Hayoung Terra Yim is the author of Epiphanies Whilst High Out Of One’s Mind and the rad blog, Pot and Prose. She is an advocate for drug policy reform, a member of the Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy and a Third Wave Feminist.
You can read more about Epiphanies and Hayoung Terra Yim here. Also, be SURE to check out her blog and Twitter. Her blog posts are totally dope and she is amazing at curating the best Cannabis articles on the web via her Twitter!
Check out my inspiring interview with Hayoung Terra Yim below!
OG: If a five-year-old asked what you do for a living, what would you say?
I’m a student, so I’d explain that I give people money to hear them talk and to get a piece of paper that’ll make people give me money instead.
I’m also a server at a fine dining restaurant, so I’d say that I bring rich people food.
I also write, so I’d tell the child that I sit in front of the computer and smash buttons all day.
OG: So, what have you been up to lately?
I’ve been writing for my blog Pot And Prose which at first was the outlet for my narrative nonfiction – an excuse to combine the two things I love most in this world, marijuana and literature. But recently, it’s become an outlet for the observations I have in regards to the whole debate on legalization.
In the past, I’ve always thought of the things that needed changing – homophobia, racism, sexism, illogical rules and laws – but felt I could never in a million years help invoke that change. I aspired to be a writer, an individual who makes their social commentary through art instead. A sort of passive prescription and activism, if you will. But more lately, I’ve been wanting to become active and actually fight back, as opposed to remaining an observer.
On a related note, I joined the organization Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy and get to write and design pamphlets, which is super fun.
OG: How do you feel about Cannabis?
It’s a governing force in my life. In fact, it’s one of the greatest loves of my life. It provides me with perspective when I’m stuck on an issue. As an introvert, it helps me bring my own thoughts into clarity, during those frustrating moments when I myself don’t fully know what I’m feeling or thinking.
It makes art – whether literature, visual arts or cinema – intensely more enjoyable and beautiful. It makes the physical sensations of food, sex, and petting my dog mind-blowing and magical.
I can go without it for periods of time if necessary, but honestly, I refuse to live entirely without it.
OG: Favorite spots to smoke pot?
In the comfort of my home, through the mesh screen of the bedroom window. Or in the comfort of a friend’s home, surrounded by my favourite human beings and our mutually favourite movies and shows. And Settlers of Catan.
OG: How do you feel about edibles?
My first encounter with edibles took place in high school, and it was so traumatizing that I avoided it for seven years. But I was finally and recently reunited with it when a close friend decided to combine her two loves – marijuana and baking. With a bit of preparation and caution, it can be wonderful. A super mellow high that lasts for hours? Yes, please.
OG: When you think “stoner girl”–who comes to mind?
A cannabis-enthusiast who happens to have two X chromosomes.
OG: What stoner stereotypes do you fully embrace? Are there any that you find offensive or untrue?
I wholeheartedly embrace the stereotype that stoners get high and munch out in front of the television – marijuana, Netflix and food form a huge part of my life.
I find it completely untrue that cannabis-users become addicts of hard drugs, that we’re apathetic and unmotivated and that we’re just plain stupid. Consistently, the most educated, intelligent, socio-politically aware and passionate individuals I’ve known have also been the biggest potheads.
OG: How do you feel about feminism?
I feel it’s unfortunate that there’s so much confusion regarding the term. A lot of people seem to mistake feminism for misandry – the hatred of males. It seems that a lot of misandrists out there identify with feminism, but to be a feminist, conversely, doesn’t mean to be a man-hater.
Some suggest that the term itself should be changed, since a) it causes so much confusion and controversy and b) a lot of the goals of feminism have been achieved, in terms of fundamental rights and freedoms. If the ultimate goal of feminism today is gender equality, then the term should reflect that, right?
I have to disagree. To a degree, I feel the term is a legacy, as feminists don’t fight exclusively for females and have worked to protect men as well, by calling to change laws that discriminated against or simply ignored men, including a policy which set a higher drinking age for men and the legal definition of rape which excluded males from being acknowledged as victims.
