I have chirped endlessly of Val’s artistic genius, and believe me when I tell you this is not me being kind at all. With each drawing inception by Val, I am more and more convinced that I would love a little apartment in her imaginarium. What she produces, is beyond fantastical, Val has the capacity to go from bugs, to skulls, to elegance, to gore, in a heartbeat and I SO LOVE her for it. In honour of Val’s birthday, I thought I would share some of her work, including writing, that’s right — Val is also a poet. So much talent in one human, I am so grateful to be able to call her my friend.

And I
An opal woman
Diffraction and mutable light
All and the nothingness
Of my mother and
The origins before her that
Sped along her prints 
The heirloom of threads 
Sewn into my confession 
Of birth 
A swinging door 
In proud beds 
Wrapping thunder around me 
Streaming in uncontrolled breath 
A mess of obsessions 
To flatter undeserving wonderlands
In preserving motion
To redress the betrayal Ieft
Embedded on the wombs 
That carried me 

There is a crafted leak that
I never bother to clean
And pretend its too delicate to pick up
I mouth the throw of my skin
And pretend that I'm not afraid
To hold my own hand

I follow the path at the shore of wrists
Laboring in the stretch of occasion
Until I can no longer
Smell the familiar idea of lines
Until I can no longer
Forgive the generosity of arms

Hands are an unusual affection 
Shutting into luminous caves
To mimic an intimate distance
To swallow a guilty space
To drive the rooted joint
To publish a desperate reach

I bend at the pause
That is measured at the depth of rebirth
Combing about an echo
Gathering the travels of
Wounded separation and edited arrivals
Counting on both hands the swivel of visits
One rotation at a time

Knuckles are submissive or indifferent
The anchors serve to fold
In the victory of tenure
In the severe fever of a stainless wish
In the flowery streams of shallow complexion
In breath of one more day, again

I repeat in grape streaking
A theme that springs from
My thin bouquet of tongue
And is the same title that 
Hauls along my forearms and 
Crawls through printed cues

The repetition destroys my palms
And I wonder who is still holding my hand
When I become a more interesting eulogy

Interview with McKade Wilde of Awakening Autumn on Data Girl’s Rabbit Hole

Anyone who has spent time on my blog is very aware of my fondness for April Rose Gabrielli’s compositions, and tenacious undertones cast throughout everything she creates. Which happens to also be applicable to Song Production, April Rose Gabrielli and her partner Jacob Adam Kulick founded The Pear; currently, offering services for musical artists in Production, Songwriting, and Label Services. What is the relevance to this interview, you may be thinking about now, Awakening Autumn’s LP due for release on April 28, was produced by April & Jacob. Now, that you have the backstory, this interview was propelled by my request of deeply wanting to know the story behind Break My Teeth, a song that has such a yin-yang balance depth to it between the synergy of the musicality, and lyrics. After McKade read my review, he reached out. I am so grateful that he did, learning about artist and musical origin stories are my favourite to explore. McKade’s lyrics afford images to the listener to forge the emotive tale of resilience & vulnerability woven in the spaces of notes in Break My Teeth. I found the quality of depth is a theme throughout Awakening Autumn’s work. My recommendation to you, while you are reading this interview, listen to Break My Teeth first, well, simply because that it was started all of this. I will let you decide what order to listen to Tough Luck, and My Insecticide; both equally rock. One of the first things that I will be writing, post exam writing, is a review of the full LP offering by Awakening Autumn.

RMMW: Hi McKade, Thank you for being here today, let’s get started, do you have any artist rituals before starting a new song?

MW: I never really sit down with the intention of writing, actually. Situations will inspire me, and then I try to hammer it out. When I try to dedicate time to writing, it doesn’t really work for me, haha.

RMMW: I like that you never sit still with the intention to write and allow it to come to you organically, it is odd the quality of writing that comes when it is forced, that being said; have you ever been creatively blocked? If yes, how did you overcome it?

MW: Time heals all wounds! If I’ve noticed it’s been a long time since the last time I’ve written, I know that it can’t be forever. Like I said earlier, trying to force it has never worked for me.

RMMW: I can certainly relate to that, I’ve only been blocked twice in my 49 years and I found it beyond painful to not be able to express myself. That is when Tabitha, my inner critic comes into play, we all house in a critic within ourselves. How do you contend with yours?

MW: Listen to it. If I’m not 100% happy with my own work, why would I expect someone else to be?

RMMW: I agree with what you said, the inner demon of the inner critic is the catalyst to sometimes the most time-consuming work to ensure pure perfection, with an origin story that one never saw coming, and what a doozey, please share the origin story with our readers.

MW: This is gonna be a crazy one, buckle up. It’s about a girl I met, a girl from the Philippines. When we met, there wasn’t romantic intent whatsoever, because I personally never saw myself as someone with any interest in a long distance relationship. The thing is, though, we clicked very quickly. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I began writing the song 3 days after meeting her. I showed her after 5 days. The fact that I wasn’t immediately blocked goes to show that we’re both crazy.

But, as far as the song itself, it’s all meant to be a metaphor, for falling in love with someone and making yourself vulnerable, and how scary it is. I compare it to being curb-stomped in this song, which is a very strange comparison, but the more you think about it, the more sense it makes. You put yourself in a vulnerable spot, where someone can choose whether or not they want to completely crush you, and it’s horrific.

All the references to distance on this song are by no means metaphorical, she was almost on the exact other side of the world.

What’s so crazy about this story, though, is where it’s at now. She had a very bad home life (which I won’t go into), and it was very dangerous for her. She was born in New York, making her a U.S. citizen, and so we hatched a plan for her to run away. It took over a month, and it was a very scary, and uncertain time (all the while I’m working on coordinating these releases!!) But, by the time the song actually came out, she was here with me.

There are still people from her old life who harass us, and try to cause problems. I’m willing to bet at least one of them will read this, so if they do, hi!!

RMMW: WOW! Thank you so much for sharing that origin story, it is truly phenomenal how vulnerability, love and trust grow in the fashion of beautiful roots into the Earth. As you just shared your origin story, can you please share your process. When do you think is the best time of day to write music, and why?

MW: It usually comes to me at night, and so the original title for our upcoming record was going to be “Bedtime Stories,” but I scrapped that.

