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….
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.
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.
Then I sold them another piece…
And then another…
And then a bajillion more…
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!
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!
And then I cold-pitched METRO News Canada and they printed my piece in the centrefold:
And then EVENT published one of my Nonfiction stories in this issue:
My bio is a BOSS-ASS BITCH
Then I sold a travel writing piece to VERGE Magazine:
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 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.
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
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:
-Stars of the Lid
-Joel Plaskett Emergency
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:
-Son of Saul
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
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My best #instagram pics of 2015! Smashed my previous records too! Fanks for following and engaging, munchkins! #memoicono #statigram #instagood #instadaily #instagraphy #instaselfie #instatoronto #instapic #instagramhub #visualarchitects #urbanromantix #agameoftones #artofvisuals #torontoigers #torontophoto #toronto_insta #torontograffiti #streetart #streetphotography #igdaily #igaddict #igmasters #vsco #vscocam
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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!
December 29, 2015 | Categories: academic essays, blogger, Christine Estima, clusterfuck, concert, creative writing, critic, critiques, events, feminism, film, GIFs, movies, music, photography, review, reviews, social media, TIFF, toronto, travel, Vice, writing | Tags: 2015, aidan knight, alt-j, ask and you shall receive, AufBau Jewish Monthly magazine, austria, author, basquiat, Belize, best films of 2015, best movies of 2015, best of, best selfies of 2015, best singles of 2015, bettroffenheit, CBC Canada Writes, chilly gonzales, Christine Estima, Christine Estima Metro News, Christine Estima VICE, christine estima writer, citizenfour, coeur de pirate, columnist, concert review, creative non fiction, creative writing, daughter, deadmouse the musical, dear rouge, der naermeste, editorials, essay, eurail, Event literary magazine, film critique, film review, GIFs, GRAIN literary journal, Guatemala, happy new year, hauschka, homesick, House-sitting, housesitting, kiasmos, kurt vile, live-storytelling, Metro News, Metro News Canada, metro views, Mexico, Miami, Montreal, movie critique, movie review, new york city, Nils Frahm, novelist, once the musical, op-ed, publications, publishing, Raconteurs, record player, rotary phone, saint saviour, selfies, Short story, son of saul, spark london, spoken word, stars of the lid, tbex, The Moth, TIFF, Toronto International Film Festival, travel, travel blogger, travel skills, tycho, typewriter, verge magazie, vice canada, vice magazine, Victoria, vienna, vinyl, writer, writers of instagram, writers of twitter, writing, year in review | Leave a comment
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)
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!
After that, preliminary plans are in the works for me to reunite in Amsterdam with dis guy:
Don’t forget to check out the Official Christine Estima dot commmm for all of my published works, appearances, performances, and more!
October 24, 2015 | Categories: academic essays, Christine Estima, creative writing, GIFs, portfolio, travel, writing | Tags: adventure, adventure travel, Air Miles, author, backpacking, Belize, caribbean, central america, cheap travel, Christine Estima, christine estima writer, editorial, essay, frugal, Guatemala, House-sitting, housesitting, magazines, Mexico, Miami, op-ed, publications, solo women travellers, south america, Toronto, travel, travel guidebooks, travel how-to, travel tips, travel writing, traveller, Verge Magazine, writer, writing, writing career, writing life | 3 Comments