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While cleaning out my room this week, I uncovered a stack of papers containing short stories and flash fiction that I had written last summer. With most of the writing I do on scraps of papers, I end up grouping them together in small piles and stashing them somewhere that I won’t look for nearly a year later, if not longer. After going through this newfound pile, I picked out a few that I’d like to share here on my blog in the coming weeks.
Scroll down to read the first…
She stared out into the open, arms crossed under her leaning body. The stone railing held her upright, but nothing sheltered her from the sparse but steady rainfall coming from above. The rain clouds moved languidly, gradually making their way toward the last remaining traces of sunlight that she could discern in the far distance. Slowly, her mane of chestnut hair soaked up each raindrop, her clothing turning a deeper shade as it too, drank up the rain. From miles away, thunder rolled loud and deep, the lethargic grumble rolling its way across a blackening sky.
Still, she kept her arms crossed against the rough grey stone, sinking her body further into the stance. Rainfall could never perturb her. With only the terrace spanning before her, there was nothing particularly intriguing to see; nothing that she could not see on any other day in far better weather. Of course, she knew this was so, but staring out in these conditions was something in and of itself. The moisture in the air could not gather on her skin and face like this, nor the nearly non-existent breeze whisper in her hair, nor raindrops kiss her eyelashes on any other type of day. She could not feel the Earth weep, hear Her low groan, nor smell Her dewy tears in any other circumstances.
The rainfall increased, a heavy sigh from the clouds releasing the warm water from above her. The thunder grew louder, creeping closer to her safe spot on the balcony. Beyond the walls enclosing the terrace gardens, she easily could see a thick pocket of trees, a single sparrow darting from a distant rooftop awning, into the thick, deep green foliage.
Rain fell heavier upon her narrow shoulders, seemingly washing away her sins and misgivings as easily as it watered the Earth. Each droplet from the downpour worked toward erasing her fears; her hates; her distrusts, sweeping them away to the soil far below to be purged and forgotten.
Lightening cracked overhead, the illuminating force of nature glowing against her face. With her eyes closed slightly, she straightened her back, turned her face upward, and smiled.
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After spending over four years inundating myself with academic writing and reading material, it has been of some difficulty to transition back into effectively writing creatively. There were countless days in this near half-decade of my life where I sat emptily in front of my computer staring blankly at the screen, hoping that something — anything — would once again spark my creative writing abilities. The truth is, it can be extremely difficult to flip-flop between an academic mindset and a creative one; in post-secondary school, particularly one heavily based in science, we are expected to think of everything critically and quite often, from a singular point of view. It’s unsurprising that the result is an inhibition of creative flow… But there is a way to begin counteracting this, especially once you’ve moved on from that academic mentality and are ready to fully get back into creative writing.
In grade 12, as I was nearing my high school graduation and preparing to go to the University of Waterloo, moving out from my then-home in Whitby was inevitable. The notion of having my own space and total freedom seemed like a dream come true. Along with it, I had all of these far-fetched ideas of how I would spend my freshman year at university. The Emily of 2012 was someone who neatly packed her embroidered tea towels, china tea set, framed opera posters, and any other dainty lacy thing I had collected over the years, and imagined how I would deck out my new townhouse residence. After spending one day in said residence with my crazy roommates, I decided that living away from home was not for me. In fact, at the end of the first semester, I transferred to Ryerson and spent my time commuting from both my mom’s in Whitby and my dad’s in Toronto.
I’ve finally done it. I’ve completed my final term of my undergraduate degree, and each “last” was a roaring triumphant victory: turning in my last paper, completing my last lab, writing the last word on my final exam. As I pushed through these last months, I have been so wrapped up in reaching the finish line that I gave little thought to what I truly want to do after it was all over. Since I was a kid, I constantly flip-flopped between what I wanted to be when I grew up, always trying to pick “real” jobs. Read More
Despite my adoration of city life, I’m the first to say that there are times where I need to step back from being surrounded by the hustle and bustle of total urbanity. I spend nearly every moment of my life surrounded by both locals and tourists, especially since my university is located smack-dab in the middle of downtown Toronto and work part-time in guest services as one of Toronto’s top tourist attractions. When you spend that much time surrounded by a constant flow of people, you can’t help but acknowledge the fact that you’ve become a city girl; I am a city girl through and through, there’s no denying it.
Let’s face it: one of the biggest problems that can impede us from following our goals (such as wandering around the globe) is a lack of funds. As a university student ready to enter grad school this coming September, the fear of not being able to travel for the next little while has me riddled with worry. I can’t imagine not being able to visit at least one new place a year, be it internationally or within my own beautiful country. However, with the right amount of planning and self-control, you’ll still be able to take those trips on a tight budget.
I was initially hired onto Student Unity Project (“SUP”) team — a registered charity devoted to changing school environments and off-setting the damage that can be caused by exclusion and hostility when you walk the halls of your school alone — before the organization became a registered charity. After my summer student contract ended the first summer I was with them, I decided to stay on as a volunteer not only because of how important the charity was to me, but also the people who run it. SUP hires and trains high school students to mentor, support and be a friend, to other high school students who are being bullied. As someone who had been bullied in elementary school (you can read about that on the SUP blog by clicking here), I understand the importance of preventing this from happening, or at least alleviating the burden of being bullied wherever possible. I’ve finally found my permanent volunteer position of choice and I could not be any happier than I am with SUP.