January 6, 2018.
Happy New Year! Still working on books. "The Puberty Drawer" published in The Feathertale Review. My life is quite different now.
Happy New Year! It's 2018, and my world is much different than the last time I wrote! It's freezing cold outside, and I have committed to staying in my apartment for two days straight. This gives me just enough downtime to write to you. Hi. There's a pic of me up there celebrating New Years with a fish I met.
So I guess I'll get right into it — by far the biggest thing that's happened to me has been my work with CUPE 3902, my union that represents my teaching work. I first became involved in working on the bargaining team for my teaching unit, and once we got into negotiations, I was hooked. I now am on the Executive Committee and am exploring different ways I can further commit myself to the labour movement. We'll have to see what the future holds!
I have still been working away on my two books, despite a very busy semester. I spent most of the fall and early winter editing and writing for Just Pervs. Now, I'm hoping to move onto my novel for a bit. I keep thinking I'm finished and then I walk away from it and get another brainwave and have to rework the whole thing. It's been a very humbling experience (which is good for any writer I think!). I went to my friend, Menaka's, cottage to have a writing retreat with her and Sofia (photo above). We got a lot done, and I'm planning a solo retreat in February so I can focus on my novel.
One of the stories from Just Pervs, "The Puberty Drawer", came out in The Feathertale Review this winter! I also did a couple readings in November and December. I'll write in more detail about these another day.
As usual, I've been loving reading. My top books that I read in 2017? Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum , Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin, Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong, and History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund. I also read Madame Bovary for the first time this summer and screamed, "THE BOV, NO!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? WHAT? OMG," the whole time. I was a little over-invested.
Thanks for reading!
June 25, 2017.
"Just Pervs" chapbook released with Desert Pets Press. "Two Sex Addicts Fall in Love" out in This Magazine. Trip to Bali. Many adventures. Working away.
Well, I think I've already violated my two promises to you -- that these posts would be more frequent and shorter. This is gonna be a long one, crammed with stuff, and I apologize in advance.
2017 so far has been a wonderful year for me, full of changes and growth. Unlike other years, there haven't been any big leaps or big upsets or major successes, just slowly everything is coming together closer to a life I want to live.
One big thing that has happened this past month was the release of my new chapbook, "Just Pervs". On June 8th, I released the chapbook with Desert Pets Press along with Jessie Jones and Jessica Bebenek. The books looked great -- as you can see above, mine is covered in boobs and butts -- tits 'n' ass! -- but also severed arms and legs. Why? You'll have to read it to find out! The chapbook contains a single story told in fragments and multiple voices and is the title story for the collection, Just Pervs, which I've been working on for a couple years. You can buy the chapbook now on the Desert Pets Press website or in their Etsy store.
It's great to see part of this collection start to go out into the world. This Magazine also recently published one of the short stories called "Two Sex Addicts Fall in Love." It's about two sex addicts who fall in love. Andrew Battershill is their new fiction editor and bringing out some really great stuff.
At the end of May, I went on a trip to Bali, Indonesia. I don't really have a lot of experience travelling, but I had the time and the means to do it for the first time in my life, other than a few small trips. I went for only 10 days, but I had a great time. For the first 8 days, I mostly just relaxed in the south around Ungasan and Jimbaran, wrote, saw some sights, and read Anna Karenina for the first time. By the time I went to Ubud for two days, I was ready to be around people again and make some friends, so I reached out to a group on Facebook and set up some coffee and dinner hangouts with people who lived in Bali. I also went to a writer's meetup, which involved talking about writing for an hour and then silent writing. Everyone except for me lived in Bali but were expats. It was really interesting hearing people's stories and how they came to Bali. I also did something called Trash Heroes, which is a group of people who are dedicated to improving the trash situation in Bali. I participated with the Ubud chapter and picked up trash for about an hour. Everyone I met in Bali were so welcoming. I realized that back home, it's so hard to trust anyone; we're always expecting to be hurt. But in other places it's not always like that. There is a different sense of trust in your fellow people and a true sense of community. But perhaps I just had good experiences.
I've been trying to bring this attitude of exploration to my life here in Toronto as well. I'm trying lots of new things, and there are so many beautiful places to go around Ontario as well. One of the pictures above (the last one with the dock) is from a trip to a cottage on Georgian Bay that I visit yearly with Michelle and Vincent Colistro (Michelle publishes as Michelle Brown) and The Joe (publishes as Joe Thomson). Although we got bitten to hell this past year, it was nice to go somewhere and be surrounded by nature, especially so soon after my big trip, to remind myself that there is beauty close by.
