I’m recovering from (and feeling inspired by!) my favourite trip to Montréal thus far. I spent four or five days hanging out at the Tulip Farm, having good conversations with friends, and eating cheap/free food. It was like a long, beautiful Quiet Party. It took three buses to get there: one to downtown Guelph, one to Toronto, and one to Montréal; then a Metro ride to St-Henri, my twin’s neighbourhood.
Sunday afternoon was my book launch! I’ve held three book launches so far: Guelph, Toronto, and Montréal. All of them have felt so cathartic, so scary, and so beautiful. I’ve been lucky to read alongside some of my best friends and favourite writers/artists, and to be surrounded by people who value honesty, guts, and weirdness. In Montréal, Kit read about various kinds of silences, and “menno & madness” (growing up Mennonite and depressed); Hayden read about bipolar disorder, un/acceptable forms of self harm, and dealing with the fucked up mental health care system. The room was full. I felt so grateful to hear their words, to see them have the guts to tell their stories, and to cry. I made new friends. And I made new pen pals, I hope!
[Click the images to make them larger.] 1. Lemon-custard pie homemade by Stefanie, Amber’s roommate-soulmate. 2. Typewriter, tiara, & desk at the Tulip Farm. 3. Me, thinking about the politics of embracing Femme as a FAAB (female-assigned-at-birth) genderqueerdo.
Being in my pals’ homes always makes me think about my own home: What do I want my home to look like? Feel like? What do I want my days to look like? What kinds of energy do I wish to create?
I like reading the spines along my friends’ bookshelves, seeing the posters on their walls, reading the notes they leave for themselves. I like seeing what kinds of dishes they use and how many plants they have. I tend to sleep well when I’m in other people’s beds/couches.
What made this trip so lovely was seeing how my twin and her roommate have created their home and how they interact with each other. The Tulip Farm looks like a delightful mash-up of cupcakes and valentines, with typewriters on display and a drawer full of tea. They make good food and they know that not every silence is awkward. I also got to spend quality time with some dear friends of mine: talking, hugging, chugging coffee.
“Altogether a queer, self-conscious, self analytic performance, interesting to me.” – Virginia Woolf’s diaries
I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship lately. I’m trying to be more intentional about my friendships. What does that mean? It means I want to make time to hang out with my friends one-on-one. I want to have good, complicated conversations and I want to hang out without the stress of keeping one another entertained. I want to be honest and vulnerable, the way I am with my zines. I want to feel less lonely, more connected. I want to spend time with creative weirdos, I want to talk & laugh & cry and sometimes just drink coffee and write. I want to do my usual quiet, loner things in the company of good people. I want to love, and feel loved. Me and some of my friends have been practicing saying “I love you” out loud because we just haven’t done it before, or haven’t done it often enough. It’s still hard.
1. Winter magic at used bookstores. 2. Taking pills & writing notes at the Tulip Farm. 3. Courtney Love, taped to the bathroom door, embraced with a tinsel heart.
It is strange to feel content, but sometimes I really do. Me, Amber, and Kit, had this wonderful realization as we were walking along the sidewalk together that we’ve barely had to take our usual winter survival strategies into account because we’ve been having such an amazing, gorgeous winter without all the heavy despondency and darkness that usually befalls us in this season. I told Amber I was having the best time in her city that I’ve ever had, and she said, “This is what happens when we prioritize friendships!”
P.S.: Come see me and my Mend My Dress Press pals on our U.S. West Coast tour!
P.P.S.: If you’ve benefited from my writing in any way – if my words have inspired you, helped you feel less alone, or sparked some weird feeling within you; if you’ve felt encouraged, or curious, or comforted – please consider compensating me by offering a donation of any amount. Whether you’ve been reading my writing for years, or just stumbled into me this afternoon, I invite you to help me sustain the process!