Liquid Ink

The official website of Gint Aras, Finalist 2016 CWA Book Award

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Every administrator’s dream syllabus

Swanson Collidge

English 102 or 104 (pick one)

Autumn 2014

 Instructor:       Dr. Karuvius Zakoostix                                                                                       Office: 401 Scissorbill Hall

Office Hours:

M/W    00:00-24:00
T/R      24:00-00:00
F        All day
S        Always open
Sun      Satan equated himself to God. So do those who rest on the 7th.


Mobile:                       +1 312 233 3452
Wife’s Mobile:           +1 312 233 3451
Home address:          4061 S Winchester Court


There are no requirements for this class (except for payment, see below).

Required Texts

Students intending to read should select books they find suitable.

General Education Objectives

The primary general education objectives served by this course call for students to “pass the class through registration,” “use any technology* to pass,” and “demonstrate the ability to value passing.” The course also requires that students “understand and apply personal values and ethics regarding the need to pass.”

Catalog Description

Students further develop the skill to pass the class. The course focuses on passing as a means of passing effectively. In the process of passing, students learn to analyze how they passed and to construct a complex or simple passing grade. Students also learn basic text based, electronic and virtual passing methods and procedures.

Optional lecture three hours per week.


The only thing you need to do in this class is pass.

Outcomes: Successful students will

  • register within the first four weeks of the term
  • choose to write or read or not
  • pass, logically
  • search for things in the library and Internet (if they have time)
  • distinguish among individuals’ unique ways of passing the class
  • demonstrate comprehension of what it means to pass
  • identify credible and relevant means to pass
  • say “I passed”

Evaluation Criteria

Assignment grades, and ultimately course grades, will be determined by a student’s ability to “pass the class through registration,” “use any technology* to pass,” and “demonstrate the ability to value passing.”

Attendance Policy

Students may opt to pass in class or outside of class. A passing student need not be present.

Academic Honesty

If you fail to sign up to pass the class yourself, no one else may pass the class for you. Passing is limited to one (1) student per student ID #, and a registered student may only pass one (1) time each semester. See college catalog for more information.

Guidelines for Optional Papers

Students may, if the wish arises, choose to submit written essays. They should adhere to the following requirements

  • Please use ink
  • Please use typing paper (unless you only have a ruled notebook, then that’s fine)
  • Type or use a word processor (unless you like writing by hand).
  • Say something in your essay if you’d like your professor to say something besides “this passed”.
  • Possible topics include:

1.) Write about something you like. Say how much you like it.
2.) Write about something you don’t like. Say how much you don’t like it.
3.) Write using the word like. Do it often, like, in every sentence. Twice, like.
4.) Write about the time when it was unfair.
5.) Write about the time when you had the most fun, ever.

Final Exam

There is no required final exam. Students opting to take a final exam should make special arrangements before finals week.

*technology is anything that you can use to pass besides yourself or another human being. 



Students who do not submit their payment in full by the seventh (7th) week of the semester automatically forfeit the right to PASS this class or to receive any CREDIT for it on their transcript. Acceptable PAYMENTS may be made by money order, cash, wire transfer or credit card. No personal checks. No refunds. 

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Photo by Random Retail 

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This will change you in 60 seconds (stop abuse)

If this Australian video does not impact you, there’s really no hope for you in the first place.

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So you want to be a writer

Thanks to Writers Circle for posting this. It ended up in my Facebook Newsfeed. I had not read it in very many years.

So You Want to Be a Writer
By Charles Bukowski

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

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How many sentences should a paragraph have?

After a decade of teaching in a community college, I’ve finally figured something out. It’s an indictment that it has taken this long, so I’ll take my licks.

There seems to be someone out in the world who is teaching young writers that paragraphs should have 6-8 sentences, and that those sentences should consist of about 8-12 words. Given these requirements, a page ends up consisting of about five paragraphs, just perfect for the five paragraph essay, a stack of neat little boxes all about the same shape and size.

This is baffling. Where did this idea originate? I’m sincerely curious. How can anyone who has ever read even a dozen newspaper articles or a couple of novels conclude that all paragraphs have 6-8 sentences, each composed of 8-12 words?

I don’t even know if I’d be able to write a paragraph like that. Let’s try it.

Belly button lint occurs when small bits of clothing end up trapped in one’s belly button. (fuck, too many words)


Fuzz trapped in one’s belly button is known as belly button lint. This stuff can really be annoying to people of any social class. It will be made of the material one wears. When this material rubs against our skin, small bits fall off. Sometimes it ends up in our belly button. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor. Belly button lint does not discriminate or judge. If you think otherwise, you’re among the misinformed.

