Missed Messages

My grandma always taught me that it was bad luck to ignore a raven or crow. You always acknowledge their presence and smile. Be nice. They’re tricksters, and the last thing anyone needs to do is annoy a bird that can make your life hell.

I always acknowledged them for fear of my grandma finding out from the birds that I had walked right past one on my way to school. She always found out, she had made friends with the birds so they confided in her whenever someone had annoyed them.

When my grandma past away last year I stopped paying attention to the birds; not because I wanted to spite them, simply because the fear associated with not acknowledging them was gone.

Now, I know what you’re thinking; “Oh boy, this is going to be one of those weird stories where the bird talks, she learns her lesson, and becomes friends with the birds just like her grandma was. Great.” I can assure you this isn’t that type of story. No animals talk to me, no lessons are learned, and I’m not any closer with the birds now than I ever was before hand.

Instead, this is a different type of story. It’s the story of how my grandma, always a trickster, has been following me around for a month and I’m starting to get really annoyed.

Yes, you read that correctly. My dead grandma has been following me around for a month and I am getting annoyed. Let me give you a copy of her itinerary:


6:00 am: Allows the crows to slam small birds they can grab and fling into my window until I get out of bed.

9:00 am: Encourage the crows to shit on the entirety of the driver side of my windshield making it impossible for me to drive to work.

12:00 pm (coffee break): Give the crows shiny things they can fly with and encourage them to catch the light and shine it directly into my eyes so that I cannot enjoy anything without being blinded.

4:30 pm: Make the crows swoop at me as I run towards my shit covered car (again).

6:30 pm: Assign 5 crows to sit on my window sill and watch me eat dinner, regardless everything else going on outside. (I even aimed a sprinkler at my window and they just moved every time it came back around)

8:30 – 10:00 pm: Fill my backyard with crows until I can’t see the ground, and then lead them in some sort of choir practice so loud I can’t hear the TV.


So yes, my dead grandma is having the time of her ex-life making mine a living hell. It’s like every bird that I didn’t acknowledge between birth and now, has come back and decided to join in.

I’ve never been one to believe in omens, but let me tell you I’m starting to change my mind. Crows are mischievous, signal death, and my least favourite (I know, not the death thing, what a shock hey?) is the connection some people think they have with the underworld as messengers.

That last one is the reason I think my grandma is the one behind all of this, she wasn’t the best person and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s where she ended up at the end of the day. The underworld seems like a fitting place for someone getting her entertainment by pissing off her granddaughter.

I haven’t learned my lesson though, I told you this isn’t that type of story. In my defense, she’s not making it very easy for me to fix this. I don’t know about you, but I have never wanted to say something nice to a bird after it shit on my car or sang over Bachelor in Paradise for a few hours.

I can’t outsmart the birds, believe me I’ve tried. The crows just find ways around whatever I’m doing. For example; I turned on my subtitles, that way I could at least try to follow along with the shows right? Wrong. You know that light thing I talked about that happens during my coffee break? Perhaps you don’t remember, that is okay. You should remember this; picture yourself in middle school and the really annoying guy in the class has decided to be even more annoying than usual so he takes his phone/watch/mirror, and tries to reflect the light coming from the sun, directly into your eyes. Well, these birds will take said light and said shiny object and aim it directly at the subtitles of the TV. I went to bed after they started doing that one. The sun was still up but no one has time to deal with that.

I am working on a new plan. My grandma is going to lose all of her little army: I’ve hired an exterminator. They’re coming by tomorrow to set everything up, starting with some nice spikes on my window sills so that they can’t watch me eat dinner.

Now I know what you’re thinking; if you think this is your grandma trying to torture you, why don’t you just apologize and move on?

I’m glad you asked that. You see, I’m petty and stubborn and so is she. This is going to be a never ending cycle of hell for both of us….

Oh god. This is going to be a never ending cycle of hell for both of us. I can’t make a dead woman living in hell feel like she’s in hell because she’s already in hell. I have to be the bigger person here. Damit. I guess I’m learning a lesson after all. “Don’t fight with a dead person.” Maybe I should go to the park and apologize, she’s not going to accept me saying I’m sorry without being able to make the birds swoop at me some more.