RMMW: Witching hour for me, I must agree there is a silent solitude at night, there is such a tranquility, I like to listen to music and just write. My current top three tracks that have been on repeat:

Run Away To Mars, TALK

And so it Begins, Klergy

Bitch, Meredith Brooks

Now, that I have shared, what are the top three songs that you are currently listening to on your playlist?

MW: Aside from my own? Haha, I have to sayyy:

The Mask by Matt Maeson

I Can Feel Your Pain by Manchester Orchestra

Tyrants by Sleeping With Sirens

RMMW: OMG! The Mask is so beautiful, I added it to one of my playlists. The lyrics, I have no idea why, it does not sound like Desperado but has the vibe of it. I find The Mask demands a level of self honesty, a mirror most people do not want to delve into. The lyrics of a song hit me before the music, I have so many friends who are Singer-Songwriters who will tell you that I almost demand lyrics when I am sent music. When you compose your songs, what comes first, the music or the lyrics?

MW: Usually lyrics for me. Lyricism is the most important aspect of a song for me, and certainly what I feel I’m best at.

RMMW: I think, if I was a Songwriter for me, it would be more music than lyrics, what do you think is the most challenging aspect to songwriting?

MW: Caring enough about something to write more than just a few lines, hahaha. I probably have a couple new song ideas every single day, but I either don’t like them enough, or I don’t care enough about the topic to keep going. It’s weird, because as a writer, I want to find a way to cover new things that people aren’t really saying in music, the same way artists like AJR do. But sometimes, after one verse, you’ll find you don’t really have anything left to say, at least not yet. Although, that’s the other thing. There are a few songs on our upcoming record that took me 4–5 years to finish!

RMMW: You know, I am finding more and more origin stories steeped in years to create, imagine for a moment Sulloway took 25 years to write his book on birth order, Darwin 20 years to write his Theory of Evolution, I imagine your album as an oil painting that you kept layering and building upon to create an eloquent opus. I never asked you before, what is Awakening Autumn’s origin story?

MW: That story starts with my parents more than it does me. My mom is an incredible singer, and my dad is an instrumentalist/producer who played in bands for a long time. They actually met when my mom auditioned to be a vocalist for his band, which is incredible. Coming up in that environment, music and entertainment was just something that I always saw the beauty in. As I got older and learned to express myself through it, I knew it was what I wanted to do. I’ll also say that none of it was really possible without their support.

RMMW: Aww, I love that story, hear to hear to the parents who support their children unconditionally; did your parents also have something to do with your earliest musical memory?

MW: I’ll have to say my parents, once again. They’d be in their studio, or “music room,” as we called it, and sometimes I would go and sit in there with them.

RMMW: I love how that level of work ethic, transferred to you, especially with writing; do you have a preferred way to write songs? Pen & parchment, or digital notepad?

MW: Digital. My handwriting is hilariously bad.

RMMW: It is funny that you mention handwriting, I was once accused of perpetually making my bubble letters more bubbly. So we can expect songs written by hand, what else can we expect to see forthcoming from Awakening Autumn?

MW: An album that we’re extremely proud of, and going forward, we just want to be something different. Not just with our music, but in every other way.

RMMW: I totally LOVE that, thank you so much for sharing and trusting me with your story. Now, for my last question; if you had a superpower, what would it be?

MW: Never having to sleep. You lose at least 1/3 of your life sleeping, and that terrifies me. It just has to be something low-key, so the government doesn’t experiment on me 😉

6 Book Cover Reveal by Rania M M Watts for Publication on March 31, 2023 with Melaris In Print

I am overjoyed to announce that I will be releasing 6 books on March 31, 2023, 3 new book releases and 3 second edition printings with Melaris In Print, Writer’s Quill. The new offerings which include Trajectory, a poetry book that explores being pushed to the limit in the truest comprehension of one’s personal understanding of themselves; foreword by Singer/Songwriter Tony Moore, Verity which explores human dialogues in the most idiosyncratically juxtaposed manner, and Broken Candy a tome devoted to resilience where all the proceeds will go to Advance & Bags of Love in the UK. The 3-second edition printings release are Cockroach Blueprint 213 Ways to Kill a Cockroach, which is an amended version of Cockroach Blueprint 101 Ways to Kill A Cockroach, this book offers over a hundred more killing methodologies, summer to summer d.n.i.w.e.r and explorative study through poetry and art, this poetry collection is based on the work of 12 artists, with a few pop up surprises in between. Lastly, Navigation which is a merge of Accordions & Moustaches, and Cement Covered Ink Quills & Rarities with new poems added. I’m looking forward to writing these three forthcoming books Like a Sick Twisted Drinking game to be co-authored with Luke Young, When the Venetian Masque Weeps foreword to be written by Luke Young, and Love, Hope, & Kinship with illustrated works by Mathematical Artist Teja Krasek.

Thank you so much to my Resident Artist, Valisa Bernardino for taking the time to craft the PHENOMENAL images on my covers!

Part 2 of 2: Women of Tomorrow with Cherokee Rose & Aleiya Young

Poke Your World Bubble by Cherokee Rose

Growing up in a world where there has become a way to experience everything easily through technology, and learn about many things, is very beneficial. I have always wanted to travel the world to experience many different cultures and try styles of food that I wouldn’t have here. I grew up in Southeast Asia and it has given me a different perspective on ways of life, different traditions and cultures. That has made me want to experience more than what the United States has to offer now. I’m not content to just live in one place for the rest of my life when I know the entire world is full of experiences outside of the bubble of your home or hometown.

The world has very unique qualities and I know that having a job that lets me save is something I want to do in the future. I’m still not exactly sure what job field I want to be in, except for the fact that I want to help make our planet the best it can be. Seeing the world, and trying to experience everything it has in it and appreciating the diversity means that I have high hopes for the future world.
By Aleiya
My name is Aleiya Young, I live in Minnesota, and I am eleven years old. In the future I would like to become a novel writer. I could help change the world through the beauty of my words and I could inspire others to read and possibly write their own stories.

