I am mourning the loss of a loved one.

This person is not dead, it’s worse.

This person is alive and hates me.


Quitting smoking is never a done deal.

It is a daily victory, one I have not won yet.


I remember showing up to my first year of university. I had taken a year off before going.

Upon arriving I saw some familiar faces from high school whom I greeted excitedly.

“Wow,” one boy said to me.

“Wow, what?” I asked, confused.

“You were such a snob in high school.” He responded, surprised at my happiness to see him.

I was struck with a moment of relieved revelation, realizing that while I thought I had appeared so weak and insecure through those adolescent days, I had actually appeared tougher; arrogant or condescending. And I would rather that they thought that unflattering thing than know the truth of my flaws and feebleness. Though perhaps still losing the game of popularity or popular opinion, I felt some dignity restore.

They never knew, they never knew.


I think of this little moment from my past now as I sit with the hate of this person.

It doesn’t make it feel any better, but

I understand that hate lives in this person.

It is not me this person hates but a part of their self that I manifest and they lack.

It’s a threat, it’s a jealousy, it’s that person’s own deficiency, and the burden of all that feels much worse than being hated.


I have learned the difference between loneliness and being alone.

Loneliness is accompanied by sadness and a lack of control;

a feeling that you ended up there despite your plans or self-worth.

Being alone is a place you find yourself through a clear path of your own choosing.

It is quiet and solitary and can even feel hollow at moments,

but you understand that this is your will, and sadness is replaced with acceptance.


Today seems like the absolutely perfect day to quit smoking.

It’s April Fools’ Day, and smoking is for fools.

I have been noticing for weeks, maybe months, how much I am not even enjoying it.

Noticing, telling myself, letting logic subconsciously massage my mind…

It has been like a ritual I continue simply because I am a very patterned person.

The package of cigarettes that sits in the freezer has but one cigarette left inside.

It’s the wish cigarette, first one touched from the pack, turned upside down, smoked last.

I won’t smoke it, but I will wish on it.

I’ll wish and I’ll put into action my ardent desire to cease stupid smoking.

The Sun pours in my window and I stand facing it.

I hold up my arms and my prone palms and say aloud my plan of action like a prayer,

like a promise.

No god to seek help from, I am god, I hold the power.

And so this challenge is not daunting but empowering.

I say the words aloud, an auditory actualization stirs the Earth’s energy into the direction I want it to go.

Giving sound to thought provides a reality and a life and changes desire into fact.


The fact is that hate is a cage of confused anger and I won’t step into it with that person.

The fact is that loneliness is a cage of sadness and helplessness and I shall not enter there.

The fact is that smoking is a cage of stupidity and weakness and today I step out.


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La tigresse

The mighty Sun spills in with quiet power through my frosted, dirty window and open blinds. I can feel a radiant beauty envelope me; I am alight, energizing, eyes closed. I stop marking my students’ work, I stop worrying about my book launch party that will happen tonight. I just receive. Though mostly mild, but not today, it has been a drab and dismal winter, cloudy, no Sun. My skin has never been drier or whiter. But on this special day, the Sun has come to say hello, to kiss my face with shiny tiger stripes, to wish me luck and give me its blessing. Dear Sun, I promise. I will continue to roar. I will continue to let my fear dictate my path. My light is unique and needs to shine, like these radiant ribbons you paint on me with energy and fire this cuttingly cold morning. I am a flame, I am a tiger, according to lineage and the Chinese calendar, respectively. Indeed, Universe. Indeed, Sacred Sun! Thank you for your beautiful benediction. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have positive and important things to do…Tiger.jpg

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Already, I don’t even remember what I wrote in that damn book. My memory is wonderfully weak that way. It’s why I wrote it, after all. To remember at all that extraordinary thing that I did. And what a gift a frail memory is. Then everything is eternally somewhat new and like a little adventure, again, and again. “You can tell Christina the same joke every week,” he said of me. Yet I can remember him saying that, already ten years ago!

So now I have three weeks of nothing but time on my hands. With such deeply burning aspirations to write, what a gift of a pocket of time to do so, right? Wrong. A void of time does not equal inspiration! I had wanted to write for years. But what to say, at such a young age and of so little venturing? I finally had something particular to write about. Unique, mine. So I did. It is done. Now what?

