Essay Extravaganza

A Girl and Her Game
by Catherine Arbour

An origin story from Disc 1 to Disc 4

Stake to the Heart
by Chris Campeau

Visiting Dracula’s castle may have killed my romance with the Count, but it eternalized another

You're at Your Best When You're at Your Worst
by Sam Chilton

Visiting father at the funhouse

A Symposium of Nothing
by Tyler Cooke

The good, the bad, and the ugly; it's all me

Fairy-ly Bad
by Meaghan Côté

Some errors are permanent

Rockwood
by William Cousins

Lunacy in the loony bin

Journey to Bliss
by Tiffany Cuddy

A teenage girl struggles with bullying and making friends

Becoming Me
by John Cutland

To find himself, he had to become someone else

Ode to Divorce
by Joe Fitzgerald

What actually happens when you marry your best friend

Finding Your Family
by Ashton Heaps

A journey to find a place I belong

Garden

Noura
by Yushra Khodabocus

My most cherished memory

Reeling in a 30 Pounder
by Myryam Ladouceur

You never know what grows inside you

The Monster of Bowl Lake
by Madeleine Lange-Chenier

What a sea monster taught me about love

To Jeremy
by Marty Le Gallez

A writer and their muse

In Life and Death
by Cody Lirette

Finding meaning in mental illness and the death of a relative

College vs. University
by Anna Moat

My experience with post-secondary bias

Of Grandfathers and Guilt
by Stephane Moisan

Time heals everything, but guilt opens old wounds

Not About That Party Life
by Amanda Pereira

That one night that ruined all the others

The Day I Dropped Out
by Amanda Simard

A story about learning to live with anxiety

 

Refracted Visions
by Stephen Smith

Seeing the world in a different light

Jungle of Concrete
by Phoebe Strike
China, the land of the upside down

Courtyard
by Rob Sullivan

Nothing is quieter than a hospital at midnight

Smiley Face
by Alex Sundaresan

Killing loneliness one cigarette at a time

Nowhere to Go but Up
by Gennifer Taggart

How I found my rock bottom

Uprooted
by Allison van Maren

Houses, memories, and the inevitability of change

A LARP to Remember
Sharon van Wyngaarden

My adventure into the unreal

Tofino
by Nicholas Wrixon-Wood

A ride to hell

For the Win
by Marta Zwart

Being competitive hurts

Road

Uprooted

Uprooted

In the summer of 1990, my parents purchased their first home in a small town called Orangeville. My mom had grown up there, and the high school where my parents first met- and fell in love- was just a 15-minute walk away from the neighbourhood. It was the ideal place to start, and raise, a family of their own. Prior to this, my parents rented an apartment in a part of Toronto known as “Jane and Finch”: notorious for its drug and gang-related crime. Though they had talked of relocating already, the decision was spurred after a police officer was shot dead in their building’s parking lot.

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A Symposium of Nothing

A Symposium of Nothing

Nice, writing about myself writing, haven’t been this faux artsy in a while. So howdy, my name is Tyler Cooke, and for the next 1500 or so words I’m going to babble on about how tragic my life is, or how inspirational, or whatever it is that writers do to get big fat cheques. Also, hey Mom, hope you’re enjoying reading this. Love you and all that. *Coughs* Now where was I? Ah yes, being pedantic as ever. God I love big words.

In all semi-seriousness now, I don’t have an exciting life. I do stuff, but it usually consists of reading, thinking, playing games, thinking, watching movies... did I say thinking yet? The point is that I’m extremely introverted, and the person I talk to the most in my life is, well, myself; and let me tell you, I’m quite the blabbermouth.

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Smiley Face

Smiley Face

I sat in my room, fourteen years old, on an October night. I lay on my bed and stared at the ceiling.

Alone again.

My phone suddenly vibrated; an unusual sensation, as people seldom touched base with me over text. I grabbed it off my nightstand and opened my messages. The text was from Tony Antonelli, my best friend, telling me that his parents were out of town for the weekend and I should come to a party he’s holding tonight.

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Nowhere To Go But Up

Nowhere To Go But Up

I only went to one party when I was in high school and I always regretted it. Even at the time, I didn’t want to go, but my friends talked me into it. We caught the bus at a stop that sat across the road from a wide field, the sun still peeking out from behind the trees on the far side. The entire bus ride, my friends kept trying to convince me that the party would be great, as if I wasn’t already sitting next to them on the bus that was lurching, like my stomach, back and forth as we stopped and started again.

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Rockwood

Rockwood

One Halloween night in Kingston, Ontario, I witnessed cops struggle to shut down a 200-guest kegger after one particularly intelligent person set the road on fire, and another brilliant individual fired a nail gun at a neighbour’s car.

This chaotic, nonsensical lifestyle sustained most college kids in town, but for someone who rarely drinks, and has a higher-than-average attention span… I was bored out of my mind. Standing around at house parties while everyone else got drunk and acted like animals was not cutting it.