I would also like to become a singer. I want to be able to show my feelings through the art of music and song. I want to be a person who not only speaks my feelings in words or sings them in song, I want to SHOW them. I want to tell people they can be who they are and do what they want, how they want, just by using their voice. It can be a written voice, or a verbal voice, or a voice shown through art. I want to influence others so that they can find their own voice.

But for now, I will enjoy my life and await my future.

Emotion: NOT for the Faint of Heart

Threatened by a small creature
whose heart is the size
of the universe
physically strong men
full of machismo
not a pound of soul
if it had been Shylock
a pound of soul
is more drastic than flesh and bone

Individuals follow
a yellow brick road of denial
residual annoyance of indifference
avoidance of love in its truest form
is perhaps one of the dumbest
things for one to detract
and would cause sorrow
for one’s spirit
horrible thoughts of pity formulate
one who seems to have everything
truly has nothing

In fact, The Nothing
from The Neverending Story
took hold — all that’s left
a dark wormhole that asphyxiates
any semblance of organic hope
stupid how some humans
avoid direct interaction
with flesh and bone humans
only to blame their calamity
on the blameless

Humans who try something new
only to recoil reside in fear
who pretend to acknowledge life
a spark was cast — which required
nourishment — neglected
praised in light
choked in shadow

Part 1 of 2, Women of Tomorrow with Joey Watts

A woman has desires and wants. A woman can be any colour and any sexuality. Women come in any form you could think of. Short, tall, round or thin. She could have an hourglass figure, or no shape at all. Though every woman is different, they all have one thing in common. They are all human, and deserve the right to safety and a good, healthy life.

Jordan Watts is a first-year student at Durham College. She is currently enrolled in the Fine Arts program. Jordan has loved creating art since she was 2 years old. She loves to create art inspired by si-fi, gothic fantasy, and the supernatural. She considers herself a multi-media artist, as she loves to sculpt, paint and draw. She identifies as a mixed race Canadian, and she loves to learn about different people, from different places around the world. Jordan also believes in standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. She loves that everyone in this world is unique, and she is not a fan of the majority putting them down. Her favorite characters are Quasimodo, Beast and Frankenstein. People who look like monsters, but they’re more human than the people that surround them. Jordan hopes to become a tattoo artist once she is done with her post secondary education.

Confident, Unafraid, and Resilient By Rania M M Watts

I was on the bus this morning working on my forthcoming book Trajectory, when I felt the sun on my face; for a moment this overwhelming wave of gratitude overpowered me with an overwhelming wave of gratitude. This week, my entire team came together to support International Women's Day 2023.

Val, I appreciate you never thinking my ideas are BONKERS and always delivering with, out of this world art, you make my heart swell with such appreciation. Liz, you are such a kind human who always thinks of those who are injured and constantly ask why? Which is such a rare gift. I'm ready for your July influx of Halloween & Christmas memes. Sonja, your dancer’s soul bleeds into your work, you place words in motion when you scribe; your expression is always so pure. I sincerely adore the underlining innocence emoted with so much playfulness ton in your work -- regardless of theme. Ari, what can I say? You're happiness incarnate with the ability to tell it like it is. Such a refreshing characteristic, especially when done with a massive smile on your face. Luke, I was overjoyed when you joined our team, your advocacy steeped intent, creativity, and emotive writing is a nice addition to the team. Loralie, I cannot thank you enough for stepping in for Luke and writing something so worthy of International Women's Day for women of all ages. I am incredibly grateful for all of you!

Wishing you all so much love!

Now, my contribution for IWD 2023.

Confident, Unafraid, and Resilient

One night
my brain rescued itself
intent placed to protect
from horrible intentions
a lucid dream state
and a vision
that would place shivers
on the most confident of bodies
it is of no consequence
exist to reside
in our private universe

Arrogance permeates
altruistic declaration
fractured words
said with vibrations
of untruths

Collide in a brain
that refuses to believe
vulnerable in nature
resilient and healable
there are forces
beyond this Earth
who manoeuvre intent

A puppet with bloodied strings
extricated from its capture
a China doll turns toward me
as I walk into a room
obviously, a frozen painted expression
with fun red lips, flawless over
the lid black eyeliner
and plump lashes that yearn

A gentle breeze took
hold of my chest
swept me out of the room
slammed the door behind me

verity is exclusive
promises are cemented
blood forges the agony
extraordinarily —

p.s. Stay tuned for one more special post for IWD!

A Refection of Hope, Resiliency, & Expectation By Loralie Young

As our Quill Fated Scribe Luke Young is male, I’ve invited his incredibly talented wife Loralie Young to contribute to our International Women’s Day celebration with a few words on resiliency and women. Loralie beautifully illustrated reflection highlights women as a historical underdog who as a collective have alway endured relentlessly.

Being a woman has never been an easy thing. Throughout history, women have been treated as secondary, less-than, always hovering on the periphery of greatness, despite the fundamental role we have played in the furthering of humankind’s existence. Despite our recent advancements in society, the demands on those who identify as female have never ended, only increased - wrapped up in platitudes of advancement, equality and progress. Despite being the unsung backbones of communities, the creators of life and the nurturers of humanity, women are expected to quietly occupy a lower echelon in our world, to carry unequal burdens with no support, no recognition, and no hope for actual change - love and respect hinging on our productivity and ability to endlessly give of ourselves with no support or respite.

Yet we continue on. In spite of everything leveraged against us, we pick up the pieces and forge something new.

Because we have hope.
Because we are resilient.
But we are tired.

Tired of endless marches and protests for the right to exist in a world we’ve created. Tired of having decisions for our own bodies stripped away, the rights of others always taking precedence. Tired of having our well-being and health come second place, always second place, over the needs and wants of a world that uses us, drains us dry, then leaves us in the gutter.

Tired of pleading with our communities to see us, hear us, support us, appreciate us and acknowledge us. Not for what we can give - haven’t we given enough? - but because we are inherently worthy as we are. Not as mothers, wives, sisters or daughters, or any title that proclaims our worth because of what we have done, what we have given, what we have sacrificed. Simply worthy because we are human beings.

To all the women, born or identifying, who continue to strive to live in this world - I see you. You are amazing. You are worthy of acceptance, love, respect and the right to exist. Not because of what you’ve done, sacrificed or created, but because of who you inherently are. You are not alone in this fight for existence. Never alone. When the hope for a brighter future deserts you, remember you do not have to carry the burden alone.
You are allowed space to rest, to be, to breathe, without expectation or condition.
Together we will get up again. We will continue on, because that is who we are.

