Weekly Roundup: Writing Machine

Wherein I have entered some kind of a writing fugue state and therefore have not left my house barely at all in a solid week. Send assistance.

Writing News

Last weekend, after doing everything I could to fight it off, up to and including taking oregano oil which is possibly the worst thing in the history of time, I got sick. Like SICK. I’ve been suffering from that Death Flu that seems to have felled half of the population of Toronto, and so most of the last seven days has been filled with shivering on the couch and drinking warm, nourishing liquids at regular intervals. I haven’t gone out once. It’s been odd.

A thing that has happened, however, is that out of the crushing boredom and brain fever, I’ve occupied myself by working on my novel, a book I’ve been poking at and taking notes about, outlining and dashing off the odd paragraph of for about six months now. With so much time and not a lot of physical energy, I have been writing, and it’s like a vein has opened. I couldn’t staunch it now if I tried. I’m trying to ride this wave of energy and inspiration as much as I possibly can; maybe I’ll even get a draft out of it.

It’s a book about a henchwoman. There are superpowers and plasma cannons and a supervillain in armour and everything. It might be really silly, but right now the crazy forward momentum feels incredible.


Xandra vs. The Narrative Vortex!

Xandra vs. The Narrative Vortex!

Immediately before I got crushingly sick, I took part in Dames Making Games‘ fall game jam #Snacktember. I worked with two incredibly talented teammates, Izzie Colpitts-Campbell and Kat Verhoeven, to make a game called So You’ve Been Fridged. The theme of #Snacktember was tropes and deconstructing them, and so we decided to examine the trope of “women in refrigerators” as first discussed by Gail Simone, the tendency for female comic characters’ trauma to be used as a plot point or motivation for male characters. So, we had a female superhero battle to escape the fridge and ultimately fight of the Narrative Vortex causing all of the trouble. If you’d like, you can even play our game here!

 Album Reviews

Two new album reviews went up on Exclaim!: I reviewed Sister by occult metal band In Solitude, which has “clear nods to Mercyful Fate and Coven, and also saluting fellow Swedes Ghost, with their retro-metallic spook-rock,” and Sabaton‘s new live album,  Swedish Empire Live, which “effectively conveys the band’s relentless excitement and also the ferocity of the crowd.

I also have two short reviews up in the latest batch on About Heavy Metal: The While Goddess (A Grammar of Poetic Myth) by Atlantean Kodex “has gone even deeper into the underbelly of the pagan mythos” and The Killing Jar by Black Moth “combine[s] thick smoky guitar tones with a rollicking noise rock sensibility.”

A couple of my reviews have also gone up on Angry Metal Guy,  one of my favourite sites to write for because of the long-form review format they favour, which lets me really dig into a record. I reviewed the exquisite new Obelyskkh record, Hymn To Pan, which features guitar work that is “tar black and scab thick, the rhythm beating like wings made of lead.” I also reviewed …Smouldering, the expanded LP version of the debut demo from Abyssous, which benefits from “complex movement and varied pacing,” from “blistering, careening chaos and a wallowing stomp” to “a deep, ominous groove, like quickly flowing lava with occasional explosions.”

A new edition of Sound Advice also went up on Torontoist, wherein I reviewed the debut record from Fiver, Simone Schmidt’s (One Hundred Dollars, The Highest Order) new solo project, entitled Lost The Plot. “Every lyric that Schmidt sings has a considered quality to it, as though she’s rolled each word around in her mouth to taste it before giving it voice.” 


I wrote a response to the 2013 Polaris Prize Gala for Toronto Standard, focussing on Godspeed You! Black Emperor‘s win, their response, and the subsequent critical explosion. “The conversation around their statement, and the many varied responses to it, has effectively obscured the discussion about the value of the win, and the record that won. In releasing their statement, Godspeed You! Black Emperor have effectively co-opted the discussion to be about their band identity, choices, personalities, and brand.”

I attended and reviewed the play Tainted, written by Kat Lanteigne, directed by Vikki Anderson, and produced by Moyo Theatre, “a play that takes on Canada’s tainted-blood scandal, exploring the devastating impact that tainted blood products have upon one fictionalized family.”

Nuit Blanche and A Tarot Salon

I’m going to roaming all over the city tonight for Nuit Blanche. If you’re looking for something especially lovely to do, head to the Cameron House and check out A Tarot Salon, an off-program event being hosted by The Wheel. Actors will be portraying the cards, and you can have your tarot red as part of the performance. I’ll be having my cards read at 7pm!

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