On May 23rd, 2018, Leslie Anne Cooper joined our angels too soon. After going for out a walk to the park, Leslie was hit by a bus crossing the street. The driver claimed to be unable to see thanks to a bright light obstructing his vision regardless of where he moved his head. By the time he noticed her, it was too late. We keep Leslie safe in our hearts and remember she is with her late grandmother now, truly in a better place. A sale will be held on the 26th for all of Leslie’s belongings not being claimed by her surviving family. Thank you for your prayers.

Leslie Anne Cooper

1992 – 2018

Forever in our hearts; may she fly her way to freedom

*Side note, Leslie was in fact correct about the connection crows have as messengers from the underworld and that her grandma was trying to entertain herself. What she failed to recognize is messengers often have other jobs, and these ones were simply trying to remind her to look both ways before she crossed the street unless she wanted to join her grandma and become victim to their omen of early death. However, she refused to acknowledge them politely no matter what they tried and missed their warnings entirely.*

For the lovely Deanne Mansfield who has always made sure I acknowledge the crows in my daily life. 


A Letter to My Future Self

Hello, it’s me again. I’ve decided to cut you some slack since I’ve been a little bit unfair recently. You are going to be dealing with some big changes soon and I understand that’s stressful stuff to be dealing with. The last thing that you need is some 17 year old telling you how to live your life, we both know all that’s going to do is make it worse.

I want you to take a second and breathe. We both know that you forget to do that sometimes, and it scares the hell out of everyone around you, so breathe; it’s really important. You have an amazing support system and I know you know that. Granted, that support system might change every once and awhile, but you will always have someone in your life that’s rooting for you. Let’s remember that Mom and Dad are more “team Tiana” than you are.

Remember when Mom and Dad sat through your middle school graduation. Grade 8, that was a big milestone. You could hear them from the back of the gym yelling and screaming to try and get your attention as you walked up the stage. They were so proud of you, and I can tell you that you have made so many people so proud. You’ve graduated, you’re well travelled now, and you’ve made some amazing friends. The only thing left to do is take the step over the line into your new chapter of your life.

You’ve been working towards these changes your whole life and I know it’s terrifying to know a whole chapter of your life is coming to a close.Remember, while you’ve been working your whole life for this, you’re not going to die if it doesn’t live up to your expectations or if it exceeds what you’re prepared for.

I’m going to remind you of a secret that we learned not to long ago, but one that perhaps you have forgotten. Taking a step towards something new doesn’t mean you have to get rid of everything else at the same time. Experience the new things; embrace them, but don’t forget about where you come from, where you grew up, and what life used to be like. It’s okay to miss the past, but if you hold onto it you’re only going to get hurt.

Keep in touch with your sister, I know you don’t need me to tell you that, but it seems important for me to say anyways.

Experience the world you’ve been craving, the world is much bigger than the bubble you’ve grown up in. I promise we’ll see the beauty in it more than most.

Love: Your Younger Self

This concept is something that we covered at the beginning of the year in creative writing. The original letter that I wrote to my future self was mean, bitter, and overall angry. I really want to graduate and put this time in my life behind me, hence why the first letter was written the way it was. I was thinking about the future and what I wish I could ask the future version of myself the other day and I remembered the letters we did at the beginning of the year. My tone had shifted to a much nicer, more understanding version of myself, so I decided to try the letter again and see what came out of it. While I’m nervous for the future and what going away for Lethbridge is going to mean for me and my friendships; I’m more excited to be able to live and gain the independence that I’m missing right now.



How to Live

Emulation of Charles Harper Webb’s poem “How to Live”

Eat lots of cookie dough

and new foods that look strange, different than

what you are used to.


Laugh with your sister on the floor

during the ungodly hours in the morning

or in the afternoon or late at night.


Find a best friend that is able to understand you

better than you understand yourself. One who

knows what type of ice cream to bring you

when it’s needed and when to back off.


Keep a journal.

Not, as something to write out your most

personal feelings, but as something to

confuse the world when you die.


Read everyday; articles, fiction, poetry.

Try to understand it, but don’t beat

yourself up if you can’t.


Find your passion in the small mundane things.

Walking the dog, coffee from Tim Hortons,

and long road trips.


Don’t apologize for being yourself,

don’t hide behind a mask, and

don’t be an asshole.


