longform, characters, essays, &c.

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"The Great Canadian Cannabis Poem Is Real, And It's Spectacular"

Lift & co // april 20 2018

''Substance use and poetry has always seen significant overlap: Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote "Kubla Khan" in the throes of an opium reverie; in the ‘60s while Allen Ginsberg claimed cannabis helped him channel an “awareness of the mysterious ghastly universe of joy, pain, discovery, birth & death, the emptiness & awesomeness of its forms,” and that every week he spent “about as many hours high as I have spent in movie theaters.” Cannabis was but one of a veritable bouquet of substances that had a hand in William S Burroughs’ Naked Lunch. And don’t even get us started on Hunter S. Thompson."


"Job Dream"

Real Life // July 11 2017

"The first question asks whether you would rather “work towards large-scale and long term change,” or “make more money to live well”; these distinctions — between personal and financial fulfillment, altruism and self-preservation — come up repeatedly. The questions get more probing, more personal, as you advance, but you can almost never shake the sense that what you are being asked to do is to quantify and identify the point at which concern for money breaks you."


"Visiting knifemaker rock stars draw a crowd to their sharpening party"

Ottawa citizen // july 23 2018

''There are two different kinds of sharp. There is sharp, as in things that might hurt when you touch them, and which you are careful around because they could cut you. And then there is sharp sharp — a kind of sharpness that seems to defy the laws of physics, rendering objects infinitely, effortlessly divisible. ... Chris Lord, manager of the store, hands out cans of beer from a large plastic bin filled with ice behind the counter. I wonder to myself whether that’s a very wise combination; it bears repeating, again, that these are some of the sharpest knives in the known universe."



"Tech Support"

Hazlitt // august 16 2016

"I’ve wondered how long I was going to be able to handle my own anxiety and depression, whether I was ready to take on a whole life with a brain that feels mis-wired. Explaining it to people is hard.  [...] The darkly ironic challenge of mental illness is that the illness itself is an obstacle to seeking help: making the people you love most feel, at the moment you need them most, a whole lot like strangers. Misery might love company, but suffering demands understanding. "


"'She was completely lifeless': Owner performs mouth-to-mouth to revive his dead turtle"

Ottawa citizen // June 2 2018

''Turtles are not soft, nor especially friendly, in the way cats or dogs are; they are alien, prehistoric creatures whose main similarity to humans is that, in Lubanski’s words, “they go wild when I’m about to feed them.”

Lubanski loves them anyway, in a way that may not translate to anyone who has never owned a turtle. “I’m really close with my turtles,” he said. He acknowledges, though, that the love he gives to his turtles is not always returned. “I give my turtle nose kisses,” he said. “That’s the only affection I get."




"Lost and found in the PATH"

spacing // june 2 2016

"This place is not so much about meeting the singular need for easy, all-season walkability as it is about meeting every need except that one. My emotional response after my third lap of the Hudson’s Bay Centre trying to find my way north is pure hopelessness. It strikes me as particularly ironic that there are so many sunglasses stores in a place whose entire existence seems predicated on your never seeing the sun again.



"Jodie Emery's marijuana mission"

now magazine // april 12 2017

" Marc Emery, rocking that Ned Flanders-inspired green sweater he's been photographed in a lot lately, reaches over occasionally to play with Jodie's hair. He cracks jokes about how much she talks. They could be mistaken for any couple out for dinner because they're too bored to cook. I have to remind myself that in legal terms I might be sitting across from two of the biggest drug dealers in Canada."


"The Difficult History of Indigenous People in Video Games"

the atlantic/killscreen // june 2016

"It’s a defining experience of 21st century living to go down a digital rabbit hole and emerge differently on the other side. [...] “I was thinking of a cold area, and I typed into Google: ‘Canada’s dark past,’” he said. What Basedow stumbled upon was Canada’s history of residential schools—something that the entire nation is still, in a way, stumbling through."


"Why Park Designers Need to Think More About Mental Health"

citylab // november 21 2016

"At the core of this is a simple problem: creating policy when it comes to mental health is challenging. Like many social indicators (such as poverty or addiction levels), mental health is both part of a larger network of social determinants and a product of them, as well. [...] It isn’t enough to build parks—even numerous, sizable ones—and hope that health outcomes improve."