Archive | May, 2017

Lizzie Violet Loves Zombies

16 May

She also loves the 1920’s. This makes perfect sense, since she has the same wild, exuberance, sass and hair colour as the “It Girl”, Clara Bow.

Other things she is passionate about are silent films, Morticia Addams, knitting (she has her own Etsy store. featuring gorgeous vintage knitting patterns from the 1920’s -50’s) Toronto’s independent music scene, horror and spoken word.

In fact Lizzie won Now magazine’s 2015 Readers Poll “Best Spoken Word Artist.” Which doesn’t surprise me because she has performed at Nuit Blanche, Plastacine Poetry, Wordspell and the Secret Handshake, to name a few.

She has been published in some of Canada’s finest literary magazines like Carousel, Nest and NorthWord.

If you want to see her read live, she has a wonderful gig with another redhead Heather Babcock called “The Redhead Revue.” Their next date is 8:00, June 10th at the Imperil Pub, 54 Dundas Street E.

This year was a landmark for Lizzie because she became a full-time writer. She is working on a novel called Freaks and Grimm. It’s a ghost story and I am dying to read it.  She is collaborating on a short horror film with October Young, a project so secret, I can’t even give you the title.

The thing I love most about Lizzie, besides her incredible talent, is her generosity as an artist. I don’t know anyone, who is as supportive of their artist friends as she is. Lizzie constantly promotes her peeps on Twitter, Facebook, her blog and word of mouth. She does this tirelessly and sincerely.

Her writing is brave, dark, sometimes funny, often chilling and always memorable. Check out and like her FB Page “Lizzie Violet- Writer” and share her creative adventures. You won’t regret it, this is her year and she’s going to fly.








Inside Looking Out

7 May

If you know me, you know that I spend a lot of time in my head. I have done this most of my life. I have very clear memories of analyzing situations exactly the same way I do now, when I was just starting school. And I often wonder if I was the only child in the playground experiencing existential angst.

To be honest, I don’t think I ever identified as a child. This used to get me into all sorts of trouble because it never dawned on me that I needed to ask permission. I lived my young life based on the premise, that since I was able to make a decision, I was able to follow it through. So when I heard an intriguing conversation on the other side of the wall, I climbed the wall and joined in. If I didn’t want to be at school anymore because the teacher hurt my feelings, I walked home. I would play with strange children, go to their houses even if they did not live in my neighbourhood, (one time it was Chinatown) and spend the day with them. Nobody had any idea where I was and it never dawned on me that I needed to tell them.

I used to wonder why I was like this, but now I realize, that I was never considered a child, by those who raised me. I don’t think this was intentional. And I don’t think they ever considered the consequences, because they couldn’t.

I believe that our ability to navigate life successfully comes from the nurturing, or lack of it, we receive growing up. I grew up with extremes. I can’t say I was neglected, or unloved because I wasn’t, not all the time. I was both loved and hated. I was neglected and smothered. I was lauded and torn to shreds. I was supported and opposed. This is what happens when your mother has Borderline Personality Disorder. It wasn’t her fault. She was simply incapable of being a mother to anybody.

But it did leave me scarred, and as they say “whatever doesn’t kill you, leaves you scarred.”

Therapy helped a lot. I would be completely unaware of grey without it. When you are raised in a world of black and white there is no midrange, you have to learn that for yourself. I can’t tell you how peaceful greys are. I’m not a fan of extremes. I try to avoid them, occasionally get drawn into them, have no problem walking away from people who have no midrange.

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever reach a point where I am not having to unlearn a pattern that fucks up my life. Will I ever be able to have a healthy, relationship with anyone, who is not a cat? Will I ever have ambition? Will I ever have continuity in my writing? Will I ever be comfortable living in a world that keeps getting smaller and smaller? Will I ever stop sabotaging my dreams? Will I ever stop doubting myself? Will I ever just write? Is being exhausted after working 8 hours an excuse or a death knell to creativity?  I am going to throw on some Monk and see.









3 May

Unlike most of the people, in the Toronto, spoken word scene, I don’t love poetry. I especially, don’t love poetry written post 70’s, with the very rare exception of maybe a handful of poets. Duncan Armstrong aka TOpoet is one of them.

It doesn’t take long, maybe just a line or two to realize that this is someone who really invests in everything he experiences. Whether he is writing about the roles we are cast in by others, ex lovers, the state/lack of civilization, or a father wearing shoes that once belonged to his dead son, like he does in “Breaking In Grief” from his new chapbook, “After The Falling”, you are not just reading a series of beautifully strung words, you are feeling what it is like to be there, and remembering the feel of shoes that didn’t belong on your own feet.

He is also incredibly funny. It’s not easy to write poetry, that cracks up a room full of people, let alone something that makes a person laugh out loud, all by themselves. Another of the pieces in “After The Fall” called “Hard On” does both. I’m not going to tell you why it’s hilarious, because you have to either, read it for yourself, or better yet hear TOpoet perform. And honestly, if you haven’t, do it. You will thank me.I have never seen Duncan give a reading without being rapt. He has a relaxed presence and a wonderful voice. His comedic timing is deadly. And yes, I will admit he has even made me mist up a couple of times. But if you bring this up, I will deny it.

The good news is that if you love his work as much as I do, he has a lot of it, available for purchase. I myself have an “Armstrong” section in my library.

TOpoet also has a blog. You can reach it by typing

Check out his serialized gay, romantic, fantasy “Lazarus Kiss.” every Tuesday. He also posts reviews, poems and most importantly performance dates.