We are resilient.
We are women.

International Women’s Day. Women and Health Empowerment By Artemis Skye McNeil

You’ve been preparing your whole life for this, whether you knew it or not, a time after puberty and young womanhood; a time that would one day become your “second Spring”- and whether you realized it or not, the decisions you would make as a child, young adult, and well in womanhood, would all come back as reminders when you reach "the time" in your life where your ovaries stop making the hormones estrogen and progesterone. The ovaries also stop releasing eggs (ova, oocytes). After menopause, you can no longer become pregnant.

For some this comes at a time after the children are grown and personal identity is no longer in question. The woman knows who she is and is comfortable in her skin as she looks to the rest of her years in a somewhat type of freedom that allows the next phase in life to begin.

For many though, what should be a new found freedom comes with turmoil: weight gain, bloating, mood swings, migraines, brain fog, fatigue, and depression among other debilitating symptoms. To make it worse, a visit to the doctor will claim all these body discrepancies as “normal,” or be given symptomatic medications, leaving a woman feeling anxious, and defeated adding insult to injury.

In recent years, a new awareness has come to light regarding this time of a woman’s life. That is that our hormones do not have to turn into “horrormones” (I have coined this word taking it to heart from my husband’s observations), and they can remain our “heromones” if we become aware of this phase in our life and prepare for it early on.

Because we are adults, that does not mean our body stops changing. It may just not be as evident on the outside as getting our baby teeth pulled to allow for new teeth, or as our breasts start emerging, or as we notice body hair, and begin a period, that demarcates puberty.

This later "change" comes on more subtly at first then a bit like a lion, if we are not prepared.

As our hormones start to decline, we may feel foggy, have some weight gain, become lethargic, and many will address the symptoms. Maybe I need an anti-depressant, a vacation, to go on a diet, up my cardio, take some vitamins…but what if we were to realize, that going into menopause could truly be a freedom that needed some tending to just like we needed a bra or pads/tampons because our body was undergoing another type of change?

So then what is it that we need for our “Second Spring” to be refreshing and not depressing?
Well the answer is not a simple one since it can be as varied as the women who go through it- but it there is underlying common denominator that can change the course (towards menopausal years) if taken to heart today whether 16 or 46. That answer is 5 words.

They are probably the most important 5 words for your body, and that is — “Take care of your liver.” That’s right your liver, the most beautiful organ that conducts more than 500 vital functions. Some of the more well-known functions include the production of bile, which helps carry away waste and break down fats in the small intestine during digestion. It plays a key role in cholesterol, in glucose.

The liver regulates the balance of sex hormones, thyroid hormones, cortisone and other adrenal hormones. It transforms or removes any excess from the body. If the liver cannot do this properly, there is the risk of emotional imbalances. So by the time we reach menopause, if we haven’t taken care of our liver, it will let us know that it isn’t happy by some, or all of the above “communications” mentioned at the beginning of this article.

Suffice it to say that we couldn’t begin to address how we should take care of our liver in one article. But the information is out there as more and more women strive to take back autonomy of their bodies. If you are experiencing these symptoms and not happy with what your doctor says, seek a qualified practitioner who will listen and understand your discomfort and help educate and empower you to not settle for what has been stated as “there is nothing you can do.” Seek out menopausal doulas, read up on what happens to your body at this time and make good, educated decisions accordingly.

Let’s take back our autonomy when it comes to our health. It has been said many times that doctors don’t always listen when women complain of their symptoms. But as women, we live in our bodies every day. Do we listen when it is trying to communicate with us? Stop, breathe, listen, and understand that our body is all about communication and protection. What has it been trying to tell us?

As International Women’s day helps us seek empowerment, let’s do just that with ourselves first, in the privacy of our own quiet. Then seek out the correct assistance with accurate information, and follow through.

As a final note to this article, here are some things that we can do right away to show our liver that we want to take better care of it and in turn help our hormones:

1. Eat real food. Chemicals are not real food. The liver has to work all these chemicals out of its system (food coloring; caramel color; Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6; MSG; artificial sweeteners, sodium nitrite, guar gum, high fructose corn syrup, etc…).

2. Drink plenty of filtered water to help flush out toxins and stay hydrated.

3. Move daily (10 minutes of walking after a meal can help lower blood sugar).

4. Rest well (The body regenerates during sleep)

5. Watch alcohol consumption (liver, liver, liver)

6. Question whether you really need that OTC or prescription. While they have their place, they are way over prescribed and many times an alternate answer to address the issue can be just as effective.

7. Take high quality supplements without a lot of fillers, like Vitamin D and Magnesium.

8. Take time to rest and recharge with low key meaningful “re-creation.” (Scrolling through social media is not considered as an activity to recharge. It is draining.
While there are many more suggestions, the above can help put you on the right road towards your ‘Golden” years or back on track as you continue to educate your mind and listen to your body.

All women deserve great stories in their lives through adventures, relationships, goals, and memories. They don’t deserve illness to rob them of beautiful years if they can help it. From 6-96-may you always continue to thrive.

"What is strength anyway?" She mused."Is it how much you can lift, or how much you can carry?In reality, isn't it how much you can let go of?"And I knew then, she was one strong woman.

Find peace in release

A Moment To Appreciate Dance, Music, & Poetry By: Sonja Mabel McClure

I have to be honest, when I first read this piece by Sonja I was so immensely overjoyed with its synchronicity as lately I have genuinely truly wanted to dance significantly more. The manner in which my body just wants to move upon hearing a beat, especially if the music is fusion. Why, is it after reading Sonja’s contribution to International Women’s Day, do I want to go to the desert and learn to belly dance with swords like Sonja!

By Sonja Mabel McClure

When I hear the theme “all women count,” I can’t help but think of tempo and time signatures of dance and music. How different chords, patterns, and rhythms come together to create a song or dance number. Each note or dancer is essential to the result. In choreography, each person usually has a specific placement on the floor. All working together to render one dance. The entire group is required to make the dance happen. Each one of us has a voice/expression to share. Conveying a story through motion, similar to a scribe on a page. We simultaneously embrace and celebrate our femininity while utilizing the therapeutic aspects of movement and exercise.

