death

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.

 

 

Advertisements

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 — the ghost hunter edition

I am starting this post by saying how thankful I am for the Toronto Public Library. I’m researching for the novel I am writing and looking for specific stories of hauntings in my hometown. There are books out there, I just can’t find them online.  I can’t even find any information online, which is frustrating, I would think that someone would have blogged about them. I have also reached out to Facebook, hoping someone I know, knows… something. A few names were suggested, one of them is Diane Madden. The Reference Library has her books (for reference only) and once I am back in Toronto, I will be making a trip there to do some further research. In a world of everything being online, it’s frustrating when I can’t find the very specific things I need. It seems more often than naught, I’m finding myself going to the Toronto Public Library to get the information. Our libraries are vital and we should never forget that!

bd508781b3c9771119dd49075563ca25.jpg

As I continued to browse through the library website, I found several books by Terry Boyle and John Robert Columbo about Haunted Ontario. All of these books are sitting on my bookshelf at home and though they didn’t include the stories I needed, I was grateful that I could access them online to check. Let’s keep our libraries alive!

The rain has been non-stop and yesterday we had thunderstorms off and on. Toronto even had a tornado warning. I’ve lived in Toronto since I was 18 and only recall this happening two or three times. Right now, it is pouring rain and windy. If it was a light rain I could sit on the covered porch, but even that is getting drenched at the moment. Instead, I am once again in the kitchen.

NighttheWorldExplodedLobby

Last time we visited we bought our parents a Chromecast. I’ve been introducing them to the wonders of Netflix and all of the 1950s b-movies on YouTube such as The Night The World Exploded (1957). This 1957 sci-fi schlock movie was our rainy evening treat. Tonight I may see if I can find a Universal Monsters movie to watch or a copy of 13 Ghosts. If not, I know I will find something campy that will not disappoint.

13-ghosts-1960-poster

My parent’s dog Flash has bonded with me. I’m not sure if it’s due to me being here for a week or because I gave him a cookie last night or maybe he just likes me. All day yesterday he followed me from place to place throughout the house and last night he decided to sleep in my room, snoring and farting. It’s been awhile since I’ve had puppies do that and it reminded me of my beloved Harley. I really miss both my furballs, I don’t miss the snoring and farting.

IMG_20170613_162721_694

Today is also Father’s Day. I hope all the Dads or Dads to be or Dads who just haven’t discovered they are a Dad yet… that they are aware of… have a fabulous day.

484869_10152862205145725_209729514_n

Stay spooky…

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 — I’m back on the front porch

When I started to write my novel Freaks and Grimm, I decided in the early stages, that it would be based in a small town. The town I grew up in is my inspiration, along with the house and neighbourhood I grew up in. Down the street from where I lived is a huge Victorian, with a wrap around porch, gable trim, and amazing stained glass. There was and still is, something about that house that is creepy. I have always believed it was filled with ghosts and because of this, the house has become a character in my novel.  There are a few other buildings in town that inspire me and I hope to get photos of them before I leave. I took some photos of the Victorian and had to be stealthy since there was some guy sitting on the front porch.

creepyhouse

Next time I come to my parents, I am going to bring my DSLR. I didn’t bring it this time since I was taking the bus and had to make decisions on what to I could actually carry. Next time I will bring just my tablet so I can also bring my camera. I need to document some of the creepiness here and get better photos of the crows. I’ve tried to capture them with my phone, but a zoom lens would be optimal. Also, they seem to sense when I’m trying to take a photo and fly away. Are crows really camera shy?

crows

I’m by nature a night owl. I begin to feel my artistic energy later on in the day and am always finding inspiration when the sun goes down. When you are in a small town… being a night owl just doesn’t work out since everything literally shuts down at 6 pm, with the exception of the 24-hour grocery store and the Tim Horton’s. Neither of these is appealing to me for places I want to write. My parents are early to bed, early to rise and I am worried that I will make too much noise and disturb their sleep and by 10 pm, I’m in my room watching YouTube videos. I’ve gotten so used to heading to bed at the witching hour, that I am really missing it. I’m also really missing my fella right now.

