Venturing into New Writing Genres
While my writing has usually focused either on human rights – my degrees, my blog, recently published articles, etc – or creative writing, I’ve been venturing into new areas this year. And I’m loving it!
The first is memoir writing. Earlier this year, I discovered that there’s an awesome queer memoir reading series at the 519 on Church street in Toronto, called Queer Confessions. I’d never written a personal piece for public consumption. But I decided to give it a go. In June, I’d gone on a few dates with a girl who I really, really liked. She was the first girl I felt any kind of connection with since my ex. And then, suddenly, I got the text. THE text. Y’know, the one that says “I don’t really think we should keep seeing each other because I’m not ready.” And it stung. It hurt, even though I believed her, as she’d recently come out of a serious longterm relationship. Feeling sorry for myself, my colleague emailed me the link to Queer Confessions. The next month’s theme? Crush(ed). And submissions where due the next day.
Perfect, I thought. It’s time to channel some of this angst and heartbreak into art. And so I dug out some of the snippets of writing I did as I was going through the break up with The Ex. And it was really cathartic; I was able to deal with both heartbreaks – one much more significant and deeply felt than the other – in a way that, I thought, turned them into something beautiful.
(Side note: On the night I was reading this piece, I went to dinner near the 519 with a friend beforehand and guess who walks in? The girl from a week or two previously who sent “THE” text. Insert mini freak out while I wondered if she was attending the reading. Luckily, she wasn’t. And it was a good distraction from my nervousness about reading in public.)
No, what I hate most are the memories that swoop down and slap you in the face as you’re going about your day, minding your own business…You glance up as you walk to the subway and see a girl of similar build, wearing the same coat as your last girlfriend. The girlfriend who broke your heart. In public. The girlfriend you’re still not really over even thought you think you are. And the weight comes crashing down, into the pit of your stomach. The memories slice you. And all for a coat. A stupid, black, faux-fur trimmed winter coat.
Some people who’ve seen me perform these pieces or have read them on their own say I’m brave. That it takes a lot of courage to write something so personal, and even more to stand up and read it aloud. Perhaps that’s true, but for me, it’s more freeing than courageous. It’s standing up in front of people and saying “This is my story. Like it or hate it, it’s how I view the world. This is me.”
Then last month the theme was “Coming Out” and I decided to submit something again. This piece was lighter than the last one, but still cut to the core:
And then came the kicker.
“Well, y’know, I feel like I’m a sinner, everyone’s a sinner, so why should I judge
others? I wouldn’t want other people to be commenting on my sins.”
You can read these two pieces here.
Also during this past summer, I started dabbling in lifestyle writing in my free time, thanks to my super cool friend and roommate Nicole Edwards, the Lifestyle Editor at Style Empire, an online magazine. I’ve done two articles for them so far, and they were a lot of fun:
Classy without being pretentious, the cocktail is light and fruity, perfect for the summer heat. And versatile too; at first, I thought there were two versions being made, one that was more generous in its sourness than the other. When I asked the bartender, he said it must just be the different way the two bartenders were making them. But either way – a lovely sour experience or a more fruity-tasting version – the drinks were a hit. “I’m more sour, and she’s sweet,” the male bartender explained to me. “We get that a lot,” his female counterpart chipped in with a laugh
Read the first article: Disaronno Sour is the Drink of the Summer
Decorated with florals and bright colours at the moment, the space will evolve with the seasons. It’s classic, elegant, and a friendly space. “I don’t ever want to hear the word uptight,” Salm says, in terms of the feel of the space. I doubt he will.
Read the second article: Colette Brings a Touch of France to the Thompson Hotel
And as a bonus, here’s a recent article by Nicole featuring photos I took of her around our neighbourhood last month.
And the latest writing venture? Travel writing. As you can see from this blog over the years, I love to travel. So why not dabble in some travel writing as I go about my more human rights-focused journalism? More on this soon – something big and exciting this way comes!