Shall I write about this minor elective surgery that has me cooped up and unmoving, lying about like a shut-in, watching movies and ordering food for delivery? Is this how people live? “Some people, some of the time,” he said. A lot of people, a lot of the time, I think. It’s a social experiment, that’s how I’ve framed it in my mind in order to survive. And I’ve kept quite lovely spirits through it all, I must say. Seven days down and fourteen to go.

I’ve watched “Lady in Gold” and “Big Eyes” and “Cezanne et moi” and “Violette.” I miss Paris, where every moment is poetic, every word spoken is lyrical, where nothing is mundane, and even the air I breathe is melodic and infused with inspiration. I wish I could go there and be poor and work as a waitress and never speak English again. I wish I could live in Bordeaux, a place I have never been, and Benjamin would be my neighbor. We would meet sometimes for dinner and get drunk and smoke one hundred cigarettes in an evening. He would encourage me and I would always be the foreigner, with the accent, who makes little mistakes with her grammar, and nothing could please me more than fulfilling this exact role.

The neglected blog, the scattered poems to sort through, the unwritten ones. Back to the couch, to waiting, to wasting, to incubating.

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One, two, three glasses of red wine as I sat alone and listened to the jazz band. It was a warm, October afternoon. Four glasses of red wine. Well, you know what’s next. A cigarette. But I don’t smoke in public. My cigarettes and my shame sit safely hidden in my freezer at home. I smoke one cigarette every morning on the balcony of my tiny, beloved rented flat with a double espresso. Then I have one more when I return from work in the evenings, and sometimes another later on, too. Some passers-by had stopped along the sidewalk to listen to the magic. I asked a gentleman who was smoking there if I could buy one. He shook his head no as he extended his pack of duMauriers. No charge; thank you. He gave me a light without a word, finished his own cigarette, then went inside. This was Poetry, a lounge in Kensington Market, quite perfectly named, as it was what the mystic moment felt like with the light buzz of alcohol and the sun shining and the spellbinding music and the grassroots, transcendental charm unique only to this part of Toronto. 

A fifth glass of wine. My friend, Josh, was running late. I didn’t mind at all. 

The gentleman who had given me the cigarette. I’d forgotten all about him. But as he passed me when exiting the lounge, he handed me a small square of folded note. Surprised and intrigued, I unfolded it. It read: 

« You are
quite beautiful,

I am
quite shy
and single. »

It was signed with his name, David, and his number. I looked down the crowded street in the direction he’d walked but could not spot him. I had hardly registered what he had looked like. Blond hair? Who was this charming poet who seized the moment despite his admitted timidness, and thinks that I, of all people, am beautiful? 


In fact, he has light, wispy, sandy-brown hair. And a sideward-facing ball cap. He has cutely crooked teeth and his face is boyish and adorable. He is five ten, quite slim. He is thirty-one, I am forty-two. My immediate, primal thought: could I ever fuck this young babe? I could just make sight of a very thick down on his chest. This excited me. I decided I probably could. And what is he making of me? 

Our dinner at Fresh on Eglinton was pleasant, conversation was lovely, he plays music and has a degree in philosophy. There is a depth and substance to this young man with an old soul that made it possible to think of more than his physical fuckability. He insisted on paying; a gentleman. We walked in the rain to the subway. It was a polite, slightly awkward goodbye. Though we certainly managed, I believe I am just as shy as he is. 


This morning I am forced to sit on a sideways-facing seat rather than a forward-facing seat on the subway. I wonder if hurtling my brain through the space and altitude of the subway tunnels at this different angle will have any effect at all on the mishmash that transpires there. Sitting this sideway direction is rare. People always want the two-seater facing the direction of travel and by golly they would prefer to keep both seats to themselves, the other seat for their belongings. I am one of these they. This is only possible during the pre-work rush hour if you are going out of the downtown core and not into it, where seats are usually plentiful. This is my particular situation, though not today. I am on my way to work and wondering about David, about Tinder, about ageing, about humans as commodities in today’s online social context, but mostly about David, I must conclude. The story of our chance and lyrical meeting, the interesting dynamic of our age difference, his poetry, which I guessed correctly he indeed writes, and our dinner last night. Did he write of me in his journal, I wonder?


