The days are getting shorter, now. Summer is waning. I’m an Autumn kind of girl. I love fall clothing, the crisp bite of Autumn morning air, the food of harvest time- squash and apples and pumpkin everything- I like the feeling of finality, that one last gasp of warmth before the bite of winter comes and drives me into hibernation, and the advent of Hallowe’en. Everything seems more magical in the Fall. Autumn is where the ghosts come out to play.
I love ghost stories. Ghost stories, though- not gruesome slasher horror. I prefer my monsters and ghosts to be fiction, not the ones that inhabit our world- the real-life monsters who have no qualms about taking a life, or the ghosts of lovers past that haunt you with pictures you forgot to throw out or a spectre of the cologne they used to wear when you walk by a stranger on the street.
I was a weird kid. I’m still a weird kid, only a grown up one now. I used to sleep with the covers over my head. Suffocation wasn’t as scary as the Nameless Things that I heard in my bedroom at night. I had a fear of the dark, and reading Goosebumps and Dracula and watching Buffy gave my fears faces. It’s much easier to battle something if it has a face. It’s the faceless ones that you can’t fight.
I’ve had a recurring dream most of my life, and it always follows the same script: there’s someone in my house. I don’t know who they are, or what they want, or how they got in my home, but I hear them. They’re on my turf. I’m lying in bed, and I know I can save myself if only I can get up, or scream, or open my eyes. But I’m frozen in sleep. My eyes, they’re glued shut, and my body feels like it’s made of lead. I try to scream, but the only noises are from the footsteps rapidly approaching my bedroom.
Used to be, I’d finally wake up, panicked, and I wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep. I’d turn my lights on, go check the locks, and I’d sit in my room, eyes trained to every shadow, ears tuned to every thump in the night. These days, I wake up, give a cursory listen for any beasties that may have broken in, check to make sure I have some blunt objects nearby, smile, and whisper, “come at me. I dare you to try.”
Told you I was still a weird kid.
Told you I was a grown up one now.
Photo by my favorite New Yorker, Steve Prue of Team Rockstar Images, when he was visiting Toronto a few months ago. Keep your eyes peeled for a superhero team-up featuring Steve and me coming your way soon.
The humans I like best, the ones I instantly find myself drawn to, we’re all the same. Kindred. I look in their eyes, I see barely concealed fire. Our beasts, the wolves hiding beneath our skin- it just takes a look and they’ve bonded, no need to utter a goddamned word. Us feral types, we can smell the wildness and ferocity on each other right away. It’s not often I meet one of my kind, but when I do, it’s explosive. I am the moth, they are my flame.
I don’t come across it often in men. Most of the wolves I meet, they’re female. Fairer sex, perhaps, but also more dangerous. A man could never tear me apart the way a woman could- the bloodlust just isn’t the same with men. Maybe it’s because they’re too consistent in their desires. The ferocity of a wolf-woman is unpredictable, comes on unbidden- and that’s where the danger lies. It’s something I understand on a visceral level, and something I find fascinating.
My wolf-humans, the ones with beasts like mine, they’re the only ones I can trust.
They’re the only ones who won’t cage me.
They’re the only ones strong enough, smart enough, feral enough, to know not to try to tame me.
And we’ll hunt together.
Teeth and claw.
Tear and rend.
Everyone else, they’re just prey.
Life is a whirlwind. Or a ferris wheel that spins too fast. Exhilarating, terrifying, over too fast.
I’m learning how to be present. Be in the moment. Soak it up. Like when you’re a province away from home, in the mosh pit watching one of the most influential bands of your youth play, being pushed and slammed into and giving as good as you get with every smash, every jab, every shoulder check, screaming along to lyrics that are embedded in your brain while the sun beats down on your neck and a kind stranger risks getting trampled by the crowd while offering to spray you down with sunscreen. In the pit, while there’s aggression, there’s a sense of camaraderie. These strangers, for that hour long set, they’re your family. You’re bonded together by the visceral feeling you get when the music takes you. And you gotta hold onto that moment, because before you know it, the ferris wheel stops, the music is replaced by silence and that moment is over. The clock strikes twelve, the magic disappears, and that family you found are all just strangers again. Ships in the night. Everyone scurries back to their lives, and maybe that moment meant little to some- just another festival, just another band, just another pit- but it made a mark on me.
I try to live my life so that most moments stick with me- when you learn to develop a thick skin, it’s easy to let yourself be disaffected. To feel things less. I never want to lose that intensity, that passion. One of the most valuable- and most difficult- things to learn in life is how to keep your heart open to the great moments in life, while letting the miserable ones roll off you. When to dodge, and when to let things hit you. I still haven’t mastered it yet, but I’d rather run hot than cold.
