Welcome! I love to write, and I love sharing what I write with my readers. I vary my style as much as I can-posting events, creative non-fiction, prose and poetry and the occasional video. Enjoy!



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Life's Journey- Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone:
By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

Everyone has a comfort zone, a routine that makes things predictable and safe. You may not think about it, but in the back of your mind, you know that there is probably a way you go about your day and how anxiety provoking it can be when you do something different.

I find that my comfort zone involves following a particular routine. This goes from how I start my day, where I go during the day, and how I end my day. It sounds like a lot of work, and it is. I like being in control of how my day goes and how it ends. It’s this control that made me starve myself when I was anorexic, and it is this control that has me obsessed with order and not wanting to stray from it.

For me to step out of a routine that I like to follow can be very anxiety provoking.
People may not see it, especially those who don't realize that I deal with anxiety issues, but inside I can tell you I am shaking, and the thoughts that turn around in my head are enough to make me want to just shut down and be invisible. That would be easy to do, become invisible that is but I am choosing not to do that. I am choosing not to be invisible because I know it is time for me to step up to the plate and be the person I want to be. So much of my past was steeped in being invisible and not having a voice. I am writing this post to tell you “it isn’t so anymore!”

As a way to step out of my comfort zone, I am starting to recognize more than ever that it’s being such a stickler for a specific routine that makes me feel overwhelmed and trapped by the burden of feeling boredom and fear. I want more excitement and I want to live a more exciting life. For me, that means stepping up, stretching my limits and trying new things.

There are many steps to take in order for me to step out of my comfort zone. I can be a perfectionist and obsessive compulsive about the steps I need to take, but by putting this out on my blog, I am choosing to put this out into the universe, and by doing that, I am saying “I want to change, and I want to change for the better.”

In order for me to achieve stepping out of my comfort zone, it means that I have to consciously do things I wouldn’t normally do. It also means what they say in therapy using ‘opposite to emotion’ action-which is fighting to do the opposite of how you are really feeling and making a conscious effort to come out of yourself and be present in the moment.

Making a conscious effort can be tiring but I know I can do it.  I do it because I recognize that in order for me to become the best that I can be, I need to be proactive in changing myself for the better.

A couple of things that I have done that that has meant stepping out of my comfort zone is choosing the career of being a freelance writer. As a freelance writer, you are your own boss and you have a public persona that requires you to be your best.

I managed to step out and volunteer at Word on the Street with Shameless Magazine, even if it did just mean sitting in the cold alongside a colleague I feel comfortable with, and shadowing what she did. I swear, I’ll do better next year!

I have moved to an entirely new area of Toronto, and this has meant learning the new routes I need to take to get around the city. It means exploring new shops and stores (a shopaholic’s dream!)

I participated in the open mic night at the 6th Annual Indigenous Writers Gathering and though in my head I was saying

“OMG! I can’t do this,” I did it.

 Finally, I have at the suggestion of a couple of really close friends, decided to hold a housewarming/birthday party at my new place.

I can picture in my head, the anxiety I will feel as the time grows closer to my party, but if I can do this, that is just one more important step I can make towards breaking out of my comfort zone.

The motto behind all this is that YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU SET OUT TO DO! It takes time, it takes practice, but it can be done!

( This piece is the first installment in taking the column I had with the Native Canadian  "Life's Journey" and continuing it here on my blog.)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Indigenous Writer's Gathering-Panel on Narratives of Reconnection: Blood Memory through Theatre and Poetry

Below is the link to the recording I took of the 1st panel at the 6th Annual Indigenous Writer's Gathering at First Nations House at the University of Toronto.  Columpa Bobb and Giles Benaway  speak about "Narratives of Reconnection: Blood Memory through Theatre and Poetry."

As this is my first podcast recording,  if any of YOU, my readers have any suggestions to improve these types of posts, please feel free to contact me. I'm always looking at trying new things for my blog and feedback really helps! Miigwetch!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Event Posting- 2nd Fundraiser for Shameless Magazine

Shameless Magazine is pleased to announce that they are having their second fundraiser at the Gladstone Hotel-Melody Bar is just around the corner!

