My Favourite Book.

I haven’t written about writing in a long time but as I’m trying to instill a love of reading in my students, I want to get them excited about literature through getting myself reinvigorated by literature that has taught me a lot about writing, and life, and myself.

The book that most comes to mind for me right now is Lullabyes for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill. What O’Neill does so successfully and shrewdly in this book is capitalizes on the darkness that is childhood innocence and confusion. That’s something I aspire to be and have never been able to reach it. In my world childhood is dark and it’s not often that darkness is truly captured in a way that is so raw and eerie and yet beautiful and sad, at all at the same time. I’ve been through some shit. This book was like therapy for me.

I also love this book because of the time it’s set in; and I love the father-daughter relationship – it’s odd and dysfunctional and completely fucked up, but at the same time it’s love. Heather O’Neill is so good at writing about strange dysfunctional love of all kinds.

When a book grabs you from page one and has you following a metaphorical thread where you get to completely leave the world behind – especially a world you wouldn’t want to be in and feel awful and dirty and sad residing in – that’s a story.


It’s going to be October in a couple of days.

Every year in October, certain traditions I had were upheld and canonized in the anthology that is my memory. Every year I can look back on October and unequivocally remember all of it: the bad birthdays, the good birthdays, my first drink ever -which was a Bellini at the Olive Garden; that time I went out and felt heartbroken the entire evening; the Banff trip; the Vegas trip; that time I went to see Ryan Adams at Benaroya Hall in Seattle and I ate at Johnny Rocket’s; and every single October before then.

My birthday accompanies so many things; everyone’s does, but for me it’s this magical and particular time of year that’s associated with every single thing I’ve ever loved, regretted, felt for, lived for or almost cried over. It’s so much more than another year older; it’s another year of wisdom and another year of wondering what the future holds and another year of reminiscing over past birthdays and wondering how my life became what it is now, versus what I thought it was going to look like. Every day I walk into work and think, “how did this even happen? How did I end up here? Here of all places, here in this career, here in this job. How?” It’s been complicated and weird and unbelievable. But everything that’s happened to be right now, I owe to two or three life-altering moments of the past two years.

Firstly, I moved to Vancouver in 2013. On that birthday, I had a low-key brunch with one of my closest friends and her mom. It was a grim fall and I was stuck in a grim place. I went to Seattle. I was thinking of becoming a teacher but I was painfully awkward and painfully bad at teaching. I thought I was going to fail. I knew I was going to fail. Moving to Vancouver and being a bad teacher as I turned 27 changed the course of my whole life.

Do I believe in fate? Sometimes. Sometimes I believe there is someone moving pawns and knights around the board of the universe. Sometimes I believe that everything that’s ever happened to every single person is a part of this unscripted play we’re all in that was directed and influenced by people or beings we can’t see but we just know they’re there. Other times I think that it’s all choice and it’s all random. And when things work out, it’s a fortunate exception rather than the rule.

Whether this is random or planned though, here we all are. Lost friends and gained careers and love and a new family and new everyone and everything… I’m here and it’s scary but I’m also so, so lucky. Or maybe someone else willed this for me. Or maybe I did it all myself.

How Tinder Helped Me Find Myself.

I was on Tinder for three months. In that time, I had the same kinds of dating adventures that most people do – the duds, the creeps, the ghosters, the ones that I’ll remember forever and the ones whose names came up in my phone months later and it took me a few minutes to put a face to a name.. but today, I realized a lot of things about myself and my life as it is now that I really value which I learned from swiping right.

When you blind date, you’re forced out of your comfort zone and you know this leading up to the moment you arrive to spend your agreed at-least-one-hour with a total stranger. You have to keep the conversation going and you have to be brave. This is something I never thought I could do. I don’t know how to strike up conversations with strangers. That’s never been who I am.

But I did do it. Well. I enjoyed meeting all these people. I loved talking to the guy who worked at Yew at the Four Seasons and served tons of celebrity guests who came into the restaurant. I loved meeting the person who had just come back from his year in Australia and told me about their tiny little $9 pint glasses. None of those dates worked out but the important thing I learned is how sometimes it’s important to have faith in strangers because some of the strangers I met were pretty awesome.

In addition to the people I met, I also learned how to step outside a comfort zone and become more confident in myself and my abilities. I could suddenly spend all night talking with a complete stranger. I didn’t even feel awkward about it. I hardly even noticed sometimes the fact that I was speaking with someone I didn’t actually really know. I trusted my instincts and in that, I became a really outgoing person. Someone who, in their new profession, is able to connect with the people around me even more every day. And I owe that to my desire to meet fellow singles of Vancouver on a hookup app. Which sounds absolutely stupid and crazy. And it is. But it’s kind of true.

