Monday, October 19, 2015

Naked Heart: An LGBTQ Festival of Words.

     Over the weekend, I was lucky enough to be a part of a panel for self publishing in the Naked Heart LGBTQ Festival of Words. I met some amazing people, learned so much, and had a chance to talk about my own experiences in the world to self publishing. This is one of the reasons I love Glad Day so much; they are so supportive, and just want everyone to succeed. These wonderful workshops are so important. I really hope I'm asked to do more.

                                                                     So exciting.

                                                                 In the program.

                            (from left to right: Akhaji Zakiya, Nia King, and Vivek Shraya.

     Years ago I put my books next to Ellen Degeneres' at a Chapters and made it my display picture on Facebook, in a wistful sort of, One day, type of post. While at Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto over the weekend, I noticed that's where they house my books! 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Inapark Does Nature: Fancy Camping for Covert Sissy Gays.

My friends and I go camping at the end of every summer. It's something I look forward to with sincere excitement, but last year, while in the wilderness, I had to acknowledge a difficult truth about myself; I am a Secret Princess Gay. I'm not proud of it, and looking back to the kid who used to fish with worms, and come home filthy from a solid day of playing, I'm not sure where along the line I attained my proverbial crown. This being said, I feel as though there is a large demographic if people that can relate. Sure, we are tough and tenacious and resourceful. We capture spiders and we hammer nails into walls, and those nails are sturdy enough to hold picture frames and shelving units. We don't need umbrellas when it rains, and we don't even use band aids when our cats scratch us.

We do have a weakness though; a collective private shame. We can solider through any macho task with valiant ease, as long as we have a refuge from the elements. I'm talking, I just mowed the front and back lawn, now I'm going into my air conditioned dwelling to have a hot shower and a cold beer.

A lot of people love camping; the filth, the heat, nature attacking us with it's beauty. Breathtaking sunsets and pollen and campfires and loads of bug spray. Good on them. We are not these people. And that's okay, but we are still apprehensive about disclosing this. This glorious season, I say we stand up, and loudly proclaim to the world, "We're here! We're queer! Get us a sunscreen with a high SPF count!" Here is a guide I've put together that would constitute a perfect, anxiety free camping trip. I call it, Fancy Camping For Covert Sissy Gays.

Sleeping Quarters

I don't care where I am, I like my comfort. My body constantly betrays me in Summer because it never seems to regulate like a normal person's does. I can't wear my glasses in certain seasons because almost as soon as I put them on my face, I can see condensation begin creeping across my field of vision. It's embarassing. So, of course I would ideally covet:
- an air conditioning unit, and three backup fans
- an elevated, king sized bed
- a fish tank for a relaxing, outdoor feel
- all childhood stuffed animals
- a modest plasma tv
- glow in the dark stars (so pretty at night) 
- dressing room area (I'm not changing into my board shorts and tank top for swimming behind a damn tree. I'm just not)
- a wardrobe for every season
- and my cats

Now I'm not delicate. I certainly plan on enjoying the Great Outdoors, but wouldn't it be that much better if the mingling area had:
- a  caged animal (like a hamster, or a guinea pig- I hate when I'm right in the middle of watching a squirrel and they scamper off)
- boxes of Wet Naps, and a sanitizer station
- a Mac Book, Ipod, Ipod dock, CDs and a DJ booth
- every video game console
- fridge
- so much beer and snackies
- generator
- a desk and ink (we could go searching for quills!)
- a dingy

You can feel the sun rays on your face through the screen door by now, can't you? Lastly, the bathroom area:

- portable bathroom sink; functioning or not (I'm not adverse to walking to a communal bathroom area, but there's something comforting about just seeing a sink in the vicinity of your vacation spot)
- an array of perfumes and/or colognes
- all the bug spray
- so much makeup (Do I wear makeup now? No. Well sometimes, but that's just so people will stop asking me if I'm sick or if I was crying. But what happens if you're laying in your hammock, sipping on a vodka and Gatorade and playing Sodoku and an adorable hiker who's lost their way needs your assistance? Be prepared.)
- hair dyes, shampoos, conditioners, wigs (I actually feel like I have no real connection to the female gender, and am making wild assumptions as to what they would enjoy having there)
- one regal hat

Camp away, dear friends. Bring your coffee makers and neck pillows and and expensive astringents. Unapologetically enjoy yourselves this summer, and avoid inconvenience at all cost. In the words of Pinterest, "Happiness is a way of travel. Not a destination."