Beginners often struggle with learning and memorizing the moves. Even as a seasoned dancer, I still have good and bad days during practice. At times, I’m awkward, offbeat, and I mix-up the order of the choreography. I may tire easily or suffer from body aches. When this happens, the others are quick to sympathize and offer encouragement. Their strength helps me regain and maintain my own. They keep me going and boost my energy and confidence.
When attending or performing at a festival, a wider circle of women bond on a larger scale. We are linked in solidarity, women of all walks of life, each equally important, ready to cheer one another on.


The dancing
the stage

as water,
Snake arms
slither and

into a camel,
with an arabesque

Bells, coins
and zills,
a galloping
the Arabic drums

a Tribal fusion,
skirts whirl—

in sisterhood.

A Segment of Between My Sheets By Liz Lugo

For day 2 of our Quill Fated Scribe International Women’s Day Celebration, I have a beautiful excerpt from Liz Lugo’s book Between My Sheets currently available in Spanish Entre Mis Sábanas: Una Guía Espiritual para la Aceptación, Validez, y Libertad on Amazon. This delicious morsel of expression below highlights that Liz is not afraid to tackle difficult subjects in Between My Sheets, as you can read below. My suggestion, have a box of tissues as you read, things may get a bit weepy with the understanding of your own personal journey and what it is that would strongly be of benefit to you in the long term.

How to go from being slaves of time to expressing that you own it? By Liz Lugo

When hard things happen to us, things that are difficult for us to understand, time is our best ally… even if we do not like to hear it. Wounds do not heal from one day to the next, just as time varies according to the person and their experiences, we must all recognize the positivism that encompasses and make it our best friend. Although it may seem crazy, understand that time is not your enemy, that it accepts you as you are and that it is willing to fight alongside you, against winds and tides. But, what about you? Do you accept yourself as you are? Are you willing to fight against everything?

Self-love plays the most important role in making peace over time and overcoming difficulties; but there are many things that affect the way we see ourselves, how we love, respect, and value each other. It is not easy for any person to understand, for example in the case of sexual abuse or physical abuse, how someone crosses that line of respect to touch you without your consent, to hit you, to hurt you. It is not easy for anyone to understand, for example in the case of psychological, verbal and emotional abuse, how someone can manipulate you, say such hurtful things, treat you worse than trash… much less if they are people who supposedly love us. We cannot pretend to cover the sun with one finger. Nobody deserves that. It is just horrible. These people should not even be classified as human beings. But we do not live in a utopia world. Unfortunately, psychological abuse, verbal abuse, sexual harassment, domestic violence, sexual abuse, rape, (among others)… all these are issues that society classify as a taboo refraining from talking about them, but (sadly) they exist. And these are just examples. The truth is that you do not have to be a survivor of abuse to feel like society, and even oneself, points out and judges, adding weight to the pain. And there is precisely the key to making that divine alliance with time.

The human being is like an oyster… billions, but each one is special in its own way. Not all oysters make pearls and, certainly, not all pearls are created equal. For an oyster to produce a pearl, a process is required that too many will seem normal, common, or “things that happen in life.” Pearls are formed when a foreign body enters the interior of the oyster… it can be a grain of sand, a parasite, or any other particle (many call it a “little garbage”). Not being able to expel it, the oyster reacts by secreting substances, a mixture of calcium carbonate and conchiolin, known as nacre, which is the same material that lines the walls of the inner part of the oyster shell. That is when a pearl is produced. The interesting thing is that it is not an immediate process… on the contrary, it is a process that takes time, and can take up to ten years.

Just as oysters get that “little garbage,” human beings do too… in the sense that that is how we feel when we go through difficult situations. We feel tainted, garbage, that we are worthless. We feel that whatever happened to us, whether it was surviving any type of abuse or simply being rejected, losing a loved one, losing our job, being abandoned… whatever happened, just came to invade our space, our interior. And we constantly miss who we were before, and even wonder who we would be if such a thing wouldn’t happen. “My life would have been even more stable!” Well, it is an opinion that we will never have a correct or real answer because life simply happens. So why wallow in countless unanswered questions that only keep us stuck in that place full of negative vibes?

Just as oysters require a long process to produce pearls, human beings require a long process to heal… it is not overnight. An oyster can take up to ten years to give us such a precious jewel. However, the human being can take until it is necessary. We do not have to set time to heal because each one is individual – to ourselves and to the oysters, there is no comparison in that regard. Some may take months, a year or even five years. For others, it will take ten, twelve, fifteen, or even twenty years. Not all situations are the same, nor are all pains. It is essential to understand that you are you, that all your luggage bears your name, not someone else’s… as well as understanding that your luggage weighs what you decide it weighs, not someone else’s. That, if each suitcase and bag weighs fifty pounds each, that’s fine. I admit it, it weighs too much. And once you recognize the weight of each one, accept it as it is —— that is the magical moment that time begins to smile with you. Right there is that, little by little, you will begin to empty those suitcases and bags, and your luggage will become lighter. And it does not matter if it’s half a pound to half a pound, a pound a week…it doesn’t matter. The important thing is to lose weight.

Oysters are considered a pure, elegant jewel, symbolizing loyalty, generosity, humility, and innocence. In earlier times, men and women wore them because they were considered talismans with powers over stronger friendships and could even calm anger toward others. In addition, for many people, pearls meant the symbol of the purest love. It is interesting how a process of suffering, of situations that destroy us, that change us, can lead to producing something so precious. I am fascinated by this comparison with oysters and how pearls are produced, not only because it expresses how time plays an important role in our processes, but also how time goes hand in hand to, in addition to helping us heal, transform us into a being of light, to show us the treasure we have always been.

