How does a three-time community college dropout fit into the very academic Canadian literary scene? How does a woman in her 30s with a work history in customer service get published? How does a person who struggles so with anxiety and mental illness grin and bear it, knowing that their desire to be a writer will be met with rejections, critiques and possible failure?
This is me doing it.
This is me going for it.
I’ve always dreamed of being a writer. I have this book from when I was four or five years old, where I would draw a picture and dictate the story of the picture to my mom. They were shorter than short stories, about girls and their unicorns mostly. In a few years, I’d graduate to creating my own Sweet Valley-inspired tween romances, since I wasn’t popular enough to have any myself. I’ve kept journals off and on my whole life and gone through stints of writing and not writing poetry in said journals.
I discovered short story writing in college, which led me to write a few in those years. A couple good, but most not that good. Studying journalism, I mostly focused on arts and entertainment, interviewing student actors, musicians and faculty authors. I dreamed of writing for Rolling Stone or Spin, or maybe just Eye or Now.
During my third good ol’ college try, I fell in with the Wavelength crew and founder Jonny Dovercourt asked me to write for them. I had a great time culling comprehensive local show listings, interviewing bands, reviewing CDs and eventually getting a bit of a local indie music gossip column! Things were going swell with Wavelength and I was proud that I’d gone for it, despite my anxiety. Unfortunately, I ended up quitting abruptly due to a number of factors, most of them having to do with my addiction and then-undiagnosed mental illness. Let’s just say that in my mind, I was on top of the world and had everything going for me and I was going to get a job at a tabloid. Instead, I just wound up being another office drone killing time by being nasty on the internet.
Between then and now, I’ve had scattered creative bursts, mostly just private journals, poems and story ideas. Earlier this year, I admitted to a friend that I wanted to write again. That I felt like I had things in me again. Ideas and characters, things that needed to be shared. She was taking night courses unrelated to writing at George Brown College and suggested I check out their writing classes. I signed up for Creative Writing- Getting Started the day before class began in late January. In that class, I wrote a short story that I love, a play scene that needs work, but I would like to be the bones for a short story eventually and a couple of poems. Next was the program’s Expressive Writing class, in which I wrote a few personal essays, some of which I will publish here, one short story that was so-so and rushed and another which I think has … a lot of potential, actually! It feels weird to be confident in saying things like this, but part of this confidence is what got this website up! I’ll be starting the Short Story I class at the end of this month.
A month ago, I found out that the Bi Arts Festival's zine, CRUSH was looking for submissions. I submitted a poem and it was accepted! I’m so excited and pleased to be part of this collection. I couldn’t think of a better way to start my newest writing journey than by being included in this zine - especially since my poem is about Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson, true to my pop culture-obsessed self! The launch party is Friday, September 22 at D-Beatstro. I’ll be there, and I’m nervous, yet excited, to meet all of the other talented writers, artists and photographers featured in the zine. Not to mention the cool vendors taking part in the pop-up market!
And now, Dietcoke4breakfast, the website! First, the name is inspired by my own personal morning ritual of cracking open a cold, fizzy, satisfying can of Diet Coke before I wash down my morning meds. Maybe I’ll change the name one day to something a bit more profesh, but this feels more me. It’s a place for me to share my writing on a regular basis. Hopefully, it turns into something more. It already is something more.