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Inapark Loves Sara Benincasa.

At the beginning of the year, I decided to say Yes to anything remotely creative that found it's way to me. I did this a few years ago, and it was the best year of my life. Glad Day Bookshop is a store in downtown Toronto that carries my books, and I adore them. The staff, the atmosphere, it's just a lovely place to be. When they asked me if I wanted to open up for Sara Benincasa, a comedian and writer from New York, my first instinct was to say, "ABSOLUTELY NOT ARE YOU KIDDING ME I WILL CRASH AND BURN SHE'S ACTUALLY A REAL COMEDIAN AND WRITER NO." So I sucked it up and said yes. It was one of the best experiences I've ever had. Aside from Sara being funny and creative and just an awesome comedian, she is a wonderful person who, in my opinion, went above and beyond to make me feel comfortable and secure in being there. I found myself focused on trying to make her, specifically, laugh throughout my set. And laugh she did, and genuinely! It was awesome. I picked up Agorafabulous when I asked her what book I should buy of hers, and I cannot wait to pick up the rest. This book is just so good. That sounds trivial but when I finished it, and was talking to my Mom, I just kept saying, "It was really really good." I loved it, love her, and can't wait to support her in future endeavours. Buy this book; especially if you have anxiety or mental health issues. It's relatable and funny and sad at some points and so honest and just really, really good.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Inapark Loves Kate Bornstein.

My heart is bursting. It's always a priority of mine to let people that I love and appreciate know how grateful I am for them, even if we have never met. So I took the time to Instagram one of my most favorite writers, Kate Bornstein, and let her know how much I adore her and what she does. She is a writer who is never near and dear to my heart, and the very next day I received this message back to me. This has made me feel a sort of validation that I have never felt before. Thank you Kate Bornstein. My joy today is almost tangible. Today is a good day.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015 Lessons on Grief From Momma Killdeer

"There have been a lot of things over the years that I have been holding onto, and have not forgiven myself for, that my grief felt as though it had taken on a physical weight."

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Love Letter To My Momma Bear. xo

I bought a notebook that had a pretty cover, and on the front it said, "Love you to the moon and back." As soon as I saw it, I instinctually picked it up and knew that I had to fill it with love and give it to my Mom. For years, I've struggled to write about my Mother because I can never seem to properly put into words everything that she means to me. It just seems too much. So even though this was going to be a secret project, I feel like my Mom deserves all the love in the world, all the time. I just finished my first entry, and I won't give it to her until it's completely filled, but I wanted to type this out for her so she knows, and everyone knows, how much she means to me.

July 16, 2015

Dear Momma Bear,

I saw this book, and I obviously thought of you. I realized that I write a lot about Gram, and Paul, and the cats and funny things that happen, and I don't have very many published pieces that I've written about you. I want to fill this book up with the reason why that is. Because try as I may, I can never properly express the sincere, intense, co-dependant (let's be honest), heart bursting love that I have for you. I have tried, and I do try, but it goes far beyond appreciation, or relation or fondness. It's an unconditional, Ride or Die, we could be the only ones left that that's alright, kind of love. I would have nothing, and not be me, without you. Every good quality I have is from you, and every accomplishment that I have achieved is because you have made me feel like I am worth it, and can do it. Every success I have is because you inspire me to want to be my best, and every forward step I take is because I want to make you proud. Every time I say something stupid and outrageous it's because I want to make you laugh, and every time I like your pictures on Facebook it's because I think you're the most beautiful woman in the world. Every time I wiggle in my seat at dinner while I'm eating is because you're the best cook ever, and every time you're sick or not feeling well I hang up the phone and cry because I wish I could take it away. I write books because I want to be successful and take care of you, and the tattoo I got of your hand writing, "Some bunny loves you", gets me by more than you'll every know. I love you to the moon and back. Thank you for all that you do and all that you are.

Sarah B. xo

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Retail Throwback: The Man With The Sassy Tees.

I found this in a draft folder today. It was a short piece I wrote a few years ago, when I used to work at a pet store that I loathed. I think my emotional state is pretty evident from my writing style. Re-reading it now fills my tummy with fire, and makes my cheeks ache with phantom pain from my Retail Smile. I remember calling my Mom and telling her this story, and her telling me that I was being an unreasonable idiot, and I needed to choose my battles. You can decide.

