"Blogging isn't journalism, it's graffiti with punctuation."

academic essays

My latest essay in the @NYTimes: Taking Back My Eyebrows

So . . . this happened.

I sold an essay to The New York Times! They launched a new column in the Style section called Rites Of Passage, and I’m one of the first people to be published in it. I’ve been keeping a lid on this news for a while because, even after I sign a contract, I’m still never sure something will be published until I see it in print. Working with my editors at the Times was incredible, they were so kind and generous. This was a very quick process too, from submitting, to acceptance, to editing, to published. I’m so pleased with how it all turned out. Read it here!

One thing was edited out which I’ll share here: a behind the scenes look at some of things I wanted to say.

Well, I won’t tell you, I’ll show you:

I mean, it’s obvious why that wasn’t included in the final version, but as many of you already know, when it comes to my eyebrows, I GOT STORIES.

Thanks for the support, and if you want more, don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com, where you can read in full all of my published work!

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#SamanthaBee can say ‘feckless cunt’ all she wants: my latest essay in @NYDailyNews

So, funny story.

I was tweeting, as I am wont to do.

An editor at the New York Daily News saw it, and asked me if I’d like to write an op-ed.

So I banged out an essay in 27 minutes.

I’m published online and in today’s print edition so IF YOU LIVE IN NYC, can you head to a newsstand, grab a copy and help a sistah out? I’ll reimburse you if you mail it to meeeeeeee.

Seeing as how all of my UK/EU friends cannot read the essay online because of the new GDPR regulations, I have screencapped the whole thing here. Enjoy!

 


Read my latest essay published in @WalrusMagazine !

Here’s something I’ve been keeping a lid on for some months, but am super excited to finally share! I sold a story to The Walrus! For my international readers, The Walrus is a Canadian magazine that could easily be likened to The New Yorker – a highly-curated arts and culture magazine with some amazing critical thinkers writing for and creating the magazine. It’s a national magazine, available across the country.

My essay, published today, is about the time last year when I found a roll of film on the curb and set out to find the lost photographer. It’s a really quirky story that involves a lot of six-degrees-of-kevin-bacon but also about expectations v reality. I may or may not mention Amélie once or twice within this piece. Check it out and share it with your friends!

So here’s something funny about this process of being a freelance writer that is related to this story – last year, another magazine (which shall remain nameless) bought this story. They sat on this story for 7 months. They edited it so it stripped out all the colour, flare, style, and tone of my writing. They were absolutely unreachable at times, and it was a super frustrating experience working with them. Finally, a publication date for this past January was set. They paid me in full in anticipation of the publication date. Then, ON THE DAY it was set to be published, I received an email from the editor, saying that they were killing the story because it was “too local” and not something that would appeal to people across the country.

What the shizz?

Not once in the 7 months that they had the story was the concern that it was “too local” ever raised. Also, that’s a bullshit criticism, you guys have read the story, do you find this story unappealing to people outside of Toronto? Rhetorical question.

And worst of all, before that publication had bought the story, I had pitched it elsewhere, & some places only got back to me after said-publication bought it. So I had turned down other publications for them! For those of you outside of the publishing world, you should know this kind of behaviour and practice is all SUPER UNPROFESSIONAL. I’ve had stories killed before, but not on the DAY it was to be published, for such a lame excuse, after paying me in full. Most writers I know have had similar experiences with them, and warned me about them.  So in my reply, I told them exactly what I thought. May the bridges I burn light the way.

I subsequently erased ALL the edits they did on my piece, and went back to my true voice that they tried to strip from the piece. Sometimes editors try to “trim the fat” of a story, but any chef will tell you that the fat has all the flavour. Good writing requires a style and a voice, and I wasn’t going to let them convince me my voice needed to be trimmed.

Fast forward to this past autumn, The Walrus bought the story (and frankly, The Walrus is a much better publication, with a helluva lot more respect), and the process of fashioning and editing the piece with them has been light years ahead and beyond what said-shizz-publication was like. And I’m super proud of this end result. Because above all, I found a publication that nurtured and encouraged my voice and style.

