Museum of the Western World

This summer, Husband and took a jaunty road trip over to Vancouver Island and reveled in the warm vibe of hippies with rose-coloured glasses. Victoria, especially, with its parliament buildings, horse-drawn carriages, and organic foods evokes a weird blend of several bygone eras.

Twice a graduate of UVIC, to Husband, a trip to Victoria always feels like coming home. Even though I’ve only ever visited there myself, I can’t deny it feels the same for me. I think I just recognize that uncomfortable colonial British legacy jarring against a counter-culture optimism. There’s a layer of me painted all over that city.

The last time we were in Victoria was shortly after our wedding for Husband’s thirtieth birthday. Like that visit, this time we went back to UVIC, for Husband to retread the old stomping grounds. What is it with feeling the need to go back to places where we spent such crucial parts of our lives? If they’ve changed, we feel somehow betrayed; but if they’re exactly the same, we’re starkly reminded of how much we’ve changed.

But we went regardless and it was fine. We learned there’s perhaps nothing so steadfast as university campus culture. It’s locked forever in a perpetual 1993.

As a nice contrast to the easy-going university sprawl, we also went to the Royal BC Museum. Now, both of us are definitely museum people… and both of us have been here before. Many times. But it’s been long enough that everything is cast in a slightly different hue. That colonial legacy is less quaint and a bit more… what’s the word…? Enraging.

Husband pointed out that several of the plaques explaining an artifact were prefaced with some sort of phrase that amounts to “We have no idea what this is but…” and then a second phrase that sounds like it was completed by a first-year anthropology student’s Mad Lib. “… it was probably used for some sort of ritual,” is the most common.

For the rest of the trip, I started turning this over in my head. It felt like there was something there… something I could do to make fun of that fact without being disrespectful to the people whose culture these assumptions were made about.

So, like any someone badly in need of an outlet who is inherently dissatisfied with Twitter, I decided to make a zine. I reached out to my cousin, Amy Rajala, who is a pretty talented photographer (with a new roll of black and white film to burn). She photographed some pretty amazing objects around her house and I’m putting text to them.

I’m excited to see where this goes!

Rifling through your Wordhoard

the comparative value of write-ins

Last month, I had the opportunity to participate in a “write-in” as part of the New West Festival of Words 2018. Having never taken part in a write-in before, I admit I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it just be three hours of writing time? Would it just journalling?

As it turns out, it was an elaborate challenge to my writing process.  Continue reading “Rifling through your Wordhoard”

Reworking a Draft

when do you just have to let it go?

Everyone knows nothing’s perfect after the first draft.

But how many drafts are you supposed to write? Where is that fine line between honing a work and polishing a turd? When do you accept something as a failure–nay, a learning experience?

I think the answer is when it is holding you back.

Perhaps you’re too focused on that one piece that you’re neglecting to think of others. What you imagined was your opus is now your albatross. Something a colleague once said to me in the editing room, “You just have to let it go, man.”

Let it go.*

Sounds easy, sure. But, wow. It’s not.

Continue reading “Reworking a Draft”

A Thought Experiment for Time Travellers

Indulge me this: you’re a time traveller. It’s an ordinary day. The fate of the world is not in jeopardy. No damsels to save. No timelines to correct. To angst to stew over. Everything is perfectly fine. You can enjoy yourself.

So you go to a bar.

And who do you see in that bar, but yourself.

You don’t know if it’s past you or future you. But it is definitely you.

Oh no. You’ve made eye contact.

What do you do?

Do you talk to yourself? Do you run screaming?

What do you do?

Finding a Path through the RPG jungle.

I’ve finally done it. I’ve taken the RPG plunge.

In a way, it feels as if this has always been inevitable. I’ve been curious about playing D&D for a long time now; it’s been like this glowing ball of light off in the distance that I’ve only been able to catch glimpses of here and there. It started with scorn, then apathy, then curiosity, then interest, then regret – why had I waited so long?

Friends of mine played D&D in university and I used to tease them about the way a conversation would suddenly become peppered with anecdotes like, “Remember that time you were unconscious for three days and we had to carry you over the mountain into the next village? The tavern wenches were really worried about you.”

I know I was interested then, but it was easier to tease rather than engage. I was never invited to play with them; maybe they would have if I had been more sincerely interested. But the reality was, they were all guys and I was a girl. D&D was a guy thing.

It didn’t have to be expressed so explicitly (few things did*), but I knew implicitly, that this was for them. Not me.

D&D became one of those things that I thus just accepted would never be in my life. It lay behind one of those doors that simple closed as I aged. I’d closed the door and carried down the corridor. The hallway of life moves in one direction.

Or does it?

Continue reading “Finding a Path through the RPG jungle.”

Breaking Down the Writer’s Block

What do you do when your usual writing techniques and traditions stop working?

First: get rid of the idea that you need the Muse. The Muse is like that friend who always replies that they’re coming to your event and *maybe* shows up at one of them, late and already a little buzzed. If we waited for the Muse every time we sat down to write, nothing would get done. Continue reading “Breaking Down the Writer’s Block”

Triangulating the Text

So a while ago I started posting chapters of a genre mash-up, satirical novel online before I panicked and took them down after realizing that they (a) weren’t at the calibre I could achieve, and (b) were not going to be produced as expediently as I hoped.

I’ve since been working on it again.

I decided to shift the tone of the book (first in a series maybe?) when I stepped back and started examining what sort of genre satires and parodies I enjoyed myself. And I realized that I preferred riffs on genre that don’t make fun of the genre in as much as they exemplify it. Continue reading “Triangulating the Text”

The Importance of Just Getting it Done

After extensive note-taking and a few false starts, just over two months ago, I actually sat down and starting writing that young adult subterranean fiction piece I first thought of more than half my life ago. (it is now best described as *bracing myself* a dystopian YA novel-meets-Jane Austen.)

I’ve learned through this project the importance of persistence.

I learned how to effectively deal with something that’s not working. Rather than just giving up or sitting around waiting for it to get better I learned to change my approach.

I started writing this story just for fun, just to write and see what happens. Continue reading “The Importance of Just Getting it Done”