21 May 2016

Post-New York Post

The post that should be here is the post-New York post. I would tell you all about the wondrous joy going to New York was for me. I would tell you about how it did change me, how every street I walked on was like a dream and like going back to a home I didn't know I was missing. New York. A city of noise; cars honking, radios on shoulders pumping hip-hop, the clang and grind of the garbage trucks.

I could tell you about the spring, how every corner I turned seemed to shelter another hidden park, these gems inside a giant dark stone of a city. Parks with blooming cherry trees and tulips, brightly painted chairs and tables, lovers eating gelato and old men playing cards.

I could tell you about performing my poetry at a poetry slam night in Manhattan only to discover... my poetry isn't exactly slam material and I don't even really know what slam poetry is. I got on stage after listening through countless other poets who all seem angry with the world and have been essentially spewing their guts out in a cathartic stream of words. I was so nervous and I tried to hold it together, but I knew it wasn't where I belonged, and walking home (to the hotel) I felt so small but I was glad any ways because now I could say I debuted my poetry in New York City.

The countless hours spent wandering the streets from the depths of Greenwich village to the Upper East side, Central park to Chelsea. I stared at the doors of the houses where one Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg had lived, I wanted so bad to feel something standing there on 15th and 20th Streets.... I wanted some flash, an insight, a sign from above perhaps. Nothing happened though. So I went to Cafe Wha? and listened to the house band and danced my butt off, then walked back to my room, it was 1:30am on Friday April 1st and it was still 20 degrees outside, I ate a slice of pizza and when I got back to the hotel I slept more soundly then I had slept in a long long time.

01 March 2016




30. Breathe— everything passes, everything changes, just do what you think you should do
 29. Wine is medicine (sometimes)
  28. Moving your body and staying flexible are good things to start now
   27. It is ok to enjoy your own neurosis from time to time
    26. I love being introverted <3
     25. I want to dance & sing and make music more
      24. Own your experience
23. Build a library
 22. Write a book
  21. Absolutely don't give a shit (within reason)- non mi frega niente if I say it in Italian
   20. Give a shit— find a cause— fight for something/make love for something
    19. I love being a vegetarian.
     18. Write poetry
      17. Let go of all the little things
16. See the big picture
 15. Watch the beauty of the world surround you
  14. Look up often
   13. Watch the sunrise or the sunset
    12. Stay up late when you can, go to bed early when you feel it
     11. Cultivate friendships—
10. Write letters and make phone calls (skypes too)
 9.  Practice kindness
  8.  Practice forgiveness
   7.  Practice patience
    6.  Go crazy
5.  Allow time for wild fashions and spontaneous fantastic rebellion
  4.  Go to parties
   3.  Use your big juicy healthy brains
    2.  Follow you heart
     1.  Floss your teeth and look after your feet (as my 93 year old Oma would say).

I went to bed and woke up thirty... went a little crazy... did a little dance...


29 February 2016

Book reading year... my last day of my 20s!!!!!!

Well, I got through twelve books out of thirty… sure, it would be nice to be able to say I read them all... I mean I did have a whole year, but considering I have also completed four university courses and worked full-time for much of the past year, not to mention moved…twice… I think I have done well!

I should add, that I did not read every one of these books entirely… I will explain why in my descriptions if I didn’t completely read it.*

Here are the books I read :

1. Life on Mars- Tracy K. Smith- Poetry
~ one of the most moving poetry collections. Smith’s poems have projected my poetic interest even higher than it already was. She uses rich symbolism and imagery to paint a picture of humanity, love and connection. (I bought this book).

2. The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales From a Strange Time - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson - Gonzo Journalism
~ Oh Hunter :) , I have always had a soft spot in my heart for you. This book is political and honest. There is an element of poetry in it as well. Hunter’s style is concrete and yet twisted and riddled with rants. *I loved the essays that I read * it is a rather large book filled with essays, I read some of the essays but will definitely be keeping it around to read more (bought this one).

