Month: June 2018

Redheads Writing in Cafes and Chantilly Lace

Do you believe in ghosts? I sure as hell do. I believe there are many kinds of ghosts, some that can’t leave this realm, those who don’t want to pass over and those who show up once in a while like right now, to check in on you. I know this is fact because I just got a whiff of Chantilly Lace.

My Grandma Betty smelled of baking and Chantilly Lace. Whenever you hugged her you would always breathe it in and as a kid, I just assumed that was how she smelled, until the day I found the little pink box with the fluffy white powder puff. The minute I sat down this morning to write about her, I got a very scent of her perfume surround me. I’m now feeling extremely nostalgic, I miss that woman so very, very much.

874_101182740724_8544_n

Elizabeth Smart was more than just my grandmother, she was a force. She emigrated to Canada from Scotland, got married, had fourteen children and who knows how many grandchildren followed after that, however, she was more than that. She was neighbourhood warrior, standing up for those who couldn’t stand up for themselves. I’ve heard many stories about people being chased by the cops for minor occurrences hiding out at her place, she’d then talk the cops down from arresting them. My grandma was a badass. You also didn’t mess with her family. Oh no, you didn’t! Was my grandma Bonnie Parker, no, pay attention, she was a Betty!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The older I grow, the more I realize how much I am like her. When you met Grandma, she was welcoming, chatty and her laugh would fill the room. She loved to help her community, was loving and was always there if you needed comforting. She also relished time on her own, reading, knitting, sewing and of course, baking. Like myself, she was an Extroverted Introvert. She made the most incredible, melt in your mouth shortbreads, currant cake and pies. To this day, I’m the only one who has nailed her currant cake recipe. The one main thing we have in common, try to corner us, and we come out fighting. My Grandma put up with zero crap.

When I was fifteen, I went through a really shit time in school. I was the weirdo, the girl who dressed all in black, had the weird hair and carried books about ghosts everywhere she went. There were four particular girls who would verbally abuse me. As much as you interacted or ignored them, this still wears you down, especially if you are a teenager. Being told one too many times to basically suck it up, it can’t be that bad, I stopped talking to anyone about it and let it silently eat away at me and it really did. After one particularly horrible day, I couldn’t hold it in any longer, I started crying during my walk home after school. Little did I know, Grandma Betty was walking right behind me. I have no idea how long she was behind me, but I know it was long enough for her to figure out something wasn’t quite right, because her fifteen-year-old granddaughter rarely cried and especially not in public.

Then she was standing beside me. Just like every time I’ve needed her.

I told her what had happened and she listened without interrupting, then these words… the words that have always stuck with me, the words that I repeat over and over whenever anyone tries to belittle me, talk down to me or insult me.

Grandma: Why do you care what they think.
Me: (starts to explain again what happened)
Grandma: Yes, but why do you care what they think.
Me: (starts to explain again what happened)
Grandma: Why do you care what they think.
Me: (getting it) Oh.
Grandma: Those girls aren’t worth it. Who cares what they think.

My grandma stopped and hugged me. I finally got it. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. You need to be yourself, do what makes you happy. Be the person you want to be. This is a hard message for a teenager to grasp and it did take me a while to accept it, but when you repeat it to yourself over and over, it does eventually sink in.

Did the verbal abuse stop. No. But I not only found a tool to handle it better, I had someone to talk to that would actually listen to me and not brush it off as teenage angst. For those who are wondering, why didn’t the school do anything? It was the late seventies/early eighties and trust me a small town high school… didn’t understand that bullying was a horrible thing for a kid to go through. That said, I did have one teacher who was also one of my heroes. One day I will write more about Mr. Bob Rix.

Grandma Betty is my badass, give no shits hero. I miss her every day and when I get that whiff of Chantilly Lace I know she is checking in on me to make sure I’m doing ok.

 

 

Advertisements

Redheads Writing in Cafes Except When It’s a Redhead Riot!

Similar to my previous post about Thea, Heather Babcock is another inspiring woman in my life who, when I met her, we immediately clicked. We discovered very early on that we were both obsessed with the 1930s and pre-code movies and vintage fashion. We instantly bonded, this was a friendship that was meant to be. Every day I am inspired by this beautiful woman!