Usually, society points so much at people… yes, very much at survivors of abuse and even rape, to the point of overwhelming all attention on how the victim was to blame and not the attacker; but they really point out even at people who are just trying to survive a depression because they had to see their mother die (or any loved one), see who they considered their soulmate leave, fail in some project… countless situations that are difficult to assimilate, to process, to heal. And for some strange reason, many times it is more comfortable for us to listen to the noise around us than to listen to our soul. We know who we are, but simply because we do not understand why such a thing happened to us, we think that the noisy ones are right, that these signs tell the truth. It is not like this. The healing process leads us to remove that band that we began to create when something unpleasant happened to us. That band that we put in our eyes, but especially in our minds, and prohibits us from seeing our value. By being able to take off the band, we are going to be able to realize all the wonderful things that have always been within us, all our essence. The healing process leads to a love as pure as self-love… so hard to find, but so precious. You uncover all negativity and begin to give place to humility, loyalty, generosity, innocence, empathy, understanding… to all those qualities that make you unique and special.

We are not what people think. We are not what people see, nor what they murmur. As we become distracted and fed up with hearing phrases about time, how is it that we give importance to the noise of society?

Data Girl’s Rabbit Hole Reviews Awakening Autumn, Julia Cubo & Tony Moore, and April Rose Gabrielli

I had thought long and hard how I wanted to format Data Girl’s Rabbit Hole, my character, like my musical tastes has always been everything at once. There is no better place to get lost inside of music than to simply engross yourself in the moment the notes, clefs, rest, and bar lines ensconce the listener in a blanket coated with all that auditory goodness melodies offer. Below you will find my reviews for Break My Teeth by Awakening Autumn; Anthem for Love, written by Julia Cubo & Tony Moore; and Bookstore by April Rose Gabrielli. Each of these pieces of music is as unique as the next, I thought it would be fun to vary the genres. Let’s get started…

Break My Teeth By Awakening Autumn

When I heard the first lyric, I started to think of the Tell Tale Heart and the undeniable beat of a heart that is undergoing a profound journey. I feel such intentionality of notes when I listen to Break My Teeth in unison with the lyrics. There is a presence of a beat that is very prominent throughout, I am trying to find the words for the bridge; it is as though one is walking through a meadow, induced tranquility. There is an exquisite push/pull that occurs in this piece, the lyrics are not exactly easy in terms of emotion, there is a myriad of expressed fear intertwined with bravery and immense resilience. A dichotomy of the connection of individuals, so into each other with an imprinted profound impact. I am actually genuinely enjoying this piece, the contrast of an elegant melody paired with heavy themed lyrics about a loved one, the most powerful of elements in the world. I think what hooked me the most is the last set of lyrics:

“I’m scared of life
I’m scared you might
Decide it’s
Just a waste of time
I bit the curb
Because you’re worth
The pain and fight
I’d let you break my teeth
If it got you close to me
And when I’m bleeding, honey
I’ll be glad you even touched me (Break My Teeth, Awakening Autumn, 2023).”

I just can’t, I want to know more about this song? I want to know what the origin story is that breathed life into this piece?
Anthem of Love, Julia Cubo & Tony Moore

People do not know this about me, because I typically do not speak about how much I love the world of Opera, even more so fusion music that escapes the boundaries of genres to birth another. My soul melted when I first heard Julia’s soft notes at the beginning of Anthem of Love. I was truly entranced by Julia’s high operatic notes, which truly mesmerize me, with such a strong sense of intoxication. When I listen, I envision steps that rise and become higher with each new note that was hit; higher and severely more heighten than the other – in the most magical way.  Anthem for Love is relentless, it pushes the boundaries of musical styles that blend into act other to honour that genuine mélange. It might sound cheesy to say, the blend of musical styles with high notes, which truly beg the listener’s ears for more.  The moment Anthem for Love begins, there is a dramatic start to the song that takes hold throughout the piece, I have no idea how Julia manages to create this concentrated focus in her voice, the high notes at the end – forget about it. MAGNIFICO! I am trying to formulate the words to contemplate how I want to describe the expression that moves through my soul when I listen to Anthem for Love, it is the perfect blend of old world music steeped inside of history with a new contemporary twist that offers luscious notes that crescendo throughout until the end. Where these tremendous operatic notes make their way to the forefront of Anthem for Love. A classic love song for the ages. I know that is it almost 3:00am in the UK right now however; I would like to extend a special CONGRATULATIONS to Julia Cubo & Tony Moore as Anthem for Love was released today March 3, 2023. 

Read the passion between the notes of Anthem for Love: 

“Inside This Shell
We Can Feel Safe Here
Where Emotions Cannot Hurt Us
But Sometimes We Need Danger
We Are Hungry To Connect - To Some

Love, Extraordinary Love
Incredible Amore
A Love  We Can’t Ignore - A

Love, Immaculate Devine
The Fabric Of All Time
The Force That Fills Us All - With Life

Hearts Locked Away
Cannot Protect Us
When We Find We Fall Again
The Sweet Sharp Pain  - That Can Perfect Us
When We Finally Embrace - A

Love, Extraordinary Love
Incredible Amore
A Love  We Can’t Ignore - A

Love, Immaculate Devine
The Fabric Of All Time
The Force That Fills Us All - With Life
The Source, The Strength, The Power Of The  Light- That’s Love
We Are A Void Of Darkness When We’re On Our Own
We Were Never Born To Walk This Road  - All On Our Own - Without

Love, Extraordinary Love
Incredible Amore
A Love  We Can’t Ignore - A

Love, Immaculate Devine
The Fabric Of All Time
The Force That Fills Us All - With Life
The Source, The Strength, The Power Of The  Light- That’s Love (Julia Cubo, & Tony Moore, 2023).”
Bookstore By April Rose Gabrielli 

It is not a secret that I have loved the music of April Rose Gabrielli since the first time that I heard Do You? when I was, Data Girl on Tony Moore’s Musical Emporium. April is an artist that I will continue to listen to and review because there is something so wonderful about the way she scribes lyrics and composes music. If I cheated on, Do You? with Breaking Both, I think Bookstore might annihilate them a little. I know that the melody or lyrics sound nothing alike; although, I think that Bookstore has the feel of Petula Clark’s Downtown, that universal expression surrounded by a sacred space which in this instance is the Bookstore. It is the most incredible thing the mind, the imagination and the over all encounter of worlds we are completely clueless about. Where they house such a deep and poignant meaning throughout the tethers we hold in our lives. April resides in a world of lush storytelling, each time I listen to her songs there are so many scenes that come to my mind. This one housed with such  spectacular images, which discuss of tales from long ago of galvanized bonds, that brings human beings together in a fashion that is conducive to understanding and true appreciation of love, the human condition and force which propels forward via the imagination and jolt of verity. 

