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

writing

The #friendzone & dudebros: my latest essay in @Vice

So this is a funny story. Last week I got into a Twitter spat with some jabroni who was going on about the “friend zone.” I was frankly shocked to see it coming from a so-called “gentleman,” (he uses that word in his twitter handle like all gentlemen do, ‘natch) because in the circles I run in, using that term is a laughable offence. Forgot that there actually are people who think that’s a perfectly acceptable term (and the word for those people is ‘nimrod’).

In any case, one of the staff writers at VICE saw my tweets and told me I should definitely turn this into a piece.

See? NEVER SHY AWAY FROM HAVING FIGHTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

I WILL HAVE ALL THE FIGHTS WITH STRANGERS ON THE INTERNETZZZZZZZ.

Kidding! (Not kidding)

Click here to read the piece in full.

As always, don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com for more of my published essays, stories, travel writing, interviews, and 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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Video: Watch me perform @RaconteursTO!

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Recently I performed at Raconteurs, a live storytelling event that happens monthly here in Toronto. I’ve performed at Raconteurs before, and as many of you know, lots of other Spoken Word events around the world like The Moth, Spark London, GRTTWaK, and Pressgang. I feel like these events bridge a nice gap between writing and performance. I don’t like to act much, I prefer to be vulnerable on the page, rather than on the stage, but Spoken Word and Live Storytelling are a nice way to meld the two.

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I told a story about trying to become the Canadian Amélie with a little help from the Bunz Trading Zone. It’s a crazy story of trying to connect with other people — complete strangers, really — and all the foibles and follies therein. You can watch it below! Enjoy!

In this new year, I have lots of things on my plate! So many upcoming publications, performances, and more! I can’t wait to share the news with you. Even though 2016 was a dumpster fire for everyone, I made some huge advances in my career and I’m so pleased with the direction in which everything is going. Small positive steps everyday lead to big things!

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Also, I have a new adventure on the horizon! On Valentine’s Day, I head to Helsingborg, Sweden for the first time! I’ve never been (even though I lived in Europe for years and years), so when a housesitting opportunity arose, so I had to take it. After Sweden, I’ll be swinging through London, Brussels, and Amsterdam to visit my friends (and celebrate my birfday! What a crazy 3 weeks this is going to be….), so if you’re in Helsingborg and want to show this wee Canadian lass around, hit me up!

As always, don’t forget to check out Christine Estima dot CALM (har har) to read all of my published articles, watch my performances, and check out my media coverage.

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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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Check out my latest @VICE piece on #TIFF16 vs The Bechdel Test

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It’s TIFF time already and time for me to review a whole bunch of woman-hating films so you don’t have to. Last year I reviewed TIFF films that portray fierce women in leading roles, now it’s time to review the films that can’t even pass a simple test like The Bechdel Test. Read and enjoy! (or hate it, I don’t care, I’m just a blog).

Don’t forget to check out all my VICE articles, and all my many other publications, at the official Christine Estima dot com!

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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 story in @subTerrain Magazine, on the shelves now!

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Grab a copy of the current issue of subTerrain Magazine and turn to page 4 for my Creative Non-Fiction story, entitled “Rue Berri.” It’s a piece about my time in Montreal last year when I found the apartment my grandparents lived in during the 1940s. Above is a scan of the first page to whet your appetite. Included in the issue is also some of my original photography! See my hastily painted fingersnails there? SCHEXY.

Some of you have asked me where to find all these literary magazines in which I’m published. In Chapters/Indigo, you can find them in the Literature/Arts/Music section of the magazine racks. At indie book shops like Type Books or Drawn n’ Quarterly, just ask the clerks for help but those shops always have a large lit mag selection, so here’s a scan of the issue in which I appear so you can find it easily!

 

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Working with the editors at subTerrain was a dream, they were so kind and helpful. I’m so honoured to be included in the pages of this amazingly beautiful issue, I’ve been trying to break into them since, I think, 2001 or 2002-ish, when I entered a crappy, crappy story into their Lush Triumphant contest. 15 years later – success! See? That’s how long it takes writers to improve. It’s a slow process indeed.

Happy reading!

And, as always, don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com for 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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MERRY CHRIST(ine esti)MAS: 2015 Year In Review

The essence of drama is conflict. I had a lot of both in the past few years, but 2015 was oddly light and serene. I hustled my ass off, pulled every string, worked and LIVED, and received very little flack from the universe. 2015 was THE YEAR.

