Things I learned this week

Pineapple pizza was invented in southwestern Ontario.

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I had no idea! But #RIP Sam Panopoulos. Imagine being famous for creating the one type of pizza that everyone hates? Now that’s a legacy!

One year at my birthday party in elementary school, you know the kind where you invite the entire class, we bought 3 for 1 Pizza and they accidentally brought us 3 pineapple pizzas. We called them and they brought us 3 pepperoni pizzas. We tried to give them the pineapple pizzas, but they wouldn’t accept them back. So we were stuck with 6 pizzas, and nobody touched the pineapple ones.

The second thing I learned was that the saying New York Minute apparently originates from Toronto.

I’m still questioning that one. But the guy’s research is really impressive!

I ran into an online friend IRL

In this world of Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, I have a solid network of friends: My online friends, and my real life friends. My real life friends are the people I met in school. We go out for drinks and go dancing and moan about our lives together. My online friends discuss the Leafs and CFL football with me and like all my photos on Instagram.

Twenty years ago, I was heavily into Livejournal (oh my god, was that really 20 years ago??? I feel so old!). I made six really close friends who, after the death of LJ, followed me to my various online social networks and we’ve stayed friends ever since. They almost know me better than my current IRL friends, because they were there with me through school, bad boyfriends, and work dramas.

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This was totally us

Last weekend I was shopping with my mom and we decided to stop into Taco Bell for some grub. I walk right in and stopped dead in my tracks. Sitting inside was one of my old LJ friends! I now have her on Facebook and Instagram, where she likes all my photos and shares all my memes. I had never met her IRL before, and she doesn’t live in my area, so it was quite a surprise. I was hit with this confusion: do I go and say hi to her? Will she even recognize me from my selfies? She was with her family, and I was like, do they know how active she is online, or does she hide her online identity from them the way I hide mine?

Thankfully, as I was having a crisis, she called out my name and waved me over. We had tacos together and caught up. Yes, it was totally awkward. But it was still a pretty cool experience. I felt like I was meeting a celebrity. This was a person who I only knew through Instagram selfies and Facebook rants, and now I was meeting her in person and she was the exact same person online. Even weirder, she was with her husband and two children, and I felt like I knew them as well, because she posts so many pictures of them.

It’s definitely a small world. This isn’t the first time this has happened to me, either. Still, it was pretty cool and I’m glad I got to meet her. And it’s proof that Taco Bell brings everyone together.

 

 

 

 

Describe Yourself as a Writer

<I>Q: Describe yourself as a writer using one word.</I>

A: zhogv3bi

I like weird things. And I like to write about weird things.

When I first started working as an advertising copywriter, my Creative Director gave me a little notebook on the first day (I’d love to picture it as a sexy leather-bound moleskin but nope, it was just a shitty dollar store book) and told me to write down anything weird I observe or experience during the day (of course I wrote that down as my first entry). This became my “There-Must-Be-An-Ad-In-That” idea book. If we were ever stuck for ad ideas, we were all urged to refer back to this book, just flip the pages and see if we could plug any of these strange things into an advertising concept.

I’ve never stopped doing this even though I’ve fled as far as possible from advertising. Only now instead of carrying around a notebook I just type it all into the Notes section of my phone.

Story on the news that made me laugh? I shove it in. I’m not a traditional person and my entire life I’ve been attracted towards the strange and things that are different. That includes reading novels based on strange situations (for example: Death and the Penguin, a story about a man who lives in post-USSR Ukraine with his pet penguin that he recovered from the bankrupt zoo). I love that kind of shit! Give me more of it! My thirst for the bizarre is rarely satisfied, though, that’s why I feel this need to write about it.

People who read my stuff always go “Wow you’ve got such a creative mind to come up with these things!” but let’s face it, that’s not the exact truth. Ideas don’t magically strike me down at any given moment. Maybe that’s how some writers work, but not me. It’s hard work – always observing, listening, and recording things down. That’s the key to it all – don’t hope you remember it later. Even if you’re lying in bed half asleep or on a crowded subway or in the shower – if it comes into your head, even if it doesn’t make sense at the moment, write it down! For those moments when you’re stuck with either where to begin a story or how to get one going, the idea swipe file will always come in handy. No matter how quirky the thought is.

By the way, QUIRKY has a close relation to CRAZY, so sometimes I straddle both lines…

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But I’m okay with that.

How would you describe yourself as a writer? Also, if you have any fab quirky book recommendations for me, please don’t hesitate to share! I’m always on the lookout!