 3. Gasoline- Gregory Corso- Poetry
~ Again… life changing poetry. Poetry has ruled my life these past two years (especially this past year). Corso is a poet who not only combined styles— from beat to formal verse— but also took inspiration from many different things. The poems in Gasoline range in theme from war, travel, his Italian heritage, love, dreams, mythology, and the life of beat generation personalities. It is hard to describe the meaning of a book of poems, it can mean something different for everyone who reads it, but I found for me this book rekindled my faith and my curiosity in humanity. (this book is on my shelf, so glad I bought it, I will be reading it from time to time… poem by poem).

4. Eating Animals- Jonathan Safran foer - Non-Fiction Animal Rights/ Veganism

~ This was a book that I was excited to read. I had great high hopes and expectations. Unfortunately to me it did not speak. This my be a perfect book for someone new to the concept of vegetarian/vegan-ism, or for a person who wants to inform themselves about factory farming and animal suffering for the production of meat/eggs/milk… However, I just felt a bit bored reading it and therefor * I read part of it * but did not finish it. Perhaps it would have inspired me more had I not already completed almost a year as a vegetarian before reading it?

5. A Room of One's Own- Virginia Woolf-  Essay: Feminism/ The life of a Writer.
~ Woolf is a writer I would recommend everyone interested in writing and/or feminism read.
A Room of One’s Own is no exception, she beautifully portrays the life of women writers and there is this statement  "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” which honestly I think is true (also for other forms of artistic expression) to a large degree but not only for woman but also for men.

6. The Art Of Syntax: The Rhythm of Thought, Rhythm of Song- Ellen Bryant Voigt- Poetry Craft/Language/ Music
~ This was a book that I somehow though would be more “artistic” but turned out to be quite “scientific”. The author really breaks down the meaning of syntax, the mathematics of sound, and the scientific explanation of language acquisition. It was entirely not what I had expected. I bought the book *did not read it all, but much of it*… not sure if I would have bought it looking back, but it is probably good to have around as a reference book.

7. Slouching Towards Bethlehem- Joan Didion- Essay Collection: California/ 1960's/ Changing History

~ AWESOME BOOK! If you like hippies, California culture, beat generation, movie stars, road trips, and a life examined… well this is an amazing read. A book of essays that are so full of life and of involvement that you will feel a part of the culture that Didion was in during this time.
I bought this book, I love this book, I read it from cover to cover twice.

8. Glitter In My Blood- Mindy Netifee- A Poets Manifesto
~This is basically a poets handbook. A how to book for creatives. A writers prompt and a guide for navigating life as an artist. Fun, beautifully written and with helpful and thoughtful activities.
I bough this book and I love it.

9. A Moveable Feast- Ernest Hemingway- Memoir/Paris/ 1920s
~A book of essays that I had already partly read years ago and loved. I read them again last spring (I think this was one of the first books on my list that I read) and again LOVE… Hemingway is a fine writer with a clear voice and a firm hand. He has a descriptive style that makes you believe at moments that you are with him drinking at the racetrack. As I love the 20s and that bohemian lifestyle of the jazz generation this book was a fantastically interesting read.

10. How Should a Person  Be- Sheila Heti- Memoir/ Novel/ Self- Help/ Life-Love-Sex in the 21st Century.
~I am just now reading this book and will finish it (possibly a couple days past my Thirtieth). I did not know this when I added it to my list…but… the book is set, and the author is from Toronto. Now I am living in Toronto and just now ordered the book from the library and started to read it. It is a gritty book, it is a powerful book, it may not be for every reader but I would recommend it. There are a lot of pretty vivid descriptions of blow-jobs and other sexual acts… if you are not into that type of book this may not be for you, but it is part of her story and it is a story that makes you think about your own life and your own expectations of yourself and who you think “you should be”.

11. The Dream of a Common Language- Adrienne Rich- Poetry

~ I read this book of poems (all the way through) at the beginning of this 29th year. I remember really liking it. The poems had powerful messages of nature, of release, of the wilderness of the heart… but unfortunately I read it almost a year ago and I cannot for the life of me remember my entire opinion :P But, it must have been good because I think I will order it from the library again.

