Category Archives: novel

Redheads Writing in Cafes #2

Guilt. Why do I feel so damn guilty walking away from that very large pile of laundry? Why is it taunting me, making me feel like a bad person for ignoring it? I swear it was staring me down as I walked away, it was yelling at me as I grabbed my laptop and exited the building. Why is there so much guilt?

Yesterday I had the honour of being photographed by the amazing and incredibly talented Lisa MacIntosh. Lisa is not only an intuitive photographer but a wonderful human being. She has photographed musicians from all over North America for her Great Hall Series and many inspirational women, including Amanda Palmer, for the ASK series. Being included in this group of women is the biggest compliment anyone has given me. She will be working on the ASK series for the rest of the summer, please keep checking her website to see who else she includes and for more information on the ongoing series.

Lisa and I are both full-time artists, who work for ourselves and mostly work from our homes. We chatted about this and how easy it is to become distracted by the many chores and tasks involved in our households. One of the greatest traps when working from home is this exact issue. When I ignore these tasks, I start to let my imagination go to dark, dark places that include German Expressionist Silent films ala Metropolis, where my laundry and dishes revolt. Remember the below scene. No one wants their laundry to animate and attack them. No. One.

Metropolis

When the weather is shite, being able to sit on your couch, or at a dining room table, desk or workstation of choice is comforting.  You don’t have to deal with the rain, sleet, snow, ice, wind or unbearable heat and humidity. Better yet, public transit in the rain, sleet, snow, ice, the wind or unbearable heat and humidity. If it’s your thing, you can stay in your yoga pants, pajamas all day or in my 1930s vision, stunning dressing gown. Your time and schedule are your own… until the laundry starts yelling at you or the dirty dishes start wailing or… or… or… Just walk away! Cover your ears, your eyes and just… walk.. AWAY. Trust me, this is so much easier said, than done, especially when you are running out of clean underwear.  This is why I’m in a neighbourhood coffee shop, writing.

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Today I chose The Good Neighbour. A cafe that is a short walk from my home, that has cute, artsy baristas behind the counter. They also have delicious coffee. In a pinch or when I am too lazy to walk to the grocery store, I have picked up a bag of their dark roast beans. Bonus: free WiFi.  The one downfall (or is it), they don’t have any vegan sweet treats (not to worry, Bunners is a two-minute walk away). They do have sandwich items that can be made Vegan on request.

This week I am back to working on short stories. I have two new ones I am drafting and a couple older stories that I need to revisit and edit. I am hoping to get those out the door… erm… via cyberspace by next week. One of them may or may not include sharks.  I am hoping by next week that it warms up enough that I can sit on a patio to write or head to the park with a book to read and a notebook to write out character sketches. Generally, I do all my writing via my computer, character sketches, I prefer to write out by hand. A bench in the middle of the trees and greenery or by the water would be a perfect spot for that. I’m not sure if anyone else experiences this, but when I am sitting near the water, my creativity opens up.

Sitting in this cafe, I have momentarily escaped from the laundry… I have not escaped from the shark that is currently stalking me. It might be time to feed. It. SHARK!  I leave you with this Peter Benchley trivia.  After the success of his book and the release of the movie Jaws, Peter became filled with dread and guilt over the fear he created towards sharks. He spent the rest of his life and his widow continues on with assisting with advocating for oceanic conservation.

shark


Redheads Writing in Cafes #1

***I have added a new page to the blog. It is called Redheads Writing in Cafes. Here is the first entry. 

Redheads Writing in Cafes #1

I’m a full-time writer. I work for myself. I don’t go into a Corporate office space. I create my own content. I work from home. I am my own boss. This is my perfect job. This is my dream. There is, however, one problem.  When you are working at home, there are…. how shall we say, distractions. I don’t mean the television, Netflix, YouTube or other forms of entertainment. I mean laundry, cleaning, washing that sink full of dirty dishes, figuring out what to make for dinner, tidying up, re-organizing. As you look up from your laptop, you see all the things that need to be done. You still get writing done, but between the tasks that are staring you down and when you don’t complete them…. there is that pesky guilt. Now that the weather is nicer, I plan on finding my way outside my home to write.  In the backyard, parks, cafes.

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As a full-time artist, writing in a cafe every day isn’t great for the change purse… I am considering a Kickstarter to help finance this endeavor. Feed my coffee addiction.  I’m sure others would be willing to give up a coffee a day to support my cup of coffee a day… right? No? Hmmmm….  All kidding aside, many well-known artists have written their novels, screenplays, plays and poems in cafes. There is a wonderful, addictive energy that fills the walls of cafes, not to mention the lovely wafts of fresh ground coffee beans and baked goods. Ok… now, I’m just making myself hungry. Focus. You need to focus.

The point of this new page is to write about what I’m writing about… while I’m in a cafe…. Maybe I could also convince other redheaded writers to guest write or join me in the cafe. I live in a neighbourhood that has cafes a plenty. I am going to try to choose a different one each time I write and let you know a bit about the cafe.

Today, I’m sitting in a cafe near High Park, looking out at the beautiful greenery, dreaming of the 1930s, listening to Edith Piaf’s beautiful voice, flow from the speakers. I am working on my novel as well as researching the 1930s. For some, being in a cafe would distract them. I drink in the energy that surrounds me, which is the complete opposite of when I am at home writing. At home, I need the sounds of televisions and stereos turned off, the windows open, so the sounds of the outside, find their way to my ears.