There are a lot of shady things publications try to do to freelance writers  . . . and most of the time, they get away with it. Being freelance means you don’t get the support of HR and you’re in this legal gray area most of the time. So I’ve learned that you have to be your best advocate in this business . . .  because the world doesn’t owe you any favours. Hustle and work hard, and it will all sort itself out in the end.

And maybe, if you’re really lucky, you’ll get paid twice for the same story 😉

(Yes that was tacky of me, but I’m not deleting it.)

Don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com for more of my published essays, stories, and more!


Never Pay For Another Hotel Again: my latest in @VICE

You might have noticed I’ve been publishing a lot of travel writing lately, if you’ve been coming here often, which is fitting seeing as how much of my life has been spent on the road, or planning my next trip. My latest piece in VICE is about how I became a profesh housesitter, and all the fun, follies, foibles, fur-babies and FUBAR situations therein. It’s a great way to travel the world if you’re flexible and you’re not too fussy about where you go . . . and if you can solve clusterfucks like a boss. Read the whole piece here.

Speaking of housesitting and being on the road, my next housesitting extravaganza begins on MONDAY! I’m heading back to my old stomping grounds, London UK, to housesit for a month! I’ll be looking after two Snugglebum von Cuddletummies and hanging out with my friends. Super excited to have my Christmas and New Years there too. How very Dickensian of me.

If you need me, I’ll be sleeping in some corner of a European railway station.

Check out the official Christine Estima dot com for more of my published travel essays, short stories, spoken word performances, and more!

 


Plus-Size Instagram Stars: my latest in @Broadly

Recently, you might remember I published a couple of pieces with BROADLY about the plus-size industry – modelling, photography, fashion – and now another has hit the presses, this time my interview with an up-and-coming plus-size Instagram star. We talk about the trolls who scour Instagram for plus-size posts, and how she deals with them. You can read it in full here.

Check out more of my stories, essays, performances, and reviews at Christine Estima dot com!


Using A Disposable Underwater Camera in a Swimming Hole: my latest in @VICE

As promised, more of my travel writing has gone up on VICE, it’s a whirlwind of publications around here, fam. This piece is about the cenotes of Mexico, which are subterranean swimming holes, and I illustrate the piece with pics I took using an underwater disposable camera. As you can see, the results are quote ethereal, haunting, almost tableau-like. Read it in full here.

I’ve been really lucky as a travel writer to get a lot of my pieces published in some really great publications, but I feel like the amount of my published travel pieces pales in comparison to how much travel I’ve actually done in my life. I’ve traversed this planet many times over, and it’s no where near quitting time. So I hope this trend of getting all of my fubar clusterfucks, epic extravaganzas, and adventures published in print will continue.

Here’s to writing on the road!

Don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com for more!

 


Hunting #SpaceInvaders in London: my latest in @VICECanada

Many of you know I’m a huge fan of Invader. I have a whole category dedicated to him on this here blog, of all the times I’ve photographed his work around the world. This goes back yeaaaarrrrrssss. I love a good graff-hunt, and he is the epitome of that. In any case, I sold another essay to VICE in partnership with Travel Nation about hunting ‘Vaders specifically in London using the Flash Invaders app to maximize my huntin’. Read all about it here. All the photography published in the piece is also mine!

I’ve been publishing a lot of pieces lately, so scroll down this blog to read more of my stuff in various publications. And don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com for more!


Backpacking across Europe for less than €15 a day: my latest in @VICECanada

Wow, two blog posts in one day? This reminds me of my New York Clusterfuck of 2011 where I was blogging 13 times a day (ooof . . .  sorry about that btw). I never blog this often anymore! But when you’ve got a lot going on, it’s nice to share it with a network that supports your voice and your work.

All you regular munchkins know that I’ve been backpacking around the world since 2005 and have published A LOT of travel writing in various publications. To that end, VICE partnered with Travel Nation to create more travel content on the network, and they asked me to write a whole bunch of pieces from my days on the road. No problem, hope they don’t mind me spilling litres of ink on the subject. I’ve got stories!

