arts

Redheads Writing in Cafes — let’s rock and or roll unless it’s with Jack.

1910-Palm-room-cafeArchtop Cafe has become one of my favourite neighbourhood cafes. It’s located in Bloor West Village and is about twenty-minute walk from my home. There are a few things that make this cafe one of my favourites.  The staff are top notch and make you feel at home right away. There are classics from the 1920s to the 1980s being piped out of the sound system and in the theme of the music, the cafe sells vinyl, both new and used. A few months ago, they opened a section of their basement as a used vinyl shop. Vinyl lovers, you need to check out this place.

fbf9cbf472fff266ba1be83aeb472213--gramophone-record-human-photography

The cafe is a nice size and has quite a few tables, it would be a great place if someone was considering holding a reading. At one point they had live music on Thursday and Friday nights and though they have put that on hold, it may resume again in the fall. Out front during warmer weather, there are a few cast iron bistro tables. The other day, while running errands, we sat out there sipping lattes as we watched the villagers walk by.

20120915peacock

I love that I live in a part of town that has neighbourhoods with their own individual personalities. Each feels a little like the small villages they use to be.  High Park, The Junction, Roncesvalles and Bloor West Village.

campbell-block-lg

04_campbell block, Fri Mar 06, 2009, 12:57:25 PM, 8C, 3056×2366, (446+4096), 100%, bent 6 stops, 1/60 s, R113.2, G77.1, B86.9

In the basement of the Annette Street, Public Library is the West Junction Historical Society. I need to visit the Historical Society when it’s open to the public as it will assist me with my research. I also need to find a day to go to the Toronto Reference Library. I keep putting it off and need to just suck it up and go. One the problems of living in a neighbourhood that you are in love with and has almost everything you need within walking distance is you tend to not leave the area. Personally, I am also someone who can go days or even weeks without leaving the hood. I would much rather go to places that I can walk or cycle to. If only the information I needed from the Toronto Reference Library was online!

tumblr_inline_oo642eb97R1r00w3x_1280

In other news and in the last few weeks, I’ve been seeing promotions for the new documentary on H.H. Holmes. My friends also know that I’m a bit of an H.H. Holmes aficionado so I often get tagged in things referencing him. I am on the fence about watching the documentary as the topic it’s about has already been debunked several times and I honestly think his great grandson is just trying to cash in on the fame, especially with the movie Devil in the White City with Leonardo DiCaprio coming out and the popularity of the novel.  Every time I hear about the documentary on the History Channel I feel a rant brewing and ready to bubble up. H.H. Holmes was NOT Jack the Ripper! I could get into a whole detailed timeline showing why he wasn’t, or the many glaring and obvious reasons that he could not be Jack, but I would rather leave that fun to you. Seriously, go read up on both of them. Though the history is gruesome, it is also very fascinating and once you educate yourself, you will also realize how impossible it was for H.H. Holmes to be Jack.

lg_ce5803-H.H.Holmes_ChicagoHistoryMuseum

I’m going to end this blog post before I go off on a serial killer tangent.

20-Facts-about-the-Jack-the-Ripper-and-It_s-Identity

Until next time…. stay shadowy.

 

Redheads Writing in Cafes – but not actually in a cafe.

Not in a cafe today. Nope. This redhead is not in a cafe, she is, however, drinking coffee right now. I’m gonna need it. Ever try to cram too much into one day or week. Raise your hand or in my case hands. This girl right here. It’s ok, it’s all good important stuff.

Something else I am trying to cram in every day, somewhere after morning coffee and between getting my arse working, is exercise. I’ve made giant steps in cleaning up our diet and clearing out processed foods. Clean eating is cleaning us out to… oh, TMI? Too bad. You already knew what you were getting yourself into by reading my blog. Back to the exercise. I hate it. I have to do it, for a variety of reasons that include life longevity and I need to lose weight, plus I sit on my ass for too many hours in the day. On the weekend, I FINALLY got my bike wheel fixed. I had been putting it off since it burst in the fall. About time, right?