I started the year in New York City where I was housesitting. On a chance invite from a friend, I attended a Moth Storytelling event. I had been listening to the Moth podcast for years, and this was a story-slam event, meaning I could put my name in a hat and possibly be called up on stage. I threw my hat in the ring, decided what I would say while I was waiting in line to get into the venue, and wouldn’t you know it….

SPOKEN WORD

Live Storytelling and Spoken Word means a lot to me and I continued to do it back home in Toronto at Raconteurs:

Storytelling is an extension of writing to me. It feeds my need to tell stories and also to be a ham. I also discovered that working out ideas on stage proved excellent for cultivating written story ideas. 2015 was also the year of–

Chris Writes All The Things

Editors this year were like, “Hey Chris, do you want to publish stuff? HERE, HAVE ALL THE PUBLICATIONS YOU LIKE.”

It was like payback for many years of only publishing maybe one or two pieces every 6 months.

Of course, this wasn’t by fluke. I busted my ass, I submitted and submitted and submitted, and got rejection after rejection, but my acceptance rate kind of skyrocketed this year. I actually found myself in the odd position SEVERAL TIMES this year where I had to reject one publication because another had already bought my piece. I was selling pieces so quick, in some instances, I had to turn people down! I ALMOST sent them the lame boilerplate rejections they had sent me for years, but nahhhhhhh.

SELLING STORIES

 

The first piece I sold this year was actually an academic essay which I sold to Palaver Journal based out of a southern University. I finished my Masters Degree ten years ago, but I can still flex my chops when I need to.

Then I sold my first piece to VICE, which was really exciting because I had been reading them since 1998 and am a huge fan, so it was great to see my pieces go across the VICE network and do really well.


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Then I sold them another piece
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And then another
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And then a bajillion more…
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I found out one of my short stories made the long-list for the prestigious CBC Canada Writes Creative Nonfiction Prize, and they profiled me on the CBC website!
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Then I sold a short story to GRAIN when they wanted to buy another story of mine, but I had to turn them down because another journal had already bought it, so they asked for anything else I had, and snapped up this piece right away!
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And then I cold-pitched METRO News Canada and they printed my piece in the centrefold:
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And then EVENT published one of my Nonfiction stories in this issue:
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My bio is a BOSS-ASS BITCH
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Then I sold a travel writing piece to VERGE Magazine:
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And just a couple weeks ago, another one of my serious essays about sexual harassment and the experience of reporting it to the police was published by my old friends at AufBau:

And this isn’t even all of my publications! Just a cross-section! I also sold three more stories whose publication dates are imminent, like TOUTE SUITE, dropping in a few weeks soon! So expect to read more from me in the new year!

Speaking of HouseSitting

This year, I did back…

…to back

…to back

…to back

…to back

…to back housesitting gigs.

These pictures aren’t even all of them. In total in 2015 I did ELEVEN housesits in 12 months. Considering that 4 of them lasted more than a month, and one of them lasted almost 3 months, that’s a lot of housesitting with snugglecats and dogs and not having to pay rent.

Last name Win, first name Epic.

And it’s not over yet. I’ve been housesitting for years and years now, so why stop in 2016. Starting in January, I will be housesitting in VIENNA!!

I haven’t been to Vienna since that first European clusterfuck trip in 2005 (here are some posts about that trip…. gosh this blog is old). I was last in Austria in 2012 for my Eurail Extravaganza, but I missed out on Vienna, so I’m super excited to spend a lot of time there this Winter.

I want to to everything Viennese, like eating strudel served by Michael Haneke on a harpsichord.

I’ll also be swinging through London, Prague, and Amsterdam, so the great tapestry of adventures I’m trying to build can continue!

Hey, You Never Know

One of my main mantra’s of 2015 was “Ask and you shall receive.” In the past I’ve refrained from asking for what I wanted because I assumed the answer would be no, or, more likely, I felt pretentious for even asking. Like, who the fuck are you Christine? You got some balls asking for that.  That changed this year, when I realized that the worst thing that could happen was they’d say No. And if that’s the worst-case-scenario, it’s pretty surmountable. So with that in mind, I figured no-guts-no-glory. I’m a writer, so my income is limited (obvi). The amount of funds I can allocate to quality of life (movies, music, theatre, concerts, performances, dance, festivals, etc) is extremely limited. So what did I do when I wanted to go to an event but couldn’t afford it?

I asked for free tickets.

And I got them.

BOOM.

