Brooke Manning (LOOM) #1

After 10 Issues of OTMzine, it’s fair to say that we have met a lot of extremely talented people. In hopes of getting to know each of them a bit better, we have started our very first Guest Blog series. Every Wednesday, check out posts not only from those that we have featured and profiled in the past, but also from those who have helped behind the scenes: photographers, make-up artists, writers and the like. These posts will be a month long exploration of our guests’ relationship with Toronto in a cultural light and (almost) anything goes.

We’re all about creating creative experiences both online and around the city at OTMzine and this series hopes to be an extension of that. We want the series to be as much of an exploration of the city for the guest blogger as it will be for you, our readers, to learn more about them.

First up is the lovely and extremely talented Brooke Manning of LOOM. Read her first post below!

Reluctantly, I fled to Toronto with folded arms nine years ago. Previously discontent, holed up in a fusty dorm room attached to a celebrated university, I began feeling a remorseless sense of unrest feasting on my soul. My inner mental helix had me craving an experience, any experience, that wasn’t the path carved for me (by me) as a child. I longed to be a rousing escapist jumping head first into a new body of water.

In a simple manner, I had always contemplated my soul’s purpose within song. An ambiguously disguised introvert, I never wanted to exist in a busy city. My imagination had me convinced that Toronto was the land of the grinning. I could easily imagine a slew of slithering extroverts wrapping themselves around each other until a victor reigned; the weakest stifled and lost within the coil. I didn’t know how I could survive in such an environment but as a test to my will, with the natural chirp of a woolgathering chick, almost immediately I moved to a strange city of what of what I assumed was full of slurping serpents. Unfairly, I arrived with completely false preconceived notions. Perhaps unfairly, I arrived with secret expectations. I came to the city a mute, with the largest of sounds stored in my mouth. Uninterested in ‘finding my place’, I was hoping to find a place to house my diffident voice.

With a delicate touch, Toronto began unfolding my limbs, coaxing the arms of a once muted muse towards embrace. The city was patient with me. It taught me that even an alternate education at an equally eminent art school couldn’t seduce me and so, it quickly focused on introducing me to the city’s vibrant music community by leading me blindly through a laneway behind 129 Spadina. With charming experiences that could coax any stored sound to the surface, we began a comfortable courtship and I finally felt an ineffable desire to start performing more frequently.

I am incredibly grateful to Toronto, the city, the hive, though perhaps I should extend my gratitude to those that buzz within it. By coupling me with gentle, supportive creatives and delivering me working friendships in budding musicians the city helps foster, I finally feel as though my introversion is productively supported.

As with most relationships, it is natural to feel the waxing and waning of infatuation and love. As snakes shed their skins, I can easily shed my syncopation with Toronto. A silent yawning, void of delusional dreaming, I so often find myself un-zipping my adoration it. Even in broad daylight I find my mind romancing the idea of moving anywhere-but-here almost yearly. Luckily, the city sees this and slaps me in the face with a brand new mesmerizing experience that encourages me to stay put a little longer. It prompts me to sing with my eyes open, through the mouth of my soul, reminding me that the truest love never dies naturally; it merely fades because we take it for granted, forgetting how to replenish it’s source.