September 5th – INTRO:
Today marks one week until my first book comes out with Orca Book Publishers. This has been quite a journey. In fact, writing it has involved all the aspects of a juicy story in and of itself: daddy issues, 2 hospital visits, moments of breakdown, moments of clarity, and everything inbetween – so I’ve decided to write about it. For the next 7 days I will publish one photograph and a piece of the story here and on Pop Activism.com. 💓💃 To start off, these 2 photos were both taken while writing AKA showing the beginning of my writing-induced coffee addiction (the honeymoon phase of needing caffeine)…. and then the more recent realization that this is now a life-long choice which costs money and is quasi unhealthy….
September 5th – 7 days:
“Just one more page.” My dads voice booms. My dads voice booms because he is made of fire, he is intense, he is determined and hardheaded and passionate – the only issue is so am I. To describe our relationship I can only think of fire meeting fire. In fact, I remember the first time I ever learned to flip someone off. I marched into the dining room where my parents were and looked right at my dad and stuck out my middle finger. I didn’t even quite know what it meant or why I was doing it, but I knew it would do the trick. But no matter what, no matter how firey things got, we could always connect over stories. At first it was “story time” (him reading to me), then it was watching movies (him pausing to explain the different narrative acts), and then it was writing together. We are best when working beside one another, collaborating, breaking down each other’s ideas and rebuilding them. So with this fire meets fire he helped me write my first novelette at age 13. It was 25,000 words, a mystery called “Salaerie’s Diary”. We would type side by side after school, him working on his screen plays and me on my YA novel. “Just one more page.” My favourite thing about my dad is that he has always taken me seriously, even at 13. And he took me seriously the entire way through – helping me sign and address six different submissions of my manuscript to six different publishing houses. I was rejected by all six (I mean I was 13 after all….) but one (@orcabookpublishers) let me tour their office. Not only that but the same summer my Mum drove me to the US to meet my favourite author at the time (Susan Runholt). We met in a museum lobby and to me she appeared to be an actual superhero. That summer I officially fell in love with writing. The only thing with falling in love with something at 13 is that you are also very receptive to what others say and even the most determined of parents can’t stop that. So one day a friend of mine said, “But you’re not a bookworm. You don’t read all the time so you can’t be a writer.” And you know what? That made sense to me. It made so much sense that I stopped writing. And I didn’t write again for five years…
September 6th – 6 days:
So what did I get up to while I wasn’t writing for those 5 years? I still found myself surround by words but in a different way. “If you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, just pretend you’re playing a very intense game of dress-up.” – an old note I wrote on my phone while flying to Vancouver to speak at my first Data and Security Conference. I was 16 and had no idea what data and security meant but the panel needed a young student so I volunteered. Unbeknownst to me… this panel was serious, I’m talking real bonified serious 👔business💼 stuff. So what the hell was I doing there? Very good question. I didn’t really know, and I knew everyone would be thinking the same. In fact, I knew the only way I was going to feel confident enough to speak was if it wasn’t me speaking at all. Well not 100% NOT me but like maybe 43% high school student and 57% uber successful young business woman. So as I changed into my moms business skirt & suit-jacket I told myself I was a smart af university graduate 20-something who did this regularly….as I flew to Vancouver I thought about how my company regularly flew me to different cities to speak on important issues….as I walked on stage I thought about how I lived in a well-decorated New York apt…and then at the very last moment (when it was my turn to speak) I switched back to 100% Erinne. Cause here’s the thing, sometimes you have to trick yourself. You have to trick yourself into doing things that you could never see yourself doing and then just take one massive leap and hope that as you’re leading yourself up this cliff you learn how to actually jump in time. I know this has now turned into some fairly cheesy motivational speech (I blame my mum for constantly exposing me to self-help videos at a young age) but I guess what I’m trying to admit to you is that it isn’t even me who signed a legally binding document to write 3 books in my first year of University. There is no way I, 100% Erinne, would have agreed (never mind come up with the idea) but I had learned this 43/57 trick so here I am in August 2015 pointing at a YA section in a Vancouver bookstore after officially signing up to jump one hellofa cliff …
September 7th – 5 days:
So I started to write again. At first it was painful, actually who am I kidding most of the time it’s painful, but it’s also cathartic and therapeutic and even sometimes pleasurable. Just by forcing yourself to sit down and sort through the jumble of thoughts that are all piled up and swirling around – it can feel really good but it’s almost always hella hard to get there. At least for me it is. I started to develop techniques again to get over the hump of actually typing words out. My favourite one is bribing myself, sitting in a coffee shop and only buying coffee or a treat after a certain number of words. Or stopping every 200 words to get up and pet my dog. Or writing along someone else who’s being productive. After awhile, no matter what the bribe is, things just start to come quicker and you forget about time or word-counts. So I kept writing. Re-wording, trying different things out, re-reading, re-working it felt like I was re-organizing a messy room which i’d been neglecting for years. I was stretching a muscle which had been out of use for a very long time and all my Dad could say was, “it’ll get easier.” I had no idea if he was just saying this to convince me to keep going or if it actually would …but I didn’t really have a choice so I continued to learn how to jump-start my relationship with writing …
