The Rex Hotel

I used to live at The Rex. It’s Jazz/Blues hotel bar right downtown Toronto, on Queen St. There were rooms up top that you could rent, which, back then, were mainly populated by derelicts, drug addicts, and local misfits.

Our window poured onto the busy streets below, and every night, I could hear the night’s lineup of musicians play until closing time. I felt like I was in a Kerouac novel. Especially when poetry night rolled around, I’d often head downstairs, grab a drink, and witness many would-be writers reading from their beat-up notebooks, pouring their hearts and lousy poetry to a drunken crowd. The courage! The absolute tenacity. They enamored me, and their grit propelled me. Those poetry nights fed me.

I dragged you down memory lane because it occurred to me that writing is so often met with a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, you think you’ll never make it as a writer, you doubt yourself, you question if you have an iota of talent, and then you simultaneously drown in thoughts of: is this too indulgent, too hedonistic, too full-fat?


Why can’t we just allow ourselves to enjoy it? Why does this particular craft crave permission from others to be deemed worthwhile?

Maybe that’s why I love zines (and blogs) so dearly. Self-publishing is the highest form of fuck you that one can unleash towards the upper echelon of the gated lit world.