There is an old man that has the same ritual every morning at the mall. He sits at the same table in the food court, drinks a coffee and has a bagel. This particular gentleman sticks out to me, because he’s always sporting a different sassy t-shirt. I should be clear; I despise sassy tees. They’re obnoxious, rarely make sense, and make you look like you have a real chip on your shoulder.

We’ve had numerous interactions; mostly when he pairs his saucy tops with a tattoo sleeve undershirt, pushes his way through customers to grab my arm, shake it, and scream, “Twins!”

His shirts are pretty standard; “Fart Machine”, and “Trouser mouse likes to hang out near the basshole” (there was a picture of a mouse in a fishing boat with a safari hat, fishing; I can’t even begin to understand what the implication is.) Then there’s “FBI: Female Body Inspector”, the predatorial “Blink If You Want Me”, “Keep Calm I’m A Fisherman”, and “Save The Earth- It’s The Only Planet With Coffee”.

One t-shirt though. One t-shirt stopped me dead in my tracks the other day. It was so vile, so chilling, I immediately walked away from the customer I was helping to write this down. Allow me to set the scene.

You hang up the phone from a personal phone call, look up, and you see a senior staring at you. He is unblinking, with a frozen, glacial smile, and is wearing a grey t-shirt that says, “Lost: Dog and Sister. Reward for dog.”

To me, this is a blatant confession. He murdered his sister. This “joke” is so wildly unacceptable, even if I saw it on a cheeky five year old boy, I’d think he was a brat and I’d feel confident that I’d see his mother in Hell. I felt like that guy from The Mentalist, or a judgey Nancy Drew.

Since I acted against my impulse to perform a citizen’s arrest, I can only assume that inevitably justice will be served. So until then, I will instinctively look through the faces in the crowd, for a flashy, fossilized pensioner, eating an everything bagel, hoping that a long sleeved tattoo print undershirt is concealed by a court ordered black and white striped jumpsuit.

Inapark Writes Valedictorian Speeches.

A friend of mine had been asking me for a month to write her a valedictorian speech for her, without providing me any specific information into her new job, or what exactly she was the valedictorian of. This is what I came up with.

Good afternoon Managers and Coworkers,

Today I stand infront of you all as Valedictorian of BMO. Does the person who's writing this speech for me know what that means? No. Did they have any sort of guidance aside from, "Just write me the speech. Use or something"? No. But in the grand scheme of things, none of that matters. What matters is I am the Valedictorian of something, and I assume this means I'm better than all of you, which is awesome because it's only been like two months. So, congratulations to me. And to you! Look at us. Graduating something, and furthering our careers at BMO in some field. Mine is fraud. Yours may be similar, or different. Let us think about the reason we wanted to work here in the first place, which will vary from, I forgot that I even applied last year, to This is who I bank with. And let us feel pride that we have a job that I would assume is stable, probably with an office, employed by a company who appreciates its workers enough to have some sort of celebratory function.

"Who had I become? Just another shark in a suit? Two days later at our corporate conference in Miami, a breakthrough. Breakdown? Breakthrough. I couldn't escape one simple thought: I hated myself. No, no, no, here's what it was: I hated my place in the world. I had so much to say and no one to listen. And then it happened. It was the oddest, most unexpected thing. I began writing what they call a mission statement. Not a memo, a mission statement. You know, a suggestion for the future of our company. A night like this doesn't come along very often. I seized it. What started out as one page became twenty-five. Suddenly, I was my father's son again. I was remembering the simple pleasures of this job, how I ended up here out of law school, the way a stadium sounds when one of my players performs well on the field. The way we are meant to protect them in health and in injury. With so many clients, we had forgotten what was important.
I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and I'm not even a writer. I was remembering even the words of the original sports agent, my mentor, the late great Dickie Fox who said: 'The key to this business is personal relationships.' Suddenly, it was all pretty clear. The answer was fewer clients. Less money. More attention. Caring for them, caring for ourselves and the games, too. Just starting our lives, really. Hey - I'll be the first to admit, what I was writing was somewhat touchy feely. I didn't care. I have lost the ability to bulls--t. It was the me I'd always wanted to be. I took it in a bag to a Copymat in the middle of the night and printed up a hundred and ten copies. Even the cover looked like The Catcher in the Rye. I entitled it 'The Things We Think and Do Not Say: The Future of Our Business.'...Everybody got a copy...I was 35. I had started my life."
Was that monologue from Jerry Maguire? Perhaps. But at the end of the day, Bank of Montreal offers competitive rates on mortgages, efficient financial planning, and various bank accounts that adhere to your personal needs. Did I apply at TD Canada and Scotia Bank first? Of course I did. They were my first and second choice. But you leave with the girl you brought, and I thank you BMO, for giving me the honour of Valedictorian of something, and I look forward to probably finishing out the rest of 2015 with you. We did it!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Inapark Meets Lea DeLaria!

