As I hinted at last week, I was recently interviewed and photographed for fashion blog TorontoVerve and the post has gone live. I talk about my love of typewriters, and also about my writing philosophy: what motivates me, what I like to write about it, how it provides catharsis, and how all writers need to HUSTLE! And it features my beloved 91-year-old typewriter that I blogged about here.
The photographs are pretty punk-rock. I know I’m not perfect, but hey, LOOK AT ALL THE FUCKS I GIVE.
Last month I did a wee little photoshoot with TorontoVerve at Ashbridge’s Bay. We collab’d on a previous shoot back in 2012 and it was nice to reconnect. We both had some great ideas of what kind of themes and images we’d like to explore in this shoot, and we brought them together: typewriters and lakes! Fun fact: the water was so icy cold, we had to keep running to shore every 5 minutes because our feet were going hypothermic. Here’s to fashion, err’one.
I like to think my face in the above photo says, “You interrupted me.”
Or perhaps, “I give zero fucks.”
And this one says, “Enjoy my resting bitch face.”
As I type this, I am running to catch my flight from Brussels Charleroi Airport to Warsaw Chopin! As I previously blogged about, starting today, I will be in Warsaw, then to Lodz and finally to Poznan to blog and tweet about Poland’s history, economy and environmental protection as a guest of the Polish Ministry of Economy!
I haven’t been to Poland since 2006 so I’m extra eager to see that wonderful country and people again. Here are some snaps from that epic 2006 European Extravaganza:
The old town of Warsaw at dusk. From what I remember, the entire old town was understandably destroyed during the Warsaw Uprising and the duration of World War II so they actually rebuilt the old town using pre-war photographs as a guide!
I loved the colours of the city.
And the breakdancing! The city was so alive with fervour and energy.
For years, this was the best photograph I felt I had ever taken. Those people at the end of the alley walked by just as I plunged down on the shutter, and it created a very haunting moment. I look at this photograph and I see a lot of flaws now, but I always am reminded of how I was discovering my photographic style and Warsaw helped facilitate that.
After a lot of sleuthing and getting lost a bunch of times, I also found all by myself the last remnants of the Warsaw Ghetto Wall. Built by the occupying Nazis, this wall cordoned off an area of just 3.4 square kilometres that held over 400,000 Jews. Just think about that for a second. Imagine in Toronto, the space between Harbord Street to the CN Tower inhabited by 400,000 people. That’s insane. Of course, most of the Ghetto and the wall were destroyed by the war and of subsequent redevelopment, but there is still a small section standing, and on this particular day in the summer of 2006, I had it all to myself.
Touching the wall was something else.
I hope to have more adventures and eye-opening experiences over the course of this trip, and I’m very humbled and grateful to have been chosen to participate!
And even better – I’m bringing along one of my favourite people ever: Anny Chih! Many of you might remember way back in 2009 when both Anny and I were Top 50 finalists in the global Best Job in the World campaign. We were strangers from opposite sides of the country united through that experience, and we became great friends! We’ve explored Vancouver, New York, and Toronto together, and there’s no one else I’d rather explore Poland with 🙂
Keep an eye on this blog and on the Twitter hashtag #Polska14 to keep up with all of our Polish activities!
See you guys soon in Warsaw!
WordPress likes to promote some of the hottest and most interesting blogs on their server, and my lil blog The Spadina Monologues was chosen as their first pick for Street Art!! This is a big deal, because not only was I featured on WordPress’s official blog, but they also sent out a newsletter to EVERY SINGLE WORDPRESS USER featuring my photographs.
I was wondering why my stats were going a big crazy.
So hello to all of my new followers and readers today! You have excellent taste.
This blog is almost exclusively about street art and graffiti, with a tinge of event-coverage and travel-stories, so if you liked what WordPress had to say about me, you’ll enjoy scrolling through the rest of this blog.
Let us celebrate this wondrous event by adding “Wind” to “Hair.”
Fanks WordPress and fanks to you, my munchkins, for your support 🙂
Recently I received a charming invitation to “blog hop” about my writing experience. How it works is: a blogger/writer blogs about their writing process, and then nominates three other blogger/writers to do the same… and so it goes. Oh the blogs you can hop through in this network!