Be grateful for everything in your life

good or bad, we all have things we wish to change,

so try to change them, but if you can’t let them be.


Push past your boundaries,

swim with sharks and turtles, float in the ocean,

look at the stars someplace far away from the city,

make up your own names for the constellations.


Listen to your favourite song on repeat

till you get sick of it, then one more time to

spark the love again.


Take long showers with hot water till the hot water

runs out. Watch Netflix for days. Go for a run every once

and a while, no one is watching you, I promise.


Recognize that everyone struggles in different ways,

and most people don’t show their lives on their sleeves.

Accept them for it anyways, they’ll try and accept you too.


Kick life in the ass.

Love authentically.

Smile for the camera.

Die with grace.

The inspiration for this poem came from looking at Charles Harper Webb’s poem “How to Live” that he did as a response to Sharon Old’s quote “I don’t know how to live.”

We did the poem in class at the beginning of the year and I wrote something right off the bat that I didn’t love but I knew that I wanted to do something with. I feel like this version describes what living means to me more than the first one did, that said, I think the amazing part of a prompt like this is that it can constantly change to what living means to you as you grow as a person.



Drowning in the Dark

I was drowning in the dark. Yet unlike the darkness that you were afraid of as a little girl; this darkness was all consuming and self-inflicted. I was afraid to dance in the light so I hide in the shadows. I needed the dark. Needed the shadows clinging to the walls to consume me from the inside out so the darkness took me. Pulled me deeper than the surface level shadows along the wall and into a place where I couldn’t see my hand when I held it right in front of my face. It was drowning me; I panicked. I ran kicking and screaming trying to free myself but only running deeper instead. That’s the terrifying part of darkness. When it’s dark you have no idea which way is out. And I had trapped myself here.

I saw flashes of the light; sometimes by people as they passed through on the way to better things, sometimes by things that shone a light until they slowly died and became one with my all consuming reality.

I wanted out more than anything. I dreamed of my own personal moonbeam shining through the cracks and guiding me out to rejoin the rest of the world; yet, I was stuck here with the monsters and noises that kept me awake in the dead of what I assumed to be night. I was pushed around every once and awhile just to make sure that I was still capable of doing something other than sleeping and walking around blindly, not knowing how to gather my bearings.

I died in the dark. Maybe not in the most physical sense of death, but every part of who I was before died there. Everything but my name, I had given that up before they even asked me what it was; they were not, could not, get my last tie to sanity. They could not have all of me. Despite how they reached into my soul, how the darkness robbed me of every hiding spot and place where I could be truly alone, it wasn’t allowed to have all of me.

By this point you might be beginning to wonder if I got out, and if not, how are you reading this? Well my new friends, I’m simply here. Unnamed and powerless. I have given up on trying to get out, this is my self accepted home now. As for how you are reading this? You see, you are becoming one with the darkness too. I see you hiding in the shadows now, afraid to step out and dance in the light. But I urge you to embrace your fears and confront them before you lose sight of who you are in the first place and begin to find fears in what used to be your comforts. Because by the time you fear what used to be comfortable, it is too late for you to do much of anything.

“In the dark you have no idea which way is up.”

The inspiration for this piece came from a play that we went to go see during creative writing. The line above is one that I pulled from the play as it really stuck with me and summed up the tone of the play really well. It was directed by one of my best friends and was fantastically carried out by all parties. The play was called Nine and from it I was able to pull out some really cool themes with the light and dark as well as some of the feelings of entrapment.


Advice From Norman – Bow View Manor

Happy marriage secrets?

There aren’t any

Just find love

Happiness follows love

Be happy when you get home

And your wife is just through the door

Smile knowing you can hold her again

And plan to never let her go


Everyone will learn that it takes more than skill

If you want to be great

You have to know

You have to understand

You have to be as smart as you are good

Intelligent as you are gifted

Knowledgeable as you are skillful


Friends will serve you better than anything

When you’ve lived as I have

Money is meaningless

I don’t hold money close to my heart

I will hold the friends I have made

I will remember and treasure

The times together over the things I own  


Why spend on a fancy funeral?

I’ll be long gone

What’s the point if I can’t enjoy

I’d rather spend time with those I love

Spend my money on times with friends

And work to make a smile over money


I could go to any job I’ve had

And take it up again

Leave everything with a smile

Don’t leave anything halfway

Leave with something you look to

In old age with a smile


This poem is dedicated to Norman and all the great advice he gave us. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, we will use it well.


