My girl sick all week, not covid but horrible cold. Easily angered if I practice piano. Tried Vicks vapour rub, tried tea and honey, tried vitamin C, tried sleeping more. This might mean a puffer, waiting doctor’s response. Still reaching the loot of Halloween despite an admonishing father’s view that sugar is the opposite of something bringing health. This morning the repairman made a cocaine joke and when I asked more about his laugh, he elaborated on his descent, once upon a time, and the sheer madness. Rabbit holes of indulgence. Nearing the end of the semester and I’m going to change the assignment about racism into an assignment about boy bands because I think the balance of the course has been heavy more often than not. Or maybe it’s because I sense the stress some of these international students are under, paying 8k instead of the Canadian rate to study here often coming from places lacking funds, often trying to complete six courses at once, while also holding down meaningful jobs like the all night shifts at McDonalds. They had to keep journals which I read and marked. I alert them not to write things they do not wish me to know about, even though none of it is public and the journals are returned a week later. It’s only about checking that they are engaged in a daily practice of writing blah blah blah. But some do include horrible life stories and that’s fine but also alters my thoughts about who they are. I don’t mind. Now I have many other stories swimming around. The clever way he steals food during a McDonald’s shift, the boyfriend who raped her, his father crashed and died, how her sister disappeared, his father-in-law is racist but he can’t move out because of their young daughter and the father-in-law owns the house. A lot of them amazed by what Canadians are upset about. Often things they themselves would never complain about. Here, there’s never any talk of writer’s block.