Saturday, November 21, 2015


pushed me out of creativity
lulled me from my dreams. 
I was living them then. 
I know this now. Only
now, I'm asleep. 

Perfect vision looking back -- 
doesn't mean it's too late
to try again. For
all the times I failed as a writer, 
I know that 
my greatest success was not
how many people were 
moved by my work, how much 
money I made, how close I came to
overcoming my fear of failure, but that 
I continued to write. 

My greatest failures were not how many
paycheques came too late, how many
rejection letters I received, how many more
query letters I was too afraid to write, 
how many hours I spent 
sitting in front of my computer 
on Facebook rather than writing or
calling or researching or goddammit
trusting that I'm a good writer and 
should and must write. Because writing 
is fragile life, and patience nourishes
creativity, that persistent embryo. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

iDentity theft

iDentity theft

two am, awake, turn to myphone.
flip, click, swipe
search. search my iPhone
for consolation iN my iNsomnia
glowing screen burns back at
me, iNconsolable.
the answer comes from within,
that which cannot be googled.
an iNtelligence not yet subject
to copyright laws. an untapped
uncorrupted iNtellectual property
of someone bigger than
even steve jobs.
the iPhone lies to sell iTself.
make iTself iNdespensible. but
here, now, at two am when
i’m alone, though i try, i can’t
find myself in myphone. iT’s
not an iPhone, iT’s not a youPhone.
maybe it’s a liePhone, and here’s the
gag: iT won’t help you understand
the big questions when you’re alone
at night, asking why, phone,
why can’t i find the answers i need
from you right now?
i stop, asking this question,
i am hardwired to something juicier
than apple. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

My letter to a former dream

Dear Kitsilano Home,

I always thought you would be mine. Built in the early half of the twentieth century, you’ve patiently waited for me for nearly a century, and I must say: I’m flattered. While I want to thank you for never giving up on me, the truth is, I don’t see a future for us anymore. I know it sounds cliché, but really, it’s not you. It’s me. I’ve changed in the past couple years, and I really feel you and I have grown apart. It’s not that I don’t love you anymore – I know that every time I cross your path in Vancouver, I’ll look upon you with a fond smile. You’re beautiful, so don’t ever forget that.

Since you waited so long for me, I feel it’s only fair that I be completely honest with you. It hurts to say this, but I’ve actually found someone else. See, the idea of you and I always made me feel the way little girls dream of feeling as they watch Cinderella movies before falling asleep in the safety of their father’s arms. The security of that vision is a fairy tale, and the sacrifice that comes with being rescued by the Prince Charming of material success is too great. If I continued on with our relationship, dear Kits Home, I would be giving up on a fundamental part of who I am.

My true love is Writing. I’m a writer. I tell stories, and we live in a world that, less and less, wants to pay people to tell stories. Not that I plan on being broke. On the contrary, I will make a successful living as a writer, journalist, and teacher of the things I love. To that point, I should share this with you: A good friend of mine once said that success is measured not in material possessions, but in the privilege to do what we love. So with that, darling Kits Home, you and I must go our separate ways. I have no doubt you’ll find someone new in no time, and you’ll be very happy together. As for me, I don’t know where I’ll end up, but I know that home is where the heart is, and my heart is with Writing. Always has been. And as much as Writing has chosen me since I picked up an orange crayon and wrote my name for the first time, I will continue to choose Writing. Every day.

Thank you for the good times, Kits Home. Dreaming of your haloed, East-facing windows and original hardwood floors has been the source of much enjoyment. I wish you all the best.



Friday, March 23, 2012

I once drank Courvoisier with Jay-Z -- My letter to UBC's Graduate School of Journalism

January 10, 2012

Graduate School of Journalism
University of British Columbia
6388 Crescent Road
Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z2

Dear Admissions Committee,

I once drank Courvoisier with Jay-Z. His palms were soft as mine met his for a handshake, and his “Thank you” fell genuine on my ears after I said how much I loved his sold-out performance. It was a quick interaction, but indelible and noteworthy nonetheless.  