 

Smells Like Teen Spirit

So apparently today is the 25th anniversary of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit.

Go ahead, feel old.

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I was in Grade 5 when this song was hugely popular. My biggest memory was when my class participated in the school’s talent show. Our teacher wanted us to do a Beauty and the Beast themed dance. Instead, we convinced him to let us dance on stage to Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit.

It’s amazing, but I still remember the entire dance sequence. I have no memory of who choreographed the whole thing, but it was pretty awesome. I guess this was before digital cameras, so it’s not up on Youtube anywhere.

Back then, our school principal was SUPER STRICT and from the Old Country, and he didn’t allow us to wear jeans to school on non-uniform days, which added up to what, 10 days a year. So almost nobody in my class owned jeans. For our dance, we all had to wear the same outfit of a baggy white tee and ripped jeans.

But none of us owned jeans!!!

How weird is that? Looking back, I sure had a weird childhood.

We had to go around from class to class, begging people to let us borrow their jeans.

It was the best dance out of the entire show.

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My other hilarious memory relating to this song?

There was, strangely enough, another girl named Zoriana in my school. She had a journal filled with her obsession about Kurt Cobain. One day, she forgot it on the subway. Some guys from my school found it and thought it was mine. I came in to school and they’d plastered the pages all over my locker, complete with cartoon kisses all over the pages.

I just stood there, thinking, what the shit??

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

 

 

Dialogue Problems – “Gonna”

My first drafts are word dumps where I do just that – dump out as many words and scenes and characters as possible. Then I go back and clean everything up. Cut out awkward scenes and kill my darlings, you know how it is.

Right now, I’m stuck on my dialogue.

We’re told to write realistically, to make it sound the way a person would speak. Sometimes I read a passage outloud and no, it doesn’t work, it sounds too formal.That’s definitely something I learned while watching Eastenders last night.

Here’s the word I’m stuck on now: “Gonna”.

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Nobody says “I’m going to head over to Starbucks.” I mean, maybe sometimes someone actually will say it? But I watched some TV shows and every character says “gonna”. So people generally really actually do say “gonna”. “I’m gonna head over to Starbucks.” “I’m gonna eat that pizza.” “This is gonna be good!” The word really is an authentic part of dialogue.

Then why does it feel so weird for me to use it? It just looks so out of place for me, and stands out when I read dialogue between characters. Is it just me, am I overthinking this tiny word? Or is “gonna” really bad to use in my writing?

Oh well. I’m gonna go drown my sorrows in more wine. And do more editing.

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*It’s never gonna get old

I still don’t understand half of what they’re saying

I read this article today about Renee Zellwegger watching Eastenders to perfect her accent for her Bridget Jones role.

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LOVE IT. In my latest novel, one of my characters is a Polish dude who watches Eastenders to learn how to speak English.

Me and this show have a bit of history. I once worked at a TV station here in Canada that broadcasts this show. My job was to watch all the week’s episodes and write a gossip type column about the week’s events. Yes. I was paid to watch Eastenders. Let that sink in for a minute. Best job ever, right?

Anyways, I haven’t watched it since. But after reading this article, I realized I need to start watching Eastenders again. Why? Because parts of my novel take place in London, and my British dialogue was falling flat.

OH MY GOD. I’ve missed this show.

I think I’m enjoying my research a LITTLE bit too much!

P.S. I’VE NEVER ACTUALLY SEEN BRIDGET JONES’ DIARY

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Prompt: The Accidental (?) Boob Grab

Prompt: Tell us about a time someone accidentally grabbed your boobs.

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Okay. So there I was, walking down Bay Street, heading back to work after lunch. I was late, of course, because I had to pause to visit the LCBO on my way back. I was rushing like Usain Bolt to get back to my desk before my boss decides she prefers my desk to be empty, which caused me to dart in between the slowpokes. In front of me, a man was talking with a lady. They were so engrossed with their conversation that they were not in any hurry to get anywhere and clearly were in my way.

I rudely darted in front of the man so I could pass them at the light. The light was red. As I took a step forward, he took a step forward. Our bodies collided. Instinctively, his hand went up to pat my shoulder as he apologized. Accidentally, his hand landed riiiiight on my boob.

It was not a soft graze. It was a full on, palm flat against my breast. But it was totally accidental. Which is what made it so hilarious. Especially the look of horror on his face as he realized what he did.

The light turned green and I bolted forward. Both humiliated and amused.