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Illustration by Charlotte Mei (The Vault) Illustration by Charlotte Mei for The Vault

 

 

“I keep turning back to words to help me make sense of the world and my place in it. I ingest them restlessly as if I’m looking for something specific — some bit of truth, wisdom or validation.”

I spend a lot of time with words — words on screens, paper, filling silence, sprinting from earbud to eardrum. On any given day, I toggle between up to 20 internet browser tabs. My #WFH set-up consists of Slack, Hootsuite, Zoom and a chaotic “drafts” document, followed by a collection of essays and articles I methodically make my way through over the course of each week. My 132 GB iPhone is almost full, mostly of photos and podcasts, and my weekly usage stats are recklessly high. Books and magazines are stored all over my room underlined and dog-eared, with receipts, tickets, and sometimes the odd wrapper saving my place.

I’m not sure if I actually enjoy the process of reading or listening, but I keep turning back to words to help me make sense of the world and my place in it. I ingest them restlessly as if I’m looking for something specific — some bit of truth, wisdom or validation. My favourite tarot card reader Jessica Dore once wrote, “Myths and old stories can feel a bit like wise elders. They remind us what we are both too young in the Spirit to know and old enough in the Soul to understand.” I think the stories we tell each other have the power to do that too.

I’m reminded of it whenever I read bell hooks. I can pinpoint it in three passages of Ongoingness by Sarah Manguso. I feel it when I hear queer or racialized femme writers from my favourite local zines read their pieces aloud; it feels as if they’re speaking directly to me, but the crowd’s audible exhalations are a reminder that that part of me is also in all of us.

Each moment of resonance is well worth enduring the process of sifting through the noise and capital-c Content. So to all of you, I want to pass on the work of a few writers, speakers and storytellers who have reminded me of things my spirit forgot, which I continue to hold and turn to for clarity and comfort.

1. The God Phone by Leora Smith (Longreads)
2. A Malt by Lizzie Derksen (The Vault)*
3. John O’Donohue: The Inner Landscape of Beauty (The On Being Project)

*Use the code TAKECARE for one free story from The Vault. A Malt resonated with me so naturally, I recommend it, but I’ve read almost every story they’ve published and all are beautiful choices.

— Tamara Jones

Tamara Jones is a freelance writer and Marketing Coordinator at The Theatre Centre and SummerWorks.

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Alone Together is a series of shared stories by The Theatre Centre. Over the next several weeks, our team is going to offer you some of our own personal joys, those things that nudge us, the arms that extend to us in the dark, those things that catch our hearts off guard. And we’d love to hear from you in return… what’s blowing your heart open these days?

Catch up on previous editions of Alone Together:
• Artistic Director Aislinn Rose on Teju Cole’s interview with On Being
Producer Alexis Eastman on her love of water