The Year That Was

A late 2020 meme or trope has been circulating. It takes issue with people who are ready to say goodbye to 2020 and to welcome 2021. The criticism is that people are placing their hope on a new year as if the pandemic will magically disappear as soon as the clock strikes midnight on December 31st.

Trying to Make Sense of the World During a Pandemic

The moment of the day when the reality of the situation continues to hit the hardest is the minute before I wake up.

Sometimes it’s in the middle of the night, sometimes at 5:00 am just before the alarm goes off. I go to bed thinking about coronavirus, and I wake up thinking about it. I’m sure it’s the norm right now for everybody. Our collective dreams must be made of this new reality.

We are Pilgrims, in el Camino, and in Life

Narcissus was analytical, a thinker; Goldmund, a dreamer with the heart of a child.

Field and heath lay before him, dry, fallow stretches and dark forest. Beyond it might be farms and mills, a village, a town. For the first time the world lay open before him, wide and waiting, ready to receive him, to do him good or harm. He was no longer a student who saw the world through a window; his walking was no longer a stroll ending in the inevitable return. […] He was small in this large world, no bigger than a horse, an insect; he ran through its blue-green infinity. No bell called him out of bed, to mass, to class, to meals.

Herman Hesse, Narcissus and Goldmund

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou: A Piercing Look at the Myth and Bust of Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes

For five years, during the entirety of my master’s degree and beyond, I worked as a TA. I was a French literature and film studies student at the Department of French at my university. A native Spanish speaker, I was a fluent French speaker by then and taught the introductory French course for first-year students, French 100.  The class was taught in English at the beginning and gradually moved into an almost French class at the end as students learnt the basic language for communicating in the classroom.

Bad Endings, Short Stories by Carleigh Baker

I grew up in Maracaibo, Venezuela. Bordered by Lake Maracaibo and the humid rainforest of the Sierra de Perijjá, Maracaibo is a city of heavy smells, heavy sun, heavy heat, heavy clouds. It could not be further from the cold waters, lush and cool forests, and thunderless rain of the Pacific Northwest. Bad Endings, a short story collection by Vancouver writer Carleigh Baker is a book set firmly in the Northwest landscape, one where lead coloured skies, chilling winter rain, and the proximity to wild and majestic nature are part of the everyday palette of sights and experiences.

The Measure of My Powers – A Memoir by Jackie Kai Ellis

I deeply believe in dedicating time to the things we love; it’s the name of this blog and the life philosophy I credit with giving me a second chance at a happy life. There is no “getting over it,” “you are too old for this,” and specially, “you are a mom, so you should not be doing x or y…” Motherhood, on the contrary, was one of the catalyst of my decision to not only never abandon the things I was passionate about—music, movies, reading, writing—but to pass these passions along to my son as the most beautiful gifts of being alive.

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

Everyday, women of all ages around the world look in the mirror and hate what they see. As women, our criticism of our bodies is often ruthless; our rolls, dimples, stretch marks, and cellulite a reflection of our laziness, carelessness, our excesses. In an unending cycle, we hate, try to lose the weight, become overwhelmed by the difficulty, give up and then start all over again. This hate is not innate; rather, it has been ingrained in us from an early age through a culture that measures the values of girls and women through their bodies, each pound gained, and year aged, lowering that value.

Just Kids – A Memoir by Patti Smith

I grew up on classical music and progressive rock. I also grew up in 1990s Venezuela, where musical cliques were so closed-off in their own lanes, it was almost considered treason to listen, or even to admit to like, anything that was considered to be outside the approved bands within the genre.  While in later years these cliques began to open up to a more general appreciation of all that could be considered “rock,” I grew up never listening or learning anything about entire genres, from pop, to soul, to hip hop, all the way to punk

Wab Kinew’s The Reason You Walk – A Memoir About Reconciliation

This year Canadians celebrated their 150th anniversary since Confederation. Though the Canadian Government made a great effort to celebrate this milestone anniversary, in true Canadian fashion, the date brought a lot of conflicted feelings and introspection to many Canadians. So while most of us still celebrated the extraordinary accomplishments of this country, many also took the time to reflect on our past and the historical wrongs that have been inflicted towards our Indigenous peoples.