That being said, while today’s developed societies are leaps and bounds ahead of what they used to look like, women on the whole are still at a disadvantage relative to men – likely to be paid less for the same job with the same credentials, as evidenced by the wage gap, statistically less likely to hold positions of power, statistically more likely to be the victims of sexual harassment and assault, etc.
So, how do I feel about feminism? I feel it’s absolutely necessary and still very much relevant in context.
OG: What do you think the next wave of feminism will be like?
That’s an interesting question. I feel there’s still a long way to go before the goals of the Third Wave will have been achieved, though progress takes place every day.
Once that’s been attained, I hope that the next wave will focus on not just the legal implications of inequality as per the First Wave or the culture as per the Second and Third Waves, but on the truly practical and on the individual. I hope more emphasis will be placed on actually and systematically enabling females in real life situations, such as teaching girls how to say “No” firmly and without apology as well as self-defense such as Krav Maga.
OG: What are three things you would like to be known for?
That’s easy – for advocacy of gender equality, for advocacy of drug policy reform, and for my prose.
OG: What do you think the best and worst drugs in the world are?
The best – need I really specify? Cannabis. Its enhancement of the physical and the philosophical is beautiful and often enlightening. Though of course, as with any drug, it has its own downsides.
The worst – I’d have to say tobacco. In terms of acute effects, I’d say heroin, but what I find so insidious about cigarettes is that it’s everywhere, and it’s completely infiltrated the media. Whatever I read – books or comics – and whatever I watch, chances are that a character who’s usually badass and attractive and pretty normal will be smoking cigarettes.
We’re lucky here in Canada, since the government takes regulating the promotion of tobacco really seriously – take the graphic packaging laws for instance. But at the end of the day, it’s available in all the convenience shops and gas stations, it’s depicted as cool, it’s insanely addictive and it literally kills you.
Knowing all this doesn’t help quench the addiction, either. I once watched a documentary on heroin and an addict who had kicked her habit asserted that no matter the number of years she spent clean, her addiction would always be there. It was chilling to hear her say that – and even more so when I realized I empathize completely when it comes to cigarettes.
OG: Can you tell us about your writing process please. Pot? Patting cats? Pacing?
Ernest Hemingway said to “Write drunk, edit sober.” My own process entails writing point-form ideas while high, expanding upon said ideas while sober, editing while high for a more critical perspective, and re-editing while sober for accuracy.
OG: Can you talk about the process of finding your writing voice?
I still have a long way to go before I can say I’ve achieved my ideal writing voice. But what I’m striving for is narrative rich in emotion, often introspective, and vivid in detail – which metaphysically paints with words as per the tenets of literary realism.
OG: Three things you think every stoner should read?
Cannabis: A History, by Martin Booth. It’s intensely informative and beautifully written for non-fiction – covering the history of marijuana from its use in ancient funeral rites in the 3rd millennium BC to Reefer Madness to the Beatniks.
I’d also like to read The Hasheesh Eater – a title mentioned in Cannabis: A History. It was written by Fitz Hugh Ludlow and recounts his experiences while high on hashish. Learning that there was a whole literary group devoted to experimentation with cannabis so as to expand their minds and creativity and capture psychoactive experiences blew my mind. When I wrote Epiphanies, I never considered that it had been done before – narrative nonfiction on cannabis. But to know that over a century and a half ago, other writers did precisely the same thing was enthralling. It gave me a sense of belonging and connection.
Some of the other authors mentioned by Martin Booth include Charles Baudelaire (though he didn’t really like cannabis and preferred alcohol), Jack Kerouac and Timothy Leary. Everyone’s definitely on my To-Read list.
I’d also recommend George R.R. Martin’s series A Song of Ice and Fire – not for a reason specific to stoners but because it’s brilliant. It’s exquisite, the way he writes – he’s just the master of metaphor. I love getting high and re-reading my favourite parts.