The first of my many pieces was published in October (I just realized it now . . . I’ve been busy writing!), and it’s about that time I backpacked across Europe for 30 days with the challenge of living off of €15 a day. Read it here! Also, all the photography included in the piece is mine as well.

Yes, I actually did live off of €15 a day. Since I’m such a penny-pincher with purse-strings tighter than a sphincter, it really wasn’t that difficult for me. And not only did I live like a queen, I actually was saving money. I walked away with a surplus. I kept a ledger in my Notepad app to track how much I was spending, case in point, here’s what I would spend in a typical day:

haha, remember when the Notepad app looked like this?

There’s more where that came from in the piece, so read-on dear grasshopper if you want to learn how to travel the world without breaking the bank.

Expect more from me on this topic soon, I’ve already written many more that are currently being edited by the team for this sponsored project.

Don’t forget to check out Christine Estima dot com for more of my published travel writing!


Check out 2 of my pieces on the #plussize industry published in @Broadly

My regular work with VICE led me to a unique opportunity. Broadly, the women-focused channel within the VICE umbrella, partnered with plus-size fashion line Addition-Elle to create content celebrating women of all shapes and sizes. They asked me if I’d like to write a few pieces on the topic. Um, YES. I love plus-size fashion photography because of the way it busts open all of those tropes surrounding what is and isn’t “allowed” to be sexy. Plus-size models show that there are many ways to be sexy. Sexy isn’t one thing. It’s many things.

As you’ll see from these pieces, I go into all of that with my interview subjects. First, I interviewed plus-size fashion photographer Anastasia Garcia, which you can read here.

 

Then, I interviewed plus-size model Nadia Aboulhosn. This was super exciting for me because, as I say in the piece, I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time. She’s a game-changer and full of chutzpah, so this was definitely a delight. You can read that piece here.

There’s more from me to come on the topic, most likely in December, so watch this space.

Don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com for more of my published works!


Check out my latest #shortstory published in @PrismLitMag !

Discussion Questions for Your Book Club,” my most recent short story, has been published in the new summer issue of Prism International, a literary magazine based out of B.C., and you can find it on the bookshelves nationwide now. I found a copy at Type Books! You can also order your copy online if you don’t live in Canada or near a book seller!

Plotless fiction! Why I never! Type Books, I resent that!

There’s a funny story behind this. So I’ve been a huge fan of Prism for years and have been trying to crack into their pages for over a decade. EASILY over a decade. Over the past year, I noticed that when I submitted a piece to their fiction editor (who recently left the mag….sad face!), he would reply with awfully kind  and encouraging rejections. He was like, “I like this a lot. I can’t use it though. Submit to me again!”

So I kept submitting every time I had something new. And his replies were like, “Okay I laughed out loud at this, it’s hella-funny! Still can’t use it, but submit again!”

Personalized rejections are rare in this business, so I didn’t take his encouragement for granted. I kept trying and trying and trying. But, when you submit to magazines online using Submittable, you have to pay a small fee (which is standard across the board), so because I was submitting so much, he was like, “Your next submission is on me, just email it to me, and I’ll plug it into Submittable manually for you.”

Which was super duper kind of him, he didn’t have to do that at all. Anyway, it was that very free submission that turned out to be the winner. He got back to me and was like, “YAAS QUEEN.”

I’m paraphrasing of course.

But you get the idea.

TL;DR – Sure, talent is your most important asset, but you also need drive, ambition, patience, and persistence. If you don’t have those qualities, you won’t last. HUSTLE YOUR ASSES OFF, MY LITTLE CREATIVE MUNCHKINS.