That’s the worst piece of crap I’ve ever written. And it broke my head. If I had to write an entire essay by following these guidelines, I’d probably hate writing, especially if someone gave me a topic like “recycling”.


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New thriller set in Vilnius, 1989

At a recent literary event here in Chicago, I got my hands on a surprising book, Love Songs of the Revolution by Bronwyn Mauldin. It’s a thriller (spy novel and murder mystery) set in Vilnius in 1989, and the primary action takes place before and during the Baltic Chain demonstration that occurred in the late summer of that year.

While Mauldin’s book offers quite a bit of interest to the general reader, I want to say some things Lithuanians will find intriguing, and I hope this post encourages members of the Lithuanian media to investigate Mauldin’s work.

Love Songs of the Revolution is, as mentioned, a thriller. As a first-person account, it’s a faux-memoir penned by a former member of the Lithuanian revolutionary underground. A work of meta-fiction, the book employs a variety of epistolary techniques, including faux-research, blogs composed by readers of the memoir, and tweets of a researcher interested in the identity of the memoir’s author. While slim, only 184 pages, Love Songs packs layered commentary on the nature of letters, the process of historiography, the validity of memory, our preoccupation with memoirists’ “accuracy” and other meta-textual concerns common to contemporary studies of narrative.

With nearly a third of the book—indeed, the final third, including the book’s climax—dedicated to this self-reflective shuffle, I found Love Songs as worried about itself as about the socio-politics of the Lithuanian SSR or the identity and psychology of a revolutionary. I don’t mean anything negative by this observation. Indeed, what can be said about a revolution or a revolutionary? Quite a bit but nothing absolute. Love Songs critiques the unenlightened assumption that “truth” lies in data and precise documentation, not in the immeasurable fear and confusion (lust, pleasure, boredom) felt by people in conflict.

No doubt, some Lithuanian readers will pick bones with Maudlin for setting her novel in a city she has not visited and staging conversations in a language she does not speak. I can hear the camp that’ll point out, “Inaccuracies!” (and there are some, including a map that mixes up Kaunas with Švenčionėliai) as I can hear someone saying, “This book is about imprecision because the author is self-conscious about her lack of knowledge.” I think any critique like that fails to take the book on its own terms. It might be ironic to fake a memoir when the author is depending on the memories of others and must imagine how the gaps glue themselves to bannisters. That is, however, the nature of historiography.

I don’t actually feel this book is, at its heart, about Lithuania or the end of the Soviet Union. I feel it’s mostly about contemporary consciousness, primarily in America, an empire in very serious decline. Without including spoilers, I’ll reveal that the book draws parallels between the collapse of the USSR and contemporary America. Our American methods of delusion are different from the Soviet kind, but we avoid facing reality all the same. To quote from Love Songs:

Perhaps the differences seem smaller for those of us who have lived under both systems. In the Soviet era, it was the state who told us how we could and could not live. Here in America, it is the corporations that control our lives, and we are willing participants. Corporations decide what we will see on television and in the movies, what will appear in newspapers, what chemicals and inedible ingredients will be put into our food. If a government did those things to them, Americans would protest, but because something called a corporation does it to them, they pay money for it and beg for more.

There is also this:

I warn you now, my fellow Americans—yes, I am a citizen by choice now in your country—you will be disappointed by this story. You measure the quality of literature by the complexity of its plot twists. Unpredictability and “originality” are valued above all else. You insist on a happy ending, or at least a glimpse of a silver lining behind every cloud. You want to know that no animals were harmed in the making of this story. I can promise you none of this

The story I am going to tell is true; therefore it will not please you. It is direct and straightforward. The dead remain dead, and the guilty go unpunished. The sepia-tinted dream you might wish it to be turns out to be a dull, faded reality. When you close this book, you will frown and use words like “unresolved”. You will come to conclusions, and ask why no one took the actions that are plainly obvious to you.

That is because you are Americans, and you believe there is a solution to every problem. That every grief concludes in closure, or that it should. That hard work pays off, and cream always rises to the top. That every crime can be solved in an hour, minutes eighteen minutes for commercial breaks. That satisfaction is guaranteed. You are fools to expect anything but heartache and disappointment. It is your expectations that make you weak.

Someone might read that and say, “Maudlin really nailed Americans here.” I hope those same people will realize she nailed, in the same three paragraphs, the post-Soviet mentality as well. And that’s the real triumph of this little book. Every gesture connects the sides it critiques.




Photo courtesy of the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography.