“A Day in the Life” with Toronto Author, Audio Producer Michelle Parise

The mind of Michelle Parise is a palace overflowing with “little things”. When I first met her, we were both emotionally spent, each emerging from exhausting trials of love. A fast friendship was born of our mutual dissatisfaction of the heart. Michelle showed me her life, and I was smitten by the granular beauty of the arrangement. I must tell you: little things often have the greatest value.

Michelle’s apartment is a sanctuary for dreams, idols, thoughts and memories. The walls are busy, full of a million little objects which have permanently bonded with the moments of her life. Her endless notebooks are filled with fragments of experiences and savoury quips from friends and passers-by. When she is not busy broadcasting national radio from our kitchen table, Michelle spends her days contemplating and arranging these little things, and through her arrangements she synthesizes life.

Michelle’s story is a curated collection of life. Every page of her book reveals another trinket which holds fond memories, stirring revelations, and prudent contemplations on the nature of love and all the power and weakness that comes along with it.

-Written by her partner, visual artist Joshua Loberg

Over the course of the pandemic I've become obsessed with plants. The more colourful, the better. Besides giving them water, I also sing and whisper funny things to them as I prune their leaves.
Over the course of the pandemic I’ve become obsessed with plants. The more colourful, the better. Besides giving them water, I also sing and whisper funny things to them as I prune their leaves.
Pretty sure I've sewn over 50 masks since March. The disposable ones feel too clinical, if we're going to wear these all the time I want them to bring colour and joy!
Pretty sure I’ve sewn over 50 masks since March. The disposable ones feel too clinical, if we’re going to wear these all the time I want them to bring colour and joy!
I've been letting my grey hair come in since March, prompting much thought and discussion about age, vanity, and the curious aesthetic shackles we put on women.
I’ve been letting my grey hair come in since March, prompting much thought and discussion about age, vanity, and the curious aesthetic shackles we put on women.
My partner, teenager and I now all live, work, and school in an apartment that can sometimes feel pretty cramped. Our large balcony has been a lifesaver, especially on rainy days.
My partner, teenager and I now all live, work, and school in an apartment that can sometimes feel pretty cramped. Our large balcony has been a lifesaver, especially on rainy days.
I'm seeing my city with different eyes, now that I walk for pleasure and not to commute to work.
I’m seeing my city with different eyes, now that I walk for pleasure and not to commute to work.
It's obvious to me now what the cat does all day.
It’s obvious to me now what the cat does all day.
I love arranging and rearranging all of the tiny things in our apartment. It's meditative and brings me a lot of joy.
I love arranging and rearranging all of the tiny things in our apartment. It’s meditative and brings me a lot of joy.
Working from home was a new challenge, and space is tight, but I've grown to love the natural light, fresh air and seeing my family so much more.
Working from home was a new challenge, and space is tight, but I’ve grown to love the natural light, fresh air and seeing my family so much more.

Which ‘hood are you in?

I live in King West Village. People think of this area as just condos and partiers (which, totally) but it’s also an important historical part of Toronto and there are plenty of quiet, beautiful green corners if you’re willing to explore. I also love the mix of architecture and the juxtaposition of the old with the new.

What do you do?

This year, my book Alone: A Love Story was released. There is also a CBC Podcast of the same name, which I performed, produced and adapted from the unpublished manuscript of my book. But my actual day job is journalism! I’m the Senior Producer of CBC Radio’s Spark with host Nora Young, which is about the cultural impact of technology, innovation and design. We’re in our 14th season (radio and podcast!)

What are you currently working on?

Since May I’ve been promoting my book Alone: A Love Story at literary festivals across Canada, including this Saturday, October 24th at the Toronto International Festival of Authors. This is my first book, but even though it’s all been through video and not in person, I’m still excited to be asked and very proud that my writing has made a mark. I’ve also spent the past year writing a new book which is fiction this time, although some of it is based on true events, so fictional reality then? Reality fiction? I prefer not to worry too much about labels when it comes to creating art. Anyway, all of that is in my spare time, since I’m still doing my day job of running a national radio show and raising a teenager!

Where can we find your work?

You can find everything to do with my writing, audio production and musical collaborations at michelle-parise.com.

 

 

 

Joel Levy
About Joel Levy 1975 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography