Reflections on Displacement City from Contributor Michael Eschbach

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In Displacement City, outreach worker Greg Cook and street nurse Cathy Crowe present the stories of frontline workers, advocates, and people living without homes during the pandemic. The book uses prose, poetry, and photography to document lived experiences of homelessness, responses to the housing crisis, efforts to fight back for homes, and possible solutions to move Toronto forward. Here is a blog post from one of the contributors Michael Eschbach.

The first problem I always encounter when writing about anything is the first line. The lead sentence needs to hopefully engage the reader enough to continue reading, at least for a little bit. Part of the problem is that I’m not really a very good writer. I’m great with ideas and can spin off a whole science fiction novel, plot, characters, beginning, ending, and everything in between, in my head. However, I would really need someone else to pen it down for me. Another problem I have when I choose to write is classifying it. Is it an article, review, random thoughts and feelings, a formal blog? I never seem to be quite sure of myself which leads me into all sorts of linguistic turmoil. I’m not a big fan of the formal blog these days, finding them long -winded and tedious. Why use 10,000 words when 500-1,500 would suffice? If I may reminisce here for a moment I’d like to go back to 1995 when the internet was coalescing into the corporate junkyard it is today. A lady by the name of Carolyn L Burke started up a blog called Carolyn’s Diary. It expressed her feelings and thoughts on a daily basis. It was concise, never overburdened, and fresh. Many of today’s blogs fail to meet the standards she set so long ago. Her writing can still be found here at ( That all being said, I can finally get to why I’m here writing in the first place. It’s about a book called Displacement City, edited by Greg Cook and Cathy Crowe. It involves contributions from a great many people, myself included, and reflects the terrible state of affairs the COVID pandemic exposed in all levels of government in the city of Toronto, the province of Ontario, and Canada as a whole. 

Now, before you run off, let me explain to you a little about what compelled me to contribute to this book. You see, I was homeless for ten years and disabled for the last five years. I’ve seen things you will only ever see in movies or some dystopian, apocalyptic nightmare that you watch in the comfort of your own home on Netflix. I’ve seen humanity at its worst. I had no choice but to contribute to this book. I needed to somehow, express myself and release my  emotions and trauma to the winds so they would scatter and never come back to haunt me again. That in itself, is perhaps another book, but like I mentioned earlier, I would need someone else to pen my thoughts down, and I’m pretty positive that would not be an enjoyable experience. Displacement City not only presents the ineptitude of government, the death toll on the poor, minorities, and the disabled, but questions it makes you ask yourself. It provokes discussions of the government, democracy, the western world, and most poignantly, how we have lost our way to greed, corporations, and our inability to no longer feed ourselves in an independent manner that allows us to think for ourselves. I want you to know I don’t get a dime from the sale of this book. I don’t even know who does. What I do know is this book should be included on the curriculum in schools and in, libraries, so that a new generation can perhaps see the hidden questions held within and try to find the answers. My generation, though some of us tried, have failed you. I admit that, though it shames me. Where does the world go from here? We live in a system of tribalism, not unlike our Simian ancestors, but now there are elected councils. Each of them try to look after their own tribe, and its specific interests. Corporations are happy to see us divided. But at what point do we stand up and care about each other? It was empathy that brought us down from the trees and made us work together. What happened to us along the way to make us diverge in such a manner from our true selves? Displacement City raises many questions about our political system, the philosophy involved in its creation, and where our evolution as a species stands to go. 

I’m a dinosaur. I’m old and am following the path that that my DNA leads me down, much like the rest of you will. Read the book and decide for yourself. 


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