I’ve been getting messages from you asking for even more femme resources & my first instinct is always to introduce you to my best friends. They’re pretty much my everything, and I would be far less confident, critical, sparkly without them.
But, since most of you aren’t coming over for coffee, I made up a bit of a blog roll for you to check out (& please do comment with your own blogs or other suggestions!)
Today though, I have someone in particular that I think it would be good for you to say hello to: Kate! E! MacNeill!
She is beautiful, this goes without saying. People fall in love with her; they expect it to happen, and are glad it does. Because Kate is a ballerina, and a writer, and a theorist, and a poet, and a sharp dresser, and because she is very likely to fall in love with you, too. Because she wears her big heart… not on her sleeve, but inside her super-tall high heeled boots, which she can dance in, and does. Because Kate will go right to the edge of the toughest, scariest parts of your life with you, and help you stick it out & make sense of it & then turn it into a party, a poem.
I asked her if there is anything I should include in this “Best of Kate” post and she said, seriously, “a photo of my cat.” She also joked, “my OkCupid profile?”
I love Kate’s “Survival Strategies” posts:
#7: clean the sheets, then eat cookies in bed.
Kate writes often about the importance of creating loving friendships:
my close friends aka my adopted family are some of the most straight-up hardcore romantic people i’ve ever met in my life, and we shower each other with romantic gestures every single day. …
break down the myth that we can only be romantic with our partners.
THIS IS JUST A FRIENDLY REMINDER TO WOO YOUR FRIENDS. CONSTANTLY. THEY DESERVE IT.
Kate believes in people:
i would wish for all of the people i love to be able to see themselves as i see them for even just a second.
i wouldn’t want them to know it was me.
i would want it to come simply, like they catch a glimpse of themselves in a night bus window, and for just a moment, they are able to see their limitless beauty & grace & magic & potential & strength.
then maybe when they are sad or lonely or afraid, they would remember that moment & believe in themselves like i do.
Kate’s creative nonfiction is some of the best I’ve ever read, creating perfect love and deconstructing it simultaneously. Here’s some of her most recent piece, Tidal:
tonight, like most nights, i brushed crumbs and dust off the sheet before climbing into bed.
my last long term partner called this ‘nesting,’ and would poke fun at me, (princess & the pea) for doing it every night. he would know to wait until i’d swept off the bed first before tackling me, or running his hand along my neck in a slow kiss to dreams. sometimes, if i was really lucky, i would lie down, and he’d parachute the blanket overtop of me, and rush under meeting me in a dark blue haze of new warmth and naked laughter.
… i can’t even count how many times in the past two years i have retold this one to myself, brushing the crumbs off my sheets before crawling into bed to sleep alone. …
it’s less about us, and more about impermanence. about the fragments left behind, and how to contend with them. about brushing away the crumbs in the bed which always return, though you never remember eating.
Also, tonight is the last night that I’ll be able to say that I live in the same city as some very dear friends. I’m sad but “Best Femmes Stick Together”! I’m looking forward to visiting their new home.
One of the reasons I put off starting a blog for so long was because I wasn’t sure a) how much personal detail about my life I want to put out there so publicly, but also b) how to contend with the shopping-oriented environment that personal/style blogs seem to be all about. I want this space to feel comfortable for people who have to hustle to get bills paid, who learn from necessity how to alter thrifted clothes, who use things until they wear out.
I’ve heard Natalie say that she doesn’t do fatshion posts as often anymore because people are less interested in you if you aren’t constantly buying new things to showcase on your blog.
The first time I did an outfit post, a commenter reminded me that I really “should” talk about where all my clothes came from. I haven’t been doing this, mostly because my life is not a catalogue or a brand. I don’t post my outfits because I think you should go out and buy everything I have on. Mainly, I post because I hope that some of you will find the styling interesting or will discover a new knitting pattern or get some idea of how to wear something you own already.
Which is not to say that I haven’t been directing you guys towards things that I think deserve your props and attention. I love having a forum to do that, but I don’t think that every single outfit or every single post can or should be quite that commodified.
I also remember a post on Julia’s tumblr where she talked a bit about ways that bloggers are often thought of as “just regular people like you and me” but, in fact, there are huge class differences between bloggers. The fact that we can all decide what to show and what not to show about our lives can certainly skew perceptions about what’s “affordable” for what sort of person.