I should be marking papers but instead I am staring out the bus window, allowing my night brain shenanigans to sort and settle and follow the whimsical paths of my morning thoughts. I had a very strange dream last night that I can’t remember ever having had before. It was this:  

I was on a long-distance bike ride; the one I have loosely planned from Toronto to Vancouver. I ran into some people quite early in the ride. I had forgotten all my panniers, I realized. Shit. As I was sitting there talking to the lovely people, I pooped my pants. 

I was shocked in my dream but was thankful to feel that it was solid poop. Incredibly, I was able to excuse myself and find a public washroom. Unbelievably, it happened to have a standup shower inside. I was able to clean up the whole mess without anybody noticing.

I looked up what the dream could possibly mean, online, purely out of curiosity. I was shocked to find, on the very first site that I clicked, an interpretation that included the specific scenario about pooping but being able to get to a public washroom and get cleaned up without anyone being the wiser. Apparently this means that positive changes are afoot. 

My personal school of thought is that most often dreams are nothing more than just a leftover medley of the day’s minutia; a sub-conscious unrolling into a non-sensical, often entertaining, drama, when we remember it. But sometimes, and since I did not poo my pants yesterday or anytime recently, yes, I think they can be symbolic and signify something meaningful. Is this one of those instances?


I walked around in absent-minded circles, turning left, left, left as I unconsciously unwound the spiral of energy within me created by running up the stairs of my high rise apartment building each morning, turning right, right, right, up and up. The air is pleasantly crisp as finally temperatures have dropped to where they should be for late October. It had been unseasonably warm until now. It is ten thirty on Sunday morning and David is late. Very late. 

Your lateness is my precious open window, David, as I breathe in the fresh air and take photos of naked mannequins in windows and graffiti and The CN Tower. I dare say your lateness is my pleasure, David, so long as you turn up shortly. Forty-five minutes of circling, watching, checking street, checking phone, but he never appears nor messages. My heart is curious but not troubled about my young philosopher friend. What has happened to you, David?


Even more rare, today I am sitting facing the opposite direction of travel on the subway. It’s my least favourite position, I outright don’t like it. Could this have any effect on my thought process whatsoever? Even just psychologically? But perhaps even physiologically? What a thing to wonder. 

A young man named Saturn begins chatting with me. He’s been up all night, and he is looking forward to getting home to effectuate some of his ideas. I recognize his demeanour; he’s been partying. He is unemployed but still does good and gets paid in other ways, in love, often overlooked, he explains. Hear, hear. Saturn is forty, I’d have never guessed. He is trying to do the right thing in life but he keeps getting pulled in other directions. Setbacks, always setbacks. Life will always be like that, don’t beat yourself up, I told him. No Utopia, he replied, just some utopian moments. Raves, ketamine, depression, MDMA, music, dancing, what we do to the water, the Earth, industrial agriculture. We spoke of it all between Eglinton and Shepard stations. 

I shook his hand before he left. It was grimy. I left the grit on my hand a moment, my heart swelled, and I wished goodness and clarity for Saturn. I envisioned his filth, infused with the love emanating from my pores, lifting up into the air, floating, dissipating, dissolving into providence and lucidity. Will I ever cross paths with Saturn again? 

Last night at five thirty, seven and a half hours after we were supposed to meet, I finally heard from David. Apologetic and forthright, he told me how he’d stressed all night about our meeting, how he’d thus slept in, how he awoke in a panic. He has an anxiety disorder and he simply didn’t know what to say to me. I told him:

« No problem. I wish you’d shared that with me. I totally understand and sometimes have anxiety attacks myself. I had a nice day, so don’t worry. I went to the Guillermo del Toro exhibit at The AGO. I don’t bite, if you want to try hanging out again another time, I’m into it. 

So David will come to my house on Thursday evening for dinner. Hopefully. The dynamic keeps changing. What is David’s role in my life? Perhaps it is my role in his that is most important?