While I’m looking after my Mom, I’m also doing all of the cooking. This means, that all of their meals are Vegan. I wasn’t sure how this would sit with my father, but so far, I’ve had zero complaints. It may have been my famous chili or the tasty stir fry that has won them over. Tonight I am making my ‘are you sure there isn’t meat in this’ pasta sauce. I wonder if he will argue with me again on whether or not there is meat in the sauce. Mom is also realizing her diet needs to change and though she won’t go Vegan (yet), she is considering being Vegetarian. She is also cutting dairy out of her diet.

parents

Today I had four goals. So far… I’ve accomplished two of them.

  1. Write while on the deck. So far… no rain. — Doing that right now!
  2. Get a good picture of the crows and raven. — So far, no luck. They seem to be in hiding at the moment.
  3. Tell you to subscribe to my website at www.lizzieviolet.com so you get notified when I post. My latest series is Redheads Writing in Cafes. — DONE!
  4. Not burst into flames when I go outside. — The sun is still out. I’m still trying to not combust.

Until tomorrow…. Stay ghoulish.

/nb I couldn’t resist adding the photo of my Dad’s dog Flash. I love Beagles! Flash is spoiled and a dog filled with old man charm.

flash

The Good, The Bad and The Dead

“Hello.”

“Hi there. This is the ‘local’ town cemetery.”

“Oh geez.”

“Ya. Could you come pick up your daughter? Again.”

This sounds like some type of dialogue from your typical 1980’s, angsty teen flick, however and to the shock of no one, it isn’t. This was me. This was me as a teenager. Yes, I have spent many hours in cemeteries. No, I’m not a grave robber and you can’t prove it. Hold on, that’s an entirely different story — let’s continue this one.

As a teenager, I was often chased out my local cemetery. My reason(s) for being there were innocent enough, I was there to read. Just to read. I didn’t go there to cause issues, it wasn’t out of a reason of morbidity, though many would think my desire to sit in a cemetery to read, was morbid, weird — inappropriate. I didn’t feel what I was doing, was any of those reasons. I went because I felt comfortable, at ease and safe there. Being close to the dead brought me a sense of calm and peace, it still does. However, circumstances weren’t as simple as me wandering into a cemetery one day and discovering this, it was more complicated than that. The journey was much darker, grimmer and yes, this is where the morbid part really fits in. It all started at the age of ten when I was introduced to death. Confused? Intrigued? Stick around, I’ll explain.

The first time I experienced the death of someone I was close to, was when my Great Grandpa Bill ‘passed away’ — died. Before that, the only death I can remember was when my beloved German Shepherd Queenie, ‘went to the farm’. Yes, those are the words I was told. Until my Great Grandfather died, I actually thought she was running around, chasing squirrels in some farmer’s field. After my Great Grandfather’s death, this changed, my life changed.

victoria_princess_mourning

I was incredibly close to my Great Grandfather, he was someone who was my best friend and constant companion. He lived with us and I got to see him every day — until he got sick. A mild heart attack lead to a stroke. The stroke caused his death. He had been in the hospital for a few weeks before he died. I, in my ten-year-old head, figured he would eventually get better and come home. He didn’t. I don’t remember how I was told about him dying. I’m not sure why I don’t remember any of that, maybe I wasn’t told. Maybe, I just became part of the process, being swept along with everything that happened up until the part I do remember.

My first experience with a corpse was seeing him in his open casket. When I saw him, I was confused. He didn’t look like my Grandfather. He was wearing weird makeup, rouge, and lipstick. He didn’t look real. Everyone kept referring to him, to the man in the casket as Great Grandpa Bill. I couldn’t make the connection. It just didn’t look like him. It wasn’t registering in my adolescent mind. This is when the questions started. About my Great Grandfather, the man in the casket and about death.

girl-reading-ghost-story

I was a shy, introverted child. I spent my time hidden away in my room or corners, reading, doing art, daydreaming. My Great Grandfather took the time to talk to me, tell me stories, coax me out of my room. We went on adventures together. When he passed away, I became confused, then curious about what had happened to him, why it happened and what would happen to him afterward. At the funeral home, a lot of questions were asked by me. Why was he wearing weird makeup and lipstick? Why didn’t look real? I became upset when no one would answer me. No one would explain. I wasn’t allowed to go to his funeral because of this. My actions were considered inappropriate, I was distracting and likely causing an embarrassment. I was expected to be quiet, well-behaved and sedate. I may have been hushed that day, that however, wasn’t going to stop me from asking questions.