September 8th – 4 days:
So it’s great that I was starting to love writing again but ppl have asked me how I balanced it all… the answer is •I did not• You remember the jumble of thoughts swirling around my head that I can sometimes sort by writing? Well that jumble of thoughts has always swirled a little extra strong for me. I can’t talk about writing without talking about my anxiety.Since I can remember I have overthought just about everything & come up with extravagant scenarios in my head ….the only problem is that these scenarios have often been ones of worry. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder at aprx 12, since then I’ve seen my share of counsellors, naturopaths, acupuncturists, meditated a bunch, done some downward dogs….you get the idea. I’ve learned coping mechanisms & grown a hella strong support system & feel (most of the time) under control with it – but there are still times when I put my mental health on the back burner. This was one of those times. End of first year, exhausted, putting too much pressure on, & just couldn’t do it. (Like the dramatic person I am) I fainted in a Shoppers Drugmart & had to be put on an IV for 6hrs right before my first exam. You might be wondering why I took this glamorous selfie during this fairly low moment, but this is the thing… there are aspects of my “monkey mind” that I love. “Monkey mind” is a term my Mum used to use with me when I was a kid to create a persona for my anxiety that I could basically say “fuck off” to whenever it showed up. For the longest time I hated monkey mind. I wanted it gone. I mean I still wouldn’t mind it vacating, but I did start to realize how monkey mind can work for you. It’s like that Lorde lyric, “bet you rue the day you kissed a writer in the dark.” All experiences, good and bad, can be channeled into creative production and in this way overthinking has given me the opportunity to ~produce~ VS implode. I’ve realized this for a while, & it doesn’t mean I can always do it, but it does make me hate monkey mind a little less. So I snapped this glamorous selfie in the hopes that one day it could be used as part of some story – as a productive use of my close friend monkey mind.🐒
September 9th – 3 days:
In defence of my degree choice/the focus of these books: At the moment I am completing an undergraduate degree in Peace, Conflict, & Justice and Book & Media Studies. This means at the same time as I am studying war-zone lawfare I am also studying current trending hip-hop music. Whenever I mention the pop culture aspect of my degree I usually get some type of response like – “oh that’s SO fun!” and maybe a tiny chuckle. I do agree it’s fun, don’t get me wrong, but I also think it’s serious. Pop culture has always had an insanely large impact on people’s psyche, their decision making process, and just generally the way the world functions. But with social media it has gone to a WHOLE ‘nother level. When I started writing these books I already thought this (which is why they are so focused on not just activism/pop culture, but social media/smartphone usage), but then … on November 8th, 2016… I made an expression similar to this one while still wearing my Clinton-inspired Pussy Power shirt. This is because I, like many other blatantly left-wing people, did not see this as a possibility AT ALL. All the news articles on my feed had shown this as not a possibility, as even a joke. I even remember one of my professors crying in class the next day because he said this contradicted everything he studies and teaches…. This is when I started to have even more of an, “oh shit” moment. I started to realize that I don’t think anyone is keeping up with how fast social media is affecting us – at least not enough people. That academia in particular isn’t taking social media, and the subsequent pop culture messages it feeds us, as seriously as it should. That social media is not only a new language that we all speak, but is perhaps the most influential politician, media channel, news source, and corporation out there. And I know I sound a little conspiracy-theory-ish now… but I guess I just wanted to explain why this is also usually my expression as someone chuckles when I say I study pop culture, because whether you like it or not… social media is here to stay and it’s time we started taking it a little more seriously.
September 11th – 2/1 Days:
Sorry for the delay in post… BUT I’ve been doing some 💥fun 🕶glamorous👄 publicity 🌈stuff which mostly involves a lot of free plastic water bottles and awkwardly enthusiastic pointing poses and/or book-holding poses and/or headset poses such as these. SOOO tomorrow officially is the publication date for Can Your Smartphone Change the World? and I am (as you might probably expect having now read all about my childhood, love/hate relationship with writing, anxiety) … excited/horrified/shitting.myself. When you work for so long on a creative product it feels very odd to be officially letting it go out into the world to be perceived, criticised, and consumed by others. It’s like my little book-baby now and I really do not feel ready to let it go!!! And although I can’t wait to hear what other people think and see who it may reach, part of me is also sad to see the process of creating it come to an official end. I feel a bit like I’ve built this little world over the last two years and now I’m inviting everyone else to come in and explore it. So I guess my biggest hope for what will happen once I open these doors is that you, and hopefully many others, will continue the dialogue that I’ve started –between us, with others, and with the world. (I know, hella cheesy 🧀but I appreciate you reading along with this adventure 💕❤️)