Like a magpie, I am a scavenger of shiny things: fairy tales, dead languages, weird folk beliefs, fascinating religions, and more. (Author’s note)
…she was the one artists would want to draw…She was the one who would someday know a dozen ways to wear a silk scarf, how to read the sky for rain and coax feral animals near, how to purr throaty love songs in Portuguese and Basque, how to lay a vampire to rest, how to light a cigar, how to light a man’s imagination on fire. (p. 24)
It wasn’t a Gothic cemetery; there were no mossy angels weeping miraculous tears of blood, no crypts or curses or crumble. No poets or courtesans were buried here; no vampires slumbered belowground. … Even the dead loitering here spoke of dull things, like the one who worried she’d left the stove burning when she died. (p. 45)
(Goblin Fruit pp. 1 – 55)
Lips Touch: Three Times
by Laini Taylor
Toronto: Scholastic, 2009
Who do you think of when you think of great Canadian Women?
I think of authors first. The Margarets (Atwood & Laurence), Lucy Maud (Montgomery), Mavis (Gallant) and Alice (Munro) who recently won that big prize! I feel like I should be on a first name basis with them because I’ve read all their writings and so many bios about them that I feel I know them personally. Does this make sense?
Lately, I think of Laura Secord when I think great Canadian women. Why? Partly because the War of 1812 has been in my news feed and partly because I recently purchased her chocolate.
There is a dispute as to who really won the War of 1812, the Americans or us? We did, of course (back when we were British). We are the only nation to have successfully burnt down the White House after all!
Laura Secord was a heroine of the War of 1812 because she heard that the Americans intended to surprise the British outpost at Beaver Dams and capture the officer in charge, Lieutenant James FitzGibbon. It was urgent that someone warn FitzGibbon and Laura resolved to take the message herself to FitzGibbon.
Thus a legend was born. The legend of Laura and her cow trekking 30 miles through the woods to warn FitzGibbon. The cow came along to provide cover because a women and a cow in the forest was normal back then!
Laura delivered her message and became legend. We aren’t told what happened to the cow!
A hundred years later, a chocolate company is named in her honor.
In 1913, Frank P. O’Connor, the founder of a small candy business in Toronto selling hand-made chocolates, chose Laura Secord as the name for his company because she “was an icon of courage, devotion and loyalty.”
This has been your Canadian History moment inspired by the latest Canada’s History (formerly The Beaver – a name I much preferred) magazine.
Canadians you have until March 8th to submit your vote for a Great Canadian Woman.
Vote always. Always vote!
I am a late adapter. That means that I am never the first one to explore new technology. I got my first cell phone (a SmartPhone) in August of 2012 – less than two years ago. However I did jump right in and get an iPhone as my first phone. I was seduced by its image.
My iPhone lies. It says I am sophisticated. It tags me as a Sex in the City gal.
When I was much, much younger the thing I wanted to be most was a writer living in New York City. A Carrie, if you will. Though back then Carrie was Helen Gurley Brown, the penultimate editor of Cosmopolitan, who evolved from Arkansas to Manhattan in the 1960s. She went from poverty to literary fame, from small rural town to what was then the literary capital of the United States.
All the greats, all the women writers I admire, spent time writing and living in New York. Sylvia Plath went to Smith, worked at Mademoiselle and eventually ended up in London. London, England – another city I wished to use to live in. I was too poor to aspire to Smith but if I could write well enough perhaps I too could end up somewhere amazing. I envied her path in life but not her end. Why are the writers we so often admire so tragic?
Then there was Dorothy Parker, witty, not so pretty Dorothy who wore glasses and only wanted to be sophisticated and feared not admired and loved.
So there we have it, a capsule of New York City’s sophisticated writers from the beginning of the 20th century to its end. I’m a big fan of smart and liberated women no matter what century they lived in.
In reality, am I a Carrie, a Charlotte, a Miranda or a Samantha? I am older then the oldest of them now. The older I get the less I want to move though New York City, London and San Francisco still haunt my books and occasional dreams. These are on my TBR lists. (TBR = books to be read eventually). I’ve downloaded this Cocktail app on my iPhone.
So, mostly, I am a career centered Miranda with a bit of sex positive Samantha thrown in for fun. I can live with that!
Miranda, somewhat like me, is the pragmatic career woman. Though I wouldn’t say that I am highly ambitious, my own life and career does comes first. However, I will always put my iPhone down to enjoy a cocktail with the girls. I am strong-willed, determined and independent. I want what I want but finding the means to achieve what I want is where I run into trouble. I like to control my life and my space and each time I move it gets harder and harder to do. I want security. I want to be in a place where I’ll know that I’ll never have to move again and I would love to have a relationship with a stable, self-sufficient employed man.
There are too many to name. I seem to reinvent myself with every decade. My music tastes evolve. I read more widely in many more genres. I get pickier about what I watch on television. I seem less and less to fit in with the norm – not that I ever was miss popular small town wife and mother to be.
I was always slightly different from everyone else but I got very good at passing as normal (or whatever normal seemed to be at the moment).
gigi would not feel uncomfortable living anywhere in the world. She would be friendly while still maintaining her independence. She would be a woman of means who would age gracefully. She would love to wear vintage clothes and wouldn’t care what people said about her unconventional life.
So, as Helen Gurley Brown said:
“After you’re older, two things are possibly more important than any others: health and money.”
And Dorothy Parker opined in her poem, Resume:
Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.
Myself, gigi, can only hope to one day be as witty and suplime.
Here’s to life – wherever and however you end up living it.