Bi Arts Festival is next week!

Hey y’all!

Just a few things to report!

DC4B collaborated with Fraudster’s Almanac on a re-evaluation of the Smashing Pumpkins’ top-notch record, Siamese Dream. I’ll be joining them for the subsequent Smashing Pumpkins album re-evaluations, and if you wanna go for a ride, come along with us! And be sure to check out Fraudster’s Almanac’s irreverent musings on video games, books, beer, travel and more at their site!

Next, I’ll be participating in the Bi Arts Festival’s CRUSH zine launch party! It’s Tuesday, September 18 at Glad Day Bookshop from 7:30-9:30. I’ll be reading some poems, alongside other talented bi+-identifying individuals. You’ll also be able to purchase copy of the second edition of the Bi Arts Festival’s CRUSH zine before anyone else at this event!

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Finally, I’ve been taking part in a storytelling workshop over the past few weeks, courtesy of the Bi Arts Festival, and will be performing my piece in front of an audience (oh god!). This event happens Wednesday, September 19 7-8:30pm at the Palmerston Library Theatre.

You’ll also find me volunteering at a few events for the fest!

Come out if you can!

Writing happens when I don't know it does

Hey y'all,

Just a little Friday night blog while I nurse a Pamplemousse and stream some Hayley Kiyoko!

For the last half of 2017, I had a complete burst of creativity and a passion for writing I'd never thought I'd have in me again. Hell, I was writing at least 1,000 words or more every day in November!

I wrote down my goals for the year in early January, as one does. I've accomplished some - putting together the Tens of People zine, completing my Short Story II class, and I've learned to cook and bake quite a few new dishes! And some are works in progresses, still. One of the goals was to at least write something every day. That didn't happen.

And I was cool with it. I have less poems and short stories than I thought I would four months into 2018. But after watching a delightful domestic thriller/action movie from the early aughts starring one Jennifer Lopez, I realized I have been writing without knowing it. 

I joined Letterboxd in late 2017. A lot of my online friends with like-minded tastes and pop culture savviness were into it, so I signed up for an account. It's a much more reliable system of knowing what movies I'll probably like than, say, The Tomatometer which has too many problems to get into. I thought it would be fun to document every movie I've seen in 2018 there.

I watch a lot of movies, and my taste ranges from classics to camp classics, teen romances to foreign arthouses, dark comedies to social sci-fis, and, as my Netflix account can attest to "Movies Featuring a Strong Female Lead," anything LGBTQ+ and anything with Riley Keough in it. I don't do quests, wizards or wars (on earth or in the stars).

So, I've reviewed over fifty movies already this year thanks to Letterboxd. I don't consider myself a great critic, but I know what I like. Sometimes the review is just a three-word quip, sometimes a quick couple of paragraphs, but either way, I've written something! It's so low-pressure that I didn't even realize that this counted as writing!

Anyway, feel free to follow me on Letterboxd if you like!

 

Two new zine contributions

Hey y'all!

I was invited to contribute to Fag Presses' two debut zines, Boiled Gatorade and The Over-Thinker!

Boiled Gatorade features queer comedy and I wrote a poem about Antoni Porowski for it.

The Over-Thinker features queer poetry and I wrote a poem about the film Carol for it.

You can order both zines here. Paper copies are only available for delivery to US addresses, but you can get a more environmentally friendly PDF version worldwide.

 

Tens of People zine available now!!!

Hey, y'all!

So I've been working on this project for awhile and now it's all up and ready to go and available for purchase!

One of my favorite podcasts is Who Weekly - A podcast about everything you need to know about the celebrities you don't. There are numerous Facebook groups dedicated to it and we've become a legit community. Lots of media types, writers and everyday folks who love pop culture have become my fast internet friends over the past year and a half.

With so many talented Wholigans (as we call ourselves), I thought it'd be cool to solicit creative writing and art and publish them in a zine. And now it's here! I've got two poems in it. :)

Tens of People - A Lifestyle Change Zine is available to order now for $9 USD

To order your copy, email tensofpeoplezine@gmail.com

New Stuff!

Hey y'all!

I started another writing class last week and so far it's going great! I actually brought in my latest essay to get some help with structure and was glad I did it.

