Today is my birthday. I am twenty-nine years old. Today, I have lived in Winnipeg for twenty-nine years.

Today I am starting this blog anew, because I am twenty-nine, because I am almost thirty, and because the city and I still need to have some words.

Some words on the city. The city is my love, my co-dependent love. We validate each other’s flaws. If Winnipeg is frustrated and unlovely, and I am frustrated and unlovely, then we can cling to each other. If one of us pulls back from its potential, the other can too. We’ve comforted each other, but we’ve also held each other down.

So maybe this blog will be my love letter to the city. Or maybe it will be a long goodbye.

“Because,” I say to myself in the first six hours of my twenty-ninth year, “Your twenties disappeared. You grew up, lived alone, got married, got separated, got back together again. You raised your cats, patted your uterus and informed it that you won’t need its services anymore — then changed your mind a million times. You read George Orwell in the dark, again. You learned to love America. You got lines around your mouth. You saw the dermatologist for that. You chickened out and skipped the needle:  not yet,” you said, “not yet.”

There’s still time. “Time for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.” I understand J. Alfred better now, than when a pleading high school English teacher asked us to contemplate mortality. But I am not sprawling on a pin. Not yet, not yet.  I yanked it out.

The head of a pin: I have censored myself for a decade, because what I had to say was not worthy of being said. There are better thinkers, better analysts, better investigators and better voices. They know things, and the things they know are the same things that, I was taught, are worthy of being heard.

Truth: there are many ways to skin a cat.

I have no head for numbers. I don’t think concretely. I don’t always know the right questions to ask. This doesn’t mean I don’t see things. “Your problem,” a man told me once, “Is that you are an observer. That’s your gift. But it also means you’ll be very lonely.”

I think I yelled at him, made fists, stamped my six-inch platform boots. But I knew it was true then. I am not one to quantify the universe. I am no analyst; no intellectual; maybe not even a journalist. I am merely an observer, then a storyteller.

I believe there is still a place for storytellers.

So that is the manifesto of my twenty-ninth year, and this is the forum for my telling of the life of a twenty-nine-year-old woman, here, now, in Winnipeg, and all that means. I’ll write about the city; I’ll write about the culture. I’ll write about bad headlines and beautiful decay. I’ll write about long nights out and short thoughts once kept in.

Mostly, I’ll just write, because pop-goes-the-pin and I’m not sprawled yet.

Winnipeg, this blog is for you, and for me, and for the fading days of our wreck of a romance.


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