I definitely notice that there are bloggers who are sent items for review that they probably couldn’t otherwise afford. I think the reason that companies choose to advertise this way is to change perceptions just slightly about who is buying and using their products. If you see that a blogger whose life is similar to your own wearing whatever designer’s shoes with her thrifted outfit, you might feel like you can afford them too, even though they are out of your price range (and were provided at no cost to the person who posted them.) I also think there are probably people who are showing off all of their awesome new outfits on their blogs but hiding the credit card debt it can take to be able to post new outfits a couple of times a week. I don’t wanna be that for my readers.
Which is to say – I am as broke as all hell. Definitely it’s gonna be a no-purchase March. I think this will be a good challenge – to knit from my stash, to repair busted clothes, to do things other than consume fashion (& late-night burritos.) I’m not sure that frugality alone is gonna fix what’s broken here, but that’s a post for another day.
PS: I was inspired to write this post today because of s.e. smith’s excellent (cat-photo-including) post on xojane.com, “Women Need To Start Talking About Money.”
PPS: Julia, if you find the link can you comment here with it? It was about that mankiller lady’s scarf collection.
Important info first: Baby Eagle’s “Bone Soldiers” is streaming in full on Exclaim.ca right now.
If you wanna buy this record, you can pre-order for a discount right from You’ve Changed. It’s out everywhere next week. March 6!
Okay, let me lay it out for you here. Straight up:
The lineup on “Bone Soldiers” is basically a supergroup of rock and roll hotties. Best, nicest dudes. Some of the most charming and hilarious people to have ever slept on my couch. I regularly wish that they’d all just up & move to Peterborough so we can hang out until last call every weekend. The afterparty’s at my house.
For real. Everything they do is magic. You probably remember Steve Lambke & Will Kidman from the Constantines. But also, Spencer Burton’s project, Grey Kingdom, is fucking killer. Ian Kehoe’s band, Marine Dreams, is totally badass. Oh and then there’s the hottest bass player I’ve ever boned – Nick Ferrio (and his feelings). Uh, the feelings are Nick’s bandmates, and I have not boned any of them, though they are also nice dudes. Anyway…
Way back in the mid-2000s, I took my mom to see Julie Doiron at the Drake. I had just seen her play in Peterborough and her set was really lovely, & quiet & full of lots of anecdotes about how she loved her kids. I figured that moms love mom-musicians, right? This time, Julie was so nervous & talked about how she wanted to quit drinking and quit music and go back to school. It was…uncomfortable. My mom wasn’t so into it.
But! Baby Eagle opened the show, and we both loved that. She had a massive mom-crush on Steve Lambke. At the time he played a bunch of stuff that would be on “No Blues”. It was awesome.
& now years later, my partner-in-crime, who has been in so many bands, is playing in my favourite band. This summer when Nick was away for many months, Steve would email Nick some rough demos of these songs, & Nick would email them to me (secret’s out!) like the best long-distance gift.
In my opinion, every record that Steve puts out is better than the last, which means that this is the absolute best Baby Eagle record (just like all the other ones!) I might at some point be embarrassed to have said this on the internet because I will definitely run into these dudes soon. I try to play it cool in front of the famous music-types that Nick knows, but I’m gonna say it anyway:
Steve Lambke is I think the smartest, best, most poetic lyricist making music in Canada right now. You know how John K. Samson wrote all those lovely, narrative-heavy, thoughtful and poetic songs for The Weakerthans and now there’s going to be a book? Hopefully there will one day be a Steve Lambke book. I thought about quoting some lyrics here for you but then thought better of it because when you buy the record they’re typed right on the back, and you should buy the record.
There was lots of band practice happening in my living room during the Baby Eagle October tour and I spent a lot of time making vats of mediocre soup & reading surly feminist Can-lit and secretly feeling very, very, very excited. I think I saw 3 or 4 shows on that tour & every time I caught myself thinking about how I should buy a record and then remembering that it didn’t exist (hadn’t even begun to be recorded yet!) I’ve been looking forward to sharing these songs with allllll my friends for so long now.