The cafe I’m in is Hannah’s Cafe and Bakery. They have a really nice dark roast and I’ve had their lattes. The staff is friendly and the cafe itself spacious. Recently we came here for a writing workshop. I’m Vegan and they have soy milk, they have some Vegetarian sandwiches and salads that can be made Vegan, however, the baked goods are not Vegan. Once you are done writing, you can hop across the street to High Park.

I’m lucky to live in such an amazing neighbourhood. I am a brief walk away from the best park in the city, shopping, bars, restaurants and groceries. The hood is also home to literary and art events. There are writers, painters, musicians, visual artists, burlesque dancers, and other artisans who call this area home. Most importantly, there are cafes a plenty and if you get lucky, you may walk into the one with the Redhead.  That might be an idea for a treasure hunt. Find the cafe with the Redhead who’s writing.

Redhead’s writing in cafes.

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I’m free! FREE!

Now I can officially start writing full-time! So glad jury duty selection is over. It was an interesting experience. Similar to the the first time I was called for jury selection, yet different in many ways. I also found it much more stressful. A combination of sitting for long periods in the court room(s) and not really being able to write or even read for that matter. I had grand plans of getting lots of writing done. That wasn’t going to happen.

The roster was jam-packed for our turn as potential jurors.  On Monday, it seemed as if we were called up as soon as court started and each time we returned to the lounge, called back up again. Tuesday we spent half the day in the courtroom waiting to see if we would be selected for jury duty.  Yesterday was the only day that we spent a long bit of time in the lounge and even then, it was hard to concentrate. Each time a new bailiff, registrar or the manager walked into the room, all eyes were on them. We all wondered if we were about to head to another courtroom. Between that and the loud bantering of the two gentleman behind me, I couldn’t concentrate (which I can do with ease in a noisy coffeeshop). At least I was entertained by their conversation, on their strategy to get out of jury duty, if called up for selection.

On Wednesday when the manager came in to release us from jury duty selection, he half joked, “See you all in three years.” Personally, I hope that I’m not back there in three, four or even five years. I’ve done jury selection FOUR times now. I think they can remove my name from the pool now. (yes, I could get called again — once you are in the pool they can call you once every three years for as long as they want)

I am in the process of figuring out vlogging on and all the ins and outs of YouTube, so stay tuned for that. I am going to also be blogging a lot more often. Minimally, weekly, but am hoping to blog every other day. AND I can now livestream on Instagram, so I will do live vlogging. I’m incredibly excited to have a killer camera to use for vlogging. Part of figuring out vlogging, will be the how-to’s of software. I currently have iMovie and am also going to check out other options.

Please see all the links below. Please add me on Instagram and subscribe to my Twitter and YouTube channel. 🙂


Blast off!

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“Love what you do and do what you love. Don’t listen to anyone else who tells you not to do it. You do what you want, what you love. Imagination should be the center of your life.” — Ray Bradbury.

So here we are. The final day of the countdown. Months of numerical vague book entries.  The day I’ve been dreaming about since the first time I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I was ten years old and wanted to be just like Francie Nolan…

Alright! Alright! Stop yelling at me. I have to give you the long version of the story to make this worth your while. Right? No?

Ok.
Here goes.

I quit my job yesterday. Why? Why would I quit a job that paid my bills and kept me in food, clothes and off the streets. Why would I give up benefits, a pension and security? Why?

Let me tell you.
Let me explain.

For as long as I can remember I’ve written. I’ve done it part-time, full-time, as a contractor and as a freelancer. For the last several years I’ve written and edited for other people. I have done poetry and spoken word. I’ve had my writing published in literary magazines and short stories in anthologies. I’ve been a theatre reviewer and a columnist. I’ve fixed dialogue for movie scripts, written copy, done PR writing and business writing. I’ve won awards and contests. I have not written in the capacity I will be.

Full-time.
Fiction.
My own writing.

I have worked hard to get here. To get published in magazines and anthologies.
Applying for grants.
Performing my work in public.

Part-time was never enough.  There was always an ache. It always felt like something wasn’t being fulfilled. If I ever went days without writing, my soul hurt. I knew I needed fix this.

Time to sit down.
Finish my novel.
Send my short stories and poems to be published.
Finally finish all my writing projects.
Write.

Don’t worry. I’m not all starry-eyed about something that’s impossible.  Over a ten year period I worked in publishing and know what to expect and what not to expect. I know how much a writer makes and how hard they work to earn it. I know the ins and outs of what needs to be done to be seen, heard, published.  I’m not walking into this with my head in the clouds. I know reality and how to manage it.

I have paid off my debt.
Put aside some money.
Continually apply for grants.
I’ve prepared for this day.

The reason for doing this full-time; is to make money from my writing. To survive from it. It’s what I am waking up for. It’s my living. I don’t have a sugar daddy. Someone else won’t be supporting me. I will be working myself hard.  This is my career. My life.

I’ve already had many ask me how I could possibly survive doing this. Isn’t it just a hobby? That I’m unrealistic. Well folks, many people are full-time writers and they are doing ok. Cough JK Rowling Cough. (yes, we all want to be JK Rowling — even secretly) I have many friends who are full-time writers, musicians, artists, performers and guess what, they are able to survive doing it full-time as well. So you can now stop worrying. I’ll be fine.

Today is the beginning.
A new chapter.
I look outside. Low in the sky sits the Hunter’s Moon. Bright. Friday the 13th.
The perfect day.
The horror stories begin. Will the next chapter be werewolves, zombies or ghosts?

Actually, I really do need to get that next chapter written. Off I go. Laptop on my lap. Off to write the words.

Blast off!

 


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