Through the creation of my blog and the duration of this course I learned many important things, but of all these things I would say 3 stuck with me the most.
1. Writers go through hell. The stories from Renee Sylvestre Williams, Shawn, and my own classmates made me recognize that pursuing a career in something you love can often create many problems, like having to settle for editing of your piece that does not reflect your own work, or writing pieces that are not necessarily what you desire to write about because often these are the ones that have to be done in order to establish a name for yourself or make a paycheque.
2. Issues related to social justice linger all around us. Whether it is in schools and on campuses in regards to mental health and the stigmas that surround them, in the streets where homeless shelters are being closed down and moved to the edges of Toronto creating a larger gap between the homeless population and the downtown services they need, or in regards to public space becoming increasingly privatized and pushing out ‘unwanted’ people.
3. Never offer your work for free, it devalues it. Although Renee S-Williams said this to our class in regards to writing, this can be applied to anything and everything we produce in life. I believe it is a good rule to go by because you are not only devaluing your own work but you are also devaluing what other people in the same field as you produce.
5 years from now, I hope I will remember the larger idea of recognizing the good and positivity in situations or stories that can often seem gloomy. Yorkville and other parts of Toronto have been heavily renewed, and sometimes businesses and residents have to deal with the consequences of it, however, activists like Ursula Forster (in relation to Hazleton Lanes) create an opposition to this renewal and provide support for the locals. Moreover, the proposed demolition of Union Station in the 1960s for something modern and new did not go through, and today we have a historic piece of architecture at the heart of our city, for many it is the first thing they see when arriving to Toronto by train or bus or staying at a nearby hotel.
Will I be continuing my blog? I don’t think so, at least, not on this specific platform. But I will definitely continue to write, explore our great city, and use social media as a globally connected tool to share information and create understanding. Ending on the same note I started my blog with – as citizens, we all share and hold a power, and as writers we allow our voices to be heard. By writing about the city we can be advocates for change and push for the development of a greater city for all.