Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Read an Excerpt from Monica Heisey's I Can't Believe It's Not Better

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Monica Heisey

Monica Heisey already had us giggling at our desks with her Dirty Dozen interview (she shares our feelings on puns!), but now we're thrilled to present a sample of her painfully witty I Can't Believe It's Not Better: A Woman's Guide to Coping with Life (Red Deer Press).

Check out Monica's deadly serious advice on how to make your apartment look so perfect it makes Gwyneth look like a mess.


Excerpted from Monica Heisey's I Can't Believe It's Not Better: A Woman's Guide to Coping with Life

How To Make Your Apartment Look Like You Read Design Blogs

Look, your home is busted. You know it, I know it, IKEA definitely knows it. You don’t own a single fun wall decal. There isn’t a vintage globe in sight. You’re embarrassing yourself, and it’s time to sort your shit out. Here’s how:

Get a Chalkboard Wall, This Is Non-Negotiable

How will you remember to Live, Laugh, or Love if you don’t scrawl it on your vestibule in cursive? Scatter imperatives like this around your home. “Be Kind” in the bathroom. “Breathe” in the kitchen. “Dream” in the bedroom. It’s like you’re a prisoner under the rule of a quirky despot.

White on White on White on White

Take a can of pure ivory to your every surface in your home. Think of the white-over as turning your living quarters into a sparse, bright gallery space; instead of Monets or Gauguins you’re displaying an expertly curated collection of found wood, vintage coasters, and tchotchkes you bought on a recent trip to Cambodia (or Anthropologie) (or the dollar store). Your home should be whiter than a two-hour brunch line.

Make Friends with a Farmer

Slowly earn their trust. Cook them a stew. Help them with work on the farm. Harden your hands with calluses from full days of honest work. Make friends with a beautiful dairy cow. Pet it, groom it, rub its coat with essential oils. SKIN THE COW AND RUN FOR THE HILLS WITH ITS GLORIOUS PELT IN YOUR GUILTY HANDS. And voilà! An affordable, organic, calfskin rug.

Acquire as much Midcentury Glassware as Humanly Possible

Mason jars are played out. These days it’s all about drinking from vintage chemistry sets. Break into an abandoned school and steal a bunch of busted test tubes. Take home, clean well, and use the beakers as shot glasses to distribute the moonshine you made in your claw-foot tub. You can also use them as tiny vases for a floating display of foraged flora from your urban oasis/the alley behind your house.


A laut of umlauts, is what you’re going for. No matter what Scandi item you have in your home, it’s important that the name of the designer or object itself is impossible to discern from looking at it. Bonus points if its function and categorization are equally obscure on first glance. Is it a chair? Is it an art? Yes.

Redecorate… With Words

Describe your space carefully and everyone will be raving about the “reclaimed outdoor living area” in your “semi-converted urban greenspace” (you live in a downtown ravine), your “vintage revival kitchen” (you employ a child to clean it and there’s a threat of typhoid), and the “found elements” in your bathroom (bugs). Remember: a picture is worth a thousand words, but the right words are worth a million RTs. #wise #sowise #wiseandtrue

Who Made the Art in your House?

If the answer isn’t “a close personal friend, who is fantastic with mixed media and healing incantations,” take it outside and burn it.

Tiny Piles

Get comfortable with the idea of everything in your home being arranged in tiny, esthetically pleasing piles. Got books? Organize them by colour, then put those colours in tiny piles!Vintage toys last played with by children long-dead? Pile ’em up! Just had a baby? Invite a few friends’ babies over and STACK THOSE BABIES. WARNING: If You Do Not Have a Prominent Reading Nook, People Will Assume You Are Illiterate
And why shouldn’t they, where do you even read if not benooked?

Accessorize with Animals

Cool lizards, colourful fish, and tiny dogs with sad eyes are projected to be very hot for 2016 interiors. Cats, of course, are a perennially popular choice and can really spruce up a midcentury sofa. Those interested in animals should consider a terrarium, aka a fish tank minus the water or fish. Succulents are the preferred pet of trendy women with allergies to animal dander, though a tasteful smattering of crystals may be substituted if the homeowner truly cannot be trusted to care for a living thing.

“Upcycle” Your Friends

No offence to your friends, it’s just that when it comes down to it, they don’t have enough tattoos based on eighteenth-century woodcuts. When auditioning new friends try to find some or all of the following: vegans who bake, lesbians with septum piercings, bearded men with strong arms, women with Etsy stores, gay guys who live in foreign countries but bring you exquisite gifts when they’re in town, a mixologist, a couple with a sex Tumblr, someone who currently works as a cartographer, people of any gender who make their own clothes, and one Basic (to prove you’re nice).

NB: while these are very helpful and accurate tips, if you do not already live in Berlin, I can’t really help you. Entschuldigung, hündin!

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