Right.

exercise1

As a full-time artist, I have to watch my spending. I’d much rather spend money on things such as food, rather than on public transportation. Now that I have fixed my bike, I can use it to trek to destinations, such as cafes to write in, getting groceries and running other errands. Today, I took it for a run around the neighbourhood and guess what I discovered. I’m out of shape. Way out of shape. After a twenty-minute ride, I was sweating and my legs felt like jello. Oddly, I wasn’t winded, though the wind in my bangs felt lovely. If I’m going to be doing all the things I mentioned above, I need to get my stamina and leg strength back.  I think the last time I rode that bike was a couple years ago. It sadly sat on my balcony, then eventually in my back yard… till now. I knew my limitations and only went a short distance. Each day I will push myself a bit further and build my strength back up. This includes getting up a small hill, yes, I said small hill. I felt like a pathetic failure that I could only make it halfway up the hill and then had to get off and walk the rest of the way.  Who the hell can’t bike up a small hill? Me apparently! Pathetic!

I knew my limitations and only went a short distance. Each day I will push myself a bit further and build my strength back up. This includes getting up a small hill, yes, I said small hill. I felt like a pathetic failure that I could only make it halfway up the hill and then had to get off and walk the rest of the way.  Who the hell can’t bike up a small hill? Me apparently! Pathetic!

exercise2

They say it takes 21 days to have a new habit stick. I’m hoping this one sticks faster! I know myself and am taking baby steps so I don’t fail at this. As I mentioned above I’m not a fan of exercise, but I need to explain. The reason I fail at exercise is I have repetitive things. If I do the exact same thing over and over again, I get bored and move on. This is why I don’t want to do conventional exercise. I use to actually run before. Then I hurt my knee and that came to an end. I loved running because you could go off to your own creative zone as you jogged along, I love walking for this reason also. Being at a gym, there is too much noise and I don’t feel like I can do that. I feel like bicycling is the same as running. At least for me, it is. Also, there is no monthly membership and there is no real way to look glamorous at the gym.

exercise3

Another reason to start cycling again is to see if I can get some of my other dames to join in. I can finally start that Edwardian Girl Gang but on bicycles. I am also intrigued with events such as the Tweed Ride. Toronto used to have its own event and I hope they start it up again. Even though my bike is super old, it, unfortunately, wouldn’t be considered vintage, just yet.

Women_bicycle_1901

Ok. Enough about exercise talk. That isn’t what this blog is about. It’s about me, in cafes, writing. A think I hope to do again soon. For now, I am destined to be in my home and on my couch. There are a few factors keeping me here this week, including all the rain we will be getting… again!

Time to get back to it.

Until next time… stay wobbly.

Redheads Writing in Cafes except when on their red couch

Well, I’m not technically in a cafe again today, although my home smells like one. A mix of coffee and sourdough bread baking makes it feel pretty legit right now. Speaking of bread baking. I have started a journey (which I mentioned before) into removing processed food from our lives and diet. Yes, it’s a hell of a lot of work and it will be worth it. My recent journey and science experiment was making sourdough starter and bread. I now have  an amazing starter going and am waiting for the second loaf I’ve made to come out of the oven. I get so excited when I take the lid off for the final bake and see the amazing oven spring. Each time I make a loaf I will get better at it. I’m still doing basic loaves and once I am confident that I have that down, I am going to explore other flavours, adding seeds, different shapes and get artistic with the scoring. I figure after about a dozen loaves I will have a good feel for it. To read more about my adventures, click here.  The next two things on my list to create are Vegan butter and Kombucha. I will be blogging about those as well.