Cemented Ink, Episode 9 with CCIQ Press Resident Artist: Valisa Bernardino

Welcome to the first of our Quill Fated Scribes International Women’s Day 2023 special presentation.

This interview was seriously a long time coming, I fell in love with Val’s body of work the moment that I laid eyes on her pieces. I still remember how we met, I believe I was introduced to her work by Thirty West EIC Josh Dale. The first image that I framed from Val is the image of a human heart with a hand above it; which rests in a frame behind me as I write this intro. It is quite remarkable how humans who we’ve never met, yet work with so beautifully, house such a tethered connection. Val can draw anything and everything, however, it is her very unique style that makes her the artist that she is. Val always goes for it when it comes to her art, she is one artist that comes to play when something is requested of her. I could literally sit here until the cows come home and discuss how extraordinary Val is… how about you listen to the podcast we recorded earlier today about humanity and what it means to be a carbon life form obsessed with the greater good and passion.

Cemented Ink Episode 9, Valisa Bernardino

New Music Review Feature, Data Girl’s Rabbit Hole

During my single digit years, I naturally gravitated toward one of my favourite things, dare I say one of the two great loves of my life. My affection for singing began at a VERY young age, being able to sing, to unleash all the crazy high, long, and loud notes did not come easily. There was always a part of me that held back, the little tiny voice that said “You cannot unleash everything you have!” it was actually quite frustrating. I think that is one of the most debilitating things that we can do to ourselves, is diminish who we are on an intrapersonal scale. In lieu of the annoying darkness, why not manifest a relationship forged in nourishment of all aspects of the world of music. I have decided to open a regular music review section, on Juxtaposed, entitled Data Girl’s Rabbit Hole. For those of you who know me personally, you are aware of my appreciation of the fantastical steeped in adventure, which makes it the perfect place for me to set a few musical review roots.

To be considered for review, please email all of your tunes to datagirlsrabbithole@gmail.com; kindly include: bio, socials, and music in either MP3, or link where it can be accessed.

Verity: Bloody Clueless

The most important part of a title
is not the use of the colon 
it is the tethered words 
apathetic humans void
of the truest definition 
of empowered uninhibited 

It is quite comical how the use 
of wolves as the enemy of high-quality wool
savages that seek to do nothing, wait 
although prey to induce devastation 
and annihilation 

An instilled sense of obliteration 
irony in the wake of numerous 
posts on the topic of “kindness”
that float through social media strata
are commonly posted by individuals 

Who pretend to be kind 
Who pretend to care 
Who pretend to be something they are not 
Who pretend to not lie 
Who pretend to have flesh and marrow
        worthy of exploration 

Although the only thing that is offered
is a blank shell 
a vessel void of anything 
except subterfuge 

Dangerous beast 
   you should have never revealed yourself 
 a soft underbelly concealed from the world 
      one that resides in fear 
  one that refuses to relent 
      one which does nothing 
  absent reflection 
one that hides in L’Etranger 
   level indecision 

Please take this note  
   you who are reading this piece 
if a broken bird is perched 
   on your doorway 
a snap of the neck 
   is not the manner in which to reside 
 hold the creature in your hands 

    don’t ignore the ache 
  don’t ignore the cry 
don’t ignore the call
   that may be the last thing 
     you are able to do 

  as that bird that was ignored 
 will once heal however
make seek a thick class window
   to bash its head 
        to diminish the pain 
   instead of live in the hope
      that there are humans 
   actually, worthy of care 
       and compassion 

I don’t need to be brought into the light; I am the light

Perception vs reality
a bunch of garbage
spouted from the mouths
of individuals who are clueless
to the point a brain might
be improved from a bunch of bricks
upon the top of the head

Don’t get me wrong
I genuinely comprehend
the breakdown of how acquired
brain injury impacts the mind
from the moment a baby exits
the birth canal to the ages
which require a cane

Imagine for a moment
a single postage stamp

Some serve the purpose
of a noncommittal communication
across town — cheap to snail mail
barely any thought — connection
on a superficial plateau

Now, a bunch of stamps
perhaps to send across a province
7 or 9 little perforated stamps
side by side at the ready
fortified to ensure a slightly
longer journey

Final resolve
to many little stamps
traded for something
even more special
imprinted stamp
furnished with date and time
and postal office of origin

A parcel which requires
longevity — the latter is what
I’m build for — others are not
for a span of resilience
they allow fear and selfishness
no manifest and rise
not my wheelhouse
it never will be

Macuahuitl’s Hemorrhage: 14 Days of Bloody Valentine’s By Luke Young & Rania M M Watts Day 14: My Bloody Valentine

Did you know? 

Did you know, when we took those photographs together that you would break me?

Did you know, when you asked specific questions while we were in that photo booth would be a catalyst to thought?

Did you know, when you took me in a half hazard form of passion — I would fall in love with you?

Did you know, I’d let you do anything you desired in that photo booth?

Did you know, I thought you were genuinely interested as shared kisses occupied the first and second panel of the photo strip?

Did you know, I saw you, that one time you looked at me, the first time your eyes gazed upon in a fashion of never being seen prior to that moment?

Did you know, you shattered me in a million little pieces?

The photographs did not exit the photo booth while, it was a mosaic of shattered pieces held together with gold.

You caused the destruction of pain, so heavily mocked by your seductive undertones.