Kaden and Tiana

Over the course of the past few months I have had the honor of travelling with my class to Bow View Manor, an old folks home that’s within walking distance of our school. Kaden (my fantastic partner) and I, had the opportunity to sit and talk to a gentleman named Norman about his life and some of the things that he has experienced. Norman was able to pass on some funny life stories as well as an abundance of advice he has on topics such as: how to have a happy marriage, what you should spend your money on, and what you should be prioritizing in life. We took the most important ideas that he gave us as well as the ones that stuck with us the most and wrote this poem.

It was truly a wonderful experience and Kaden and I feel blessed to have gotten the opportunity to get to have such an important conversation with Norman. A conversation that I’m sure did both parties some good. We look forward to seeing him again soon.



A-Z Writing

L is for Limo

What to do there: Write about sounds. Wrestle with the challenge of putting sounds into words. And colours, and lights. As you write, turn what you’re writing into a dreamscape. Keep coming back to the anchor phrase: “Last night he dreamt that…” or: “Last night she dreamt that…” Incorporate what you see, but go wild, too. Add impossible feats and mythological creatures, obstacles, add people from your past or your character’s past and future.

Last night she dreamt a white carriage took her for a ride around the city. It was illuminated with purple and blue and everyone was singing songs she couldn’t remember ever learning.

She dreamt that she was being taken to an exciting place but wherever they were going didn’t feel as exciting as being surrounded by the lights and music.

She dreamt that she got to look out over her city and admire the lights; it was showing off for her and her friends. Everything on the horizon was put there for them and only them.

She dreamt that her toes were frozen and sore and that she didn’t feel like she belonged the way everyone else did but the purple lights and the loud music made it easy to ignore what she was trying to tell herself.

She dreamt that the music and lights faded and all she was left with was cold toes and pictures to remind her who she had sat beside in the white carriage that took her away to look over her city.

R is for River

What to do there: Write about movement. Sit and watch the world go by. Notice the differences between land and water and sky. If you don’t have a quay, a jetty will do, or a harbour, or a river bank. Tell the story of a character who transforms when they move from one element to the other and how this transformation impacts on their life, their relationships, and their daily routines. This could be your own story.


Normally the river and the sky exist on different levels but if you’re lucky you can experience them living as mirror images of each other. Miming what the other is doing only to be disturbed by a fish or duck that breaks the glass surface in this calm part of the river that runs through my city.


This is my happy place. A place that is undisturbed by the noise of cars and people. A place that lets me think and live without the judgement of others turned towards me. It is here that I find a quiet that isn’t able to exist in my busy home.

I’ve never been good at meditating. Having to still my mind isn’t something that I can easily do and it quickly becomes frustrating. But the river welcomes my thoughts. I’m not supposed to “watch them float by as clouds, something you can admire but not touch.” I’m allowed to run with my thoughts. The river wants me to. And when I have given up on something that was persistent in my mind the river is happy to take it away with the current.

Here I can be one with the river; it lets me walk on it’s surface as to not disturb the glass finish that’s letting it match the sky. It helps me see the my world in a new way. And when it’s time for me to head back to the craziness of my life, it always tells a part of my soul that I’m welcome back anytime I need; in fact, it will try and mirror the sky, just like this time, just for me.

C is for Church

What to do there: Find a quiet spot. Places of prayer are not always tranquil. You could go in between prayer times when the church or mosque or temple is emptier and calmer; you’ll also draw less attention to yourself. Write about memories of prayer, your own or a character’s. Invent a reason for them being in the house of prayer at this point in their life. What do they need to resolve? Write about textures, light, the sounds and smells.

How ironic that in a place that is always seen as quiet and peacefull is louder and busier than my home. It has taken me 20 minutes to find a spot where I will not be interrupted or distracted. You see I need to talk to the God of my childhood; the one in charge of my life before it was handed over to whoever has decided all of this was going to be a good idea. Everyone keeps telling me that I just need to recognize that it will help me in the future if I struggle with this now. Yet, that makes no sense to me. Why would you have to try and struggle with something, just to have to deal with the same thing later. What’s the point of dealing with it the first time?

