Improving My Community Through Fiction

Published Categorised as Louise and The Men of Transit, Personal, Writings, Books

How would you improve your community?

Screenshot of title page of Louise And The Men of Transit on Wattpad

Back in the 20-teens, the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission — Toronto’s public transit system) was enraging me so much, I wrote a satire, starring a naïve TTC fan who landed a job there, much to her delight! I set up a Twitter account for her and everything.

https://twitter.com/louisetransit/status/1208110208880455681?s=46&t=wCAYjagBEAWJkONf29Ly6Q

I wrote it on Wattpad, which back then had only begun paying select authors — me not included — because it was my first time trying satire and I wanted people to read it. Well! Nothing like writing a novel featuring a public transit system to garner no readers!

But undeterred, I kept writing. I’d outlined my novel anyway and had ridden the TTC to get videos and photos for my fictional character’s Twitter account as well as to provide visual aid for my descriptions. Plus my characters come alive for me long before I begin writing their story. I rarely didn’t follow through in finishing a manuscript, even if I never published it. Also, unlike Aban’s Accension, I knew I wouldn’t have the money to pay an editor or the energy to get it into paperback and ebook status. So Wattpad it is!

Louise and the Men of Transit had an additional purpose: to transmit my ideas for how to prod the TTC into becoming accessible, inclusive, and fun again. Alas, I don’t think the subway will ever be fun again. The new trains with their front ends blocked, no longer provide a view for kids to watch the tracks and zooming into the station. Newer generations won’t get to have that experience like mine did. Fear of suffering really makes life less fun for kids — and adults who want to be kids for a few minutes again. Anywhoo…

https://twitter.com/shireenj/status/1154410198683066368?s=46&t=wCAYjagBEAWJkONf29Ly6Q

The ideas I describe are what I’d do for my TTC community if I ever garnered enough money to do so, or, like Louise, was befriended by a rich person who wanted to put my ideas into practice. But I’d extend it out to other areas and platforms. So much has gone wrong in health care, infrastructure, housing, heating and air conditioning, self-sufficient energy access because of people afraid of change, wanting to cling to past ideologies to such an extent they fail to see the harm they’re doing to themselves as well as how exciting and energizing newer ways are.

Black and white photo of TTC headquarters on Yonge Street at Davisville, looking south down Yonge with the stone facade on the right. A young tree stands guard in its square hole in the sidewalk guarded by a concrete curb border. The sun overexposed the photo in the far distance, casting the building’s front into shade.
My Duck logo walking on my books in pink and blue shading.

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