This year, just because I asked, I gained free entry to the following:

Once: The Musical
-National Ballet of Canada performance of Sleeping Beauty
Deadmouse: The Musical 
Basquiat exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario
-secret alt-J concert
-the Stars of the Lid concert at the Unsound Festival
Joel Plaskett Emergency concert
Bettroffenheit theatrical play
-several Toronto International Film Festival movies, including
Homesick,
Disorder/Maryland,
Bang Gang,
Summertime,
Son of Saul.

If It Ain’t Broke…

Everyone knows I’m a huge flea market person (and this year I joined the super secret but now highly coveted collective of BUNZ Trading) so this year I procured a lot of fantastic antiques at bargain prices, and sometimes, for a few tokens or a bottle of wine.

I already had a typewriter, but I still went ahead and got myself a second one. Because reasons.


My two bee-yoots, side-by-side

And then I got a rotary phone. It’s a necessity in the modern world.

And then I finally hooked up speakers to my record player, so I went on a vinyl-buying binge, and got some gems like Duke Ellington (click the little volume button in the bottom right of the vid to listen!):

and the master Django Reinhard!

With these new gadgets, I am now able to open a sassy new office… in 1979.

Speaking of Music


I went to some kick-ass concerts this year. In years past I had grown a bit tiresome of concerts (I had been a music critic for about 5 years and now I have a touch of tinnitus…) but, I guess… YOLO

This year saw me at:

-Kiasmos
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-Chilly Gonzales
-Stars of the Lid
-Hauschka
-Joel Plaskett Emergency

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I want to stuff Kiasmos into a bong and smoke them.

 

And, my, the new music I discovered this year!

FAV SINGLES OF 2015 include:

-“Emotion” by BORNS

-“Carry On” by Coeur de Pirate
-“Landfill” by Daughter

-all tracks by Tycho
-“All Clear” by Aidan Knight
-“Let it go” by Saint Saviour

-“Black to Gold” by Dear Rouge
-“Them” by Nils Frahm

-“Pretty Pimpin” by Kurt Vile

And the Oscar Goes To…


I saw a lot of films this year, and even reviewed some during TIFF for VICE. Here are the ones that haunted me long after the credits rolled:

-VICTORIA

-The Daughter

-Son of Saul

-Homesick

-CitizenFour

-Disorder/Maryland

As you can see from this list, I am not really a mainstream/Hollywood/wide-release film person. I prefer indie cinema, the ones that make the festival circuit. They usually have no money behind them and therefore can take more risks or tell stories we don’t normally see. So you can take your Chris Nolan/JJ Abrahms/Michael Bay clusterfuck and order it on DVD. Yawn.

Get Busy Livin’

As I said, I started the year in New York (housesitting). I also traveled to my hometown of Montreal (housesitting), and just recently I went to Miami (housesitting). But I really wanted to exercise my passport, so I bounced down to Mexico, Guatemala and Belize for a Mayan Adventure!

I made a short film about my experiences, I figured it was more fun than posting a bunch of touristy photos. I call it GET RICH OR DIE MAYAN. Enjoy!

To thine own selfie be true

I’ll end this post with the one thing everyone really wants to see:
BEST SELFIES OF 2015


I don’t really post selfies anymore, but I do take them from time to time. Here are the ones I took and never posted!

Remember, you only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.

Happy New Year 2016, munchkins.

SEE YOU IN VIENNA!

Check Out My official website

Don’t forget to visit ChristineEstima.com for more!


Check out my latest essay in AufBau!

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Last year I wrote a couple articles for the Swiss German monthly magazine AufBau, which has been around since the 1930s when it was based in NYC, and whose contributors have included Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt. It was a great experience and they were really easy to work with. They even translated my stuff into German which was pretty nifty! So I was delighted to get a message from them a few months ago asking me to pen a personal essay for their Winter issue! The issue “Unsere Welt,” which means “Our World,” (those German lessons paid off!) is an issue that contains a multitude of essays with a global perspective on current pressing issues of the day. My essay, which they published in both German and English, is about my experiences of reporting sexual harassment in both Toronto and London, and compares/contrasts the approach taken by both police departments. Look at the side-by-side I’ve created here:

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You can check out AufBau online here, and you can read the issue in which I appear in German and in English here.

I have sold a few more pieces lately to different journals and magazines, and am eagerly awaiting their publication dates! When they hit the shelves, you’ll be the first to know! In the meantime, don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com for all of my publications, performances, and more!

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Check out my #travel writing piece in @VergeMagazine + some travel news!

