The quiet of the night is gently pierced by raindrops bouncing off my sturdy pink umbrella, the one I got from Hanji Gifts on Queen West – it was a splurge for sure, but so worth it in this neighbourhood close to the lake, where the winds trap you unexpectedly. My old flimsy umbrella used to promptly flip inside out as soon as I stepped outside; now I held strong, not a drop on my head.

It’s always magic when I enter Type books; with its shiny new books that call out to me in their slightly mocking tone – “You haven’t heard of me?” one says to me. “Your friends have all read me already!” says another. I sigh and wonder how I will get to them all. You won’t, a little voice whispers. As I get older, I realize that some books will be half-read, some will be skimmed, some I will hear snippets of at readings or discussions on the radio. Some I will gaze over because they are pricey and only available in hard cover. Some I will patiently wait for at the library. Others friends will lend me, and they’ll sit on my book shelves for months (maybe years). Some I’ll grab hold of at book clubs – sheepishly admitting that I didn’t read the book. Yet somehow leave as though I had. All the while forgetting how many amazing books I’ve read, have on the go, quotes and characters running through my mind. Travelling to places and inhabiting hearts and minds, while not leaving the comfort of my home (or cafe, or subway, or pretty much anywhere).

The poet tonight was Nick Thran, and he read a few poems from his new collection, If It Gets Quiet Later On, I Will Make a Display. He is funny and reflective as he reads his prose/poetry (he is not sure which shelf it will be placed on) about three individuals that have impacted him, capturing the nuances of their personalities and what’s most important to them. He is a bookseller, editor, and writer, and these three roles give him a unique perspective on books, reading, and writing. It is an exercise in humility, he says, when you’re working at a bookstore, and you see customers leaf through your book and choose another one. And how great it is when they choose yours. He references the bookstore as laying roots, similar to his other great love of trees, that he is surrounded by at his home in New Brunswick, one of the few untouched forests in the province. He says that he doesn’t want to get too spiritual, and I wish he would. His description of reading as a prayerful pose struck me. I’m surprised that in yoga, we don’t have a ‘book pose’.

I can’t believe it’s May – it feels like some other faraway month – maybe November. The misplaced weather makes you feel out of sorts. And I’m still thinking of the ocean, on the shores of San Diego, with the moon and Venus lighting up the sky and telling us their stories. In another month I’ll be in Spain & Portugal – can’t wait to explore, learn about the history, see castles, lay on beaches, and take a few flamenco classes!

I’m almost finished reading In Between Good and Evil by Mellissa Fung. It’s heartbreaking to hear these stories, and as you read it you hope it’s not true. It’s a call to action, although I’m not yet sure what I can do. I know that girls in Nigeria are still being imprisoned by Boko Haram; and that boys are being forced to fight for this group against their will. I think the first step is awareness – to know the story – this article in the Globe & Mail from a few weeks ago explains it very well.

I was lucky enough to have had access to the best trauma therapists in the world; they did not. So I couldn’t help but wonder and worry about how they were dealing with the aftermath, knowing that the scars that trauma leaves are deep and life-changing.

Mellissa Fung

It always seems that those who have suffered from a particular ordeal reach out to others that have gone through similar pain. I think it’s time that those of us who have not experienced that pain, reach out anyway. We shouldn’t have to wait for something to be relatable to do something about it.

Tomorrow I’m going to a stand-up comedy event in support of CAMH. It’s called Mental HELLth. Reminds me of Laughing Like Crazy! I’m working on my comedy routine – planning to go to an open Mic night next week (open Michelle it’s called – includes anyone except toxic men I’m told). Wish me luck!

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