writer

Redheads Writing In Cafes (except when it’s from my bedroom) Why I Love Vamps

No. No. No that kind of vamp. Not a vampire. The silent film vamp! Ok. Ok. Let me explain.

The term vamp (for a woman) originated in during the silent film era. Prior to that it was generally a short form for the word vampire. In the 1920s A Vamp was the combination of the Flapper and the now more public erotic behavior of women. It might have also been used toward a woman who was a tease. Vamp gained even more popularity when silent films began.

Along with my love of silent film, I absolutely a more interesting characters, clothes and their make up was always way over the top. They were saucy. They were seductive. They were sassy. They definitely were bolder, braver and stronger. These were women I would have looked up to if I was around in the 1920s.

Theda Bara was probably one of the most famous vamps or at least a name that is recognizable to most. But… there were more. So many more.

Olga Petrova, Nita Naldi, Pola Negri, even Hedda Hopper (aka Hollywood gossip column queen), and Virginia Pearson, were also incredibly popular vamps, but somehow their names don’t come up as often. Some of these actresses went on to have long careers on stage and screen while others were not able to make it past these roles.

Olga Petrova

Nita Naldi

Poala Negri

Here are a few other great articles on Vamps in the Silent Movies.

https://silentology.wordpress.com/2016/10/15/vamps-your-great-grandfathers-femme-fatales/

Stay The Fuck Home Authors Edition

One thing we can still do right now is thankfully read. Whether it is a blog or an actual novel, it is a great escape from what is currently going on right now. I love so, so many writers and am inspired by them. As a writer it is important to read as much as you can as it will benefit you in the end. Plus, reading is amazing! Below I’ve listed my favourite Toronto authors and where you can find their writing!

David Bateman is a powerhouse of talent! He is a photographer, painter, collage artist, poet, actor, playwright and writer! An all around entertainer! You can find him here!

Duncan Armstrong/TOPoet posts daily on his website and creates wonderful chap books – fresh poems, explanations of poems, serializations of my novels & a detailed look at my huge record collection – all at TOpoet.ca. You can order one from his website. Another super talent!

Heather Babcock is not only a talented writer, she is also a sassy redhead with a grand knowledge of the 1930s! Her debut novel Filthy Sugar will be coming out on May 26, 2020 and is available for order here soon. You can also read her blog Meet Me At The Soda Fountain here .

Heather Wood is not only an incredible writer and editor, she has hosted many wonderful literary events. I’m absolutely in love with her novel Roll With It (that is the roller derby girl coming out in me) and Fortune Cookie. Fortune Cookie can be found on Amazon as an ebook by clicking here.

John Oughton is a multi-talented photographer and writer. Mata Hari’s Lost Words is my favourtie of all of his books of poetry, but, I think you should buy them all so you can pick yours! They can be found here!

Philip Cairns is a creative force! He is an actor, poet, playwright, painter and writer! He is truly an inspiration. You can find out more about this super talent here!

Lisa de Nikolits is a huge inspiration of mine! I not only love her novels, I really love to hear her read live! This woman is a true force! Her writing can be https://www.theminervareader.com and
https://bit.ly/InterviewWithJohannaSkibsrud and
https://www.lisawriter.com.

Myna Wallin is beyond incredible! The first time I heard her read I was instantly in love with her work. It is absolutely impossible not to be! Confessions Of A Reluctant Cougar was the first of her novels I have read and I’ve been addicted ever since! You can find her work here.

Valentino Assenza is beyond amazing. When he reads his work in Italian, we all swoon! Along with reading his incredible work, you can listen to his velvet voice at CIUT’s Howl. Check out his writing here.

Day 1

Over the next 30 days I am going to be blogging about doing the Yoga With Adriene. However, before you think, OH NO she’s turning into a fitness blog. I’m not! Along with my daily hurrah, I’m also going to write a little bit about myself.

~~~

I did it! Day 1 is done! But man, was I shakey! It’s been a long time since I’ve done yoga. It felt good to do it!

Who else joined in or is joining in today?

This is Richmond. He is my favourite character in the IT Crowd. I was that weird kid growing up, especially in High School. I never fit in. As soon as I started to watch the IT Crowd and that moment we were introduced to Richmond, I honestly connected with that character. I always felt like I was in a room, locked away from everyone else. The square peg that everyone tried to shove into a round hole. This is why I love Richmond.

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.

 

 

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

Canadian Ginger Anthology! Killer B Cinema!

I am super excited to announce that my poem Foxglove, about an aging redheaded superhero, is in the amazing anthology, Canadian Ginger. I am honoured to be in this book along with some super talented writers, including Margaret Atwood. Yes, that Margaret Atwood!

canadianginger

You can get your copies at Indigo (available online and in stores), Amazon or directly from the publisher Oolichan Press. I’m certain they are in other stores as well and I will update the list when I know where.

Please go buy a copy and support Canadian redheads and authors!

Author list:
• Margaret Atwood • Aidan Chafe • Carolyn Clink • Anita Dolman • David Fraser • Maureen Foss • Kim Goldberg • Heather Haley • Carla Hartsfield • Tracy Hamon • Penn Kemp • Kateri Lanthier • Joanne Levy • Winona Linn • Christine Lowther • Bruce Meyer • Rebecca Pǎpucaru • Charlie Petch • Rachael Preston • Heather Spears • Diane Tucker • Jordan Watkins •  Lizzie Violet • Darryl Whetter • Jennifer Zilm

This Saturday, please join me and my partner in crime Zoltan Du Lac for another Killer B Cinema!  You get two killer b flicks for only FIVE Dollars!  There will also be trivia with prizes!  Click here for the link to the invite.

killer-b-cinema-poster__jan-6-2017

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.