Meet Kristina Reis Beaton.
“Apples, that was my street name. I was homeless and all the kids had street names, it was kinda like being in the book Holes, when they all got names. I said I wasn’t going to pick my name, I was going to wait until someone gave it to me, because I wanted it to be like that book. One of the kids said ‘Hey you eat a lot of apples’, I’m going to name you Apples, and that is going to be your street name.
“I was born in Prince Edward Island, in O’Leary before they stopped delivering babies there. I loved PEI. I think about it every day. The fields and the hills and the lupins, the big colourful flowers that line the ditches for a couple of weeks every summer. I used to play in the woods a lot. I’d roleplay I was in a story in the forest. That’s where I came up with my first characters, was when I was in PEI. I looked out the window and I saw all these people walking by out in the field, in front of our building, and I thought oh they all have a story, and ever since then I wanted to be a writer. That morning I came up with a character, I guess he was my imaginary friend, and I write about him to this day. That moment changed the way I think, and process everything around me. It’s like having a movie in my head all the time and see these people, these characters and they seem so real. Anytime there is conflict, I feel bad for them. I feel like I can’t make them up, they have to find me. It feels almost divine. I just finished writing a 200,000 word draft, and I’m currently reading books on how to edit it. Writing the draft is the easy part, editing is a whole different thing. I want to write a series, and then I want to make it into a movie. I took animation at school, just so I can make my books into movies. I’m such a weirdo, but it makes me happy. I think about writing all of the time. It’s all inspired by PEI, the fields and the forests where I played as a kid. The flowers and the smell of the salt in the air. I go and visit as often as I can. I can never afford it, but last summer I saved up and went. Every time I go it’s just magical. It feels like I’m in a fairy tale when I go there. I like to go into the woods, early in the morning when the mist is coming up and just get lost in the trees.
“I came to visit Ottawa, became homeless, but still had my dream to make my books into movies. So I took the opportunity to start my life from scratch, I went back to school, and now I work for Disney and now I know how to animate my own characters, and that to me is a dream come true.” Collected by Ellen Bond
Humans of Kitchissippi is a special street photography project designed to introduce readers to some of the people who live, work, and play in Kitchissippi. Each instalment of HOK contains three elements: a photo, a name, and a quote from the subject that reveals a little bit about who they are. View our collection of humans right here.
* This feature is sponsored in part by Lorenzo Bar and Grill.
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