Lea DeLaria of Orange Is The New Black performed an hour long set of David Bowie covers at Caffino Ristorante in downtown Toronto. It was a beautiful setting, she has a killer voice, and I ended up getting to have beers with her and her fiancé. Such a great night, and now I'm an even bigger fan. I even managed to sneak her a copy of my book!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Witch Craft Attacks.

Today at 7:19 AM

Hello my Dear,

How are you and your family? Hope Fine. I am Madam Pamela Raymond, from united states of America.And I am suffering from  Acute kidney injuries called acute-on-chronic renal failure (AoCRF).

l made a fasting and prayers before God directed me to you. I   married to Late Engineer Jerry Raymond a French speaking colony Lome  Togo who was Engineer with the Shell company in Lome Togo, before he  died after few years now. I have been in the hospital over one year  now because of  family witch craft attack for the acts of jealousy of my late husband's wealth.

When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of $4.500  Million in the bank here in Lome-Togo which i will like you to contact  bank and ask for it to be transfered into your bank account so that you  can use it for the orphanage children and poor once in the society,  This is because my Doctor told me that it is very likely i will die  within the next 6 months due to acute-on-chronic renal failure (AoCRF).

I have decided to donate the money for charity since I do not have a child to inherit the wealth and it is not good for me to die leaving  the money here without it reaching the poor and the less privileged ones in the society, since  I do not want my husband family to inherit it  due to their wicked  character to my family, meanwhile  i am still in  the hospital where i was admitted.

Noa Teaching International hospital
Address:B.P.. 2037 Rue des Cocotiers
Carra Layout,Lome-Togo

Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I  Stated here in regards  useing this money for the less privileged once in the society.

Hoping to receive your response immediately .
Thanks and Remain blessed.
Madam.Pamela Raymond


To Madam.pamela
Today at 1:40 PM

Sorry Madam Panda, no time. I have two other Spammers on the go, and I'm pitching a television show on Feb 1. But the witch craft angle is awesome, I want to revisit this when I can put all my energy into it. Can you spam me in like two weeks?

 I have been in the hospital over one year  now because of  family witch craft attack for the acts of jealousy of my late husband's wealth.

I just reread this. I can't. Please specifically explain exactly what you mean. Thanks doll.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sarah Bertrand for Inapark Productions - "The Bachelor"

This was my first attempt at live comedy, doing a reading for the Scenesters and Storytellers series at Glad Day Bookshop in downtown Toronto in 2011. It's rough but that was one of the best days I have ever had. I'm still proud of it because I didn't think I would be able to do it. Suck it, anxiety.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Mr. Jim McCullar Spam.

Jim McCullar

Dear Friend,

I am Mr Jim McCullar I am a native of Idaho, United State Of America, Carolyn my wife and I have decided to make sure this is put on the internet for the world to see as you could see from the web page sent to you in our first mail, I may not know you, but I believe if you receive my first email and respond back meaning you were chosen by God to receive my donation of [$2,000,000.00 USD] you must be a God fearing individual, I am a Christian and I believe that Good things happens to good people like you who had the mind to respond back to my mail.

I am Mr Jim McCullar the mega winner of $190 Million Dollars Jackpot in Washington, WATCH US NOW:

You see after taken care of the needs of our immediate family members, we decided to donate the remaining of the fund to other individuals around the world in need, the local fire department, the Red Cross, Haiti, hospitals and some other organizations in Asia and Europe that fight cancer, I would love to introduce my self more and also show you picture of me and my family but firstly I want to hear from you if my gift of [$2,000,000.00 USD] is accepted by you before I proceed. Send me the below details to show that you accept my gift.


Thank you for accepting our offer, we are indeed grateful We anticipate your earliest response.
Best Regard
Jim McCullar

Sidenote: I never got a first email. My friend Liz sent me this when she was sent it. His lack of attention to detail is so exciting I can't handle the expectations I have already put on this.