Anna-Lisa Barrett - Reactivation

What Life Could’ve Been by Anna-Lisa Barrett

“Goodness, so many packages today. I can’t fathom it.” I whine as my cat purrs at the door. I smile at her, “yes, we will get out of this dungeon of a machine in a second hold on now, let me stop this.”

I grab onto the handle, and hit the speaker button, “Here! Stop here!” I scream. The ramshackle comes to a halt, “door open Ms. Liddy?” The ramshackle speaks. I nod, “Yes please. Let me just grab my mask.”

I throw my bottles of water around the ramshackle trying to find my mask. I sigh in defeat. I turn to face my cat who just tilts her head to look up at me. I chuckle, “you’d think I would wake up and realize after fifteen years to grab a mask huh Maislee.” I shake my head, “I mean it’s just the both of us, and you’re a cat, I highly doubt there’s any real danger here without a mask, what do you think Mais?”

She sneezes in response and I laugh, “You just want to go outside I know. Alright, open the door please!” I say to the ramshackle once again. The door then comes down and I take a deep breath looking outside. The year is 2035, and the world is completely different than when I was a child. Sometimes I wish to go back to when I was born back in 2015, and actually remember a time where everything was normal, and more people pleasing, instead of this. Barely any real human interaction, or any proper work for any human being.

I sit down underneath the umbrella that pops up from the bottom of the ramshackle to protect Maislee and I from the beating sun. I look across at the mountain in front of me, seeing the lack of snow standing on the tip of it and sigh, “this used to be filled with snow y’know Maislee? That’s what papa used to tell me.”

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Inspired by: Lunch Break by Greig Sanders

Artist Statement:

This short story was influenced by Greig Sanders’ Lunch Break, and Jacob Souby’s Glowing in The Dark. I continuously kept looking at the art piece and listening to the sound piece with my main focus being on the semi-futuristic vibe that Greig and Jacob are portraying. By doing that, I created the short story What Life Could’ve Been. This piece consists of a short story about a girl named Liddy, in the year 2035, working a delivery job with her cat Maislee, and she explains the story of how technology began diminishing her family. The focal point of this story is the advancement of technology and the negativities it will bring. I chose to create this because this is happening in our real world today in many manufacturing and service based businesses. I hope that when others read this piece, they realize that this story isn’t as fictional as it sounds because this is happening right in front of our eyes, and we aren’t seeing it yet.



Artist: Anna-Lisa Barrett
Program: Justice Studies - University of Guelph-Humber

I am Anna-Lisa Barrett, and I am currently a third year student at the University of Guelph-Humber, obtaining my undergraduate degree in Justice Studies. As a child struggling with anxiety, writing was my coping mechanism, and still is to this day.
Since I was a child, creating characters as imaginary friends would end up being beneficial. “Your head is always in the clouds.” I would constantly hear since I was three years old. When I was a child, everyone found it so adorable that I would have imaginary friends which as an only child was normal.
However, I was creating characters that I would end up writing about later on in life. In hindsight, my imagination never shrunk, nor did it ever go away. It became bigger and I now use it to my advantage, by putting my own world on paper.
My favourite genres to write about are Coming of Age stories, as well as Fantasy. It gives such a huge sense of nostalgia and intensity, specifically to the targeted audience.
I am currently in the process of trying to get a story I’ve written over the past three years published. It is called, Throne of Spikes which is a mixture of both of those genres. I’ve started writing this as a short story for an assignment in my creative writing class in twelfth grade back in 2018, and it just became this novel right in front of my eyes, and I finished writing it this summer.


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