My friend and adventuring partner Hope L Nicholson has put together a Kickstarter for The Secret Loves of Nerd Girls. It’s an anthology on love and dating, told from the perspectives of fangirls. Margaret Atwood is contributing some comics, and I have a submission in there as well (under a pen name). Please do check it out and consider supporting, especially if you like my writing.
I have a little mole on my right side, just above my upper lip. If you’ve watched the show, maybe you’ve seen it. Maybe you haven’t noticed. I usually cover it. Sometimes, I forget, and there it is. My only trademark is inconsistency.
I know I frustrate people. I’m not much more than a big wave. A hurricane. I’ll crash on your shore, and then I’ll ebb away. I’ll leave damage in my wake.
I disappear often. I can’t help it. I get distracted. Pulled away, and if I lose momentum in any given situation, there’s no pulling me back in. I need immediacy. Now or never, you know?
But most people, passion’s a slow burn for them. Me, my flame lights quick- and it burns out quicker. It’s dangerous to fall for me, because I’ve already done my damage and moved on in the time it takes you to notice my hold. And then disaster happens, because before you realize it, there I am, under your skin, in your blood, and I make a mess, and I’m already gone. The worst thing you can do to yourself is let me in.
Think of your last love. The last person who made you feel real, heady, get-inside-you-and-rip-you-to-shreds passion.
If you ran into them tomorrow, what would you do? What would you say?
I know exactly what I would do. I’ve played the scene in my head a million times. I’d walk up to them, and I’d smile.
I’d say, “Brontosauruses are a dinosaur again, and I felt it was important that you know that.”
Then my smile would fade, and I’d disappear into the crowd.
Famous last words.
Someday, maybe I’ll get the chance. I’m not holding my breath. I’m already looking for other shores to crash into.
I have always, will always. been a wild thing.
I’m not a logical human. I’m a passionate one. Don’t get me wrong- I love science, and logic, and reason. It’s just that none of those things have any bearing on any of the decisions I make in my life unless it has to do with religion, or magnets, or whether ghosts are real.
For the big decisions, the life decisions, the make-or-break it life-changing forks in the road, I go with my gut. It’s Ten Rounds of Passion Vs. Reason, and passion wins every time. Sometimes, those are the best decisions we can make. Sometimes, they lead to you drinking tequila out of shot glasses strapped to skis and staying up until 6 am screaming off-key to punk rock songs, followed by wandering around, hung over and lost, in an area of the city you don’t know so well- but I’d rather lead a life full of misadventures than a life full of boredom.
I have so many stories- the good ones, the types of stories you can only tell to friends when you’re a few drinks in, feeding off the laughter from the table like you’re a parasite of mirth, the stories that make friends love you and lovers leave you because they’re scared of being naked and weaponless against the creatures that live in the wilderness of your soul.
Maybe one day, when I’m old I’ll write these tales down- but for now, I like leaving them as stories to be told to a small audience. Stories are only legendary when they stay as legends, and legends are repeated- not reposted. I think that sometimes, writing things down robs them of their magic. I feel like storytelling loses something when you remove the “telling” element. And I think that’s what we’re losing out on most when we interact via a screen instead of in person.
I like to see faces when I tell my tales. I like to hear laughter. Comments and likes are mechanical, robotic. And I love to listen, really listen, with my ears, to stories from others. You can’t skip ahead or get the wrong tone of a story when it’s being told.
Maybe that’s why we’re always getting into fights online. It’s so easy to misread a string of letters. The non-verbal parts of communication are so essential.
Sometime this week, I’m going to go to the ROM to dress up in the dragon costumes they have in the costume section, and stomp around pretending to be Godzilla. And you’ll never know how it turns out, unless we’re friends, because I’m hoping that it’ll lead to one of those stories best shared among friends.
Keeping myself busy means keeping myself out of trouble. Boredom leads to disaster with me. I’ve found the key to keeping out of trouble is to overload my plate. If I focus on juggling my projects, I can’t focus on things I shouldn’t be thinking about.
I’ve a new roommate moving in. You’ve seen her before. We’re going to build a ball pit in our backyard.
I think I’m going to take a week off sometime soon, disconnect from everything, and hop on the first bus out of Toronto. Go with a backpack and a journal and no plans, and just write. Planning adventures makes them dry and tough. I like blank slates. Tabula rasa. Total, limitless freedom. I think I was a bird of prey in another life- a kite or an owl or a forest falcon. Fly high. Fly free. Attack. Rest under bridges.