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My future’s so bright, I gotta wear shaaaades. Another publication, my little munchkins! I wrote about the benefits, the how-to’s, and the expectations/limitations of house-sitting for Verge Magazine, a wonderful, glossy travel mag. I’ve done lotsa travel writing before but not for the past few years, even though those years were consumed with crossing borders! So it was nice to flex the travel writing chops again. Above is a little snippet of the article to pique your interest. If you want to read the whole thing, the latest issue is behind a paywall, you have to buy a digital subscription… or you could ask for my password to my digital subscription … y’know, whatevs. (hint hint wink wink)

 

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Swag.

I just sold another story a couple days ago to another literary magazine, AND I’m currently working on a hard-hitting essay for my old friends at AufBau (wrote for them last year) which will be translated into Swiss German (Ausgezeichnet!), so I’m super excited for the future!

Speaking of my Verge travel piece on house-sitting, this blog will be quiet for the next little while because I’m going to be house-sitting in Miami for a while, and then directly after that I’m flying down to Central America so I can backpack across Mexico, Guatemala and Belize! All year Central America has been calling out to me. I’ve done South America and I’ve done the Caribbean but never Central America so I really wanted to make it happen. When I was offered the house-sit in Miami, I thought to myself, “Hmm, flights from Miami to Mexico are much cheaper than Toronto to Mexico…” And all of this really isn’t costing me much! Since I’m house-sitting, the Miami accommodation is free. And the home-owner is most graciously and kindly covering my groceries and metropass whilst I’m there. But most of all, my flight was FREE because I had enough Air Miles!!! And I have lotsa remaindered American dollars lying about from my month in NYC earlier this year, so any excess costs are covered! So all I’m actually paying for is the cheap $125 flight from Miami to Mexico, and whatever minuscule pesos I blow on my travels!

I literally am the Queen of Frugal Travelling! Adventures need not break the bank!

So while this blog will most likely go dark for a bit, my Instagram and Twitter will definitely light up so follow me there!

After that, preliminary plans are in the works for me to reunite in Amsterdam with dis guy:

Amsterdammage awaits.

Don’t forget to check out the Official Christine Estima dot commmm for all of my published works, appearances, performances, and more!

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Check out my new story in the latest issue of @EVENTMags!

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I’m really excited to share that my non-fiction story, ‘Spray It, Don’t Say It,’ has been published in the latest issue of Event Literary Magazine, that for decades has published the best short prose and poetry in the country. I have been trying to crack into Event for 10 years (they are notoriously selective!), so I was delighted when they snatched this up with such kind words for my voice and style.  The piece is about my time as a waif on the streets of Europe, and specifically deals with this, where I blogged only peripherally about it at the time, so this story is the full story. Here’s a scan of the first page to pique your interest:

 

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And here’s my EVENT bio. Awww yeeeeeeah, dis mah shit. This is only a slice of my publications, my full list of publications can be found here

 

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You can pick up Event at any bookshop in the country. As always, don’t forget to check out the official ChristineEstima dot com for more of my writing, performances, and recent news!

 

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Check out my column in @MetroNewsCanada

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Pick up a copy of the weekend edition of Metro News and turn to the centrefold for my latest column. I talk about the language we employ when talking about race and ethnicity.

It was really great to work with the team at Metro, the whole process was very fast-paced and positive.  It was such a challenge to put everything I wanted to say into a mere 400 words, I’m used to writing 1500-word essays, so I welcomed the challenge to be brief and succinct. BUT I’M SO LOQUACIOUS!

Also, funny sidenote: that photograph of me there… That was taken yesterday with my iPad as I sat in a café on Spadina. OH THE GLAMOUR.

Fanks for reading, my munchkins, and don’t forget to check out ChristineEstima.com for more on my writing career.

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My latest @VICE essay: bad-as-fuck women populate #TIFF15 films

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Check out my latest schlepp’ for VICE, this time about all the amazingly badass beautiful broads in  TIFF films this year. Writing this piece was so fun because I got to attend the pre-TIFF press screenings for two weeks. I see a lot of bad movies so you don’t have to (and some good ones). There was only one film I saw that I didn’t include in this piece, simply because there were no women in it — Son of Saul — but holy fuck, I highly recommend that film as well.

I used to cover TIFF every year as a critic, but I haven’t done it since 2011 when I was still writing for Exclaim! It was so difficult seeing like 5 films a day, and having to file your reviews by like 7am the next morning, and then doing it all over again! I swore after that year I’d never cover TIFF again, but I guess old habits die hard.

Anyway, enjoy, comment, and share! Happy TIFF’ing.

As always, 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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