174a87cd6ba1a6f78e259c8eb8693427

Once the loaf is out of the oven and cooling, I need to put my big girl panties on and go out for a walk and fruit run. Once again the forecast is calling for rain. I know, stop whining, we could be having a drought. I’m sure you are all sick of my constant complaining about it. I’d just like a few days in a row of no rain, so I can actually go to a cafe and write. I’m hoping July is lovely and sunny. I live a few minutes walk from High Park and am hoping to get to the pool often. Several years ago, I hurt my knee and due to this, I am no longer able to go for runs, which was one of my main methods of exercise. Thankfully swimming is low impact. Not to worry folks, this isn’t going to become a blog about exercise. I only mention this in passing. I’m a creative, not a jock. Can you even imagine? I thought not.

Woman on a fainting couch, Chicago

My fella and I have been revisiting all of the original Twin Peaks episodes before we watch the new season (3). Last night my fella wanted to also watch Fire Walk With Me. I warned him it a) wasn’t necessary to watch and b) is terrible. We watched it anyway. I honestly feel that it was a movie that David Lynch didn’t need to make. I love his warped mind and insane style of filmmaking. I have and always will see whatever David Lynch makes, this movie, was not good. When it first came out, I think I rented it on VHS. It actually took me two attempts to watch it.  The first time I think I got about thirty minutes in and had to shut it off. The second time, my roommate cracked open a bottle of wine. I think that wine was the only thing that kept us motivated to watch. We had to cleanse our palettes by rewatching Blue Velvet. Thank goodness for Isabella Rossellini!

I’m back on track with my novel again. Yesterday I spent a good chunk of time sending out short story submissions and I may send a few more towards the end of the week. I have a few first drafts to pull out and work on, I may do that on Friday instead. By then, my brain will need to switch to something else for a few days.  What are other creatives currently working on? I’d love to know.

tumblr_ltqfmnW3R61qb31hfo1_500

Until next time… stay freaky.

Redheads Writing in Cafes — why are the crows avoiding me?

Today is the day. If I don’t get a photo of the crows or the Raven, I will need to find somewhere in Toronto where they congregate. Why must they torment me? I can hear them and see them in other people’s yards. When I try to make my way towards them to take a picture, they take off. All I ask is you come visit our front yard and let me get some good photographs of you. What I wouldn’t do right now for my DSLR right now and a zoom lens.

vintage-crow-gothicolors-images

My intention today was to sit on the covered porch to write, but the temperature suddenly dropped and big, gray clouds started rolling in. I moved to the kitchen table and can actually see a wall of rain heading towards us. Have you ever been outside when this happens, especially when you have nowhere to go? I have, it’s not always a fun experience. I’d much rather be watching it from the safety of inside.

I’ve decided to give myself permission to take a few days off. Not sleeping well due to the futon from hell, I’m tired. When I get home tomorrow, I will likely take a long, hot shower, throw in my laundry and then watch 1950s, sci-fi b-movies.  Maybe I can convince my love to order in. I’ve been away from him for a week and a half and it will feel good to be with him again. I have to say I am incredibly lucky to have such a supportive partner. It doesn’t hurt that he’s easy on the eyes.

Blogging every day has been fun and a great way to wake up my brain each day, but I’m not sure I can continue to do it daily. I have realized that I definitely need to blog more often. I still have plans to vlog, but for now, will continue to blog. My priority is to get a solid first draft of my novel done, then I can figure out vlogging and the youtube channel I keep talking about.

The other thing that evades me are the books I am looking for. We checked a few places in town and was not able to find them. It looks like a trip to the Reference Library will be happening upon my return. In all honesty, I need to go there on a regular basis to research and write.

02e1fadadd2955970ef63f7f422b3f3b

 

Because of the pending rain, the crows have disappeared again. Off to find shelter and to stay dry. They are intelligent creatures and I’m sure decided that the redhead isn’t going to capture their image. You just wait crows, I may not capture your image today, but I will one day.

 

 

Redheads Writing in Cafes — there will be some swears, but for a change, it wasn’t me.

Oh. There you are! I’d wondered if I’d see a blue sky again. Of course, I feel a storm brewing, but not the weather kind. I’m currently sitting at the kitchen table, attempting to write and instead am listening to my father curse. I think he’s to the point of his tirade that he’s making up swear words. You see, at some point during the night, the basement sump pump broke and now the basement is flooded. This is what happens when your house is built beside a former swamp and it hasn’t stopped raining for days. There will be swears and lots of them. Mom and I are steering clear of him for the moment. Oh, the swearing!

