To the Year of Returning

A toast to 2017, the year of Returning.
A toast to Melinda,  whose death sent shockwaves through my present and returned me -  to summers at Starrigan; and every second Saturday; and staying far too late; and
nights around our family dinner table; and an airport photoshoot; and a tearful declaration of your imprint on my life. To January 1st, 2017,  when we rang in your last New Year - together. 
A toast to London, where I've dreamed of returning since the moment I left. Everything, everything reminded me of that first summer - 
cobblestones and clocks and crowds, and
bridges and books and Bank, and
trains and tea and the theatre, and
delights, dreams, desires.
To the city where I first left my heart a decade ago, 
and returned to tuck it in; safe among aged streets 
until it calls me home again.
A toast to stories,
whose beloved prose I've revisited time and time again.
To the characters and worlds I've lived in many times before - 
the boy who lived; and
Barnum and Skip; and
heavy boots, and

Shouting Into the Void

Since 8 November 2016, I haven't felt quite right.

I had invited a few friends over to watch the American election with me. I had snacks and a smile. It was supposed to be a monumental night as we welcomed the first female President of the United States. Instead, everyone left early, needing to process what was happening on their own terms.

The next day, I cried at my desk. I flew into a fury as my fingers typed insanely, pounding out my feelings at an undeserving male coworker who chose the wrong day to make a sexist joke.

I joined in the online outrage at first. I retweeted pictures of protest signs and I got involved in the political fights I had previously successfully avoided on Facebook. I read endless think-pieces and I engaged in lengthly and loud conversations with other people who were shocked and sad and outraged. They often ended in tears.

As I checked Twitter one day in early 2017 to see what fresh hell had been unleashed on this planet, something snapped. I closed th…

The Art of Abusers

In 2014, two big pop culture events rocked my small world: the YouTuber sexual assault scandal, specifically one creator called Alex Day, and the termination of Jian Ghomeshi's relationship with the CBC following accusations of sexual harassment and violence.

A few weeks prior to the accusation that Alex Day had sexually assaulted several past girlfriends and fans, I had preordered his book about the history of the London Underground. His publisher dropped him almost instantaneously, and I assumed the book would never see the light of day. However, a few months later, Alex emerged anew on the internet, sitting in front of 2000 copies of his book that he no longer had anyone to distribute or promote. He offered personalized signatures to anyone who purchased his book.

I thought about it a lot. I was so interested in the subject matter, and I am a sucker for an author-autographed copy; however ordering it felt like a betrayal - but of who or what? His past girlfriends? My morals and…

My Definitive Ranking of the Best and Worst Love Actually Characters

Love Actually is my favourite movie. It is a glorious masterpiece of storytelling, peppered with quintessential Britishness, moments of hilarity, and the full range of relationships and their complications. It is in a lot of ways terrible, and it is in every way perfect.

It also happens to be a favourite Christmas movie of the masses. Consequently, there are countless think pieces and "Definitive Rankings Of" lists. Buzzfeed has given us a great hoard of them over the past 5 years: This is What it's Like to Watch "Love Actually" for the First Time, 50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About "Love Actually", Which Political Party is Hugh Grant Representing in "Love Actually", and, most importantly, The Definitive Ranking of All of the Turtlenecks in "Love Actually".

But I figured, as Love Actually's biggest fan, it was time I do my own Definitive Ranking Of.

Here is my Definitive Ranking of the Best and Worst Love Actually Cha…

In Defense of Whimsy

I was late to the Doctor Who train. It wasn't until the summer of 2013 when my friend Samantha, who also happens to be my television soul mate, loaned me the first season of the 2005 reboot that I finally gave it a try. I wasn't smitten instantly - it's hard to be taken with giant green alien blobs whose greatest threat is they fart too much. But by the end of the season, I had been charmed and intrigued just enough to keep watching. By the end of the summer, I had cried myself to sleep over the end of season 4, ordered Doctor Who-themed earrings off Etsy, and heard my roommate humming along to the theme song in the shower. I was a Whovian.

* * *
Last week I saw play at the Ottawa Fringe Festival all about the struggles of turning thirty. It was one of the worst productions I've ever seen for a lot of reasons - no overarching narrative, unnecessary audio and visual interruptions, a shocking and gratuitous nude scene which served no narrative purpose whatsoever. It was …

The State of the Thing*

Well hello there.

I haven't blogged in a long time. I mean, we all know this. Some (very kind) people have asked me to write something, and I promise you: I've thought about it. I've even tried! But I've been a bit preoccupied and also, if I'm being honest, a bit uninspired. But a very wise friend said to me once that creativity comes in seasons. There are times when we are in full bloom and can create and produce beautiful things at a remarkable pace. Then there are other seasons where our creativity lies dormant, and we can use this time to rest and nourish ourself, until we are able to start making things again.

So that's where I've been. Dormant.

There are a few reasons I've not been writing. The first is quite practical: my new apartment. The place I moved into last November ended up being an absolute nightmare. I don't have the time or the energy - or the bandwidth - to detail all the problems I had. A fresh hell arose every week with somethin…

Beautiful and True

In Blue Like Jazz, Don Miller writes the phrase "beautiful and true" a lot. I've always loved that. I think the truth is always, in some form, beautiful, and I love the idea that there are life moments that teach us what those beautiful and true things are.

My friend and I sat on my couch in my Ottawa apartment as the clock struck midnight on 1 January 2015. My friend and I toasted, as I had every year before, to "hoping this is the best year yet!"

If you read my last blog post, you know that 2015 was not the Best Year Yet. We could, if we're speaking in superlatives anyway, say it was probably one of the worst. At 12:01am on 1 January, I received a really crappy email from a boy I wanted to be dating, and everything kind of went off the rails from there (I won't rehash it all here, but you can see my last post for the nitty gritty, where I laid out my woes in great detail).

About two months ago, everything in my life almost instantaneously reversed. I …