Check out my post about how Bell's "Let's Talk" campaign rubs me the wrong way as a person living with mental illness here! Share with your friends!

Rejection Lessons

For my first blog post of 2018, I wanted to share my latest writing milestone - I got my first rejection letter.

I knew this would be one of the hardest parts about putting myself out there in the literary world, but I took it in stride. Lessons learned are:

- really get to know the publication you're submitting to to see if it's a right fit for your writing

- keep on editing to perfection... if you're at a point where you're sick of the piece because you've edited it so much, take a break from that one and come back to it

- just because it's not a right fit for the publication who rejected you doesn't mean it won't be right someplace else

- a rejection means someone took the time to read it!

I feel strong for submitting the piece. I feel good that it was actually read by somebody at a publication. I want to make the piece better and try to find its rightful place. I believe in the story, and I've worked so hard to believe in myself that it's finally paying off!

Done With 2017

It’s been a wild year. We’ve all been miserable and the world is shit. Donald Trump is president of the USA. Tom Petty died. Ed Sheeran’s “Galway Girl” exists. It’s bleak af. I can’t be all Taylor Swift about it and say, “Well, I had a good year!” because, well, I didn’t. But here’s some things that helped:

A New Online Community

Online communities have been important to me for awhile. I spent the better part of the late 90s/early-mid 2000s involved in a chat room, then a message board dedicated to a certain 90s band. In the mid-2000s/early ‘10s, a Toronto-centric message board that was aimed at indie kids. In the last part of 2016, I joined a Facebook group based off my favorite celebrity gossip podcast and it’s been rewarding. I’ve made some pals I might not have otherwise and there’s always someone to chat with about the silliest little thing on my mind about some obscure celebrity. Shout-out to my Wholigans! – y’all have no idea how crucial you are to my mental health.

PS – Stay tuned for information about a project I’m working to related to this!

Pop Culture as Art

I’d heard about the THNK1994 Museum a few years ago and thought it was a cool idea – I was prime age for the Tonya Harding vs. Nancy Kerrigan debacle of the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics. In May of this year, my husband and I were planning to visit friends in New York City and while browsing events, I discovered that the THNK1994 Museum would be having a Britney Spears Panel Discussion. I had to go! It was part of their Yama Kippi Yay Bo exhibit of art dedicated to Kim Cattrall. I absolutely loved it! I made a point to visit again in August for the Nicole Richie’s 2007 BBQ exhibit in partnership with @popculturediedin2009. Matt and Viviana are visionaries in terms of taking pop culture of the past couple of decades and lovingly showcasing art inspired from it. In turn, they inspired me to undertake my own projects of pop culture-saturated short stories and poetry. I’m hoping I have the opportunity to share more of this work of mine in 2018. Thanks Matt & Viviana, and check out the THNK1994 Museum next time you’re in NYC!

Celine Dion

I’ve always had a soft spot for Celine – her music, her goofy personality, her je-ne-sais-quoi. But when she embraced taking her already-iconic fashions to new heights with stylist Law Roach this year, it was a revelation. Some said this was her new passion in the wake of the passing of her beloved husband Rene Angelil. Each new outfit she wore in 2017 was more daring, fun and chic than the last. She said, “I’ve always been interested in fashion. Now, fashion is interested in me.” 2017 was my year of taking the things I’ve always been interested in to the next level; writing, embracing my queerness, deeper pop culture analysis, being open about my mental illness and sobriety. I can’t afford to dress like Celine, but she inspired me to express myself in a bigger way.

Thanks to everyone who clicked on my blog, liked my Facebook page or helped me with my writing in one way or another this year. I’m feeling positive about 2018. I’ll wrap this up with a few of my favorite things in 2017. See you next year!

Favorite song of 2017: Demi Lovato – “Daddy Issues”

Favorite movie of 2017: Lady Bird

Favorite new TV show of 2017: Claws

Favorite comeback of 2017: Spencer Pratt

Favorite book of 2017: Cat Marnell's How To Murder Your Life

Favorite concert of 2017: Janet Jackson's State of the World

Life-changing moment of 2017: LaCroix coming to Ontario

48, 849 Words

Hey y'all!

Everyone is sick right now, or getting over something, right? Same here. Catch me covered in Kleenex with oil of oregano, Advil, eucalyptus aromatherapy and David's Organic Cold 911 tea!