Anyway, that's about all for me! I'm still working on my two books, but it's looking more realistic to have them done by the end of the summer. Finally.
Thanks for reading!
May 2, 2017.
New website. Chapbook to be released in June with Desert Pets Press.
Welcome to my new website! As you can see much has been reworked and simplified. I'll try to have shorter and more frequent blog posts on here, as well as continue to post appearance dates and links to my work.
I have a chapbook coming out with Desert Pets Press in early June! It will be of my short story, "Just Pervs", which is the title story for my collection. I'm really looking forward to seeing this story as its own chapbook and to see what cool illustrations Emma Dolan puts in it!
Two very important people to me have some big stuff up on the net. Sofia Mostaghimi has put up her own website of her work. Joe Thomson had a flash fiction piece, "Sugo," published on The Matador Review. Please check them out! They both help me out with my work and are like my family.
I'll have much more to post here soon. I'm off work writing for the summer and soon will be going on a big trip to write and see a little more of the world.
Have a great night and thanks for seeing my new website!
December 27, 2016.
Read at Pivot, Light Reading, Adele Barclay's Launch. Hosted IFOA event. Wrote my first blurb for Adam Zachary's The End, by Anna. Cultivating several hobbies. A lot of changes this year. Good ones. Trying to write to the end of Just Pervs and Where Everything Glows.
So it seems like it's been another four months since I last wrote on here, and we're coming up to the end of 2016. Yay, another year done.
I currently am at my parents' place where I retreated for the holidays, hoping to finish up writing Just Pervs and Where Everything Glows. It's going okay, but of course, I'm never as fast as I want to be. But it's going and the process keeps getting more and more fun, which is nice.
We did Christmas Eve at my parents' and then headed over to my brother and his wife's place. As soon as we got there, she told us she was feeling a little sick. Throughout breakfast, she couldn't eat and then she started shaking. She ended up staying home from my aunt's place. I ate a bit of pineapple in a jelly salad, which I'm allergic to, so I thought my rocky stomach was just that.
Yeah, no. I had the shakes all night yesterday and had to go to bed. My brain isn't quite back up to fiction-writing-ability, so I thought I'd catch you all up instead. You're welcome.
Aside from writing these books this year, I've been trying to do a bunch of different things, mostly just to improve my enjoyment of life and my mental health, while still fighting the boredom that often drives me to overwork. It's been great! I'm feeling better than I remember ever feeling, am balanced, and am able to keep everything organized. Aside from some minimal social burnout, I'm glad I got through last year's depression and anxiety as a stronger, more even person.
My friend, Emma, and I took a woodcarving class on Monday nights with renowned carver, Gordon Becker. It was just through the Toronto District School Board, so we were shocked to have a teacher with so many professional designations and experience. I made a curled up, sleeping fox.
We're going to be taking a Spanish class and non-traditional printmaking and silkscreen this upcoming semester. We also took a knitting class in the summer.
In addition to these crafts and hobbies, I've been completing my TESL certification and I've taken up rockclimbing with Sofia Mostaghimi (who recently put out a story in this cool anthology). I'm hooked and am trying to do it a couple times a week.
All of this means that I haven't been going out to as many events as last year. I'm still trying to support the community as best I can (and may even have an idea for a new project I'll start working on in 2017), but it's been nice for me to open my social spheres and activities beyond writing. I think it's necessary to keep the work fresh and good.
This fall, I still got to read at a Pivot that Canisia Lubrin hosted in September, a Light Reading (run by Adam Zachary), and at Adele Barclay's launch of her wonderful poetry book, If I Were in a Cage, I'd Reach Out For You. At all of these, I read Just Pervs stuff, and I find sharing new stories with my peers just the thing to keep me going.
At the end of October, I also hosted an event for IFOA featuring Rosemary Sullivan interviewing Eleanor Wachtel. This is me checking out the backroom at the Fleck Dance Theatre.
I also wrote my first ever blurb this year, for Adam Zachary's The End, by Anna. It's a great book, and I was so happy that it was the first book I have been able to blurb. The thing about Adam is that whatever they are working on, whether it's their reading series, poetry, or fiction, it's super interesting and feels new and real. Metatron is doing some interesting stuff too and is definitely a press to watch.
I'm looking forward to seeing what 2017 has in store for me, especially since this has been a year packed with growth and changes. I hope that I keep growing, keep feeling good, and that you all are feeling good too!
Happy New Year!