The times they are-a-ending

Themes of post-apocalyptic imagery seem to be a large part of the landscape in popular culture nowadays. From the “zombie franchise”, to conspiracy theories, there seems to be a reoccurring obsession with the end of the World.
These themes are often explored by writers, performance artists, poets and the like. Particularly, in St. Catharines, the public will be able to witness insights into the post-apocalyptic underpinnings from the work of Lindsay Cahill, Eric Schmaltz, Corpusse and Liz Worth on Feb. 15.
Cahill and Schmaltz’ work has already seen much attention even outside Niagara, where their work can be described as helpful not only for themselves as writers, but collectively, as they have helped facilitate the growth of other artists, musicians and writers to come step outside their bedrooms to share their work.
Dead G(end)er was a successful project that Cahill pursued. Self-described as an alternative art and lit magazine, Dead G(end)er was established by a community of nerdy-punks dedicated to promoting only the most progressive, original, eclectic and just plain awesome art and literature. With four issues published, which included over fifty artists from around the World, the project is at a great place to evolve into something else for Cahill.
Schmaltz has been co-curating the Grey Borders Readings Series (GBRS) since the summer of 2010, and has since been maintaining the goodwill and reputation the series has received over many years. GBRS exists to offer a diverse group of poets and writers opportunities to present their work in an active and engaging environment.
Corpusse will also be adding elements of shock to the night with his unforgettable operatic performance. With influences like Alice Cooper, Kiss, Barry Manilow, Meat Loaf, Cher, Venom and Cyndi Lauper, the rock legends’ work has been described as lifesaving in times of the apocalypse.
Focusing on Worth’s experiences as a writer and performer, her recent work, Post-Apoc, will also be shared, which is about a girl who believes she is responsible for the end of the World. Living in Toronto, Worth is a performance poet, Theremin player and author of Amphetamine Heart, Treat Me like Dirt and her third forthcoming book, Post-Apoc.
Worth’s experiences which navigates often turbulent territory as a writer is quite insightful for those interested in knowing about the creative process. Proceed below to view a perspective worth knowing.
Q: What are your experiences with living in Toronto as a writer/performer?
A: The scene is really small, so if you do poetry readings or book launches, it is really easy to start to get to know people because you see a lot of the same people there and recognize people’s names as well online or in print.
Over the past year I have done several readings in St. Catharines, so I like that I am close to that community, and I love the scene. There are a lot of cool ideas and creative people who are committed to their community. They are putting in the effort and are building something really interesting.
Q: What stage is Post-Apoc in and what are your sights now set on?
A: I have finished writing it so I am working on some other new stuff but nothing that has a totally pre-determined direction at the moment. The next thing I really want to work on is a spoken word album.
I teamed up with this person named Sam Cooper who is another artist from Toronto, and he and I have been experimenting with different sounds, like keyboard, Theremin, drums and chanting. We are working together on some pieces under the name Salt Circles. We are going to do some shows in March and we will see where things go from there.
Q: Is collaborating with other artists much different as opposed to working alone as a writer?
A: It’s really nice, actually, and it is definitely a new thing for me because I am used to working on my own. A lot of times when working on Post-Apoc, I felt very lonely; I worked on that book for the past two years and even though I really enjoyed the time working on it, there were times where I was thinking ‘is this really how I want to spend a Friday night?’ In the end, it was worth it.
Afterwards, I realized I was craving some collaboration and something that felt more social and I needed to be in a position where there was someone else’s opinion and another perspective to be considered because I wanted the challenge of those compromises. After awhile, if you spend too much time in your head, you can start to second guess yourself.
Q: With your non-fiction book, Treat me like Dirt, and a background in journalism, how did you get to where you are now with creative writing and performance poetry?
A: [Treat me like Dirt] was a really big research project and at the time I was doing a lot of freelance work as well and I really loved working on it, but at the end of it I felt really burnt out. I realized in that process, while it is really interesting to interview people, and I love hearing other peoples’ perspectives, it isn’t something I necessarily want to do for a living. My love and focus really wanted to be on creative writing, and I felt like I needed to focus on poetry, fiction and performance art rather than talking about other peoples’ projects and documenting their creative lives. That can be great and inspire you and help you find your own perspective, but you can always do that on the side.
I studied Journalism at Humber, and I feel that was a good experience in a way, but I also feel like if I hadn’t gone to school for that, I would have just ended up at the same point in my life anyway.
With creative writing you are just living your life and relaying your own experiences later on so you can observe things and filter them how you want to, so to me, I find that an easy way to move through every day is by thinking that anything can be a story.
Q: What was the hardest part about getting Treat me like Dirt off the ground and eventually published?
A: It was really hard to get a publisher for it at first because no one had really invested in Canadian punk yet. Now since Treat me like Dirt, there have been several books about it. I got a publishing deal from someone I was interviewing for it who runs a record label in Montreal called Bongo Beat.
I really liked working on it, but when you go through a mourning period after you work on a project for a long time and you are really close to it where you don’t know what to do after. I felt kind of lost and it was strange for awhile, and that was when I thought about what I really wanted to do. I could have easily done another oral history about Canadian music, but that was the only non-fiction book that I was genuinely interested in doing. It wasn’t contrived, I wasn’t thinking that I was going to be this journalist putting out this book and this was going to be my career path, I just really wanted to know the story of punk-rock in Toronto. After that I realized I had to do something just as genuine.
Join these individuals for blends of performance, poetry, sound and experimentation on Feb. 15 at Mahtay Cafe (241 St. Paul Street, St. Catharines) starting at 7:00 p.m.

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