I was nominated by writer and editor Rachel Stuckey to blog it like it’s hot, a challenge I would never shy away from, and so now you get to read an insight into my life as a writer. If you’re a writer like me, or you’re interested in becoming one, hearing about the writing processes and habits of other writers is always invaluable information that you an apply to your own process.
I’ve done this before, a few years ago I was an invited panellist at my alma mater York University to speak about my experience in the writing and publishing industry. Here’s a clip from that lecture, where I was telling the students how to go about getting funding and grants for their creative writing projects from Canadian funding bodies:
A lot of the other writers in this blog-hop are travel writers, which I am as well, but I also do fiction (novels and short stories), playwrighting, spoken word, music/film/theatre/book reviews, academic essays, interviews with notable personalities, and basically anything remotely related to writing that interests me, so I cover a lot of bases.
Anyway, enjoy my insights and writing-foibles!
What am I working on/writing?
I recently finished writing my second novel! I have been editing it with the help of some outside eyes and also in conjunction with my literary agent, and it is ready to be taken to the next level. I don’t want to talk too much about this on here because I feel like it will jinx it, but when the “next level” has been achieved, I will blog the snot out of it, trust me. I have also been working on a whole bunch of short stories and have been submitting them to literary journals which, as any writer will tell you, carries a long waiting sentence before you receive word of acceptance or rejection. So while I wait patiently, I have already begun brewing in my head the concept for my next novel! Novel number three, here we go. This one will involve some historical figures and a lot of research, so for the foreseeable future, you can find me living in the library. Ah, Old-Book-Smell. How I love thee.
How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?
My literary agent told me recently that the reason why he was so eager to sign me to his roster is because I am a “fearless” writer. Everybody wants to be a writer. Everybody wants to write the next great novel, but most of the time, they don’t want to take the chances necessary to achieve such goals. My writing, first and foremost, has a distinct voice. I spent years crafting my style, my form, my content, and my voice. For some writers, all that stuff comes naturally. Not me. I am not naturally gifted like Kerouac or Keats. I have had to work for every writing-coup I’ve ever had. The structure of each sentence is a BIG DEAL to me. So when it comes to what I write about, and my style of writing, I have to be provocative, and take chances, and let the story go to places that make even me uncomfortable. There’s no point in writing if you’re not willing to be vulnerable.
Why do I write what I do?
Great question. I don’t think anyone has ever asked me why I write fiction.
For as long as I can remember, I have always been a storyteller. I used to love crafting up little narratives in my head as a little girl and then telling Mum about them. When I was in Grade 4 and our English teacher gave us the assignment to write a short story, everyone turned in about 4 pages worth of writing. I turned in 40.
I always had my nose in a book, and would get huge book deliveries from Scholastic (remember Scholastic!!) every few weeks. I couldn’t read enough, most of the time. And I always felt the urge to tell stories, especially when new concepts and ideas would pop into my head. I always preferred making up the stories, rather than telling true stories, so fiction naturally became my weapon of choice. By the time I was 12 years old, just the sight of a sharpened pencil and a huge stack of crisp loose-leaf paper would get me all giddy.
I guess I enjoy the freedom that fiction affords. The freedom to completely own the story that you tell, and the characters therein. I love the ability to fashion wild scenarios, and explore all the dark facets of human behaviour when stuck in such scenarios. Non-fiction and memoir have to be true and grounded in reality. Fiction is beholden to neither. That is just too tempting for such a dreamer like me.
When I got my first professional publication at the age of 18, I never looked back. I was hooked.
I double-majored Theatre Studies and Creative Writing in university, and returned to both subjects for my Masters degree. Since then, I have been published in literary anthologies, literary journals, travel anthologies, daily newspapers, weekly alternative magazines, glossy mags, national and international reviews, academic reviews, and even an encyclopedia. I’ve had about five plays produced, and I’ve lectured and performed at academic and creative conferences around the world.
How does my writing process work?
I actually have a strange writing process. Firstly, I absolutely need to write my first draft by hand.
Even though I type faster than I write.
Even though this means that I have to go through mounds and mounds of notebooks filled with messy scribblings, and arrows criss-crossing all over the page.
I cannot just stare at a blinking cursor and start to write. I need to have a pen in my hand and paper before me. I think this has to do with the actual act of writing. I see it as a violent act. The violence of pressing the pen nub into the paper and scratching your words into its surface, forever defacing it. There’s something about the Violence of Writing, as I call it, that is required for me to tell a good story.