But if we’re going to include cookbooks, then The High Times Cannabis Cookbook. I haven’t read it myself – I rarely cook – but my friend uses it and I’ll definitely attest to the deliciousness of its recipes.
OG: How many cats are too many cats, for one person to own?
There’s never too many animals to love and take care of. Ideally, I’d live on a farm with a horse, two ferrets, two rats, a hawk, a ball python, and just a pack of dogs and cats running all over the place. How I’d keep them all from killing each other, I’ve yet to figure out, though I bet I’d have to give my loving to each species in rotation.
…Did that sound kinda wrong?
OG: What excites you the most about your future?
If by “excites” you mean “both excites and terrifies”, I suppose it would be that it’s yet unwritten. Being a quarter century old means for me being old enough to know what it is I want out of life, which is exciting. The scary part is trying to figure out exactly how to attain it, and knowing that I could fail spectacularly.
OG: Where should stoners visit in Toronto?
The Annex, Queen West, The Danforth. The Lab, Victory Café, Sneaky Dee’s, Java House and Futures are all chilled spots – and Futures has awesome food and baked goods so really, you can’t go wrong there.
OG: What song(s) always make you dance?
Daft Punk’s Lose Yourself To Dance
The Arctic Monkeys’ Fireside
The Strokes’ Trying Your Luck
Radiohead’s Jigsaw Falling Into Place
The Field remix of Tame Impala’s Mind Mischief
… and anything EDM.
OG: What do you think the secrets to happiness are?
Self-awareness and introspection. The definition of happiness varies so vastly from person to person. I think truly knowing yourself and the subjective things that make you as happy and healthy as possible is vital – as opposed to pursuing without question the things you’re told will make you happy.
OG: When do you think women really need to be brave?
I think it takes a special strength to stand up to men with whom we’re connected in some way. To tell a coworker, a boss, or even a friend in a calm and serious manner that it’s not acceptable to treat us a certain way. It’s easy to tell a stranger to go fuck himself – it’s more complicated and unpleasant to deal with intolerable behavior from people we know.
OG: What are you most proud of? It can be anything!
The book, really. Not so much for its content – I mean, in a nutshell, it’s about a chick loving her ganja – but for its form, both literary and physical. It took blood, sweat, tears, and a chunk of my very soul, but Epiphanies is finally in paperback format. It was a long process to get a handle on writing and editing as well as to learn about book production – interior and cover design and the whole printing process. At the end of it all, holding the final product in my hands – something I had not only written but also designed – and being able to actually smell it was the proudest moment of my life.
I also never cease to impress myself with the amount of food and drink I can polish off, and the amount of time I can spend without really leaving the house.
And I have a pretty mean roundhouse kick.
OG: What do you want in return for dedicating your life to writing and Cannabis?
On a personal level, just the opportunity for people to enjoy my art. To write books – that’s my personal meaning of life. I’ll be doing it whether or not it receives an audience, but it would be nice to know people like it and gain something from reading it. I think that’s the ultimate goal for writers and artists – to feel like they’ve changed minds and hearts with their work.
On a broader scheme, I’d like to be more closely involved with the marijuana reform movement. Personally, the legality of cannabis bears no difference in my life – clearly, I’ve indulged in it regardless. But I feel prohibition is not only ineffective and hypocritical but downright detrimental, and to be a part of the group of activists working to abolish it sounds insanely rewarding.
OG: What’s next for you?
In terms of writing, I’ve started my first work of fiction, Mimesis, though I have no idea when it’ll be finished. But it’ll involve romance, celebrity culture and gender relations. The book after that will be my first science-fiction, and the one after an epic fantasy.
I’d be shocked if all of this gets done within the next five or even seven years.
In terms of more short-term objectives, I’ll be travelling – to promote Epiphanies and to just revel and bask in the legal marijuana and hopefully meet fellow marijuana advocates – to Denver and possibly Washington D.C. in June or July.
Thank you so much for your time, inspiring words and for being a totally amazing and dope human!
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Toke it easy,