 32” wide. There is a 90 degree turn in the hallway with a turning area of 40” by 37”. There are two washrooms, both of which have one stall. The doors to the stalls open inward and the stall entrance is 33” wide. The washroom on the lefthand side has a stall that is 57” deep and 61” wide with the toilet located in the rear left corner of the stall, immediately beside the wall. There is no grip bar. There is a scooter and wheelchair accessible public washroom located at the Carnegie Centre at Hastings & Main, three blocks East of the venue. For further info regarding washrooms, contact Lost & Found at 604-559-7444

This accessibility audit was done using part of the information provided in the RAMP project audit (http://radicalaccessiblecommunities.wordpress.com/radical-access-mapping-project-vancouver/). Thank you to RAMP for giving us feedback on this audit.

Health care research is untidy – what does it mean for postdocs? #CochraneCalgary2015

Why do we study health? Because we want to help patients. It’s no rocket science. And yet, most clinical trials do not measure outcomes that are important for patients. Besides, researchers don’t agree on what the core set of outcomes should be. “Health care research is untidy.” — Mike Clarke. In this post, I write about my experience of a conference about outcomes for clinical research and how it relates to postdoc training.


Systematic reviews are often required as part of a PhD or a postdoc training. Over 30,000 authors produce Cochranesystematic reviews of literature for the Cochrane library worldwide. The Canadian Cochrane centre hosted about a hundred of them at a recent joint conference, together with the COMET initiative (Core Outcome Measures in Trials), in Calgary, Canada (#CochraneCalgary2015).

Many junior postdocs who were at the conference struggled to publish papers. Yet, the number of publications is considered a core outcome of a postdoc training. Is it enough? What’s a core outcome set for a postdoc fellowship? “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” — Albert Einstein.

 Ultimately, the fellowship should result in a faculty position. But we know that there aren’t enough positions for all PhD’s and postdocs. The truth is that we don’t need so many PhDs. “PhD ‘overproduction’ is not new and faculty retirements won’t solve it,” writes Melonie Fullick in her speculative diction at University Affairs (March 25, 2015): “Yet somehow no matter how many PhDs enrol and graduate, academic careers are the goal.”


What lessons can postdocs take from the Cochrane collaboration to improve their career prospects? All Cochrane reviews must have a protocol. Cochrane protocols get published in the Cochrane library. However, protocols for non-Cochrane systematic reviews are difficult to publish in journals. Nevertheless, postdocs who decide to do a systematic review and can upload the review protocol on to their open-access universities’ depositories. They get picked up by the google.scholar and can be counted in the H-index. This way, junior postdocs can improve one of their core outcome measures – the track record. Although it’s probably not the best measure of a successful training, it’s the currency of science. 

Four years post doctorate

Being a senior postdoc brings many opportunities. I wrote about them in my blog last year. Now, I’d like to revisit them, see what’s new and what has changed.
CREDIT: Hal Mayforth
 
 
 Three years post doctorate, I wanted:
 
-To keep writing a lot.
In the third year post doctorate, I wrote a lot about these topics:
 How doctors sweat to discover traditions of the first nations; What to look for in mentoring? Finding the Evidence for Talking Therapies; My First Week in the Addiction Research Paradise; How to go about getting a postdoc position?; How mentoring can help transitions in academia; The best time for writing; Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards for Irish researchers; How to addess a Training Gap through Addiction Research Education for Medical Students; Mobility is part of research job description;Different styles of research supervision; How attractive are you for postgraduate students? How to build research leaders and supervisors; Working and holidays; The Annual Symposium of the Society for the Study of Addiction 2013; Re-entry shock; Saying bye slowly makes parting easier; A decade in the addictions field.
 
-To stay true to myself.
This was difficult. At times, I honestly have not been honest. I’ll keep at it.
 
-To reach a position of independence by:
 
a) conducting a randomized controlled trial
The pilot trial is finished. First, we wrote down our plan, a cook book for making this trial. Second, we developed and pilot tested a workshop which was later used as part of the experimental intervention. The controls received the intervention with a delay. Third, we measured the status at baselineto set up our starting point. Watch this space for more about the trial results.
 
b) supervising work of junior investigators.
My junior colleagues from the pilot trial helped me to learn how to be a better team player.
 
