Today has been an interesting day to say the least.
I started the day with a heart-swell: my editor at The Globe and Mail forwarded me some delightful and lovely readers comments they had received on my essay that was published the other day. (Fanks for reading, everyone!) So that was a shot in the arm.
Then I received notification that I’ve been nominated for the 2018 Allan Slaight Prize for Journalism.
Wait . . . say that again? What?
The $10,000 prize celebrates the journalistic contributions by independent writers who have researched and examined some of the more pressing and timely issues of the day. And, apparently, this essay of mine that was published in The Walrus is the kind of stuff they’re jonesing for.
That piece — of which I am hugely proud, and was a joy to write (high-five to my editor!) — detailed my experience of developing a roll of film I found on the curb and then searching for the lost photographer.
But have you seen the other 9 nominees for this award? THEY’RE JOURNALISTIC HEAVYWEIGHTS. We’ve got Justin Ling (I started reading every word he published when we were both writing for VICE), Stephen Marche (I loved his first novel, and even gushed to him about it at his book launch at Hart House . . . like a psychopath), Kamal Al-Solaylee (true story: I cited much of his stuff in my Masters thesis), and even the guy who won the award last year! I mean, come on! I am indeed in excellent company and I am huge fans of all the other nominee’s work. I’m honoured to be named amongst them!
They say it’s an honour just to be nominated.
Fam, lemme tell ya, I’m just honoured they even know who the hell I am. Do you know how many pieces The Walrus publishes each year? Scores! I have no idea how my wee lil’ longform essay struck their fancy above everything else the award committee had to consider, but I am eternally humbled, delighted, pleased, obliged, and I may or may not have happy-cried a few times (Don’t tell anyone, I have a reputation to keep).
I’ve never been nominated for an award that I didn’t apply for myself. So this is new territory for me. I’ve always felt like an outsider in the Canadian writing community (It’s full of white men, and I’m a woman and an ethno-cultural minority. Many doors were slammed in my face because editors didn’t think my stories would resonate with – you guessed it – white men). So to be recognised in this manner is hugely meaningful to me.
Maybe I’ll win, maybe I won’t. But lemme tell ya — ya homegirl already feels like a winner.
One final note – today ended on a high-note as well. After every joyful thing that transpired today, I went grocery shopping, and this guy walks up to me in the chocolate aisle (as you do) and asks, “Is your name Christine?”
“Yeahhhhh,” I said tentatively.
“I follow you on Twitter, I read all of your stuff.”
…Pause for the length of the Old Testament…
“Wait. Have we ever met before?”
Guys, if ever there was a day to feel sassy, today was that day.
Fanks for all the support, my munchkins. I will keep you updated as things develop!
Don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com for more of my published works!
November 20, 2018 | Categories: academic essays, celebrity friends, Christine Estima, contest, creative writing, portfolio, writing | Tags: Allan Slaight Award, author, award, Canada, canadian women writers, Christine Estima, Christine Estima VICE, christine estima writer, columnist, creative writing, editorial, essay, essayist, Journalism, journalism award, Journalist, journalist award, op-ed, publishing, Short story, the globe and mail, the walrus, writer, writing | Leave a comment
I don’t have anything else to say on the matter.
In terms of writing, this process was an extremely long one. For obvious reasons, this essay had to be fact-checked. But the process took over two months, mostly because the magazine (bless ’em) wanted to make sure they had crossed all the T’s and dotted all the i’s, in case anyone wanted to come back at me and call me a liar.
The burden of proof the fact-checker required was greater than what the police required to press charges against my assailant.
So I double-dare you to call me a goddamned liar.
Thanks for reading and for the support, my munchkins.
Fuck the patriarchy.
In other news, I spent the weekend with photographer and fellow writer Graham Isador, who took nice shots of me on a rooftop.
If you don’t think photographs are important, wait until they’re all you have left.
Check out my official website Christine Estima dot com for more of my published works.
October 16, 2018 | Categories: academic essays, Canadian Politics, Christine Estima, clusterfuck, creative writing, feminism, portfolio, writing | Tags: #metoo, #timesup, #yesallwomen, author, Canada, canadian women writers, Christine Estima, Christine Estima VICE, christine estima writer, columnist, creative writing, editorial, essay, essayist, feminism, feminist, feminist writer, jian ghomeshi, kavanaugh hearings, me too, op-ed, publishing, Short story, the walrus, Toronto, walrus magazine, writer, writing | Leave a comment
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!
December 26, 2017 | Categories: academic essays, Christine Estima, creative writing, portfolio, writing | Tags: author, canadian women writers, Christine Estima, Christine Estima VICE, christine estima writer, columnist, creative writing, editorial, essay, essayist, freelance life, freelance writer, freelance writing, freelancer, op-ed, publishing, Short story, the walrus, Toronto, walrus magazine, writer, writer's life, writer's problems, writing, writing life | 1 Comment