Now that I’m finally more rested, dark circles less blackened, and bedtime back to a more respectable midnight hour, I can reflect with a clear head (as clear as it will ever be with the yarns that spin up there) on my two weeks in Toronto at TIFF. (Read the full story here)
From a bird’s eye view, it was like seeing the constellations with a powerful telescope. I saw things that one cannot see without magnification. Closer to earth, I learned about myself. I removed another layer of my delicate onion skin. I was introduced to grand people, places, things and ideas. And I returned to Vancouver seeing life in HD.
These are some elements I took home from TIFF:
1. Canada has culture.
I’ve been wearing blinders all these years. The years since my heart lived at the crossroads of Road to Avonlea and Today’s Special. I have been more interested in the rest of the world, and neglecting my own country. But we have greatness here. Film, music, television, books. Our culture is real. Resolution: Watch and listen to more CBC.
2. It’s not an imposition.
Having friends who offer up their homes to me used to make me feel as though I was imposing. Perhaps it’s the polite Brit in me, but I avoided imposition like I avoid tight, wedgy producing bodysuits. After experiencing the great generosity of a friend over the two weeks I was sleeping on an air mattress in his living room, I learned to drop the imagined air of being a burden and embrace the love of friends and family. I would do the same for them should the roles be reversed. That’s right, my spare room is your spare room.
3. Being solo ain’t so bad.
Most of the functions I went to and bar stools I sat on were with me, myself and I. We’re all friends now. The BFF kind (BTW how I loathe this and all acronyms, along with TGIF and GF). Me is a pretty great wing woman, Myself makes me smile without warning, and I is a keen observer. My trio of ids, egos, and super-egos make more friends and meet more people that I ever do when in a twosome with an actual person (not to say I don’t love being with my friends). Strangers make awesome company.
4. Twitter blows my mind.
I met some pretty rad people through the Twitter over my time in Toronto. People who I went on to meet in the flesh. Twitter makes the inaccessible accessible. No. Really. Don’t laugh. Which brings me to…
5. Opportunities for greatness are in the air, ready for the plucking.
If you keep your eyes open and wits about you, opportunities will present themselves. People come into your life for a reason. Pick up on these reasons and do something about it. Whether it’s something you learn from them, something you contribute to them, or merely a great time. Leading to…
6. Watch for signs.
When the universe continually guides you in one direction, you’re on the right path. Keep going. When it tells you to do something. Do it. Now. It’s time. (This all sounds a bit Jedi, doesn’t it)
7. “Reporter” can be a dirty word.
I avoided using the word, preferring instead to say that I am a writer. Because really, I’m not a reporter. I’m not a journalist. I just write. Yet I was labeled as a reporter because of my media designation. Fair enough. Some people put up walls, others stated disclaimers, and most made assumptions. It’s a shame that “reporter” is put into the same category as “gossip monger”. It’s unfortunate that a few bad apples leave a stigma stinking off the rest of us in a writing profession.
8. Vegan poutine is actually delicious. I am not lying.
No explanation necessary. Go to Poutini’s House of Poutine and figure it out for yourselves.
You can read more of my TIFF lessons within the posts I wrote for The Province Newspaper blog.