So yes, I need to talk to the God of my childhood. The one who I was told would love me no matter what. Who would protect me from harm and would never give me anything more than I could handle. I want that God. He always listened to me, explained why things needed to be the way they are, told me why my life was going down the ‘path he has planned for me’. This is my last effort. After this I’m done trying to answer life’s questions. I’m simply going to exist, graduate, go to school (again), get a job, have kids, and die. That’s just going to have to be enough.

The lack of noise in here is driving me insane. It’s unsettling. Only people in distress and over the ages of 75 need it to be this quite. My God is too busy for me so I’m going home.

Women Representation in the Media

Over the last couple of weeks, allegations against American film producer Harvey Weinstein for sexual abuse and harassment have skyrocketed as more and more women come forward with stories about the experiences they had while dealing with Harvey. So far, 93 women, ranging from well known actresses and faces of Hollywood, have come forward and I wouldn’t be surprised if that number continues to rise as others come forward.

Rape culture: the normalization or blaming victims of sexual assault, abuse, and harassment, is still a major issue in today’s society. One that affects all women regardless of status, career, or way of life. Young girls are taught how to defend themselves and prepare for the worst, since the worst has happened to 117,238 girls in Canada in 2016. However, we have to remember all we are doing in making sure the assault doesn’t happen to us, but to the other girl instead. We should be educating our boys and trying to change rape culture in our society. Learning how to stop the issue is much more effective than trying to educate those it is affecting. 


One of the main debates behind the Weinstein scandal is the idea that some of these allegations are from years ago. The issue with this argument is a lack of understanding within society. Women don’t want to come forward, or don’t feel they can come forward, as it can put at risk their careers, reliability and how they are seen in the public eye.

 Women need to have evidence for the sexual assault/harassment, and even when they do, will most likely be brushed off to the side. Victims are not taken seriously OR are put in a place where they have to prove their credibility in order to be listened to.

Women in Hollywood have faced an extremely biased world for years. Most of the world’s beloved actresses have a story or two about the trials they have had to overcome because they are not taken as seriously as their male counterparts. As society evolves and women are valued more, the representation we see for powerful female leads are still few and far between. In the years 2015-2016, females accounted for 31%-41% of major characters on screen depending on how many females were part of the directing and casting crew. 93% of films are directed by men. 88% of box office hits feature a male in a leading role. (You can watch a cheesy but effective video where it is all broken down here )

Image result for women in leadership charts film


The best part? Since 1998 these numbers haven’t gotten much better. We have taken leaps and bounds as a society and yet female representation has improved by a small fraction to where is should be, or has actually decreased from the original numbers. 

We have seen a dramatic increase in male co-stars beginning to take a stand in regards to sexist questions asked by the media. Society is also growing immensely and because of this I want to make it clear, I’m not blaming men as the root of the issue in Hollywood and in society.

Where are the strong female role models representing young girls? Simply put, those strong female characters on screen and in other forms of the media are lacking, making it hard for girls to see examples of how they are supposed to stand up for themselves and present themselves in order to be an effective leader.


By evening out the female leads in the media, it will make it easier for the world to see that females have a say in how the world works too, thus reducing the ideas of rape culture present in society and bringing forward a new generation of individuals who not only know the lasting consequences of acting out and performing these horrible things on females, but also instilling the ability to get to the bottom of the issue and changing the way women are seen in society.







Harvey Weinstein now has 93 accusers, 13 of them alleging rape



Possessed Elmo

One thing you should know about me, I am the easiest person to scare. My friends know that if they move to fast or talk to loud I will flinch. Keep that in mind as you read this short anecdote from my life and remember that when I am scared I have a nasty habit of over exaggerating everything. Yet, this is how I remember it so that it how I will tell the story. With the closest version of my truth as possible.


One day after school last week, I decided to go downstairs to the deep freeze in the basement and get some ice cream cake (I know, I was excited too). Now, my family is currently in the process of painting the room that holds all of our random belongings we forgot that we had. This means that things I didn’t know we still had are beginning to resurface and be moved down into the basement.

Tickle Me Elmo, one of my favourite toys growing up. Granted, Elmo itself can be very scary when he is turned into a robot that laughs when you push him in the right spots. No one in my house has played with Elmo in a very long time. So naturally, we took out the batteries.

