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she/her | reader | gamer | feminist | reluctant idealist | 8x Top Writer | Age of Empathy Editor | recovering academic | body lover

What if escapism is actually the way out?

Photo by Bartek Mazurek on Unsplash

Once upon one of the weirdest times in my life, I fell in love with an imaginary person. He was fearless. Sexy. He had a voice that purred like a tiger. He had just escaped from slavery and was on the run. I didn’t realize it immediately, but unconsciously I think I could relate to that on a deep level.

Side by side, we went on adventures to rescue the helpless and defeat evil. We were an unstoppable force: he with his two-handed sword and me with my twin daggers. …


Take yourself lightly, and your work seriously

I wrote my first stories back when I was in the single digits. I had one of those pens that wrote in 10 different colours but, if my old notebooks can be trusted, I strongly preferred the purple one. The durable and faintly fruity scent is still there, palpable on the paper.

I confess. I have a terrible habit of telling the story before the story before the story, like those nested Russian dolls. This vice comes from my paternal grandmother, who had an iron grip despite her gnarled and arthritic hands. …


‘Boys will be boys’ is a deadly euphemism

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

Trigger warning: an honest depiction of what it feels like to almost drown.

“It’s only a joke”
“I was just playing”
“Don’t take it so seriously”
“Why are you making such a big deal out of it?”

“Boys are just like that”

How many different ways do we tell girls not to trust their gut? Not to complain. Whatever you do, don’t make waves.

“Boys will be boys” is a tired, worn-out excuse for a set of toxic behaviours that need to stop.

The first time a guy friend nearly drowned me was the summer after I graduated. The previous…


They misunderstood what female fans of ‘The Witcher’ want

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Earlier this spring, I finally got around to watching The Witcher on Netflix after hearing rave reviews from numerous friends for over a year. I’ve been a Witcher fan since the day The Witcher 3 was launched on PS4 — almost exactly 6 years ago now. For the first several episodes, it was as amazing as everyone said that it would be.

I particularly enjoyed getting so much of Yennefer’s backstory. It was clear that in adapting it for television, creator Lauren Schmidt Hissrich knew women would make up a large portion of the audience and wanted to flesh out…


‘I Hate Men’ is a small feminist book with a big idea

Photo by Stewart Munro on Unsplash

“As long as there are misogynistic men who don’t give a damn, and a culture that condones and encourages them, there will be women who are so fed up they refuse to bear the brunt of exhausting or toxic relationships.” — Harmange

I recently posted my review of the book ‘I Hate Men’ on my “Bookstagram” account on Instagram that focuses on — you guessed it — books. I was hesitant to stick my neck out, to be honest, for fear of having it lopped off by a passing troll. I’m still hesitant, and I’m also worried about how my…


A steampunk short story

Photo by Josh Redd on Unsplash

It still looked like a barn — from the outside, anyway. If you didn’t look too closely, you might think it was abandoned, dilapidated. The livestock was long gone; the idyllic piles of hay eaten by generations of industrious mice, beaten down by the elements, or decomposed to nourish a burgeoning crop of weeds.

If there had been a matching farmhouse once, time had stolen it away, or perhaps the forest had reclaimed it. …


Part 4 — the ways our parents love us

Photo by Geran de Klerk on Unsplash

October 29, 1944, continued from Part 3, Part 2, & Part 1

For a second, I stood perfectly still — shocked, disoriented, as Fiadh steadfastly chewed the white bark of the willow dyed red with Marguerite’s dried blood. I saw her only in profile, the narrow point of her chin pumping like a piston. Her eyes were closed, and it seemed to me a kind of ecstasy drifted like a cloud across her features.

“Fiadh, what are you — ”

She turned her head, her eyes shuttering open. Their usual aquamarine had bled to the edges, devouring the whites. Across them snaked other colours, like a marble in motion. Then she swallowed…


She ravished me at 14 and I never looked back

a young woman rushes forwards into a crashing wave
Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” ― Carl Sagan, Cosmos

For a kid with a passion for swimming who grew up in the middle of the continent, the ocean always sounded like an impossible dream. It was somewhere else, as far away as Narnia, primeval and archetypal. …


POST-APOCALYPTIC

Where the cold winds blow

Photo by Xavier Balderas Cejudo on Unsplash

From far across the field of ice, we saw the smoke. The sun had polished the snow to mirror brightness and we hurried, fearing what the smoke foretold. But the beasts that pull our supply sleds can only trundle through the crusted drifts so fast. Too slow, too slow — but nothing could be fast enough, for my sister was there.

Little Loon, my shadow, my heart.

The watchtowers we build of sinew, whalebones, and driftwood do not burn quickly; but the stores of blubber caught and soon a billowing cloud of grey and black spread across the sky.

The…


DETECTIVE FICTION

Part 3 — cowboys and villains

Photo by Aaron Huber on Unsplash

October 29, 1944, continued from Part 2 & Part 1

The small mob was closer to the woman than I was, and she was yanked roughly to her feet before I could reach her, although her eyes stayed locked on mine. Eyes that looked so much like Marguerite’s. She wasn’t smiling, but she didn’t look afraid, either, which was somehow more frightening.

Whoever gripped her arm spun her around, and her face disappeared in a torrent of long brown hair, tangled with twigs and bits of moss. Bereft of her scarves, she was lithe and shapely.

“The witch took Claude!” a man shouted from amidst the swarm of bodies.

“Claude…

Danielle Loewen

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