I Turned 31 and Let My Dream Die

When I was 10 years old, my dad went to England on a business trip. He was to spend the majority of his time driving in and around a village in Cornwall called Gweek. I thought he was, as my father is wont to do, joking. It turned out Gweek was indeed a very real place, and I was about to embark on the longest love affair of my life. My dad came home laden with pictures of rolling green countryside and roads framed with low rock walls. He told us about Cornish pasties and navigating the narrow and ancient streets, playing cornet with the local brass band in an old stone church, and the perils of driving on the opposite side of the road. He brought back Cadbury Flake chocolate bars for me and my sister. I was smitten. I spent my teen years periodically begging my parents to move us to England; or, at the very least, take us on a grand tour of London and beyond. But my mother didn’t fly, and a trip across the pond in the mid-1990s was unimaginable for my family. So I did the best I could w…

How to Cope When Your Confidence is Shot

I am, generally, fairly confident. Like any human person, I have my normal ebbs and flows - sometimes I feel like I could win over the world with a single glance; other times I feel like hiding under my desk and waiting for the apocalypse.

But I've recently experienced a real Confidence High, and now I'm sitting deep in the Confidence Low.

My team at work has just finished delivering our annual conference. It was a massive undertaking and we delivered a complex and engaging conference experience to 500 people in a very short period of time. The lead-up to the conference was a full pendulum of emotions, as successes and failures came daily - even hourly. Still, as I checked more and more items off my to-do list and looked back at the growing pile of accomplishments, my confidence level remained pretty steady.

The two-day conference was a roaring success - both for my colleagues, but also for me personally. I've never felt so proud of what I had produced. I made great connec…

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 …