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a year in love

December 27, 2017

on december 27, 2016, my heart was broken so thoroughly that, ever since, i’ve been on dating hiatus. i don’t particularly feel attracted to anyone, i don’t feel the urge to “get back out there”; i just feel nicely numb, like my emotions from that department decided to up and go. at the time, i was completely broken; now, i realise that getting destroyed by someone i trusted with my life was actually, somehow, sickly, a blessing in disguise because it propelled me in the other direction. so:

on december 28, i threw myself into writing, because writing was a place where i felt things, and where i could exercise my heart in the way i wanted to. at the time, i was raw and dumb and teary and completely unhinged in my personal life, but what i didn’t realise was that by freeing up those emotions – by removing the chance that i would spend energy on someone who, now i see, wasn’t worth it – i could pour them all onto the page.

on january 20, 2017, i got a stunning, warm, beautiful endorsement for my manuscript from a writer i greatly, greatly admire and now will stan till the day i die. when i got the email, sitting in a coffee shop in orillia, ont., i burst into tears. later that day, my girlfriends sent me a picture of the man who broke my heart cheek to cheek with his ex; i burst into tears, then, too. but the pattern of the up and down – with my writing always being the up, each new accomplishment being something that floated me to the surface when i felt weighed down and like i just wanted to sink – established itself, and i sunk my fingers into that lifeline. i sent that writer who endorsed me a card i had bought for the man who broke my heart; they both adore baseball, so it was a natural fit to mail out the message “you’re what we call a real moonshot, a four-base knock, a tape-measure blast, a home run.” it felt like some sort of closure to put that in the postbox.

on january 23, my agent sent out my manuscript.

on february 3, i met with mcclelland & stewart at their offices downtown. it felt like a first date, but the kind of date where the person (in this case, people: the publisher, two senior editors, and a junior editor, plus my agent) is so nice to you that you know it’s going to work out, you can just feel it. when i left that meeting, and my agent and i were walking to the subway, i turned to her and said my personal life is falling apart, i just got my heart broken, the CanLit situation is pretty bad right now, but this is what’s keeping me going. which, in retrospect, sounds a bit loopy, but it was the truth.

on february 10, offers came in for the book from two publishers.

on february 14, the day that i had imagined would perhaps be spent with someone i loved, i found something i loved more: i told my agent that i was going with M&S. it was the best valentine’s gift ever.

on may 31, one of my more dangerous poems, one that had been turned down by more than a few publications, was published in oracle fine arts review.

on june 16, a poem i had struggled to place (for five years!) was published in inscape mag.

on june 19, another poem i had repeatedly grappled with rejections for was published in ellipsis.

on august 4, i sent my first round of edits to my editors. it meant i was writing like a crazy person through my 30th birthday; it felt good.

on november 22, i sent my second round of editors to my editors. in between august and november, i wrote a piece on witchery and feminism for maisonneuve magazine; i also wrote my first piece for precedent magazine. (in hindsight, this was a LOT to do all at once.

now it’s december 27, a year to the day that i was shattered into hundreds of little pieces. i’ve picked up those pieces, patched them all back together again. there are plenty of cracks; i have some bits missing, and i might never find them – they might be gone forever. but i built those pieces back up into something bigger, something better than they were before; someone who is inspired again, who has ideas orbiting her head like a wonderful, esoteric solar system; someone who doesn’t give a shit anymore. gone is the woman who desperately wanted to please the people she romantically cared for; in her place is a writer.

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