As well, touring generally seems like a long draining trek involving sleeping on floors, balancing many strong personalities, spending hours in the car, eating shitty food, and wearing the same underwear for many days in a row. Part of my band girlfriend duties involve sympathetically listening to reports home about all these things. However, in my second-hand observation, touring with Baby Eagle is a really supportive, fun time involving lots of record shopping & games of pool. You should see them if you can! If you live in Ptbo, Baby Eagle is playing March 28 at the Garnet and I’ll see you there.
Before that though, if you live in Ptbo you can see Grey Kingdom with Nick Ferrio and his Feelings this Sunday at the Spill. The show is $5, or $15 including a chicken dinner. I can’t make that shit up. Here’s the fbook event page.
This week has been all about the internet, and working. Blogging & working. Working at blogging. I think that’s pretty okay.
Since beginning Bossy Femme I’ve become much more conscious of my own internet consumption habits. This week I went through all my various subscriptions and cut down to the best-of-the-best. Just the stuff I’m really really excited about right now. This has been so worthwhile – rather than feeling like I’m just killing time reading blogs, I feel like my internet time is spent developing my hobbies, catching up with old and new friends, and researching ideas I’ll actually use.
This big subscription cull has also made room for some new internet favourites, especially on tumblr. My friend once called looking at tumblr at work “Playing russian roulette with a gun loaded with gay porn.” I’m not sure if this is more or less true now, but I have found some new favourites, like:
- The Pittsburgh History Journal. Ever since the Superbowl I’ve felt a bit out of sorts on Sundays with nothing to watch. I miss the Steelers! Now, though, it’s like Pittsburgh & I are off-season pen pals, and I get to discover awesome stuff like Teeny Harris’s photography.
- Illustrated Ladies. I have only been following for a couple of days, but I have a feeling that I will discover a bunch of new-to-me favourite artists via this tumblr. Stoked!
- Heidi Kenney of My Paper Crane just posted photos of a Shoe Glittering Party that she hosted this week. I want to have a shoe glittering party! Locals, consider it a plan.
- Ghostface Knittah is absolutely my new favourite craft blog. I love making stuff but I am always happy to see someone breaking out of the twee “put a bird on it” bokeh-photo traditions of the genre. Her posts include gems like “Never Get High Off Your Own Supply” and “I put the Bling in Fear and Trembling“. Shiny gold Kierkegaard reference? The philosophy major in me gets super stoked about that.
Maybe it would be a nice idea to mention good things this week that aren’t websites? Okay, let’s try this shit out.
- A friend told me a really exciting secret plan that would make her life/our city so awesome. I hope everything falls into place smoothly and quickly so I can brag about it in detail.
- Next week I have a hair colour appointment which means goodbye faded lime hair. I’m being really inspired by this person’s hair.
- I have some early spring cleaning/renovating planned for my house this week. Nesting is the best.
- My fridge has a maple beer in it, and tonight’s plan involves knitting and getting totally maple wasted.
- Also in my fridge: veg lasagne made for me by my mom. Oh yeah.
- All the love for this week’s “What is Femme Anyway” post has meant that this blog’s readership is rapidly approaching the amount of readers of the undergrad newspaper I used to work at full time. That is blowing my mind! Your feedback and comments have all been so kind. If you haven’t seen my follow up post, “On being a babe inside your own brain,” maybe you would like that too.
There’s some graffiti on the side of a building near my work that says, “Work Hard, Die Young.” Personally, I think I’d rather do the opposite in both cases. I bought these super long-with-knots gold earrings on a visit to Quebec to see Julia.
I wear this oversized black tunic with gold metal sequins approximately everywhere. It’s fancy but also machine washable, which is perfect for my lifestyle, because the likelihood that I will spill beer on my clothes is pretty high. Don’t judge me – I work at a brewery.
Today’s outfit is super black & gold to coordinate with my new watch (remember watches?) courtesy of Blood of the Young, the indie publishing company that my brother runs with his BFF Dimitri.
Like any big sister I’m really proud of the work that Reilly gets up to. His distro specializes in photographers who shoot film & their super-selective curation really pays off. Their branded products are so rad, like – film! T-shirts that I’d *cough* be happy to receive as a gift! Reilly says that one of his big goals is to blow up enough to get a cease & desist from Matt Groening. He’s the cool sibling.
You should also check out the company he runs by his lonesome, No Fun Press.
Get your watch in the BOTY Shop.