12. Big Sur- Jack Kerouac- Novel
~ I am currently in the process of reading this… and will finish. This book is classic Kerouac, fiction based very closely on personal experience. Kerouac has always charged my brain full of the ideas of Buddhism, travel, personal discovery, and the art of letting go. This book is no exception… beautifully executed with moments of pure bliss… I will enjoy reading the rest of it.

Now…I will add that while I should have read more off my list perhaps… my experience and the effects of time changed my opinion on what I wanted to read or what I felt was important to read.

So I will add that I read a few other books that I feel should be added to my list:

13. The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald- Novel

~Loved it. Another book I read at the beginning of this 29th year… but I can say with confidence that Fitzgerald is a master and this book is definitely a must read for anyone who is interested in the 20s culture. I bought this book in Italy.

14. A Coney Island of the Mind- Lawrence Ferlinghetti-Poetry
~I bought this book in spring 2015 and it came with an audio CD of Ferlinghetti reading his poetry. I know ANOTHER poetry book… like I said poetry has ruled my life this past year. This is not just another poetry book, this is a book of great emotion and of great joy and humour. The readings on the CD are fun and fantastic, his voice is like a funny, slightly dirty grandpa reading aloud… full of wisdom and experience and laughter.

15. Book of Haikus- Jack Kerouac- Poetry
~I am in the process (almost done) of reading through this book entirely of Haikus. F-ing fantastic…. honestly this book has inspired not only my creative/poetic side… but renewed a now joy in me that needed a push to the bright side. This book is full of lovely reminders about the beauty of life and the joy of the small things. Also a great tribute to the beauty, power, and spirituality of nature.

This is my Haiku... inspired by Jack...

Tomorrow is the last day
— of my twenties
My yawning proves.

On springlike Sunday
— I rest
The laundry does itself.

The train rumbles
across Christie Street
—inexplicably happy.

I leave it at this… and will write a THIRTY blog post a.s.a.p.


12 January 2016

(Un)resolutions, or How to quit trying to do everything perfectly

It is that time of year again (or perhaps just past that time...) when people are giving things up (smoking, carbs, negative thoughts, etc etc), starting new habits, exercising, setting goals, resolving to "do better" this year....

While I commend the will to change; and I admire positive intentions, sometimes it seems our world has become obsessed with better, stronger, healthier, wiser, smarter, quicker... and so on.

This is fueled by our positive intentions (good) to make ourselves better people, to make the world a better place, and to live a life that we can be proud of... and that is great.

But, it is also fueled by something that has become at once our greatest tool, and our greatest enemy. The Internet.

Facebook, pinterest, instagram, twitter, health blogs, fitness, parenting advice, traveling.... we are so saturated with other peoples' projections of themselves (and it is always the best that is posted.... you never see someone having a meltdown, gaining weight, struggling to handle their toddler...), we are so overwhelmed by advice...

So, in light of this... I am not going to give any advice... but just to say I have decided to make my (un)resolution for 2016

I am not going to "give up" anything
I am not going to put pressure on myself to be anything 
I am going to allow myself the permission to do my best
I am going to eat, do, feel, be around what feels good for me

So live your best 2016... whatever that means to you :)

And I will be (maybe) writing another post soon about turning 30.

Image result for almost 30

27 February 2015

Birthday Books and Roman Ruins

Part II.  Of the Birthday Edition Blog Entry.

Well, as I mentioned... I am about to turn Twenty Nine. I am entering my last year of my twenties on Sunday. As this seems to be an important age (to me) and I want to celebrate not only the culmination of these past years as a person in her twenties, but also the transition into my thirties which will happen in one year from now... and to do this in my own style...

1. I am going to see Rome. A few days in Rome, visiting history and art and food and beauty. Celebrating my day of birth in the birthplace of countless institutions and infrastructures we so easily dismiss today... things such as: sewers and paved roads... and important Law concepts: Subpoena, habeas corpus, pro bono, affidavit—all these terms derive from the Roman legal system. These and so many more philosophies and inventions were invented/ conceived... or at least perfected and implemented in Rome during the Roman Empire.