Tinder is a horrible way to meet people and I stand by that. In fact, I stand by the fact that the internet in general is for the most part, an awful way to meet people. But it was good for a very introverted, very comfort zone-laden person who lacked the confidence in herself as a single person and a professional to ever move beyond this weird hovering, quivering shy person who was an empty shell of someone who had so much potential walking into a teaching practicum. It’s an odd, strange roundabout way to have found myself, but I’m glad I did. Sometimes stepping outside your comfort zone, even on a sleazy app, can do some good.

The People Who Leave Us.

When people are no longer in our lives they leave holes of one kind or another. The greatest hole is nostalgia. Looking back on the memories and marks of those who are no longer in our lives is a kind of pain that is both relieving and that reminds us of a hole that was there, that might never be filled again.

But so what if a hole can’t be filled? Holes will always be filled with something else. As long as we’re open to allowing those holes to be filled, then the former filling of them was just something lost and gone. And it doesn’t matter anymore what was there.

It’s impossible to imagine my life without the person I’m with. It’s difficult to picture who I was before I was so full, inspired, and before I strived so much for success in my new career. But there was a time when my reality – the reality I liked, and the reality I didn’t, were completely unrecognizable to the person I am now. Something else was fulfilling. The people I knew were different. The life I lived, my motivations, my dreams, my daily life, my cares – they were completely different and I loved that time. I did. I look at those years as funny and memorable and full of the kinds of joys you can only share with friends in your twenties when your dream was to be a bohemian artist, before you learned horrible truths and everything became complicated and serious.

People left me. Change left holes. And then in time, with work and effort and overcoming failure and feeling like a loser, those holes were filled. I had new dreams and new goals and new exciting things to live for in ways I didn’t expect. The people who leave us are ghosts that serve as important reminders that things are constantly changing. The people who leave us are a part of our history, our tapestry. They once helped us discover who we were, so we could become who we are now. The people who leave us, left us. They’re gone. They’re not coming back.

And it’s fine.

I’ve had the pleasure to get to know a lot of great people this week. I’m not friends with them; I work with them and for them and watch them thrive and grow in working for me. This week’s had ups and downs but has overall been an amazing display of my own conviction and patience, and what other people are capable of. In so few jobs do you get the kind of gratification that this one has given me. Exhausting, terrifying, stressful and sometimes frustrating – absolutely. But never boring and never something I take for granted, ever. I’m lucky.

I Can’t Believe

It’s amazing to me that I’m teaching students who were born the year of the 9/11 tragedy. They didn’t wake up that morning to see shocking footage of airplanes hitting the World Trade Centre, the horror on New York citizens’ faces, the drama unfolding day by painful, anxious day while George W. Bush was about to be put to the test, one that would change American politics, the climate of acceptance and religious/non-religious rights and freedoms to this day. All of this happened 14 years ago. I was in junior high and I remember walking to school feeling numbed; we would go to war, there might be nukes, there might be more attacks… what was about to happen? I was an anxious kid and the unknown made it a scary world to step into and out of for the next few months at least.

I can’t believe 14 years can go by so fast that we don’t notice passing years until suddenly on the anniversary of a major event it’s like a flip cartoon of every single memory, human being I’ve known that’s come and gone, heartbreak, triumph, victory, pitfall and failure happening at rapid speed but only on a page. On the day after 9/11 I rode my bike to the local record shop and picked up the Joydrop album and then I biked to my friend’s birthday party at Jasper Pizza Place. I put the album on that night and Tara Slone singing “It feels like the end of summer/Feels like our last goodbye/Feels like we’re letting go/This is our swan song” suddenly rang truer than true. It echoed and permeated throughout all the years of my young inexperienced life and forever more, when I hear “Swan Song” by one of my then-favourite bands, I think of 14 years ago.

Time goes quickly. Anniversaries serve as a reminder of that, at least.

Everything Has Changed. Everything Is About to Change.

As I take on a new role in my life, I ask myself (and today I literally asked myself), How did I get here? It was everything I wanted, dreamed of, waited for, worked for, desperately tried to have. And now I have it. In a very weird full-circle, universe-working-in-my-favor kind of way. I never thought this would ever be me, and I’m amazed at how this is happening at such a crucial point, a crucial age, a crucial juncture.

In the last month, my life has changed dramatically. I am flustered a little, and terrified, and facing change fatigue. I am starting this inaugural step forward in my career and I never really thought I would be lucky enough to have all of this. I miss my last home. I miss what I had there – the people, the scenery. But although this is a switch and this is something completely different, it’s what I need and what will change me forever.

Changes have occurred rapidly in my life and I am just trying my best to keep up with them and remember that there are some things we can control and some we can’t. I am entering into a world where I can do both and I will have to accept responsbility and responsiveness for both. Doing so will welcome myself into the profession I’ve longed for for the last twelve months.