November 2019

The City of Winnipeg is closing my childhood library and I'm angry about it

- by Alyson Shane

The Seven Oaks Library, located on Jefferson Avenue in the heart of Garden City, might be closing as part of a sweeping round of cuts proposed by the Winnipeg city council.

Before I tell you why this matters, and why I'm angry, I want to tell you a story about the Seven Oaks Public Library:

I don't remember feeling happy very often growing up, but I was always happy when we went to the library.

When I was little my parents enrolled me in Story Time, and every Monday they'd take my two brothers and I to the library to borrow a big stack of books and VHS tapes. We didn't have a lot of money growing up, but the library gave us something to do, and look forward to.

As I got older and things got worse at home, my local library became somewhere I could go when I was upset, and where I could pass the time in a warm, quiet place.

I loved having a place where I could go and escape my life by diving into a good book.

I felt safe in the library, and accepted there.

I fell in love with reading, and became a writer, because of the Seven Oaks Public Library.

Without that library I wouldn't have this blog. Or my business. Or my sense of curiosity and eagerness to learn, both of which are the result of becoming an avid reader.

I wouldn't have any of that without my local library, and it might be closing.

But that's not why I'm angry.

I'm angry because our mayor and city council are lying to us about why they want to close it.

A few weeks ago the city released a budget proposal that says our city is so tight on cash that they need to make the following cuts:

  • 5 pools closing
  • 3 libraries closing
  • 5 arenas closing
  • funding cuts to all community centres
  • all improvements to athletic fields cancelled

This is upsetting news on its own, but yesterday I read that even though all these cuts are coming, the city is quietly pushing through a $71 million dollar community centre called The South Winnipeg Recreation Campus in Waverley West.

What's included in this fancy new recreation campus being built on the very edge of our city?

  • a lap tank and leisure pool
  • a fitness space, walking/running track and gymnasium
  • a community library
  • community recreation program space with *multiple gyms* and multi-purpose spaces
  • athletic fields and park space
  • a twin arena

Our civic government is cutting and under-funding programs and community centres for inner-city residents, and literally building the same things in a brand-new, high-income neighbourhoods.

This is literally robbing from the poor to give to the rich.

Through this move, the Mayor Bowman and City Hall are saying that kids like me don't matter.

Kids like me, whose parents were strapped for cash and needed a way to keep their young kids busy by borrowing books and videos and signing us up for programs

whose home lives were negative and chaotic and stressful, and who needed a safe, calm space to be alone when things got tough

who found a sense of identity through reading and felt motivated to achieve more than we felt we were worth because of what we read

according to city hall, kids like me literally don't deserve these opportunities, because we need to make sure kids in wealthy suburbs get them instead.

It's no wonder we have a meth and violence crisis in this city. It's pretty easy to see which voters City Hall and the Mayor think are most important.

Oh, and if you're wondering why you didn't hear about this when the budget was made public?

It's because the city deliberately left the dollar amount out of the capital budget:

Image via Dear Winnipeg via The City of Winnipeg

So not only is our city lying about not having money in the budget to fund these spaces and programs and pushing through a project to build literally the same thing in a rich suburb

they've also been hiding it from us and hoping we don't find out.

See why I'm angry?

I'd like to give a big shout-out to Dear Winnipeg for doing the deep-dive on the topic that inspired the post. You should read it.

Tags: Winnipeg


Here are some things I want you to know

- by Alyson Shane

It's okay if you feel sad. Feeling sad is normal, and even if it feels like you're sad more often than you're happy that's also pretty normal.

But that's okay! Because that means your feelings aren't that


as maybe you think they are.

I want you to know that pretty much every single person you see on the street, including me, gets scared and feels lonely and feels like a burden on those around us sometimes.

That's also pretty normal. 

But that's okay, too. The world we live in tricks us into thinking technology connects us when most of the time it doesn't, and we're all trying to navigate this weird world that we've suddenly found ourselves in

that feels so connected, but can be so isolating at the same time.

We're all just figuring it out together.

I want you to know that if you've ever thought about disappearing, that the hole you'd leave in the hearts of the people who love you will never heal.

Every single person who loves you know would rather stay up night talking to you, or help you when you're in crisis, than live in a world without you in it.