2. I am dedicating this year of transition from one decade to the next to unprecedented growth.... I am starting (shortly after this birthday of mine) to take university classes to work on/finish my degree. 

3. On top of all the reading that is obviously required for the classes (see #2) I have also compiled a list of 30 books for turning 30.... these are books I have either: wanted to read for some time, books recommended to me by friends, or books I found during my research of essential books to have read by 30/ life changing books.Of course, I am realistic. 30 books in one year is a lot, even without having classes, and homework, and work and life... so... I am not too hard on myself... I am going to start reading through this list... and just keep going, as long as it takes :)

30 books... (and oh, yeah... they are eclectic!)

30. A New Earth- Eckhart Tolle - life's purpose/spirituality
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29. Naked Lunch- William S. Burroughs- Novel

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28. Life On Mars- Tracy K. Smith- Poetry
Image result for Life on Mars poetry

27. The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales From a Strange Time - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson - Gonzo Journalism
 Image result for the great shark hunt strange tales from a strange time
26. Only Forward- Michael Marshall Smith- Novel

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25. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs.The Climate- Naomi Klein-  Climate change/ Capitalism/ Consumerism

Image result for this changes everything capitalism vs. the climate

24. Gasoline- Gregory Corso- Poetry

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23. Eating Animals- Jonathan Safran foer - Non-Fiction Animal Rights/ Veganism
Image result for eating animals jonathan safran foer


22. A Room of One's Own- Virginia Woolf-  Essay: Feminism/ The life of a Writer. 

Image result for a room of one's own virginia woolf

 21. The Art Of Syntax: The Rhythm of Thought, Rhythm of Song- Ellen Bryant Voigt- Poetry Craft/Language/ Music

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20. Meditations- Marcus Aurelius- Philosophy/ Happiness (written about 2000 years ago by a Roman Emperor)
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19. Slouching Towards Bethlehem- Joan Didion- Essay Collection: California/ 1960's/ Changing History

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18. The Beautiful and the Damned- F.Scott Fitzgerald- Novel

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17. Glitter In My Blood- Mindy Netifee- A Poets Manifesto

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16. Original Wisdom:Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing.
Robert Wolff-  Indigenous peoples/ Anthropology/ Ancient wisdom

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15.Rome- Dorothea Lasky- Poetry

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 14. A Moveable Feast- Ernest Hemingway- Memoir/Paris/ 1920's

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13. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking- Susan Cain- Introverts/ Social skills/ Stereotypes

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12. Leaves of Grass- Walt Whitman- Poetry

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11. How Should a Person  Be- Sheila Heti- Memoir/ Novel/ Self- Help/ Life-Love-Sex in the 21st Centure.
 Image result for how a person should be book

10. The Tree of Yoga- B.K.S Iyengar- Yoga/ Philosophy

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 9.  Big Sure- Jack Kerouac- Novel
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8. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Love, Parent and Lead-  BrenĂ© Brown-  Thought patterns/ Habits/ Self-help/ Psychology
Image result for daring greatly brene brown

7. The Dream of a Common Language- Adrienne Rich- Poetry
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6. Shantaram- Gregory David Roberts- Novel
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 5. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galax- Douglas Adams- Novel.
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4. Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich- Duane Elgin- Simplicity/ Non-consumerism/ Environment/ Balanced Life.
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3. The Golden Notebook- Doris Lessing- Novel
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2. The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living- Dalai Lama- Happiness/ Peace/ Meditation
 Image result for the art of happiness a handbook for living

1. True Love- Thich Nhat Hahn- Opening/ Love/ Mindfulness
Image result for true love thich nhat hanh

Well.... Thats it.... Pheeeew....

Thank you to everyone who contributed their suggestions :) 

#30bookstoreadbefore30 #turningtwentynine #birthday #rome #books #booklist #changes