One last thing I’ll say about this story — before I submitted it to Prism, I submitted it to Granta, a huuuuuuge literary magazine based out of the UK. They’re a big deal. They were doing a themed issue on Canada and were looking for Canadian writers and Canadian stories. The issue was edited by Canadian literary superstars Madeleine Thien and Catherine Leroux. Anyway, I got a rejection letter. Which is pretty standard in this industry, I get rejection letters all the time, and they’ve never bothered me. I’ve been lucky with some of the kind rejections I’ve received (like Prism!), but getting a personalized rejection is RARE. Like, it almost never happens. Boilerplate rejections are par for the course. So imagine my surprise when superstar Madeleine Thien added a personalized note at the bottom of the rejection letter!!

Sometimes, for a writer, all it takes is a little bit of encouragement and some nice words from a stranger to put you right again.

And almost directly following this, Prism was like, GURRRRRRL, this is dope. Done. Sold. Sign here.

Again. Paraphrasing.

Anyway, if you’ve read the story, I’d love your thoughts, comments, and feedback.

And as always, don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com for more of my published stories, essays, interviews, plays, and more!


How Men Can Stop Street Harassment: my latest article in @VICE

Earlier this week I endured yet again an incident of street harassment. It happens almost every day. So much so, that it’s almost normalized as part of my daily routine. Get up, take a shower, grab a cuppa from Timmies, and tell some douchenozzle to go fuck himself.

This incident was different because a nice young couple came to my aid. I started thinking about all the ways men can be an ally to women to women when they observe street harassment. So many men, supposedly “nice guys,” will just ignore it and pretend it isn’t happening. BUT IT IS HAPPENING, and we need your support and solidarity.

Do you nice guys call out harassment when you see it? Or do you just stand there and watch whilst thinking about how nice you are?

So, with some encouragement from my editor, I wrote about it for VICE. Read it in full here. Enjoy!

And as always, you can visit the official Christine Estima dot com to read more of my published essays, op-eds, columns, short stories, travel writing, and much much more.




Travelling While Woman: Check out my latest essay in @vicecanada

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Travel for women is never simple, espesh when you require reproductive health care on the road. That’s the topic of my latest essay for VICE. Solo women travelers always need to plan for incidentals that men need not – whether it’s what we can wear in any given country, to what kind of health care we can access – and many times these services are priced beyond our budget, not covered by insurance, and require extreme measures.

Click the above image or here to read.

Don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com to read all of my previous essays for VICE and many other magazines, newspapers, and journals. TO THE TYPEWRITERS!

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Check out my @VICE interview with #TIFF16 film director Alice Lowe

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The Toronto International Film Festival was amazing this year, I saw so many films (as documented by this round-up I wrote for VICE last week), and the fest is always such an electric time to be on the streets of Toronto. Everything is alive.

Speaking of life, the film PREVENGE is about a pregnant woman whose fetus tells her to kill people. So OF COURSE I had to interview the director/writer/performer Alice Lowe. Check out what she had to tell me about women in the film industry and pregnancy stigmas over here on VICE.

Fun fact: I had first seen Alice Lowe in an episode of Sherlock (season 3 episode “Sign of Three“) and the whole time we were talking, her voice was just reminding me of one of her lines from Sherlock, “A GHOST, MR HOLMES!” and then a drunk Watson saying to her, “He’s clueing for looks.”

I am a gigantic nerd.

Check out the official Christine Estima dot com for more of my VICE essays and articles, and much more.

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Read my #TravelWriting piece in The Globe and Mail @tgamtravel #Travel section

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Two essays published in one week? I feel pretty spoiled. Head over to the Life-Travel section of The Globe and Mail (a national newspaper here in Canada) and read my piece about chasing the lost art of the Viennese Ex Libris! It’s online today, and will be published in the print edition tomorrow (Saturday, June 18, 2016). I will update this post once I have the actual thing in my painted-fingernail’d-hands.

Edit! Turn to page 5 of the Travel section!

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This has been in the works for a while and I’m super proud of how it all turned out. Working with the peeps over at G&M was really positive and I’m glad this went from pitch to published in a relatively short turnaround.  Read the piece by clicking here or the photographs!

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I’ve been really lucky over the past few years with how many editors and publications are willing to take me on, and who support my voice and writing style. Hopefully that can continue! Already, I have a few more publications that I’ve sold, slated for later this year, so when they come out, expect me to BLOG IT LIKE IT’S HOT.