Alright back to the ice cream cake. I was walking down the stairs to get to the freezer and see Elmo sitting on a table with a bunch of other random things. I was immediately warmed with memories of my childhood when I played with my siblings and Elmo on the kitchen floor.

I turned my back to open the door to the pantry/ freezer, and all of a sudden I hear Elmo LAUGHING and doubling over so he ends up on the ground.

Naturally, I did the only thing I could think to do; kick Elmo in the face so he gets as far away from me as humanly possible, abandon the idea of getting cake, and sprint up the stairs, slamming the door behind me.

Now let me tell you, I have never ran up those stairs so fast and I doubt I ever will again. My mom went downstairs to find Elmo since she heard me screaming and was very concerned that I had hurt Elmo when I flying karate kicked him across the room.

She found Elmo, confirmed that he had no batteries in him, and since then my family thinks that I’m insane. I know the truth. Tickle Me Elmo was possessed and out to kill me. No one can tell me otherwise.

Image result for evil Elmo

Image: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/8juI0e5PMV0/hqdefault.jpg

Better Than That

Your judgement must be off

my darling

anyone wanting to

give their heart to me

clearly isn’t thinking straight.


I am a mess

of imperfections,


lack of trust.

For myself

and in others


My darling,

you don’t want to give

your heart to me.

I will use you in ways

you can’t imagine.

Hurt you in ways

you can’t imagine.


Your heart is beautiful.

I don’t want to tarnish it

by holding it with my grimy hands

leaving marks

you’re unable to remove


You deserve someone

who can give you more.

Someone who can fix your heart in ways

I never could.

Someone who can love you in ways

I never could.


I know you’re blinded with


you think are attached to me

but I promise they will fade,



You’ll find someone else

more beautiful

more graceful

more agreeable.


My darling

you’re not the problem.

I promise.

I have too many faults

you’d learn to love,

slowly learn to hate.

I don’t need to watch someone else

fall out of love with me again.


Worse than that

I will make you believe

you are ugly.

Made of nothing more

than a mass of skin and bones

a worthless soul.


You see I’ve done it to myself

I make myself feel broken,

so I don’t have to try and be whole

because I don’t have my life together.

I am not full of beauty

and grace.


Your judgement is off

that’s the only explanation.

Your soul wouldn’t survive a trip

through my hands,


I wreck everything I touch

maybe you haven’t noticed

the destruction I have left behind,


you deserve

better than that.


This poem was inspired by one of my friends who thinks she’s going to hurt everyone she talks to in the long run. I do identify with certain parts of it, however, this is very much an over exaggerated version of what one of her concerns is. I think the ideas behind it are something people can connect to, that idea of never being good enough for someone you feel deserves more, while also being scared of hurting that person with all of your own issues and insecurities. Personally, I really relate to that idea. I constantly switch between two moods, “I’m-amazing-and-you-should-love-me-forever.” and “There’s-no-way-I’m-good-enough-for-you.” Because of this I’m left in a weird limbo between the two and how that translates to interacting with others. I’m deeply afraid of bringing others down to my mood when I’m having a bad day. I don’t want to kill someone else’s mood just because mine’s not the best, because of that fear I’m convinced that I make others feel like less than themselves when they’re done talking with me. I’m slowly learning that this isn’t the case, but it’s taking some time so in the mean time I’ll just continue trying to be a good friend/ safe person for others. 


Image: https://68.media.tumblr.com/dd1738ac1ecbdc944234009a8f780823/tumblr_o2d0v4ZJL21u0ccv7o1_500.gif

The Opposite of Implode

One day, I will let myself explode.

Wonderful colours will go everywhere

and everyone can marvel in the beauty

I left behind in wake of my destruction.

And once the dust settles,

they will pick up the pieces left behind

from my mess, of left over emotions.

And everyone will be happy,

because they knew

that if anyone were to leave behind

so many colours,

it would be me.

And they would smile,

thinking about how they should have expected this,

how if anyone could pull this off,

it would be me.

And all of my left over pieces

will be melted back together

to form a better version

of myself.

A version everyone

would welcome back with open arms,

and thoughts of

how I could possibly top

the self destruction

I so perfectly executed last time.

Pictures: https://www.pinterest.com/petitesam/animated-gifs/