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Refracted Visions

Refracted Visions

A boy with a shaggy head of brown hair sat at his desk. Crayons were strewn about, and he examined the black and white picture in front of him. A house sat upon a wave-battered crag, and gulls drifted motionlessly in the sky. He picked through the crayons, and found what he was hunting for. That deep tone that looked cold and calm like an icy glass of water. With little care for shading or consistency, he filled the sea and sky with rich lines of blue. As he scribbled, a classmate looked over his shoulder and asked, “Why are you colouring the water purple?”

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Reeling In A 30 Pounder

Reeling In A 30 Pounder

“Myryam, did you forget to tell me something?”

It was the beginning of May, and I was standing in the living room in front of my mother, who was regarding me with a horrified expression. I knew what she was staring at: my bulging stomach. I hadn’t been home since Easter and, in that time, I seemed to have had developed the appearance of someone who was seven months pregnant.  My cheeks reddened as I protectively put my hands over my protruding tummy. Of course I had noticed the change in my body, though I had tried my best to ignore it. I had told myself that I was gaining weight and that nothing was wrong. However, my round stomach was rock hard. There’s nothing rock hard about fat. I was also experiencing severe back pain at work, where I stood on my feet all day. Customers kept asking me when I was due. I had ignored all of that.

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Courtyard

Courtyard

I always thought hospitals stank—that medicine smell, that creeping sting that sneaks up on you—but that one didn't, not that night. The second floor offered empty silence and still air, especially once we ticked into the early morning. Ten of us gathered in the waiting room down the hall. Everybody else piled into the smaller room by the intensive care unit, where they were treating her: late teens, college student, traumatic brain injury. 

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Not About That Party Life

Not About That Party Life

It was September 2015, the summer was coming to a close and in a few days I would be starting my final year in journalism. With this huge milestone coming up, what better way of starting this new chapter in my life than going to a party with all of my close friends? Seemed like a great idea at the time. But as I woke up the next day laying in my cousin’s basement fold out bed with a bag of vomit next to me, with absolutely no memory of how I got there or the night before, I never felt more idiotic. Looking back now I wish I stayed in and binge watched Harry Potter that night.

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A Girl and Her Game

A Girl and Her Game

The first Final Fantasy game was released in 1987, and as of November 29th the main titles (namely the numbered entries) number 15. While some people have been with it from the beginning, my first encounter with the series was the ninth installment. This is the story of that encounter, from the beginning. It was an encounter that still resonates with me today; Final Fantasy is a part of my leap through interests that has stuck with me.

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Ode to Divorce

Ode to Divorce

Recently I’ve been struggling to save up roughly $1000. This money won’t be used on a vacation, or a used car, or an RSP investment, or almost anything else someone in his late twenties could be doing with a grand saved up in the bank. Instead, I’m saving up to buy a few pieces of paper that I will use to officially inform the government that Lindsay McKay and I are no longer a couple, and that we respectfully wish to stay that way.

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For the Win

For the Win

I was watching my three older brothers playing soccer on a cold day, holding a notebook in my five-year-old hands. I tried to keep the pages from whipping around in the wind. I was determined that when it came time for me to play, I would never make the same mistakes the boys did. We were a competitive family, and I wanted to be at the top of the hierarchy. My aspirations were diminished when I realized that playing in the yard with my brothers was very different from being on the field and competing against strangers.

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You're at Your Best When You're at Your Worst

You're at Your Best When You're at Your Worst

“You can piss in here if you need to.” My dad is holding up a large plastic cylinder, which I think was once a jumbo pack of Planters peanuts. I consider telling him I’ll wiz in the garden if need be, thank you very much, but I think better of stumbling through the skeleton-half of the house in the dark, and urinating on the front lawn, waterlogging the nice perennials—begonias, maybe?

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Jungle of Concrete

Jungle of Concrete

In order to read the local newspaper in Beijing, China, a person has to know a minimum of 3,000 Mandarin characters. Upon making the move in 2005, I only knew about 11. My parents dangled promises of a big school with a pool and the prospects of new experiences. Dad always preached that the more languages a person learns the smarter they became. But, all I could think as we boarded the plane was that jerk Maddie at school was finally going to get my spot in my group of friends. Purgatory was where we were going, not China.

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A LARP to Remember

A LARP to Remember

Light rain pattered against the windshield of the red Venza, barely audible above the sound of My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade coming from the stereo. The excitement in the air was palpable as we pulled into the farm at 212 Concession in Hagersville, just outside of Toronto.

I sat in the back seat, sandwiched between the door and a roof-high pile of camping supplies. In the front were my companions, Phoebe and John, who were singing along with the music. It was after seven on October 21st, well into the tail end of the blue hour, and I was anxious about having to set up our tent in the dark.

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In Life and Death

In Life and Death

We were sitting on the couch late one night when the phone rang — an old rotary one with a silver dial that I had no idea how to use, despite my dad showing me numerous times. Nan answered, and spoke briefly with my dad.

My parents left the apartment in the afternoon, but I chose to stay with my great-grandmother. We were working on a puzzle that night, interrupted only by strategic sips of tea when contemplating our next move.

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