Once someone called me impulsive and I really reacted, was offended, found it insulting. It’s not insulting, and nothing could be more true when describing me. It brings many adventures! Adventures thwarted and left unborn, dead, by those who think too much. This morning I suddenly bought tickets to a concert tonight, Thursday night. So I invited David to join instead of doing dinner but he was hesitant, and I fed his hesitance with promotions of rescheduling which my heart wasn’t in. Moments pass, tides turn, seasons change. I wonder…will I ever read the poem he told me he wrote me? 

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While you were sleeping…

On the verge of selling my car almost four years ago, I said to myself: « You won’t be able to act like a little asshole anymore. » No more late nights, no more sleeping in until the very, very last minute, rushing out the door at seven or quarter after. I’d have to be more responsible, and instantly. It is the best thing I ever did for myself. 

I sold my car, I started going to bed earlier, ten, eleven, getting up earlier, a very fresh five thirty, taking the subway. Suddenly I had hours of extra time in the morning, time to myself: the hour on public transit, then the extra time after arriving to school, the cushion time built in (and left over) just in case there was an issue in the subway (there never is). I read thirteen novels in the first two months of taking public transit to work. I was in disbelief, amazed, I’d found a hidden treasure, a huge pocket of « me » time, and the glory of the still, silent mornings. Instead of the first order of business of the day being about work, the first order of business was me. 

After making this change, I took it one step further. Instead of getting up at 5:30 to shower and leave for 6:30, I started going to bed at nine or ten and getting up at 4:30 to exercise for an hour. In the winter I’d run up the thirty flights of stairs of the apartment building where I live. I could do that eight times in the allotted hour without feeling too rushed. 

But. Then. 

Waking up and starting to exercise right away began to feel rushed, too. I decided I needed an hour of slow, relaxed, snooze, coffee, podcast, wake up time first. And. So. I began going to bed at eight or nine and waking up at three thirty. 

Three thirty. There’s not a sound in the city, so much room to breathe. 

What a wonderful way to start the day: a slow hour of peace and reflection, an hour of hard work, using my able muscles, releasing endorphins, an hour to prepare for the day, un-rushed, I am ready, I have taken care of my insides, now ample time to primp the outside, then another whole hour in public transit, reading or writing; four whole hours focusing on my interests, passions, feasting on my soul food, as the first order of business, the priority of the day. Like this, I am well-fed and have so much positive energy to give to my day. 

Partying and acting like a mischievous little turd was fun. It was. But I’m glad it ended. My subconscious was ready to move on and my conscious readily complied. Or was it my conscious that was ready for betterment and my subconscious that complied? Hmm. Either way, this is so much more fulfilling, evolved, healthy, it’s progress. I am in love with my early mornings. When do you think I write these posts, after all?

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Swim to shore

I have written before about my absolute frustration, my maddening disbelief, at people who do not allow lows. I am currently reading Hammerklavier, a novel from Yasmina Reza. It is a somber but refreshing book about death, in all its frightening and inglorious truth. The transition into indifference, the loss of energy, passion, ability. The slow transition away from the world, before our very sad eyes, the withdrawal. 

But, the author points out, how selfish it is of us to pity! And this is why I love this book. The author acknowledges and embraces that continuing as they were, as we want them to be, how does that prepare them for death? How does that acknowledge their reality of being overlooked, devalued, forgotten? They have every damn right to withdraw, change, feel what may be their misery or may even be their comfort, their Nature. Who are we to know better how they should behave, feel, while seeing from our perches of youth and ability and prospects of becoming? 

The French are so Naturally talented at embracing, beautifying, all human emotions, including the lows. One summer in Paris, I pulled up en Vélibre to a café one hot afternoon and had a glass of red wine en terrasse. There was another lone woman there, also drinking wine, white wine. She was sobbing quietly. The waiter made nothing of it, served her another glass when she ordered it. I asked her if she was okay. Matter-of-factly, like I had asked her for the time and she was simply telling it to me, she said: « Yes. Sometimes we are sad, that is all. » 

What a perfect answer. She wasn’t seeking attention, she wasn’t pretending to be happy, she wasn’t making any effort to hide her emotion, she was just being. How healthy, how beautiful. 

The lows are allowed and should not be dismissed, ignored, or undermined. Yasmina Reza illuminates this wonderful and merciful truth in even something so somber as death. Dive into your emotion until your legs are weary from kicking. Swim to shore.