Susan Strasberg in Seth Holt's SCREAM OF FEAR (1961). Courtesy P

My Mom had her staples removed and the doctor reported that things are AOK.  Such a huge relief for everyone. While staying here, I’ve been doing most of the cooking and we have figured she may also have a form of IBS. I have convinced her to take her diet down to the basics, keep a food diary and cut out foods that are likely the irritant, then discuss with her doctor. All was going well until last night when there was indulgence in greasy foods. Hopefully, the mostly whole foods, plant-based diet will get her tummy back on track. It would be awesome if she went all Vegan, but… baby steps.  We have found a few really good sources for an IBS diet and if she sticks to it, she should be back to normal quickly.

12920344_10209251565347284_2500409221703757017_n

Now that she is healing up and 75% more mobile than when I got here, I can return to Toronto. Look for another edition of Redheads Writing in Cafes except when it’s on a bus unless I fall asleep, the bus leaves here at 8 am and I haven’t been sleeping well. Remember that episode of Seinfeld with the pull-out couch that had ‘the bar’ — I’ve got the futon couch/bed, with ‘the bar’. I’m looking forward to being in my own bed and back to writing in actual cafes.

Carol Burnett in Once Upon a Mattress

02 May 1960 — Carol Burnett as Princess Winnifred in the musical comedy Once Upon a Mattress, taken from the fairly tale of the Princess and the Pea. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

I hope the rain holds off tomorrow. I want to make another trek to the Salvation Army to see if I can find some treasures. It was also suggested that the drugstore downtown may carry books written by Diane Madden. I’m on the hunt for her books titled Tale of the Unusual, More Tales of the Unusual and Yet More Tales of the Unusual. I’m not a 100 percent sure these are the books, but they sound closer topic wise to what I am looking for. Sometimes, when I can’t find these specific types of items, I often wonder if I dreamt them up. Anyone else do this? It’s incredibly frustrating.

They-Wait-in-Silence-4f6276864bf58_hires

The cursing has at least settled down a bit. I’m still at the kitchen table trying to will my laptop to charge faster. Seriously, charge faster, I want to retreat to the covered front porch. Hopefully, it will be quieter and I can get back to working on Freaks and Grimm.

Till tomorrow… stay ghoulish.

/nb A question for my readers. Do you read my posts via your browser or directly from your email?

Redheads Writing in Cafes — there’s a storm coming and it’s full of ghosts

And… it’s raining again. This edition of Redheads Writing in Cafes is brought to you from the kitchen table. At some point, I will head to the front covered porch to work on my novel.

ghost-cloud

The sky is beautiful gray and gloomy and the dark clouds are rolling in over the horizon It’s beginning to look like nightfall. This ghoul loves the gloom, the dark skies, and thunderstorms. I’m not a huge fan of the constant rain. Like the Wicked Witch of the West, I will melt. According to the radar, a thunderstorm will be hitting soon and there is now a severe thunderstorm watch. I had to leave Toronto to get all this stormy weather.

23467915f130b9392f258c71ee9d61e1

Between the times of 7:30 and 9 am the crows are at their peak of loudness. Apparently, this is when they are feeding their young. The feeding frenzy is a feast to my ears with the loud cawing vibrating through the evergreens. As soon as the rain starts they head for shelter. Do you blame them? Instead, I’m now stuck listening to the incessant sounds of the seagulls. Yes, I am a bird snob. I’m hoping when the rain stops, the crows will return. I’m still on a mission to take a good photo of them.

