Photo of journal entry where I consider quitting political writing

Pivoting to Spiders

Note to readers: I am taking a hiatus from the whole City Hall thing. I’ll soon be cancelling all your recurring Paypal donations and putting the Patreon on hold.

It’s not about money or the work or anything. It’s just an existential despair thing, you know?

Thank you for your support over the years. I could not have done it without you.

If you want the long version, here you go.


It started as a scribble in my journal. It was October 22, election day in Toronto—the end of a chaotic, heartbreaking campaign where Premier Doug Ford (writing that still feels like a sick joke) unilaterally cut Council in half. The day before, news broke that the US’s HHS planned to “define transgender people out of existence”.

Burnt out, considered, what if I just…stopped covering City Hall? I don’t think I’ll actually do that, but it’s an oddly comforting fantasy.

Local politics has been my world for seven years. Going about my life not knowing every single item every committee was discussing would feel like…idk, not checking the weather. Not looking at my bank balance. What would I do all day?

And then the election happened and they elected Nunziata to be Speaker again and that’s when I realized Tory really was doubling down on doggedly maintaining the status quo even as everything crumbles around us—the environment, the social safety net, the human rights acquired over my lifetime, is the world I know destined to be a brief blip in time before we descend into a shitty grimdark reboot of the 20th century? (Sorry. We seem to have gotten off track. Anyway—)

That’s what City Council reminds me of, a reboot. It’s a parody at this point, an ageing handful of the original cast dragged out again for a remake no one asked for. I hung on for the first meeting, and then the holiday party, but honestly I’m done. I don’t know for how long. Maybe a year. Maybe I’ll snap out of this by budget time. I just need to occupy myself with things that don’t destroy my mental health.

I’m basically feeling like what Scaachi Koul says here, except the part about having a loving partner who makes it all worthwhile. Though, who knows. Since reading this piece by Brandy Jensen I have started to entertain the possibility of maybe dating again, in the way I think about what I would do if I were Prime Minister. It’s kind of wild that a single article can so radically change my mind on something like that.

I don’t think I’ve changed anyone’s mind by writing about politics. On the other hand, I have definitely changed people’s minds by tweeting about spiders, though. I have totally saved spider lives. Maybe, sometimes, that’s all I have to do.

4 thoughts on “Pivoting to Spiders”

  1. I understand getting burnt out on an old passion, and I understand the feeling of disappointment you’re feeling with the general course of political choices our fellow citizens seem to keep making.

    I just want to say thanks for the writing you’ve done on city politics (and spiders and what nots). You’re a clear, funny and generous writer, and your exasperation with small minded, naked self serving nonsense was cathartic. It also comforted me to know you were watching over things. A sympathetic witness is a blessing to those of us that don’t have the fortitude to watch and understand it all firsthand. Take a break. Maybe a permanent one if that’s right for you. Thanks for everything you’ve shared.

  2. While you’re taking a well needed mental health break from Toronto City Hall politics there are a few of us who will continue to fight on, but here’s hoping a good rest will put your back on course. Make sure we know when you’re ready to start the engine up once again.

  3. As you rightly say, changing people’s minds about spiders is very, very important and meaningful work. Personally, I’ve always been a fan of our arachnid friends, but I would never have been introduced to your wonderful spider stories had I not first been a fan of the political side of your writing.

    I think you underestimate the influence of your political writing too – Like you, I’m struggling with the awfulness of our current Toronto/Ontario geopolitics. However, I like to think that my own engagement has influenced some of the better thinking that goes on. (Changing minds at City Hall has always been beyond the abilities of mere mortals).

    At the risk of being axiomatic… Doing “the next right thing” is always the next right thing to do.

    I hope you return to the messy web of City Hall in the future, but in the meantime – Thank you for all you have done and continue to do.

    All the best,

    Nx

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