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Walls become welds

It is my last two days in Paris, the sun is shining, what shall I do before meeting A— at five near Gate de l’Est? I am a bit anxious about meeting her. I have dropped in on some friends as they worked but I haven’t met up with and spent quality time with anyone. I didn’t even contact many of my friends this time. Why not? And then once you spend too much time alone, sometimes it’s a bit daunting becoming a fellow human again.

I take the metro to Clichy. I will walk the quartier sensible and see where that takes me. I take the token photo of the Moulin Rouge. I’ve taken this same photo many times before, but it is worth taking again. This is a different time, after all. Can you capture time in a photo? You can.

I walk by my beloved Rebecca Rils sex shop but this time I don’t go in. I have made purchases there in the past and they collect dust chez moi in Toronto, hidden away, in a box in a shelf.

I am hungry. I stop in at Takasaki to have the sushi I was craving last night but I drank away my appetite instead. Today I feel good, so there’s no mood to deconstruct, no tangled yarn to unravel, we just accept the good moods unquestioningly, don’t we? Sushi is so expensive in Paris!

Oh, the holidays are hard for many people, I am a prime candidate. But, me, I am depressed with style! Me, I was sad as I sauntered slowly the streets of Paris. I realize, recognize, this little silver lining only this morning. I can be more optimistic about my loneliness and lows now that I am soon leaving.

N—– has messaged to say she received my Christmas card. I responded: « There is a beautiful little story behind how that got sent to you. I was at the airport, on my way here, to Paris, and I asked the waiter (where I was having a little glass of wine before ze flight) if there was a mailbox in the airport. He said no, then he leaned in and said: « I can send them for you when I’m done my shift, if you like. » Perhaps seeing my hesitation, he added: « If you believe in me. » He didn’t know there was $50 in there, and also in the card for Maya. But I handed them over to him. That’s how it got to you. Through the goodness of a lovely stranger. Isn’t that a precious moment and story? » I finish my royal maki saumon and two Euro glass of red and leave. It is half past noon.

I walk and I walk. Would I have done this much walking in Toronto? Most likely not, where it is so much colder and only slightly more familiar.

I have un petit café at Café Francoeur in the eighteenth, I walk more. I have la soupe oignon gratinée at Le Renouveau as I wait for A—. I see her!

We have a lovely conversation. Almost immediately I tell her I have been sick and depressed. I am keenly aware of how happy I am to meet with my friend, to sit and speak with her. People need people, silly girl. What was I thinking?

In trying to reconcile my realities, my love of Nature and my love of Paris, the freedom and lightness of not spending nor acquiring and the spending and acquiring I am doing here, meals, books, art expositions, old French films, all the stark contradictions that live within me, all real, all valid, looking at them all, I thought I would let go of, reject, some, embrace, only value others. I was unconsciously trying to compartmentalize, Nature and simplicity and the warmth of humanity here, city life and worldliness and possessions there. But no.

I am never going to create a system or reality where I am happy all by myself. The goodness of humans is everywhere. Silly human. Seconds after A— arrives I am flooded with relief and a burden lifts and I am so happy to see her, speak with her. I am blessed. My mosaic is manifesting, walls become welds.

D—– joins us for a drink. Then the two of them leave for Meaux, and I leave to go visit A——.

Finally, reconciliation. It is not a progression, but an expansion. You don’t move from one room to another, you create more and bigger rooms in your consciousness. You decide on your limits. It was me, after all, who said you have to be a healthy dose of hypocritical in order to get along in this crazy society into which I was born. I guess I forgot. I thought I had come here to say goodbye, that I wouldn’t be back, that this wasn’t « me » anymore, but instead I know now, I only came to say goodbye to loneliness. One last dance, it was. It didn’t have to be but, I had not reconciled my realities, my lessons, my consciousnesses. Just like the bike ride was a suicide mission, I did not want to die, I wanted the lonely existence I was living to end. And it did.

I remember a random conversation, long ago, with someone whose name I barely learned and certainly don’t remember. He said that you find love when you are where you are supposed to be, when you are happy, when you know your mission and you are doing it. You see? About strangers and words and listening? You see? I have thought often of what he said, because it rang true, despite how far I was from my own clarity. I feel much closer now.

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