Noteworthy because, while I never got to interview the rapper that night, it is to the credit of my experience in journalism that I gained access to the cordoned area in that seedy Edmonton bar. Being a journalist has made me a confident woman, adept at connecting with people, gaining their trust, and telling their stories – which I have done with great satisfaction over the past nine years.

But I want more. I yearn not just to keep working as a journalist for the mainstream media, but also to delve deeper into the study of journalism. I want to explore myself through specific questions related to journalism, apply my knowledge in the field – specifically in print and online – and eventually teach my craft at the university level.

My goals over the next two to five years include developing professional relationships as a freelancer with the Globe and Mail, and the Walrus, as well as having completed a first draft of my non-fiction novel. Narrative journalism and writing a novel are great interests of mine that have been nurtured over the past two years, as I have studied with some of Canada’s finest creative writing professors. Their confidence in my ability to write creative non-fiction has bolstered my choice to venture further into narrative journalism.

This choice has led me to the UBC program, where I believe the research skills and mentorship opportunities availed to me through my studies will advance my professional goals – and they might even help me get that interview with Jay-Z.

Thank you for considering my application.

(Below picture not included in my letter to UBC.)

Jay-Z's manager hooked me up with front-and-centre
seats for the rapper's show in Calgary the next night. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Incomplete thoughts on why we hate our jobs - From the Permission to Fail archives, July 2011

I usually hate my job. Whether I'm serving tables at a hip local bar or working in public relations, it's safe to say that I rarely enjoy the work I do. After spending a couple hours this afternoon reading Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled -- and More Miserable than Ever Before (which I was doing because I needed a break from my freelance journalism assignment du jour) my knowledge intake combined with my perpetual workplace dissatisfaction led to an interesting thought: I think the trick is to stop trying to find personal and wide-scale fulfillment in our work. 

Balance is key 
There are, of course, certain traits that can be developed and rewarded through the work we do, but to seek fulfillment through our job is – forgive me for the cliché – putting the cart before the horse. Certainly, we should work hard in what we do, but maintain a balance between work, relationships, volunteering, and the activities that reflect our values and interests. Yoga teaches us to explore ourselves, understand ourselves apart from the world, and to seek to fulfillment not through attachment to worldly things. How, then, are we to exist? Religious teachers probably explained it best, so I might do well to read the Yoga Sutras with more attention to detail; dive in to the  Buddha’s teachings; and read about what Christ said more earnestly. But I'm freewriting right now, and I can't be interrupted. So on I go. The truth is, I’ve never felt fulfilled by a job. I’ve never experienced what we call, “job satistfaction.” What does satisfaction mean, anyway? The definition of the word, “Satisfaction,” according to my Mac dictionary is, “Fulfillment of one’s wishes, expectations, or needs, or the pleasure derived from this.”

More than a feeling
The question, then, becomes: What are my wishes, expectations, needs, and how is my pleasure (noun: A feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment)derived from this? Immediately, I can’t help but realize that I am seeking pleasure in the work I do. I am seeking a feeling in the work I do. And what is the feeling my generation was raised to seek? A Will Smith movie, which enshrined our modus operandi quite succinctly, sums it up in its title: The Pursuit of Happyness. I have been pursuing happiness – a feeling – via my education and career (and likely in my relationships, creativity, yoga, and arguably everything I do). Happiness, and the pursuit thereof, has become my greatest motivator. And what’s the problem with that? Simply put, it is a fallacy that the surest way to be happy is to pursue it. Just as working to make money (or marrying for money) is the surest path to disillusioned misery, so is pursuing happiness. The inevitable result of either journey is a person confused and depressed, wallowing in the thing that promised that elusive emotion, because he or she is pursuing something that can only be an outcome; as an objective, the pursuit of both happiness and money will not return that which we truly seek: santosha (the Sanskrit word for “contentment”).

