Freelance writer, promiscuous wordsmith, relapsing academic, poet, journalist, editor, reviewer, music critic, geek, gamer, metal head, feminist, gastropornographer, sadomasochist, cheese pervert, rogue wizard, lady hobbit, shit disturber, groce count, fireplug. Supervillain. I have often been in the newspaper for swearing.
Once upon a time, I was a much more scholarly, bookish and cripplingly anxious young woman. I planned to earn a PhD while still in my early twenties, lock myself away in the ivory tower and never come out again. After earning my Master’s degree in English Literature and Creative Writing, I suddenly found myself divorced, medicated for generalized anxiety disorder, and about to turn twenty-five.
I promptly moved to Toronto to live with my best, oldest friends and completely rebuilt, and re-wrote, my life. I fell in love with heavy metal and began writing about music. After working variously as a high school English teacher, call centre drone, writing instructor, and staff writer for an internet pornography company, I became a full-time freelance writer and spent my days alternately damaging my liver and my hearing enjoying aggressive music, or sitting hunched in front of a computer smithing words while covered in a thin layer of cheeto dust. It is a romantic existence that doesn’t require me to put on pants very often.
Then, because the universe has a sense of humour (and an extraordinary opportunity presented itself), seven years after I cut my hair and escaped the Tower, I’m about to return to academia once again. As of September 2014, I will officially be a PhD candidate at Concordia University, working on an Interdisciplinary degree in Humanities. This is a fancy way of saying that I’m getting a doctoral degree in video games, digital cultures and feminist criticism. I recently relocated from Toronto to Montreal to start my degree, which is awful because I miss my friends so much, but wonderful because there is beer at the corner store and Tortillon at every Couche-Tard.
As a music writer and journalist, I regularly contribute to National Post, Quill & Quire, The Globe & Mail, This Magazine, Game Dynamo, Torontoist and Exclaim!. My work has also appeared in HuffPost Music Canada, NOW Magazine, broken pencil, This Magazine, Gameranx, Hellbound, About Heavy Metal, Angry Metal Guy, Toronto Standard, Canada Arts Connect, Toronto Film Scene, The Coastal Spectator and The Walrus Blog. My column about feminism and aggressive music, “Girls Don’t Like Metal,” is hosted on Canada Arts Connect Magazine. I wrote “Postcards” for Toronto Standard and “Postcards from Natalie Zed for Hellbound, both series of experimental, postcard-length poetic album reviews. I recently became an Assistant Editor at Exclaim!, managing the Aggressive Tendencies (Metal & Hardcore) section, and I’m also the Reviews Editor of This Magazine.
I’m the author of two books of poetry: DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillains (Insomniac Press, 2012) and Thumbscrews (Snare Books, 2007). I’m currently woking on a novel dedicated to the plight of hench-people, the downtrodden and often expendable employees of fictional villains. I also write non-fiction essays and am constantly poking away at a magic-realist autobiography. My creative work has recently appeared in the anthology of Rob Ford fan fiction Everything Is Fine, Little Brother Magazine, Toronto Poetry Vendors and Joyland.
I’m an active and passionate member of CWILA (Canadian Women in the Literary Arts), a wonderful organization that “raises public awareness about issues of gender, race, and sexuality in Canadian literary culture by supporting our annual count of literary reviews,” and I’m partially responsible for the vast and tangled conversation that led to it being founded. Just like the Vida count in the U.S., CWILA keeps track of the number of books by women reviewed in major publications in Canada, as well as the number of women whose criticism is published in those same publications. They also employ a critic-in-residence and add immensely to the critical discussion of literature in Canada. I am also a member of the advisory board of Meat Locker Editions, “a not-for-profit arts organization dedicated to providing opportunities for underrepresented voices in the literary arts: writers aged 18-35, with particular focus on women in the same age bracket.” Both are wonderful organizations worthy of your attention and support.
I write, talk and post obsessively about heavy metal and other difficult music, video games, comic books, CanLit, experimental poetry, speculative fiction and horror, feminism, combat sports, role-playing games, BDSM, body modification, gastroporn, fan fiction, medical science, fairytales and magic. I’m also the Wordsmith and Promotions Wizard behind Golden Spruce Entertainment. Like Schmendrick the Magician, I am older than I look, and have trouble with time. For a brief time in my teens, I was a moderately successful competitive eater. I live with three bizarre rescue cats in an apartment building that seems to be inhabited exclusively by fictional characters. Allergic to feelings.
I enjoy your twitter account — thought you would like this album I made. “Global Unified” is a heavy rock concept album about the future of drone warfare and one man’s struggle against a future one world government. Fun stuff. I wanted to get you a free download!
http://globalunified.bandcamp.com/yum enter code: 3vw5-6q22
Hope you get a chance to download the record and look forward to your feedback!!
Just reorganizing some bookshelves and came across my copy of Avian Bones. Googled you to see if you’re still writing and so you are. Congrats on making it work. Never doubted it for a minute.
Love the site.
Your once-upon-a-time Aunt Lou
Oh my goodness, Aunt Lou! So wonderful to hear from you! Yes, I am still writing like crazy, making a living at it in fact, and feeling wonderful. I hope you are well and your life is full of every good thing.
Hi Natalie, I like your groove.
I am looking for a promoter for an up and coming metal band in the Toronto area, any suggestions?? Have a listen, I would like to invite you to our next show, which we are working on(I promise you won’t be disappointed)
The Curse Within is a Canadian metal band with a melodic infusion originating from Toronto, Ontario. The band consists of Eric Favot (lead vocals and guitar), Jonathan Mele (drums and vocals), Spencer Andrews (guitar) and Matthew Schumacher (bass guitar). The Curse Within finds a unique way to modernize the style of music that started the genre. Currently, The Curse Within has a self-titled EP comprised of a mixture of home and studio demo recordings.
Thanks Ed Favot of TCW
647 969 0087
Hey Natalie – just stumbled upon you on Twitter. My name is Murray Foster, I play in Great Big Sea and once upon a time I was in Moxy Fruvous (cue King of Spain joke…). I have a new ‘project’ called the Cocksure Lads – it’s an in-joke that’s taken on a life of it’s own. It’s a fake 60’s Britpop band that we’re about to make into a feature film, and we have a new CD and video that we’re releasing this month (Jan 24th at Revival). There’s a very interesting, multi-faceted story here that I think Exclaim would be into. Plus….the new CD kicks ass! (although it’s the opposite of metal).
Anyway, thought I’d reach out. Let me know if you want a copy, or a phone call…
Just got the link for your site from the Chronicle of Higher Education. I loved your about-me. Gripping, funny, poignant and certainly got my attention.
Just wanted to say I’ve been reading some of your work and reviews on Metal music and I think it’s great what you are doing. I came across your work while researching for my thesis about Women in NY’s extreme metal music scene. Would love to get any suggestions from you regarding reading material on Feminism, Post-feminism and Heavy Metal Music, especially anything more extreme! Looks like I just missed you presenting at a metal conference last April.
I came across some of your reviews on Metal bands & music. I know metal heads are always looking for some new music- so I thought you might be interested in checking out my band, Godsent. We’re a Toronto based metal band that’s got a unique sound. If you’re interested in having a listen, our ReverbNation page has free downloads to a few of our songs.
We also have an upcoming show in August 15th- If you’re interested, I have a complimentary ticket with your name on it! Just let me know.
Thank you for your time,
Band Manager of Godsent