-To pass the accumulated knowledge and skills on other:
 
c) Doctors and helping professions, by helping them become more competent and confident in addiction medicine research
d) Medical students, by helping them discover and master addiction medicine research.
I had the honour to co-supervise a group of three gifted postdocs and several medical students. Two of them moved for work or study to UK. I’m grateful for the learning that workingwith them brought me.
 
-To maintain a happy work-life balance.
At the time when I wrote that, I realised that I took on too much. In the past year, life and family brought new challenges and I needed to split my time between them. Integrating my scientist and artist careers was another chance to learn the balancing act.
 
In the fourth, post-doctoral year, I’ve extended my research to addiction medicine education. This is new to me. This expansion challenged my time management skills. I wish to be able to see which of my ideas and projects need more attention and which should be put to sleep.

How Do We Make Tracks? Meeting of The Society for Technical Communication

January 31, 2015– The STC Canada West Coast chapter hosted a day for technical communicators, both new and those more seasoned, which included tips for finding writing jobs, successful grant proposals, benefits of career coaching and many more. In this post, I focus on two sessions that I attended about mistakes made by non-native users of English and informational interviews.
“Everybody makes mistakes; non-native users just add one more layer to the mistakes ecosystem.” Matsuno
Non-native users of English: who they are
Mark Matsuno is a technical writer with more than 12 years of experience as a technical translator specializing in Japanese-to-English translations of engineering and manufacturing documents.
 Despite the disadvantage inherent in being born in a non-English speaking country, the Non-native users of English have much strength. They are SMEs, i.e., subject matter experts. Her engineering-ese is her first language. His accent is terrible, but he writes almost flawlessly. Some cultures may be afraid of speaking, but may be great writers. Their fluency equals how well you they trick someone to think that they’re fluent
Lost in translation
There’s nothing really wrong with their writing, but it sounds awkward. The questions are how much energy do you put into the piece as an editor? How do you see yourself? As a champion of the end user; A defender of the English language; A teacher; someone trying to get on top of their workload
Common mistakes in non-native users of English
Adjective order; Plurals; Articles are something that gives Asian people a lot of problems;
Prepositions; Tense; Direct translation; Dated English (for example, I was once stung by a bumble-bee); Mixed formality.
How to stay sane
Learn another language. In Japanese you can improve quickly, because people in Japan laugh at you; the feedback on errors is instant. Use machine translations. Read plenty of well-written English.
Write lots. Engage in English conversation.
Informational interviews and networking
Wendy Hollingshead and Autumn Jonssen discussed how powerful networking and informational interviews job search tools can be.
Network. Become a member of writing organisations. Meet up. Decide what your industry of interest is and go to the industry specific events. Volunteer; get your email and your work out there. Not just random things but more focussed work that will help your career and the organisation that you volunteer for. Your goal for networking events should be to make at least one quality conversation and one quality connection. Do at least one event p/week. The more work you put in, the better results you’re going to get.
101 Informational interviews: Let them know your goal
The informational interviews can help you to figure out what you want. Find out how your interviewees got to where they are and get some advice from them. A good output from an II is a referral to someone who can bring you closer to your dream job. Always send a thank you note after the interview.

Finally, check out Michelle Vinci’s article on the STC website about using social media for your jobsearch: http://stcwestcoast.ca/chapter/using-social-media-for-your-job-search

50 Shades of Grey Rejection

How does one give specific feedback: what format to follow, which rules to abandon; what are the grave dangers of inflation and how to deal with the fear of criticism? The information is available, but the courage seems lacking – I conclude in my latest post for University Affairs.

Bitter like lemon, the feeling of rejection lingers in your mouth for days – weeks, if you are not used to it. People who write a lot get many rejections and the most prolific writers hardly notice – they simply move on. This is where we all want to be, and I thought I was there, until… 
Vague like grey ash, a recent rejection kicked me out of this sweet acceptance back into the darkness and bitterness. What follows is a condemnation of hazy rejection letters in academia, my way to purge the poison from my system and to provoke discussion about how rejection should (not) be done.

 Read the full post here.