This Accident of Being Lost

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s writing is angry. It’s also funny, self-effacing, relatable, sassy, vulnerable and provoking.

In This Accident of Being Lost, the Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg writer uses songs, stories and essays to poke at the world, Canada, colonialism and whatever else Simpson puts her eye on. Few topics are spared her scorn or awareness. She’s not worried about being confrontational. I like this quality in a writer.

In 22.5 Minutes she tries to distract herself from thinking about the person she’s in love with but exploring various topics. Topic 1, unexpectedly, is Kate Middleton.

“I’m so fucking glad I’m not Kate Middleton. Like even if for the sake of argument we just set aside the whole colonialism/settler colonialism denial delusion and just focus on the day-to-day meaninglessness of her life. Shake a hand here, attend a polo match there. Kiss a baby … Like how many pairs of nylons does she go through in a year … And fitted jackets and matching skirts? Why does she have to match so much?”

She then promptly jumps to getting old. “I think getting old is about doors closing, opportunities lost, and the series of things you do to trick yourself into thinking you are going to have fun, do something meaningful, or have a break in the tediousness of life. I should do something about that, like before it’s too late.”

Thank you, for so succinctly summarizing the neverending, constantly-looping and ever-expanding mental diatribe I subject myself to daily.

She also attacks the idea that we should love our bodies. Or that we do. “I have to fake that I have a good body image around the kids because that’s what good parents do. Love the body you are in. All bodies are beautiful. I don’t have any imperfections, just a storied tapestry I call my beautiful body. That’s not really how I feel. I hate my body like everyone else.”

Real talk. This Accident of Being Lost is brimming with it.

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson was at Events 33 (Original Inhabitants, Original Voices) and 79 (Who I Am) at the 2017 Vancouver Writers Festival.

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