When I was in third grade, my teacher showed us how to “make our own books”. She would make hard cover blank books for us with cereal box covers and hand sewn binding, and we could publish our stories. All of my stories ended with girls wishing for peace on earth. I’m not sure why I was so fixated on that. I was however, hooked on writing. I think I published about eight of my own books that year. I’m fairly certain I did one in second grade too, but I can’t remember how that would have worked out.
Anyway, I wrote stories all through high school and by the time I graduated I wasn’t too bad at it. I gave up on writing full length novels though. I enjoyed the symbolism and shortness of shorter fiction way too much. For a long time after that, I wrote non-fiction and only half finished short stories if I had a vivid dream that I thought could turn into a great story. I rarely finished even those, although I have a collection of really great starters.
A few months ago, I submitted some photographs to Paper Street Journal and a short story I had written based on my graduate school research. I studied the Inuit at Chedoke Sanatorium in Hamilton, but the research paper was really disjointed and without a strong argument. The Paper Street Journal published my story. It felt like a long shot, but they did, and even though it’s a newer publication, I’m still really excited about it. I guess the point is, don’t give up on your childhood dreams. They may yet surprise you.
Photos of Inuit children at Cherokee Sanatorium in Hamilton. There History is very sad, and relatively unknown. Please look into it, but start with my FICTIONAL work obviously.
Check it out here: The Unnamed Baby, by Charity Blaine.
I’m suppose to do posts documenting my entire day once a month, but that never seems to happen. Also I always pick days when I’m doing something fun, which seems a bit like cheating… but here it goes (through a mix of cell phone and dslr images for comparison).
I always start the day with tea and reading. I scribbled some notes in my journal. I went outside in bare feet even though it was way too cold to check out the progress of the spring flowers.
Cellphone versions of the same thing, and also my awesome yoga moves.
My friends and I were headed to Toronto Comic Con, but I’ve wanted to check out Girl on the Wing in Hamilton for months now. It was really cute, and sells vintage clothing as well as goods from Out of Print and the Stay at Home Club.
I bought a few things….
I got the awful lapel pin (and a new obsession with lapel pins) and the pineapple earrings, as well as a vintage dress. Katrina bought my little camera earrings. I saw so many cute things though!
Then it was Comic Con. I had never been to Toronto Comic Con before and at first, it didn’t love it. I found the traffic flow overwhelming, even though I go to much busier events. I think Niagara Falls is still my favourite, but by the end of the night, I was enjoying myself. On the Friday night, there were fewer of the hardcore costumes. Mostly people wore hats or t-shirts devoted to their fandoms, not full outfits. The artist alley was really good and large though. Sometimes I find Fan Expo to have a lot of the same items, there was a great variety at this show, and reasonable prices.
I love seeing how people dress for these events. It’s so fun. I took a few of my favourite cosplay photos on my phone though. Lexa from The 100 and Kylo Ren, although isn’t that Rey costume (featured above) really amazing. The girl even looks like the actress.
And then, we drove home. The end.
My spoils from the day! So many cute finds!
“I was in love with the place
In my mind, in my mind
I made a lot of mistakes
In my mind, in my mind”
My blog theme for this month is LOVE, which may seem a little obvious for February, but sometimes as you as well work with a situation. The first post for the month though is about my love for a place (and my friends). I was born in Hamilton, and spent a lot of my childhood there, but that’s not why I love it now. Hamilton has such a unique vibe. It’s sort of dirty and sketchy sometimes, but all around are these old, beautiful buildings. And the Art (oh the Art!)… it’s everywhere. Art is part of the fibre of the city, and the creative community has played a central part in re-building the reputation of Hamilton.
For my birthday, I asked my friends if we could go on a book store crawl in Hamilton. It was a Sunday, so most of the bookstores were closed, but we did check out Epic Books on Locke Street. Locke has quirky street art in every alleyway, and a number of really cute, “artsy” shops, including Quills.
After Locke Street, we went over to James North to see if Mixed Media was open, since it’s one of my favourite stores. It wasn’t, but we tried out Hotti Biscotti while we were there.
We walked around to King Street to hit up old favourites after that.
The Hamilton Art Gallery is open to the public for free right now, because part of it isn’t open for renovations, so we stopped there too. I had never been before and really enjoyed it.
Then we went for sushi and ate too much, so all in all, an amazing day. Explore the city (or town) you’re in and try to do it with your eyes open for small details you might otherwise overlook.
It was my birthday last weekend, and I asked my friends if we could stop by Century Manor in Hamilton, so I could take a few photographs. I suppose it was a bit unusual of a birthday request, because Century Manor used to be Hamilton’s Insane Asylum.
This is me freezing cold at the back of the Manor.
As you can sort of tell, the Century Manor is a beautiful old building, constructed in the Victorian Gothic style, but it’s all boarded up and currently empty. Back in 1874, Toronto had a surplus of alcoholics in their institution, so this plot of land was selected to be the home of the overflow hospital more or less. By 1876, the first “drunks” arrived. Then in 1884, Century Manor was built. This location seemed ideal as a recovery home for those with mental illnesses because it overlooked the city of Hamilton and had such a beautiful view that it would certainly bring peace to those with unsettled minds. If the scenery didn’t help, lobotomies and electro-shock therapies were also available, (as well as an assortment of other unusual treatments). In 1890, this was the home to the “criminally insane”, basically, those deemed the most dangerous. On Sunday afternoons, locals would have picnics on the grounds so that they could watch the “lunatics” getting fresh air. There are still tunnels underground, that connect the Manor to Mohawk College and the other hospital buildings and the site is listed as part of the Haunted Hamilton tour. The building, after much controversy, is suppose to be re-purposed in the near future, but I don’t really have any details on that. In any case, it’s a beautiful building with a fascinating past, and many artefacts remain throughout the city. A few snaps from the site (we didn’t go inside even though a window on the lower floor was broken with steps leading down to the basement).
Anyone who went to Super Crawl this year will remember one thing, it rained EVERY DAY of the festival. Every month James North in Hamilton, the Art District, hosts an Art Crawl, for galleries and crafters and buskers, and anyone who wants to set up on the street on a Friday evening. It’s busy but still sort of low key. Super Crawl is a whole separate event, despite the fact that it’s still an Art Crawl. There are food trucks everywhere. Some people just go for the food trucks. There are also free live concerts of a pretty epic proportion. We saw Hayden, (and not trying to brag or anything, but National icon Fred Penner was also there). There are fashion shows, with designs, not just apparel, from local designers. This isn’t the kind of fundraising fashion show that you see with PTAs or in small towns. They’re legitimate fashion shows. I will probably stick to the Art Crawls in future, unless there’s a really great band playing. It was unfortunate too, because Sarah and I had some Art showing at Baltimore House, but of course, we went on the day that there was a paid event and we couldn’t in. Oh well, the show runs into October, so I’m sure we will get down there at some point.
And…. because I take more photos on my cell phone these days apparently, here are a few more Super Crawl (Sunday) moments.
I have wanted to attend an Art Crawl basically since the moment I heard about it. The second Friday of every month, on James North in Hamilton, artists, crafters and musicians (as well as book sellers and food vendors) line the street from Barton to Wilson. All the galleries and cafes are open. We had the most gorgeous weather, so there were tons of people, and I loved every second of it. It’s a photographer’s dream. Although as the night goes on, you do have to be a little more inventive with your ISO and shutter, because there really isn’t room to be trucking a tripod.