But it's okay if you sometimes feel the opposite as long as you don't let those feelings, and the guilt you may have about them, to stop you from reaching out.

Please reach out.

I want you to know these things for a few reasons:

1. they're all true

2. sometimes we forget them

3. sometimes I need a reminder

4. maybe right now you do, too.

I want you to know that you're not alone if you feel sad, or stuck, or depressed, or feel like what you've been trying isn't working and there's no alternative.

Anxiety and depression are nothing to be ashamed of.

What matters is that we don't let those feelings define us, and that we remember that

it's okay to feel sad

you are not a burden

you are loved

everyone wants you around

and getting help is always the better option.

I promise.


If you're struggling with suicidal thoughts, or you think you know someone who might be, please call one of the numbers below: 

Manitoba Suicide Prevention & Support Line (24/7)

Toll free: 1-877-435-7170

Klinic Crisis Line (24/7)

Phone: (204) 786-8686
Toll free: 1-888-322-3019


I've been thinking about this one quote lately

- by Alyson Shane

it goes like this:

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”

It's a quote from C.S. Lewis (the guy who wrote The Chronicles of Narnia) and I've been thinking about it a lot because there's been a lot of 


going around recently, and when things like death start to hit too close to home people start to do crazy things.

We become mean

and we start to push away people around us because the hole someone leaves in your life when they die is like a big, gaping maw that can swallow everything up if you let it.

So instead we over-react and become hyper-sensitive to

because the damage the distractions cause is better than facing what's in front of us.

We panic in the face of death.

And why wouldn't we? I want to. I'm scared shitless of dying.

My mind starts feeling like a level of Monument Valley the minute I start thinking about the idea of my consciousness not existing and the meat sack of my body rotting away and becoming hopefully part of a tree or some nice-looking edible plants like watercress or blueberries.

(I tried to lighten it up at the end there, did you notice?)

But panicking doesn't make anything easier. Not in the long run anyway.

And I've been thinking about that C.S. Lewis quote because I know a lot about how being afraid makes you say and do things you wish you could take back.

When you grow up afraid you lash out at other people as a way to make sense of, and to some extent, validate what you're feeling.

At least, in my experience.

Going through grief for the first time and watching other people close to me go through it

(in some cases way worse than I experienced)

made me realize that grief looks a lot like fear, just like Mr. Lewis said.

It's scary, but it's a reminder that in the face of that big, gaping maw that obliterates everyone we've ever known and loved

all we ever really had was each other.

So hold on tight.


It's my birthday today

- by Alyson Shane

I'm thirty-two.

We'd planned on going out but it was too cold so instead we stayed inside and snacked on leftover potluck food. In my younger years this would have stressed me out

what do you mean we're not going out to do something on my birthday

but these days it's nice to have an excuse to stay in my pyjamas and play video games on my day off (being born on Remembrance Day has its perks.)

Last night we hosted a pun-themed party where people brought dishes with names like:

Cheesus Christ
Curry on My Wayward Son (There'll be Eats When We Are Done)
The Beaning of Life
The Lamb Before Thyme

and a whole bunch of other gooders that I can't remember

possibly because I'm old now.

But I'm not really old. Not proper old, anyway, like my Grandma or the lovely folks who lived in the assisted living facility where I worked in university helping residents write emails to their grandkids

(no joke, that was my job. It was sweet and wonderful and I loved it)

but I'm older, which means I have license to gripe about the usual things like aches and being tired and what have you

but honestly I don't have a lot to complain about these days.

I do cool stuff and have dumb problems like

waah I've been running too many workshops recently and I need a break

really, girl? I remember back when I used to daydream about having this problem.

I guess I could say that that's the reason I don't blog as much, but tbh it's because I spent a lot of time writing in my journal, or reading, and there's a flow between my brain and my hand when I write in a journal that I've been enjoying a lot recently

and though I firmly don't believe that blogging isn't dead

it's one of many creative outlets right now

and it's been nice to have the time to explore them.

Plus with all the workshops and startup stuff and etc

sometimes I don't have the mental energy to be witty or quippy or clever or smart

which I feel more pressure to be the less I write here, ironically enough

but goddamn it, it's my birthday, and I only have so many

so let the record show that this was a good one that was spent surrounded by people I love

and I'm thankful for it

and for them

and thankful for you, too.

Happy birthday to me.