So, earlier this month I set out to do NaNoWriMo for the first time ever. Turns out... it was a great experience. I didn't finish my novel, but I think I only want to add 3-5 more chapters to wrap it up.

Something my teacher said to me a couple nights ago was "trust your voice," and NaNoWriMo's concept of not editing, just writing, is a way to write in which trusting your voice is the only way to go.

Writing a novel for the first time has been very rewarding. I'm stacked with ideas these days. New short stories, new essays, ongoing projects and yet another new project that I'm super excited about. Will check in again soon - hopefully with an essay!

My First Reading!

Hey y'all!

I know it's been awhile since I've updated the blog, but with working on my NaNoWriMo novel, as well as my short stories for class, my blog's been on the back burner for a bit.

This past Tuesday night, though, I was honoured to be included in the CRUSH Zine Reading and Exhibition at Glad Day Bookshop. For the first time, pretty much ever, I read four poems in front of an audience of strangers, as well as my husband and best friend.

Being someone who has struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember, I was nervous AF! Public speaking was my least-favorite thing in elementary school. In grade six, my French teacher tried to encourage me to go to the regional competition but I refused. She even tried to tempt me with saying it'd be a trip to Deep River! Yeah, no.

I popped half a clonazepam to help calm my nerves, then carefully selected my outfit, turned on some Taylor Swift, applied my makeup and straightened my hair for maybe the third time this year. I read my poems to myself. I bought a pack of gum... I was as ready as I was gonna be.

I felt genuinely inspired, humbled and grateful for all of the other artists that night, sharing stories and poems on bisexuality and beyond. I'm not so great at the mingling aspect of this whole "emerging writer" thing, but just know, all of your stories resonated with me!

Shout out to the person who came up to me after the show to tell me that they really liked my work and said they'd check out my website! That really did mean a lot to me. I was honestly taken aback and felt great about it. :)

So, I did it. I read in public. I think it went well. I think my work is good. I want to do it again. Hit me up for future reading events, anyone who's reading this!

NaNoWriMo

I've always had good intentions about doing NaNoWriMo every year, but this year I'm actually doing it. I've signed up and written more than 1,000 words on a YA-ish novel that's been brewing in me for awhile. I'm not sure if there's really a market for YA about romances, friendships and high school politics in the dystopia-saturated genre nowadays, but it's what I can relate to! Anyway, if you want to add me as a "writing buddy," I'm on there as, of course, Dietcoke4breakfast.

At the same time, I've got short stories on the go for my Short Story I class at George Brown, as well as a few poetry things and, of course, this website! I feel like November is starting off on a good note and want to keep this momentum going. I can do it!

A Blackout & A Reading

It's been awhile since I've updated. Honestly, I've had a rough couple weeks and I'm working on coming out from under. Some good stuff for today, though!

I've been invited to participate in the CRUSH ZINE: Reading & Exhibition. It's my first reading, so come out and support me if you can!

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of one of my all-time favorite albums, Blackout by Britney Spears. Instead of doing a rehash of where she was at during that period of her life, I decided to write a piece of me instead. Scroll over to Writing to check it out.

That's all for now! Hope everyone has a great Halloweekend!

National Coming Out Day!

Hey y'all!

In honor of National Coming Out Day, I've decided to share a piece I wrote about the quietly groundbreaking way LGBTQ+ characters were portrayed in Friday Night Lights! I know, I know and I swear, not everything I write will be about that football show that ended 6 years ago. But then again, I wouldn't hate that, and this is my website :)

I had originally intended to try to see if I could pitch this think piece somewhere, but I feel like I want to share it today. I've added a new page for my non-blog writing that I'll be posting here, so keep an eye on that!

Laughter is the Best Medicine?