Don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com. It’s got all my published works up there for you to read over a cuppa and a slice of cake. Enjoy!

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Music Worth Writing About: my piece in @thepuritan’s #TownCrier

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Remember a few months ago when my creative non-fiction piece ‘Sarajevo Roses‘ was published in The Puritan? The good peeps there asked me to contribute to their Town Crier section on the topic of music and what I like to listen to when I write. People ask me all the time what music is good for surging their creativity when they write. Here’s what I listen to. Maybe you’ll discover some new tunes that will inspire your writing. Click here or click the image above to read.

And as always, don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com to read more of my published works.

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Trade safely, wastoids: my latest essay for @ViceCanada

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Check out my latest essay in VICE about potential profiteering, race and gender discrimination, and drug trafficking occurring in the Bunz Trading Zone, Toronto’s rapidly-expanding online bartering flea market where no cash is allowed.

TL;DR – if you think coppers can’t decipher “420” or “smokeables,” think again. Don’t wake ‘n bake in the middle of a trade.

Don’t forget to check back here often, I have many more pieces (both fiction and on-fiction) set to be published soon (in fact, just yesterday I received another acceptance letter from a magazine!)! Yay writing! Yay publishing!

For more of my work with VICE, click on my VICE category, OR visit the official Christine Estima dot com for all of my VICE essays and more of my published work. Enjoy!

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Check out my latest essay ‘Sarajevo Roses’ in the new issue of @ThePuritan!

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Remember last summer when my essay ‘Sarajevo Roses’ was long-listed for the 2015 CBC Canada Writes Creative Non-Fiction Prize? They even profiled me on the CBC website (#swag).  Well now I’ve sold the piece to The Puritan! It appears in their new issue which dropped today! And, best of all, you can read the piece in its entirety on The Puritan website!

It’s a piece about my time in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2008 when the former Serbian despot and war criminal Radovan Karadzic was finally arrested and transferred to The Hague to stand trial for crimes against humanity during the Yugoslav wars and the siege of Sarajevo.  The Balkans have a special place in my heart, as I backpacked through the region at a time when you could still see war damage on every street. The former Yugoslav countries (I backpacked through Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Slovenia) hadn’t yet applied for EU membership, and for many of them, tourism was brand-new, as they had just eased their visa-requirements. It felt like I was walking through an authentic European culture untouched (for the most part) by globalization, westernization, and homogenization.

This blog is so old, you can actually read my posts from my time there. Here’s one from my time in Sarajevo and Mostar. There are photographs in that post of the actual Sarajevo Roses, and other things mentioned in The Puritan piece, like the destroyed Olympic bobsled track and the To Be Or Not To Be cafe.

It was really great working with the peeps at The Puritan, they were full of great ideas and had so many insights for my piece and how I should develop it. The issue looks nifty so check it out in full on their website!

Don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com where you can find all of my published works and more!

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Check out my latest essay in @VICE: Nicole Arbour’s lack of satire

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My latest essay has been published in VICE, about the ragebait videos of Toronto cheerleader Nicole Arbour: we all know she’s racist, misogynist, and a fat-shamer, but she also loves to hide behind the banner of “satire” to get away with her bullshit. This piece is about her lack of understanding of what constitutes satire, and also, why comedy is so important and relevant when done right.

Also, I get to talk about her asshole.

 

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It’s also one of the more popular pieces on the VICE network as of right now, so that’s pretty rad.

Some new details about her have emerged since publishing this piece (which I won’t get into on ye olde blog), and I’m getting a lot of private messages from people who have worked with her and know her, who say they can confirm some allegedly criminal behaviour on her part. Toronto is a massive metropolis but it’s small enough that everybody knows everybody somehow, and if your shit smells, people are gonna talk about it. I don’t address this controversy in my piece, but it’s interesting to note and keep in mind.

Anyway, enjoy!

Don’t forget to check out Christine Estima dot com if you want to read more of my published works, included many more of my VICE essays.

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