IMG_20170616_192622_871

Yesterday evening we went for a drive down by the bay shore. I asked my Dad to drive past the Anchor Inn (the old Inn, not the restaurant) as I wanted to get a reference shot. Growing up, I heard many incredible ghost stories about the Anchor Inn, in addition to a few other local buildings. At one point I had a few books about haunted areas along the Bruce Peninsula, but it was lost (amongst other books) during a move that happened ten plus years ago. Of course, I need them now for research. I’m sure I can find another copy, I feel like it was written by either Terry Boyle or Bruce Bell. Time to cruise on over to the Toronto Public Library!  One of the other houses I wanted a picture of has been torn down and it’s been too wet to trek out to the McNeill Mansion. Fortunately, there are lots of photos available online of the McNeill Mansion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_McNeill).

 

Now that I’m back in research mode, I will need to pull out the books I still have. There are also a few websites that have some information that is helpful. If only I could find the exact information I need. In the late 1980s and 1990s, I was obsessively researching ghosts and hauntings. I did this with a few other people. I’ve always been interested in ghosts and ghost stories and have written lots of short stories (hidden away in a folder somewhere) about ghosts. It’s funny how this knowledge creeps back to my frontal lobe cortex just when I need it most. Being in my hometown has brought a lot of this to the surface. There are many ghost stories to tell and I need to tell them. Now if I could just find those books and if the crows would finally cooperate with me!

Websites/Databases:

https://coldspot.org/category/haunted-ontario-database/

http://www.hauntedplaces.org/Canada/Ontario

http://www.theparanormalseekers.ca/places-weve-investigated.html

http://www.torontoghosts.org/

http://www.chapsparanormal.ca/chaps/investigations.html

Until tomorrow… stay ghostly.

 

Redheads Writing in Cafes — except when it’s at a kitchen table

If you want a good thunderstorm — you need to go somewhere, anywhere outside of the city. My arrival was greeted with a storm that lasted for hours and Hell’s Angels cruising through town. I have arrived. Ok… Ok. The storm didn’t start immediately and I actually saw the bikers this morning, but… it makes for good tales to tell.  What my arrival did bring was swarms of mosquitos and June bugs. I even saw a firefly. Today’s edition of Redheads Writing in Cafes is brought to you from my parents’ kitchen table.

28ukc1x

I lucked out and get to sleep on the world’s most uncomfortable couch/bed futon combo. There is a hard bar right down the middle and you have to by some miracle lay on either side of it and pray that you don’t fall out of bed. Oh, joy.  Oh, how I miss my memory form mattress. Shortly after 3 am the wind began. It howled and blew over the deck furniture. It sounded angry.  Soon after, the thunder and lightning began. Loud, vibrant, vibrating. My hometown is alongside Georgian Bay and Lake Huron a twenty-minute drive to the other side. The placement of our town, between these two lakes, guarantees amazing storms.

tumblr_inline_npuuqc3q6G1rgcbd2_500

I’ve been obsessed with thunderstorms for as long as I can recall. I was never afraid of them as a child, instead, I wanted to sit on the front porch and watch the storm roll in, always dazzled by the light show. In my early twenties, I even considered taking up storm chasing. The thought of hunting down a tornado fascinated me. I decided to pursue storms with another type of medium. In my case writing. So far the forecast is calling for storms later in the week. I hope we get a loud, window-rattling one. That alone makes the four and a half hour bus ride worth it.

2x12_résidence_d'été_manoir_laboratoire_Frankenstein_éclair

Part of my early love of storms is because of the show it provided, the other was I associated storms with those scenes in Frankenstein when they try to revive the monster. More than anything, I wanted him to live, I wanted him to terrorize and I have since the first time seeing him, I felt heartbreak for the re-animated being. He was never the monster. The humans were.

frankenstein

Being here helps to inspire my writing. Especially the darkness that is found in it. This isn’t just because of my horror loving father, it has more to do with my high school years and the hell I was put through by classmates. By being singled out as a freak, it woke up a dark creativity that would only grow with me. Re-visiting here reminds me of why I left at eighteen. Being here has inspired a good chunk of the novel I am currently working. A novel I am going to be working on once I post this blog.

frankenstein1_large_verge_medium_landscape

Till next time… stay freaky.