My husband and I have gone to JFL42, the Toronto offshoot of Montreal's Just for Laughs festival for three out of its past four years. It falls around the same time as my husband's birthday, so there's often a headliner he'd like to get tickets for and this year's was Tim and Eric. I take care of buying the passes, and buy the Headliner + two credits option. The credits are good to use at any of the non-headliner shows which happen at smaller venues like Queen Elizabeth Theatre (ugh), The Royal Theatre and The Garrison, with slightly-smaller or used-to-be-bigger names. The excellent thing about the credits is that once you check into the show electronically, you can re-use them as many times as you like. So, after all was said and done, I got to see 14 different shows with 20+ comedians in the span of 10 days. I went to a lot of these shows alone, actually. I've always been the kind of person whose attitude was "I'd rather go alone than not go at all." I don't need someone I know to laugh beside me when a whole crowd is laughing along.

I was on a bit of a high last week, laughing pretty much every night, trying out comedians I hadn't heard of and busting a gut from new sets from reliable ones, too. My two favorites of the week, Michelle Wolf and Sasheer Zamata, even <3'd my tweets about them! JFL42 was done on Sunday, but I had one more comedy show to go to - and my friend, Jennie Steer-Welbourn, won second place at the Underground Comedy & Social Club amateur comedy competition!

Some of these comedy shows, unfortunately, led to late nights, which are not conducive with my mental illness. So what happened yesterday? Why, a depression crash, of course! Vegas and Tom Petty only compounded things. How did I deal with it? By cutting myself some slack. I bought some mini cherry cheesecakes and got Caribbean takeout and watched some music documentaries on Netflix. Practicing self-care (I know, I know!) didn't cure my depression, but I've managed to force myself out of the house today and to write a bit. It's a victory.

So, even though laughter was great for me last week, I have to remember to not push myself. Remind me, no midnight shows next year!

Rewriting and Revisiting: The Old Becomes New Again

I wrote a story back in my third go-round of college that I was incredibly proud of and I knew had potential. I would re-read it every now and then, but I eventually forgot about it. Recently, I went through my old containers of things I wrote and couldn't find this particular story anywhere. It was so many computers so many years ago that there's absolutely no soft copy anywhere! Maybe I threw out my only hard copy in a drunken stupor or a depressive episode years back? I wouldn't put it past me back in those days.

The story has stuck with me through the years. I remembered a few key phrases and moments that I loved. I opened a new Word document and jotted the phrases and moments down. Maybe I could make it work again.

On Tuesday, I started my Short Story I class at George Brown with Richard Scarsbrook. We did some writing exercises and one of my classmates asked if we were going to read them out loud. He said no, as first drafts aren't usually that great. That made me think - this first draft from 2004 may be lost, but I'm still very in tune with its essence and what I wanted to accomplish with it. But 13 years later, there's so much room for modernization that I'd love to explore. I'm happy to say that I've begun rewriting it today and I think this new version will be even better!

My First Poetry Magazine Submission & My First Shared Poem!

I just submitted two poems for consideration in a poetry magazine for the first time in my life. I have this wild rush of anxiety and pride as I type at my desk, heart racing to the beat of the 80s song on my bluetooth speaker. 

The amount of places to submit poetry, short stories, essays and anything else I may dabble in is overwhelming. What's the publication rate? Is there a submission fee? Will I get paid? Which ones are worth it? I went on a whim and submitted to a reputable no-fee one that pays. I'll probably pay to enter some contests, eventually. Pursuing this hobby is costly, but at least I got 10% off my Squarespace site because I listen to podcasts!

One of the poems I submitted is from 2004, 13 damn years ago, but possibly my favorite I've ever written. It has a Bruce Springsteen reference. The other one, I wrote for my creative writing intro class back in March. It's about Bipolar Disorder. I'm v. on-brand!

To celebrate, I thought I'd share another poem I wrote for class back in March. Writing poetry over the years, I was never really committed to traditional styles, or any style at all, mostly just free-verse. When I learned about sestinas from my teacher, Terri Goveia, I wanted to challenge myself and try to do one.

I knew immediately I wanted to do something Friday Night Lights-related (my favorite TV show of all-time, don't worry I'll definitely mention it again numerous times). At first, I tried doing one ending in the most obviously-iconic six words of the series; "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose." I couldn't make it work, so I lifted some key words from Tim Riggins' Texas Forever speech in the pilot episode. God, Football, Good Friends, Texas Forever.

So here's my first poem I'm sharing, a first-person account through the eyes of Jason Street throughout the first ten or so episodes of the show!

It's called "The Fallen Small Town Football God (The Ballad of Jason Street)" and I hope you like it!