I grew up in Montreal and started typing stories and scripts on my Mum’s vintage typewriter when I was in grade school. My brother and sister and I recorded our own radio dramas in the basement — satires of science fiction and commercials, mostly — then in our teens joined a theatre company for youth who collectively created a musical production every year. So the storytelling habit started pretty young.
By fifteen I started working as an actor in English and French, and just kept on doing it… except I took two years off to go undercover as a grad student, and get an MA at York in Social and Political Thought. My thesis was a crossover between popular culture theory and epistemology, driven by questions like: how do we know what we know — about ourselves, about the world — when so much of what we know is ‘taught’ to us by entertainment? Who shapes the stories that shape us? Are mass audiences helpless propaganda puppets, or are we cognitively empowered citizens, free to interpret media as we choose?
These questions stayed with me, whether I was playing a Shakespearean ingenue or a butt-kickin’ anime schoolgirl in Sailor Moon… but more and more, I’m driven to generate the ideas, rather than just act them. I want to tell the story myself.
We define who we are by both the truths and the fictions we tell ourselves. We fall in love, we rage, we feel pride and shame, we forge bonds and draw battle lines based on these stories. Looking at today’s headlines, it feels like a good time to take the story machine’s power seriously. Because as pop culture itself tells us: with that power comes responsibility. At least, that’s the story I tell myself.
This is my playground. This is my battlefield. This is my sandbox. There’s nowhere I’d rather be.