Fundamental Rights Photo by Angelo Wagan on Unsplash
Personal Essay

On Making 2018 Count

2017 was confusing, maddening, wonderful, and bittersweet. It was a year that challenged me to be more conscious – that we must still fight for democracy, equality, and even the idea of a collective, hopeful future. It was a year where I came face to face with my white, educated, Canadian, middle-class privilege. I learned when to speak out when it was necessary, and when it was important to hold back and to let others speak for themselves. It was a year to acknowledge and listen to other voices.

I spent a great deal of the spring glued to the news, absorbing the fear and hate and bravery that I saw happening in the US, and here at home in Canada. I learned a lot from my coworker – an outspoken, whip-smart Hijab-wearing journalist. We talked about her experiences of hate and discrimination and traded thought pieces on feminism. I went to the Women’s March in Vancouver to yell at the newly installed Trump Tower. I bought Rebecca Solnit’s The Mother of All Questions.

I saw the bravery of health care professionals and regular citizens in my city working to combat an overdose epidemic, often putting the needs of others before themselves. I had more friends get displaced by my city’s housing crisis. I wept when our local government was overturned and politicians started talking about shelter, treatment, economic-equality, and support.

I left an exciting but all-consuming day job to pursue work that would align more with my creative needs. I spoke about art and activism in libraries and bookstores. I stayed at a potter’s house on a Gulf Island. I skyped with far-away friends and willed them close. I sewed a dress and cut out the fabric pieces in order to sew another. I knit a few pink hats.

I went to Regina and learned about the odd history of Canadian letterpress circus posters. I took photos of weather-beaten signage. I returned home and bought a $100 painting from an indie rock legend.

I was interviewed for a local paper on my opinion of activist t-shirts. I applied for a grant. I published two articles in Works that Work– one on gameplay for astronauts and the other on fashion that works in hospitals. I organized a Vancouver Design Week event on design and civic issues at Vancouver City Hall.

In October, I wrote in a little walk-up in Montreal’s little Italy while attending the World Design Summit. I read Roxanne Gay’s Bad Feminist. I ate warm pastry embedded with bits of candied ginger. I visited a friend’s bar and listened to him play records under the slowest disco ball in the world (moving at 1/16th of a second). My heart broke and opened a little during the dawn of #MeToo. I saw absurdist Dadaist performance art in a room filled with birdcages and Christmas lights.

In November, I penned 32,000 words of a terribly silly NaNoWriMo novel about feminist witches. I thought about my relatives who fought in the great wars and what they sacrificed. I visited Salmagundi to have my tarot cards read (the future is coming, and that’s all that I can share with you for now).

I finished the year with the resolve that I can and must do some things differently in order to contribute to the kind of world that I want to experience.

While I have two book-length projects on the go, I miss the connection that I receive from blogging on a consistent basis. So, for 2018, it is my intention to return to writing regular posts on art, craft, design, activism, feminism, storytelling, and, of course, profiles of the many artists and makers that inspire me. I hope that it will inspire you too.

May this year provide you with the tools that you need to make the change that you want to see in the world. We’re all here together. Let’s make it count.

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