Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block

I’ve been staring at a blank page for about an hour trying to drum up a sharp, quick-witted idea to write about. Unfortunately, creativity is sometimes a surreptitious process, and today, it evades me entirely. I’m in the throes of a stubborn case of writer’s block. It’s a vexing and unwanted condition that’s best remedied by watching Seinfeld reruns, rereading old issues of The Walrus, engaging in staring competitions with my dog, Levi, and partaking in other effective forms of procrastination. Times like this are a humbling reminder that compelling ideas aren’t drawn from a bottomless well of innovation that I have unreserved access to. Sometimes ideas are more elusive. Sometimes they are tucked away, out of sight, forcing me to seek them out. It can be an exhausting—at times even defeating—routine.

An Open Letter To My Fish

An Open Letter To My Fish

I bought you two years ago last Sunday. Since moving out on my own, I had always wanted a pet, but my building at the time didn’t allow cats or dogs. A pet fish seemed like a suitable compromise, and I was right. Some might think “Henrietta” is a bit too fancy of a name for a fish. I admit, it is a tad unconventional. It goes against the grain of more common fish names, such as Flounder, Flipper, Bubbles, Dory, or my personal favorite: Sushi. But you are no ordinary fish. In fact, I think you are rather extraordinary. A very special and unique fish, and so, Henrietta seemed a fitting name. We’ve never really spoken. Our exchanges are a bit one-sided. I’ll often say hello and ask how your day was. You just sort of stare at me, bobbing mid-water, opening and closing your mouth. No words emerge, but often little air bubbles do. You also flick your fins. I like to think this is because you are communicating with me in your own fishy way, akin to sign language. One flick means “Hello.” Two flicks mean “How are you?” Three flicks mean “Shut up and feed me already.” Sometimes I convince myself that when I walk into the room, you dart enthusiastically back and forth upon seeing me. But then you try to attack the tank filter, and I wonder if I haven’t just misunderstood the signals. Are you only attacking it to throw me off? I may never know.

Autumnal Beginnings

Autumnal Beginnings

I’ve always been an outspoken autumn enthusiast. My affinity for thick knit sweaters and decorative gourd centrepieces cannot be overstated enough. A passion that often has me wrestling another woolly top into my already crowded closet and decorating my countertops in miniature squashes. Though I’ve never jumped on the Pumpkin Spice Latte bandwagon (a beverage enjoyed by what seems like a seasonal cult), anything else fall-related I tend to embrace. This is to the disdain of my more summer-oriented friends who curse the arrival of fall and yearn for the sun-kissed days of July. My love of fall is vested in the season’s charming hallmarks: the way oak, elm, and crab apple trees—those magical changelings—transition across a spectrum of color, cloaking my neighborhood in autumnal hues of gold and bronze. Or how my favorite, the towering maples, shed their leaves until the sidewalks resemble a crimson carpet. The invigorating crispness of the morning air that spurs me to wrap myself in a thick scarf during my morning walk to work. Or the way I don’t have to apply SPF 100 to my sun-sensitive skin each time I venture outdoors.

Mr. P. And The Wayward Writer

Mr. P. And The Wayward Writer

Mr. P. was an eccentric. An intellectual. A philosophizing soul who was respected by staff and idolized by students. Broad-shouldered and tall, he had a lengthy beard matched by a pair of thick sideburns. When I first met him, I expected a deep, authoritative voice to emerge, but instead a far more tempered one spoke, with a candid hippie-like inflection reminiscent of The Dude in The Big Lebowski. Though he evades description, if I were to venture one, physically, Mr. P. kind of resembled Santa Claus. Or rather, St. Nick’s maverick brother, who rebelled by rejecting the family business, and absconding to the Canadian West Coast, proclaiming, “To hell with snow and pine trees, man. I’m moving south and teaching the generation of tomorrow!”

What I Learned From A Great Dane

What I Learned From A Great Dane

"What I Learned from a Great Dane" chronicles the weeklong stay of my favourite four-legged houseguest, Roo—a big dog with an even bigger heart. During her stay, Roo taught me some valuable lessons on life, love, and laziness.

The Caffeine Addict’s Guide: Coffee Hacks

The Caffeine Addict’s Guide: Coffee Hacks

I’m by no means a coffee aficionado, however, I do understand the last dregs of dark roast poured from a dispenser labeled: French Vanilla, is “swill” compared to the craft-coffee served up by more reputable roasters. Regardless, when the post-lunch fatigue sets in during the average workday, I’ll gladly down anything with a caffeine content high enough to jolt me from my 2 p.m. stupor. I have a few friends whose standard of what constitutes "real" coffee far surpass my own. Their kitchens are outfitted with sleek, Italian-engineered espresso machines and every coffee oriented accessory on the market, ranging from the essential to the obscure. Over the years I've picked up on some of their fundamental tips and tricks. Here are a few of my favourite coffee hacks to help improve your daily grind (pun intended), and elevate your average cup of jo.

Sisterhood

Sisterhood

Sisterly love. Since time immemorial, it has been the ultimate usurper of self-interest and ego. That bothersome, burdensome, stubbornly unyielding familial glue that binds us to our female siblings with the tenacity of Super Glue, but with ten times the messy residue.