Tag Archives: creative writing

Your Letter Shames Me

You’d think award winning writers of all people would be able to steer clear of the cliche and harmful narratives of rape culture- but no, they are being widely distributed by the Canadian literature community.

I am disgusted.

For me, as a UBC creative writing grad, and a survivor of multiple sexual assaults reading this letter was very disturbing and triggering.

Stop shaming us for coming forward, or for staying quiet. Stop shaming us for wanting justice, or for not wanting anyone to know. Stop hurting us! Stop belittling us! Stop questioning the legitimacy of our allegations! STOP SURVIVOR SHAMING!

I am a survivor, and I will always stand with survivors.

It is so fucking hard to come forward when this shit happens.

When my soccer coach sexually assaulted me at fourteen I was terrified to come forward, but I did, and a lot of people didn’t believe me. The police made me feel like it was my fault, that I lead on my 50 year old coach. WTF. They made me believe that if I went through with it and tried to press charges, I would ruin his career, his reputation, and I didn’t really want that right? Especially since he had a family, and was a stand up guy, very smart, and well-liked in the community. So i didn’t press charges, but years later I wish i did. I worry that he has hurt so many girls because I couldn’t stop him. It still haunts me.

While I was attending UBC I was sexually assaulted on public transit. It was night time and no one else was on the bus. He pinned me against the window and grabbed my thighs and crotch and breasts. I was petrified. When I finally wriggled out of his grasp and got off the bus I ran and ran, tears flowing down my face, terrified that he was following me to come rape me. This still haunts me.

And there are more, some of which I just can’t bring myself to speak publicly about. The shame is so intense, the guilt, and the fear.

When I heard about the allegations toward Steven Galloway I can’t say I was surprised, but I was very relieved I never took a class with him. I honestly think I avoided male professors in small class settings on purpose. Of course, I would never have admitted this then, I always rationalized it that I just preferred female teachers, and supervisors, and coaches because I could connect with them better or something. But really, it is because I have seen it, and lived it, and more than half the time the men who are abusing their power and making everyone uncomfortable don’t even know they are doing it because rape culture, duh! It’s everywhere. Every single woman I know has been sexually assaulted or raped, and they’re not fucking making it up.

We don’t make this shit up! When will people stop saying this? When will they stop standing with the perpetrators and rapists, and pointing fingers at us. Calling us the liars. Just because they ‘know’ them. Just because, we’re women, we’re emotional, and the allegations have not bee ‘proven’. Just because his words have more power, more value, and more worth then hers, and hers and hers, and mine.

I can’t, I just can’t.

1st Trump. Then this.

This letter has really shaken me up,  I feel really hurt that all of the authors who signed this, think its okay to stand with the perpetrator of sexual assault and publicly discredit and shame victims and survivors everywhere.

supportingsurvivors

Thanks for reading.

Sincerely,

Heidi J. Loos

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T. Bug

Ever heard of the travel bug?!

Here’s a poem I wrote for the Northern Bard poetry contest in #WhatsUpYukon 

With beautiful artwork by Lyndsie!

Check it out and if you like it, please comment on it in What’s Up Yukon or share it on your Twitter, Facebook, & other social media pages!

Thanks guys! xoxo

HJL

The Vulnerability of Reading Aloud

Last night, I went to a monthly spoken word event here in Whitehorse called Brave New Words. I totally recommend it to any writers/readers general word enthusiasts in or around the Whitehorse area. I read a short fiction piece I’ve been working on. My palms were sweaty and my mouth was drier than a floured raison. In the quaint room full of well-loved books and strangers, I was so nervous I thought I might pee my pants. But as a relaxed and got into the third paragraph and then the fourth-and  heard a ‘mmm’ and a nod and a laugh- it got a little easier. And after hearing everyone share their own work: poetry, fiction, memoir, well some of us, like myself, may have arrived strangers, but we left: a community.

There’s just something so scary, and moving, and satisfying about reading something you have written aloud in the presence of others and hearing/seeing them react to it.

It isn’t something I have whole lot of experience doing. In my studies at UBC we handed out copies of our pieces to everyone and they all gave us feedback, orally in class, and written feedback to take home; I had very few classes in which the professor asked us to read our piece or a section of are piece aloud. I think it should be written into the curriculum. I think it should something every writer at least tries. It is so beneficial to read your work to others. It can really help you with the early drafts and the later drafts: all the drafts really. In a room full of people, you can hear the sigh, or the giggle, or the simultaneous scrunch of eyebrows furrowing in confusion. And it clicks: okay, that’s not the reaction I was going for there, but it’s spot on there, and needs just a wee bit of clarifying here.

Of course, there are certain genres that are meant to be heard and not read, but I really think even the most hard-paper genres can benefit from this exercise. Especially anything containing dialogue. Dialogue comes to life off the page, through the voice and the voices of the characters.

It can be difficult to find a space where you feel safe and brave enough to read your writing aloud. There is no denying the vulnerability of the act. This is your heart, your mind, your brain babies, your dear dear little darlings- and yes sometimes you do have to kill those darlings- but maybe not all of them! Sharing your work orally, may help you see which ones can stay and which ones have to be chopped.