Head on down on Nov. 6th to be graced by the sweet sweet tunes of not one, but TWO Shameless magazine bands! Headliner Superlion features editorial collective member Ronak and opening band Cat Caves features editorial director Sheila! They'll be playing with friends Nikki Fierce and the super-rad DJ Cyborgmonkey.

As always, this is a 19+ event, PWYC ($5 suggested donation) and the Melody Bar is a mobility device accessible space.


Musician descriptions & links

Superlion is a rad-as-heck indie rock band from Toronto.

Nikki Fierce is an indie alternative rock band with lots of good jams and fierce female vox

Cat Caves is a stripped-down, lo-fi three-piece band from Toronto with songs about Henry Miller, witches, French monarchs, and love.

DJ cyborgmonkey will be spinning before and after the bands hit the stage. They will be spinning riot grrrl, electropunk, house, synthpop

Monday, October 21, 2013

Call Out For Submissions-Briarpatch Magazine!

Briarpatch is seeking submissions for their March/April 2014 issue. They are looking for feature articles, provocative essays, investigative reportage, interviews, profiles, reviews, humour, and photography rooted in an anti-colonial and anti-capitalist analysis. If you’ve got a story in mind, they want to hear your pitch!

Queries are due November 5, 2013. If your query is accepted, first drafts will be due by December 5. Your query should outline what ground your contribution will cover, give an estimated word count, and indicate your relevant experience or background in writing about the issue. If you haven’t written for Briarpatch before, please provide a brief writing sample.

Please review their submission guidelines before sending your query to editor AT briarpatchmagazine DOT com.

Their standard rates of pay are as follows:

  • $50 – Profiles, short essays, parting shots 
  • $100 – Feature stories, photo essays
  • $150 – Research-based articles and investigative reportage (generally 1500-2500 words)
They reserve the right to edit your work (with your active involvement), and cannot guarantee publication.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Come One, Come All to the 6th Annual Indigenous Writer's Gathering

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Book Review- For King and Kanata: Canadian Indians and the First World War

For King and Kanata: Canadian Indians and the First World War
Reviewed by: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

Published By: University of Manitoba Press
Pages: 224

In “King and Kanata: Canadian Indians and the First World War” author Timothy C. Winegard takes a comprehensive look at the history of First Nations people and their experience on the battlefield and home front during the First World War.

Winegard speaks about the Indians and the Settler-State experience and states early on that “warfare played an important role in the political, social, cultural, and genetic frameworks of Indian nations,” and “in pre-contact warfare, raiding parties which were led by proven war chiefs and usually numbered less than 200 warriors, were sent to settle scores, to acquire provisions, or to avenge the deaths of or replace deceased clan members (known as mourning wars).

But despite earlier warfare that was noted within First Nations, and First Nations pledging to the Crown, that their men would fight to honour their long standing tradition of forming military alliances with the Europeans during times of war, the Canadian government was of the opinion that “status Indians were unsuited to modern, civilized warfare.”

The Canadian government believed this because it was under the British North America Act and the Indian Act that Canadian Indians did not have the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, and the government of Canada did not expect or need Canadian Indians to take up arms in what they saw as a foreign war. Another apprehension that the Canadian government had was that including Indians in “an expeditionary force could violate treaties, as evidenced by the position of the government during the Boer War.”

Canada’s stance of how First Nations soldiers could be involved in the First World War changed when Britain intervened in 1915. Britain demanded Canada to actively recruit First Nations soldiers to meet the increasing need for more manpower on the battlefields. It is interesting to note just how many First Nations participated in the First World War because the numbers of how many First Nations soldiers participated have never really been fully disclosed. This is due to the fact that “there were undoubtedly cases of Indian enlistment which were not reported to the department,” and most “status Indians were not recorded as such upon enlistment, as attestation papers did not record race.”

After Britain intervened and demanded that First Nations Indians become a part of the First World War, complications arose between the national and international forces that influenced the more than 4,000 status Indians who served in the First World War. Winegard relays that subsequent administrative policies affected First Nations soldiers at home, the battlefield and as returning veterans.
For history buffs, this book is a must read for scholars, students, and the general public when it comes to understanding First Nations participation in the First World War and the major Canadian policies that forever changed the Canadian landscape.

(Please note: this review may be published in a upcoming issue of Windspeaker)