The first time I met Heather was after she read at a Plasticine Poetry event. Her reading was amazing and she looked like a 1930s redheaded moll. During this time I was co-running The Beautiful & The Damned and my own show Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir. She was so incredibly sassy and talented, I knew we needed to book her and I wanted to talk to her on a personal level. My gut screamed that girl is super swell! My gut was right!  Eventually, I met her boyfriend Neil and they met Zoltan. Together we now put on a show called The Redhead Revue and we have all become incredibly good friends.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When I hear Heather read or when we talk about our interests or life in general, I am motivated to do better and to be a better person. After spending time with Heather, I always feel like I’m not working hard enough. She is one of those writers who, without knowing she is even doing it, kicks me in the ass!

Heather Babcock is an incredible writer, storyteller, poet and performer. She has an incredible wealth of knowledge about the 1930s and pre-code movies. In fact, she is a walking library of facts. Oh… and she also happens to be a published author! Heather’s chapbook Of Being Underground and Moving Backwards was published by DevilHousePress in 2015 and her novel Filthy Sugar is being published by Inanna Press. Please also check out her blog Heather Rose Babcock…Writing to Exhale.

 

 

Redheads Writing in Cafes Except When It’s the Backyard

A heaviness hangs in the air. It’s been there for the last few weeks and it’s stifling. There has been a lot of shitty things happen in the last few weeks, including our provincial election, the deaths of two well-loved celebrities and a thickness in the air that leaves us all feeling worried, scared, uncertain. This disillusion has us unsettled. I don’t like it. I’m certain no one else does as well. This has opened a dark rift for many of us.

During my darkest moments, I do my best writing. I have been harnessing the darkness these last few weeks, the things I write require it. However, I need to harness it so it doesn’t take hold of me, rip away at my soul and push me into the mire. It’s a battle that is always hard fought by me and so many others and doesn’t always end in a fairytale ending. I’ve seen too many taken by the evil demon. With all of the negativity in the air right now, politically, life, life ending, channels are opening up again to talk, try to understand, heal. My heart breaks for those who could not cast out the darkness.  You will have noticed that I haven’t blogged in a while, only posted about my events. A huge part of it was I honestly felt the only things I could write out would include a demonic presence and a world falling apart. So… I avoided it.

Blogging to me meant writing poignant, clever and sometimes funny pieces, whether it be sharing the things I enjoy or waxing poetic about life. Several months ago, two friends began journalling their daily observations and I, for a short period of time, also joined in, until I realized by observations became repetitive and melancholy. I don’t think that was what the exercise was meant to be. Last Friday, a group of us sat around the table in my backyard, gossiped, wrote and talked about life. It felt good, I felt energized afterward and it opened something up. Some of us see the sunshine, some of us drink in melancholy and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

A blogging project I am now beginning is talking about the women who have inspired me during my life, kicked my ass when I thought I was failing and have lifted me up out of the darkness. The first person I want to talk about is Thea Munster.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tarot reader, thereminist, hearst driver, writer, world traveller, ghoul, b-movie queen, zombie walk creator, fiend.

I was not in a great place in my life, I avoided going out and definitely didn’t want to be around groups of people. Somehow an acquaintance convinced me to come to a Zombie Walk Committee meeting. Previous to this, I had been to a few walks. I loved the idea of dressing up as a Zombie and then disappearing into a crowd of the undead. After some arm twisting, I relented and went with her. Believe it or not, I am an introvert. There are many times that I have to talk myself into going out to events and honestly did try to talk myself out of this one. I am so glad that I didn’t. Not only did I walk into a group of people who were working on that years walk, I had found my fiends. A table of like-minded people who didn’t judge me for my very dark, very creepy interests. I found my people.

The meeting concluded, Thea and I chatted for a while, she was on her way to the Bovine to watch friends in a Misfits cover band and asked if I wanted to come. Instead of immediately making excuses for having to go home I blurted out yes and didn’t regret it. There was no awkwardness, no uncomfortable silences, we talked non-stop. This was how I met Thea. We were friends from that moment on, even periods of time between not seeing each other made no difference. We always pick up where we left off.

Thea has always been my inspiration. Seeing how she goes after her dreams, makes them happen and radiates a green glow from them, I am driven to work harder at my own dreams. I get to be the dark little girl with the crooked smile fearlessly.  Thea, thank you for being a true and honest ghoulfiend.

Please follow Thea on her blog and other social media. I have listed them below. You will definitely want to follow her on Instagram, she is posting videos playing the Theremin and they are spooktacular.

Blog: My1000moons.com

Instagram: ghoulygal

Twitter: boneyardbetty