Seeking Santosha
As the Yoga Sutras teach, “From an attitude of contentment (santosha), unexcelled happiness, mental comfort, joy, and satisfaction is obtained” (2:42). Not from seeking happiness through my job is satisfaction obtained, but from an attitude of contentment, which can only be found through letting go, seeking truth (satya), and being fearless enough to do that for which we were created. Easier said than done, I know, but the mere acknowledgement of our misguided pursuits and ambitions brings us – okay, brings me – closer to divine truth. And divine truth is so much sweeter than the individual, and the pursuit of personal happiness.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Mundane through Thursday, going through routine I pause this evening to question my next move.
"Watch TV? Another egregious Sarah Jessica Parker movie embodying every cliched grievance uttered by its target female demographic?" Insert shudder here.

It's the New Year, and aside from endeavouring to be more vulnerable in my relationships, I have become  acutely aware of my need -- not desire, mind you -- but profound need to write. And, perhaps arguably more importantly, my need to read.

My head is a flurry of activity of the most lucrative nature these days. Driving for my dad over the past few months, I haven't had to worry about where my rent or groceries would be coming from. It's been hard, time consuming work, but it's paid off -- both monetarily and personally.

With a bit of financial freedom, my headspace has been cleared of the usual questions: "What will I do for work? Why can't I ever find satisfaction in my job? What am I going to do with my life? What should I be writing right now?" With all that wide open real estate within my rather large polish cranium, more productive seeds have been pushing their roots deep within the fissures of my brain.

A recent guest on CBC's Q -- hosted by this country's finest radio personality, Jian Ghomeshi -- has helped crystallize my epiphany, and here it is: I waste too much time consuming a high-fat info-diet.

According to his guest, Clay A. Johnson, we are constantly digesting information, whether online or on our drive to work. Much in the way vegans choose to maintain a pure diet, Johnson argues in his new book, The Information Diet, we ought to turn away from the unhealthy temptations of our info-diet, instead pursuing leaner options. Seek information out at its source, he argues, rather than listening to the news outlets that tell us what we want to here. In so doing, feel the benefits of a healthier, more balanced approach to engaging with the information around us. Kind of like giving up McDonald's for garden fresh veggies.

The gut-truck I drive in Edmonton.
I'm paraphrasing here, and this may not be exactly Johnson's point, but it's what I gleaned from Jian's interview as I worked a highly interactive job, interspersed with moments of solitude as I drove from one stop to the next (A brief explanation: I drive a lunch truck -- or a gut-truck, as it's affectionately been dubbed by guys and gals on worksites and yards across the country).

I've been rolling this idea around my mellowed brain since the interview aired earlier this week, and it's been resonating like a pebble plopping in a cave pond. "If I want to write, I have to read. I have to write, I want to read." Simple logic, right? Thanks, LSAT prep course, for helping me see it so clearly.

So tonight, I chose info-veganism instead of defaulting to another horrible movie or endless hours clicking on Facebook and Twitter (not creeping though, I swear...). I picked up a copy of the book I've been loving but overlooking as of late in favour of a greasy rom-com. I lay on the ground in a comfortable, hip-opening stretch, and I read. But that wasn't it. I -- wait for it -- turned off my cell phone's ringer (also inspired by a Q segment this week).

I burned through a sizeable chunk of my book, and loved every word. Each turn of the page rustling under my fingertips was infinitely more delectable than yet another SJP sex scene in New York.

And then, a miracle: I felt like writing. I'm sure yogis around the world broke out their harmoniums in celebration, and my fingers kept time, pulsing over my keyboard as I wrote and wrote. Why didn't I do this last night? Not to create a Full House moment here, but it really feels now like all is right in my heart and head, and it's thanks to choosing to trim the fat from my info intake in lieu of doing what I need to.

As Johnson is quoted on, "Everyone's already on an information diet. The question is, is that information diet healthy for you and is it providing a good outcome for you?"

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Too soft, the letter
S steals stress from
my tense pen. It
lends itself not to
the protective T
of tension, to
which I cling so
tightly. Tooth on
tooth grinding, tense.
Turmoil. Tumultuous,
intangible goals tip-toe
away from me because
of this T in my writing.
So tense, so tense
each line a bullet
racing for its
destination -- until
S slices said race,
languorous S
seductively meanders
across my page. "See?"
S says, somewhat smug.
"Slow down. Enjoy the
journey that you
start in T, end in