Going to Niagara Falls this weekend to ride giant ferris wheels and rub the Money Buddha’s belly. CYAL8R
There’s nobody I love shooting with more than my friend Steve Prue of Team Rockstar Images. Steve and I met when he shot me almost ten years ago, and it was one of those instant bonds you make with another human. Steve has seen me through every incarnation of me, and he’s always been supportive of me- and he’s one of the only people to not only accepts my Destroyer side, he encourages it. When I shoot with Steve, I feel badass because he sees me as a badass, and I feel like that attitude always comes across in the images we shoot together.
As for these photos, I’ve always been more of a hero than the hero’s long-suffering girlfriend- I’d rather be Peter Parker than Mary Jane any day. Give me super-strength and some bad guys to spider-punch over a modeling career.
…But, until I acquire superpowers, I guess I’m stuck in front of the camera. These were fun to shoot, even though I nearly fell off the windowsill a few times. Spider-panties by SciFeye Candy.
I’ve been working more than usual lately, and it seems like there’s always a camera lens in my face. Funny, as this was the year I wanted to start retreating from the spotlight, focus on my writing. Exit stage right before the camera steals my soul.
Or maybe not.
Maybe you have to have a soul to steal.
(And maybe I sold mine years ago to a girl with sparkly eyes for a friendship bracelet and a handwritten note filled with secrets.)
I love other humans. I love their idiosyncrasies and their nonsense and the things that make them crazy. I’m especially drawn to humans who are a bit more unbalanced. I love their stories and their philosophies and their raggedy hangnail emotions. And I love it when people cry around me.
Vulnerability is the prettiest damned thing, and seeing it in others makes me feel more… connected.
One of the most fun things I’ve done lately was hanging out on a rooftop, dressed as Black Widow, with the amazingly funny people from Sketch From Superheroes. The best part of my life are all the funny, charming, talented geeks I know. I’m the luckiest.
I think things are prettiest when they’re fucked up. All strings and twisty bits. Clearly defined edges and clean boundaries seem so sterile.
Give me knots and gnarls and tangles and webs.
Have you ever had one of those kisses that spins you? The ones that leave you feeling like the butterflies in stomach are more like mogwai, and they’ve gotten wet and turned to gremlins and migrated to every part of your body, tearing everything asunder and causing havoc in every limb, every cell, every vein? That’s the best kind of chemistry- the kind that leaves you completely wrecked. We’re so jaded, now. Very few things can penetrate deep, and when something does- well, that’s beauty. My favorite songs are the ones that give me goosebumps, or make my chest feel like it’s going to explode, or make me want to scream at the top of my lungs. When something touches the primal part of me, locked away beneath my defenses and neuroses and logic and cold reason, it’s rare and delightful and sustaining. I feed on it.
I feel like I’ve learned the best way to ruin something is to try to hold onto it. Steal moments, let them go. Catch and release. Repeat.
I realized something last night, during one of those stolen moments. Life is kind of like a big game of connect-the-dots. The dots are those moments in our life that carry weight- and they can be as monumental as birth, or death, or as simple and perfect as a moment in bed, captivated by the eyes of someone beautiful, with the lamp illuminating the chiseled curves of their face and the butterfly gremlins tearing you asunder. The lines are the mundane stretches in between these moments. The lines, they get us to the next dot, but they don’t matter. It’s the dots- the memorable moments in our life- that really shape who we are. The picture is there, formed by that seemingly shapeless smattering of small black circles. I told that to someone and they said I should write it down. I’m not sure why I felt compelled to listen, but now it’s out there.
I think my favorite part of the spring is the way it smells. Especially when the lilacs blossom.
All photos by the immensely talented John Lee of Digital Fabrik.
The other morning, half drugged with sleep, I looked over at a friend and asked him, “Do me a favor.”
“Do me a favor,” I said, “and write the best unrequited love song ever written. And I want you to name it…”
He said okay. I don’t know if he’ll do it, or he was humoring me, but it was nice of him to say yes regardless.
People are at their most pliable in that twilight moment between sleep and waking. That warmth, that fuzz of slumber, it leaves us snuggly and and happily vulnerable and agreeable. I think it’s easiest to fall in love in the mornings, snuggled up like puppies, sun streaming in through the windows.
Dawn is when magic happens. Dawn, and summer nights in the woods.
Fireflies turn into fairies if you squint hard enough.
I haven’t been spending a lot of time in my own bed of late. It makes me feel almost nomadic. I love my part-time domesticity, but I miss being a wild thing.
Shower scene by my good friend and super talented photographer Steve Prue.
Sometimes it’s the people who have known you the longest who can set you back on your path, just by spending time with them. It’s easiest to rediscover who you are through conversations with people who know.
A lot of people from my past are re-entering my life lately. It’s making me feel centered.
When do the fireflies come out to play, again?