Macuahuitl’s Hemorrhage: 14 Days of Bloody Valentine’s By Luke Young & Rania M M Watts Day 13: Haunted Photo Booth

I stared at myself in the middle of the mall
The flashes and artificial clicks weren’t able to distract me enough
From the feeling of doom resting in the pit of my belly
It grew to encompass an awareness of talons easing into my shoulder
The longer I sat the less able to leave I became
But still the machines whirred on
Taking picture after picture after picture
My eyes wide
Frozen in place like a woodland creature on the trespassing road

It wasn’t until much later
When I gathered the energy to leave and collect the stack of printed copies
That I noticed each square capture contained faces not my own
Faces of pain and malice
Begging to be released

Macuahuitl’s Hemorrhage: 14 Days of Bloody Valentine’s By Luke Young & Rania M M Watts Day 12: Blood Diamonds


It was a slow drip from the surface
Winding it’s way towards catacombs and caverns below
A stalactite formation representing real conflicts
Coagulating beneath tank treads and bullet casings
Where the earth sopped it up
Drinking it in like glass after glass of wine
Lubricating and freeing the tongue for ecstasy
Driving libidos onwards with perfumes of sulfur, carbon and potassium nitrate
Dilating pupils and engorging fleshy sex organs
The pulsing flesh on flesh brutality is the direct byproduct of
The gift
One meant to awe
Gorgeously pink
Having been harvested from the rock
Where it waited for a new home
A new finger
A new purpose
A new hunger
The best friend it will watch die like all the rest

Macuahuitl’s Hemorrhage: 14 Days of Bloody Valentine’s By Luke Young & Rania M M Watts Day 11: Possession

I just can’t

There are certain phrases, and words, in the lexicon of a poet that are not always used for the best of intentions. A myriad, no, true infinite plethora of words available at any moment. Possessed phrases, possessed words, possessed to the nth degree. When the word otherwise is brought toward me, I’m reminded of the impact, of what it means for something to be otherwise. Revelations, passions burn. Poignant burn, that one is exposed to from — the inside. When the residual ache of inadequate promises ensue. It is of no consequence how hippocampus reacts with the word. Otherwise, when finally, the realization clicks in the possession, never should’ve occurred, that insanity is not brought forth by our intimate, personal selves. It is brought forth by the lunacy of the impact of others, living rent free in our mind. It’s time for an eviction of possessed phrases from a catalogue of authentic definitions that prosper in the most horrible of conditions, only to be discovered as a true orchid, able to survive the most harsh climate, whether they be intellectual or textured in weather.

Macuahuitl’s Hemorrhage: 14 Days of Bloody Valentine’s By Luke Young & Rania M M Watts Day 10: Agent Provocateur

Super Bowl Weekend & A Little Agent Provocateur

Frankenstein’s body
was left in the back room
with numerous barmaids
clandestine scene with bare shreds
of clothing, desire induced rips
clips no longer fasten
the ever delicate exposure
of a b cup size breast
while cradled in the tulle fabric
silk ribbons tied around the body
which hold various body organs
in place — terror induced screams
offered up in a moment of tantalised
flesh on flesh — gorgeous flesh
in fact — regardless
of the mental teeter totter games

“Oh, what can I do with you?”
“Me? In these scraps?”
“You don’t see, these are £175
Agent Provocateur’s red crushed velvet!”
“Boundless potential and imagination
seeks resolution, I was moved
inspired to purchase this.”
“What is it?”
“You want to put it on your body?”
“Fine, just give it to me!”
“As you wish!”
“Look at me!”
“I cannot!”
“Because my thoughts and fondness
for you need to diminish.”
“What?! Why?”
“You are too beautiful & caring;
I’m a black hole —
no love”
“That’s bullshit, and you know it!”
“Think what you want, I give zero
“Clearly, that genuinely explains
your behaviour and vulnerability.
Denial suits you.”

Macuahuitl’s Hemorrhage: 14 Days of Bloody Valentine’s By Luke Young & Rania M M Watts Day 8: This Ain’t Your Moet Champagne

He was lost in thought. Hands deep in the pockets of his bar apron. Memories of the pleasure of the night before. The pretty face and welcoming body he used thoroughly. Waking up that morning he was already bored of her but curious for the new flavour of the night.

“Hey what can I get for you?”
“Don’t you recognize me?”
“Um, I see a lot of people in a night. Would you like a drink?”
“Glass of pinot grigio.”
“Santa Margherita?”
Hair: 6 Skin: 5 Eyes: 8 Boobs: 3 Ass: 9

“Good evening. Can I help you with anything?”
“Is that all you have to say?”
“I’m sorry, what do you mean?”
“Really? Fine. Old Fashioned then.”
“Rebel Yell?”
Hair: 8 Skin: 4 Eyes: 4 Boobs: 6 Ass: 2

“Well well! Why didn’t you call me back?”
“Call you back? Did I say I would?”
“Not really but I thought…”
“Might as well.”
Hair: 4 Skin: 7 Eyes: 5 Boobs: 9 Ass: 7

“Yo jackass! I’ve been waiting!”
“Whoa whoa, no need for that!”
“I’ve been waiting for you to say hello.”
“Hello! Hell fucking OH!”
Hair: 10 Skin: 4 Eyes: 2 Boobs: 4 Ass: 4

“Hello beautiful!”
“Beautiful huh? So beautiful I was worth 10 seconds?”
“What do you mean?”
“You lasted 10 seconds but the smell of alcohol off your skin took days to leave me.”
“No drink then?”
Hair: 2 Skin: 3 Eyes: 4 Boobs: 1 Ass: 3

“Darling! I’ve been thinking of you a lot!”
“A lot huh? Well, I’m glad you came back. You sure like your martinis haha.”
“No I mean I’ve been thinking of you. That’s why I’m here.”
“I’ll get you a martini then. Belvedere, very dry, blue cheese olive. Just how you like it.”
“I like you.”
Hair: 7 Skin: 6 Eyes: 6 Boobs: 4 Ass: 10

I wonder if I could get any of them to come home with me again… The one with the perfect ass doesn’t seem too mad…

Macuahuitl’s Hemorrhage: 14 Days of Bloody Valentine’s By Luke Young & Rania M M Watts Day 7: Yo! What about Spinal Juice & Liver Pate?

I lied to you 
it was done purposely
expressions void of love
I fell hard for you
now forever silenced
when I look
at your shrunken head
don’t worry you’re in good company
as the 13 captured pumpkin

I’m reminded of the ache
that came with a request to listen
always met with swarms of crickets
laughable, respond immediately
(insert maniacal

Your perfect dark green optics
in a jar on my desk
facing the window toward the East
where you can look out at a world
which doesn’t remember you
unlike the pounds
chop and chump
in my freezer

I truly hope
you are as tasty
as the others

Doomed soul
forever vanquished in the darkness
stitched eyes and lips