Good luck, and thanks for listening 😉

xox

Heidi J. Loos

Hashtag #HaikuChallenge

Just as I was about to fall asleep last night, I had this intense urge to write a bunch of Haikus. And I had this thought:

One Hundred Haikus

Instead of Status Updates

New Writing Challenge.

Seriously though, how cool would it be if we just started replacing our tweets and Facebook updates with daily silly, dirty, goofy, sappy, wacky, witty, emotional and even radical haikus and we just flood the interwebs with micropoetry?! People won’t even see it coming, all the sudden, all over their newsfeeds it will be like BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM 5-7-5: Poems FROM everyone, FOR everyone. Literally, Poetry, Everywhere (on the internet). Then I looked up #HaikuChallenge on Twitter

and obviously it is already a thing! I’m just the last to know about it!

It’s not that surprising though, even though I have a degree in Creative Writing, I have never been that up to date with current trends of any kind. Things sort of need to weasel their way into bubble. I had never even attempted to write a Haiku until just over a week ago at a Brave New Writing workshop here in Whitehorse. I never took poetry at UBC, I mostly stuck to prose: short-fiction, long-fiction, non-fiction, writing for children, script-writing and song lyrics. Although arguably song lyrics are a form of poetry- melodic haikus were not included.

I think I was really inspired by my friend Shiphrah who is taking on the SketchaDay challenge for one year. I keep seeing all of her new art everyday on Facebook and I’m loving it. It’s such a nice break from all the usual viral videos, memes, and selfies on my feed. Plus it’s always amazing to witness how much anyone can improve at something if they do it every single day.

I often write about “Writing” on here: the challenges, obstacles, not having enough time for writing, comparing myself to other writers, things you shouldn’t do as a writer, etc… My biggest problem though, is my writing goals. Most of the time they are just too freaking big, they’re not obtainable. No one can write a novel in a day! Not that this was my goal, but, in a month maybe… Because some people can do it in a month!  But some people can write 15,000 words in a day, others 10,000 or 5,000 or just 5,00…but it doesn’t matter what other people do, or what they can do. It matters what you do. And, if you want to improve on something, you have to just buckle down and do it. Agreed? So start small, baby steps.

Three Lines a Day!

I am challenging myself to write ONE Haiku every day for One Hundred Days.

#HaikuChallenge #100Haikus

Some of them will likely suck, but some will be funny, and maybe even witty? I’ll post them to my Twitter and Facebook Page daily, so you can be the judge. I think it will be fun challenge. And not as easy as you may think, (at least not for me) for I struggle the MOST with short, brief, and concise. Just look at that sentence for example, I list synonyms constantly instead of just choosing one word. Because, I like them all: these words, and, I like a lot of words, so I like to use lots of words, and repeat a lot of my words, generally just get bogged down and wordy. So I think this challenge will not only help me to improve on my newest endeavour of haiku writing, it will also help me improve my writing for all genres!

If you want to, I’d love it if you would take on this #HaikuChallenge with me and write #100Haikus over the next 100 Days.

I believe in you

Let’s do this thing, together

One Hundred Haikus.

XOX,

HJL

Job Hunting with a Creative Writing Degree

Let’s be honest, it sucks.IMG_3015

I’m taking a 5 minute break from writing cover letters to write this.

It just sucks to be in that in between stage where you have a degree, but you don’t have a career. Then again a creative writing degree may not ever get you a career per say. Okay I’ll be more optimistic, it may, (I’ve seen it happen for some of the lucky ones) but also it may not. You may have to settle for a career completely out of your field and write on the side. But how much of your time will be spent doing that something else, something that you hate, or at the very best you can tolerate for a pay cheque. Will it suck up all your time and energy and leave an empty, uninspired shell with no drive or inspiration left write anything?

I really don’t want that.

But I also don’t want the judgement that comes with being jobless for too long, even if I am writing lots, and its exciting, and I’m feeling rejuvenated and ambitious and inspired to write more. The thing is, with the stuff I’m writing now: poetry, prose, scripts, blog posts there’s no guarantee of anything. There’s no guarantee anyone will even read it, let alone like it, and want to publish it or pay me for it.

So the job hunting continues.

It’s been a bit of a struggle so far. Since graduating from the UBC Creative Writing program in 2012, I haven’t stopped writing. But in the times where I’ve held jobs that I haven’t exactly loved, my writing seems to suffer, it even becomes a scarce occurrence, and the general quality just deteriorates- depression takes over.

The problem is, I have a dream. I dream of the perfect job. One that requires me to write, but not just anything, content I want to write, and it pays well.

Scrolling through the job postings, there is no such job. And in the postings, no body ever asks for a creative writing degree. The Requirements: Journalism degree, maybe, Marketing, Communications, yes, and English Degree, sometimes, but who doesn’t have a a degree in English in this day an age (well, me) but seriously it seems like every other person I meet has an BA in English. Are most of them working? Who knows. I don’t know these stats. It I did, perhaps I would have a degree in Statistics, and be employed, but then I’d most likely I’d be depressed.

Anyway, the hunt continues.

Wish me luck, I need it.

Xox

HJL