Avoiding a child’s questions and dismissing them will have consequences. They will either stop asking questions altogether or go to the other extreme. The latter happened to me. When my parents didn’t give me the answers I sought, I went elsewhere. I freaked out teachers and librarians. Especially the librarians. They would cringe when they saw me knowing I would ask them to help me find books on death. I’m sure that getting a call from the principal’s office about this, delighted my parents. I became relentless. I wasn’t going to stop until I had an answer, an understanding. I needed to know everything about death. Did it hurt, what happened after you died? Was death final? Was there an afterlife? What happened to your body after you died, after you were buried? What happened if you weren’t dead when they buried you? (thanks urban legends) The questions were endless and I needed to know all of the answers.

clipart-tombstone-graphics-victorian-graveyard-scene-headstone-Tf3Tor-clipart

Since that day, I have been death-obsessed. No, I’m not suicidal, I’m not looking for ways to end my life. I just trying to seek all the knowledge I can about death. My childhood death-obsession also lead me down my current path. I’m a writer and performer. I write in the horror genre and am working on a novel that is a semi-biographical ghost story. I have spent many hours researching death rituals of different cultures, past and present. How other societies celebrate it, what their customs are, how they view it. I have spent a lifetime thinking about it, writing about it, obsessing about it, talking about it.

Recently I have been inspired to start openly talking about death again and to more than just two people. I’m sure Sarrah and Zoltan will be relieved about this. After years of being shut down and told that I was being morbid or hearing the standard, ‘Ha ha. Guess that’s why you love horror.’, I’m finally motivated to talk openly about it again. Normally, my outlet has been writing, now I finally feel free enough to talk to many others. You see, a couple of weeks ago, I discovered a channel on YouTube that advocates The Good Death. The channel I am talking about is Caitlin Doughty’s Ask A Mortician. Finding this channel was like reconnecting with a long lost, beloved friend. I found Death again.

More now than ever, I think it’s important to start talking about death. To open up about it.; start the conversation. Recently a cousin of mine died. He was only one year older than me and I was shocked by his death. When someone this young dies, you start to question your own mortality. I’m not afraid of dying or death. Years of trying to learn everything about it, my education, has removed that romantic notion that I will live forever. We all die, there is no way around it. His recent death is just another push to ensure I do all things in life I want to do. Live my dreams. Make every moment count. Don’t let time run out. We all need to start the conversation about our own impending death. The one thing that Caitlin talks about often, is making sure you get the death you want, The Good Death. I’ve started thinking about what I want to be done with my body when I die. I don’t want a funeral, or a casket or an embalmed body that is preserved against what is supposed to happen naturally. I want to be wrapped in a shroud and buried in a shallow grave. A green burial. The perfect end and burial for a horror writer. It’s also an environmentally friendly way to dispose of… erm… bury a body.

Something else that has become an important source of support and information is Death Cafes. A Death Cafe is a safe place to talk about death and dying. They have speakers who cover a variety of different topics relating to death. Most cities have them and Toronto has a few every month. I think they are brilliant and I will be going to the next one that is closest to me. Another event that has started to happen around the planet are Death Salons. The idea of holding a Death Salon also intrigues me. I’m thinking about how to put one on. More details on this soon. To find out more on what has inspired me, please click on the following link. https://deathsalon.org/

mourning2

Will my obsession with death ever fade? No, if anything it will continue to grow. I will never stop reading about it, researching it, learning. I really wish that I had someone like Caitlin to talk to when I was ten. If I could go back and talk to that ten-year-old me, I’d assure her that it is ok to ask questions and that she should never stop. If your child or any other child asks about death, don’t dismiss them or avoid answering them. If you don’t know the answer, tell them you don’t and then find out the answer! Once you have that answer, go back to that child and have a conversation with them about their questions. Sheltering them from death and dying is not going to help them later in life.

I will always carry the ten-year-old around with me. She will always be there asking questions and expecting answers. I’m glad we live in a world that I can research from the comfort of my own living room. Living in Toronto has also made it easier for me to find the information and resources I need, without being pointed out as that weirdo wanting to talk about death. Let’s talk about it. Let’s start a conversation and keep it going. Don’t let the ten-year-olds, with questions about death, be swept away with the process.