Non-fiction

Category: Non-fiction

Writing is a lonely effort. While the raw material for Blamed and Broken came from countless hours spent talking to other people, translating their words into a coherent and undeniable narrative fell solely to me. It was difficult. Not just because the scope of the book spans more than a decade in the lives of so many people. Not because it required a fresh look at thousands of pages of documents that had either been hidden or carted off to archives.

Let’s get this straight – I’ve never been a fan of Valentine’s Day.

I never really liked how it was declared a Hallmark holiday and the singular day of the year that forces people to show the measure of affection towards their partner – or in my case, partners.

So on Feb. 14, we – as a polyamorous V – have something else to celebrate – my husband’s birthday.

My grandmother told a lot of stories. In her 84 years, she’d experienced a lot, and felt a duty of sorts to impart her knowledge learned on anyone who would listen. Luckily, she was a very engaging storyteller, and had the sort of perspective that was always worth considering, even if you ultimately disagreed with it. It’s been 12 years since she passed away after a long battle with cancer.

Afghanistan loomed large in my imagination long before I ever set foot there. I grew up listening to my Grandfather tell tales of serving in British India, hanging on his every word. In my mind, Afghanistan was a wild place on the border of civilization. It was a place for adventure.

I didn’t tell anyone at my job that I had been committed to a psychiatric ward until two years after the fact. I’ve worked for small teams and startups for most of my career – mostly focused in tech and education, and now supporting parents at Toronto co-working space The Workaround. I didn’t want others to judge whether I was equipped to do my job based on what happened while I was away.

Tim Ferriss, one of my favourite authors and podcast hosts, has been known to joke that the only people who should write books are those who feel they only have two options: type or explode.

I am not sure if I completely agree with him — I think I might enjoy the writing process slightly more than he does — but I am familiar with that “must express … going to explode” feeling.

A great deal has happened since the 2014 publication of Food Junkies: The Truth about Food Addiction.

Initially, I wrote the book to draw public attention to the issue of food addiction. The press was already talking about the addictive nature of sugar:  Remember the study of the rats that preferred Oreo-chow over cocaine? The pictures of people eating Nutella by the bottle and the medical statistics documenting how soda pop brought on diabetes?

We often think of the new year as a fresh start – the ideal time to take a close look at your investments and financial situation. When it comes to investments, many pore over their portfolio – likely flat after crummy returns for almost everyone in 2018 – and ask the key question: “How can I do better this year?”

At the end of 1993, I was travelling in Kenya with my girlfriend. During a stopover in Mombasa, we walked to an industrial section of the city overlooking the port. Because it was Sunday, everything was quiet, but we noticed an old dhow anchored away from the docks. From our position, we could distinguish a large group of people crammed on the deck, trying to protect themselves from the hot midday sun. Adults, children… Somalis, we learned.

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