Secondly, I can’t write at home. I need to be out in public.
Maybe because writing is such a solitary and isolating experience, that the sheer presence of others makes me feel less alone.
Maybe because there are too many distractions at home (like bed and Facebook….. mmmmm, Facebook in bed….sooo tempting).
Maybe because my stories are usually set in urban areas, so it requires me to be situated amongst the populous to inspire the descriptions about life in the metropolis…
Maybe because the word Writer is synonymous with Coffee Shop, and therefore one is always apt to find themselves amongst other writers down at their local latte-hole.
Who knows? All I know is that I’m weird, man.
I nominate Fran Harvey over at Bookworms and Coffee Monsters because she’s just gotten her first poetry publication and is ON FIRE at the moment with writing and submissions and can surely offer some keen insight into her work and process.
Onto the next blog-hop!
I was asked recently to be interviewed for View The Vibe, an online magazine that profiles Torontonians in the food, beauty and cultural sectors. It was a fun little interview where I talk about travelling, writing, and crying into my lattes (sort of). I also use the word “ejaculate.”
. . . . . .
YOU SEE CHRISTINE, THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.
Anyway, check out the interview here! Enjoy and leave a comment 🙂
I can’t believe I’ve been running this blaaaaag for SEVEN FUCKING YEARS. I’m either tenacious, dedicated, insane, or I just have a lot to say.
I started this thang in April 2005 after my one-act play called The Spadina Monologues was staged at the New Ideas Festival at Alumnae Theatre in Toronto …. I think I started it as a way to just promote my writing, to talk about my experience of living in the city, to talk about my life through storytelling and prose … but most of all, it was just an excuse to write every day.
It has morphed over the years from writing experiments, personal stories, and self-promotion into theatre and film critiques, travelogues, backpacking, travel photography, adventure activities, street art, graffiti, and urban culture.
This blog has seen me get my first publications and theatre productions, seen me backpack all around the world, seen my fall in love, seen me fall spectacularly out of love, seen me move to the other side of the planet for a few years, seen me star in a reality TV show, seen me partake in global campaigns … and seen me be super boring sometimes when I talk about drinking coffee or buying skirts or other bullshit I have been known to blog.
Lately I find talking about myself super-lame. Instead of talking about my life, I talk about urban experiences and people can still get a sense of who I am through the things I choose to cover on here. Pretty much the same thing. Fanks to all my readers who have stuck around through the good and the clusterfucks. You guys are the ruling class.
Anyhoo, here’s to another SEVEN YEARS!
BLOG IT LIKE IT’S HOT!
(Photo by Chris Luckhardt)
“But whereas a girl of nineteen draws her confidence from a surfeit of attention, a woman of twenty-nine is nourished on subtler stuff. Desirous, she chooses her apéritifs wisely, or, content, she enjoys the caviare of potential power. Happily she does not seem, in either case, to anticipate the subsequent years when her insight will often be blurred by panic, by the fear of stopping or the fear of going on. But on the landings of nineteen or twenty-nine she is pretty sure that there are no bears in the hall.”
— F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night
“Girl you’ve got balls……I have been following your blog for a few months….Very enjoyable, I like your attitude about what you want to do……Clear one thing up, I am not hitting on you, although if I was 40 yrs younger it would be a good idea………I like looking at blogs of young people and especially attractive young ladies, as you are…..Much better than young men……Most of the people I go to lunch with are young ladies. I like being around young people…….And a young attractive young lady with balls is very entertaining.
I really was going to write you a while back when you were talking about being bullied by a classmate. Scott I believe……Christine I have no idea what you looked in grade school but if it was bad you sure grew out of it….Just because a person has tits and a vagina does not automatically make them attractive to me…..You are on fine looking lady…..I saw a pic of your Mother, I am older than her, so again this is not interweb sex . I am just an old shit and wanted to say hi and how I enjoy watching your life on the web……
I saw you mention something about a health issue…..I hope it is nothing serious…..Have you posted about it?
Just keep on being you and having a good life……………….
-(redacted for privacy), Kansas, USA
fanks dirty old man! i have a soft spot for dirty old men, it would seem. they’re sweet, in a pervy kind of way. they fall in love with me, i turn them into friendly father figures who can soothe me about my life when it seems in shambles, and everybody prospers.