Katie Doherty’s Tea Picks

 

img_20170227_075444_901

Blogger, tea drinker, bibliophile, writer, poet and creative enthusiast. Katie is a published poet, writer and editor. She owns Patchouli Tea where she gets to put her bohemian creativity to use in the form of a blog.



I was given tea from a ridiculously young age, whether that was right or wrong it gave me a thirst for it. Over the years I have tasted so many great blends and so many bad; I think my taste is much more refined these days.

I have a cup of tea as soon as I wake up; this is usually a Yorkshire Tea, it is a strong and tasty brew that helps awaken my senses for the day. Depending on where I am or what I am doing  I will go between drinking various types of teas such as Earl Grey, Assam, Darjeeling, chamomile, peppermint and Earl Grey Crème. I try to keep myself focussed and healthy with the use of herbal teas.

I find the smell of bergamot in Earl Grey very nostalgic. I love writing whilst that scent makes its way up my nostrils and fills the whole room with its endearing perfume.

I am a big fan of black tea and I probably drink more than I should in a day but it does keep me alert and focussed. It is so warming, so flavoursome and comforting – I could never be without it. It is never too far away when I am tapping away on the computer, writing notes in a café or reading a book of an evening. It’s my perfect companion whatever the weather.

To Die For Your Art: A Tribute to Elise Cowen

“The Lady …
The lady is a humble thing
Made of death and water
The fashion is to dress it plain
And use the mind for border” 
― Elise Cowen

elise-cowen

I’m not sure why but the first time I ever set eyes on a picture of Elise Cowan I wanted to know more about her. I can’t explain why, I just felt something. What I did find was a marvelous poet with a brilliant mind. She was a woman dressed in black with these thick-rimmed glasses; little did I know just how much I would love her work. Why am I writing about her? Well I know you can find anything you like on the Internet but I want you to know her and read her work. It is a rather sad tale and I believe that no one should ever be left in their literary grave and go unnoticed.

I often wondered, what ever happened to the women of the Beat Generation? They may have written, they may have sat next to Ginsberg in a café or along the bar next to Kerouac but what lurked inside them. Some of these women were thought of as the muse or the girlfriend; the hanger-on. Deep down these women had fire in their bellies and poetry in their souls and it was dying to come out, dying to be heard. Disturbingly, I have read pieces online saying that the Beat women were just not good enough writers but of course every piece of art is subjective; it is for the reader to decide. Elise did not want to be unsuccessful or contained in any way. She hated the fact that becoming a successful writer like the men around her could be an impossible task. She was admitted into hospital because of the deterioration in her mental health but soon checked herself out; she went back to her parent’s house where she committed suicide. Elise was just 28 years old.

Her lifelong depression was certainly reflected in her poetry. Her work was very real, very haunting with a free form structure. It felt distant yet so personal and relevant. During her short life, Elise didn’t have any poems published and it is very sad to learn that only a small portion of her poetry survived of which some have appeared in various collections thanks to a friend of hers. In 2014 a volume was put together from her only surviving notebook, titled Elise Cowen: Poems and Fragments, edited by Tony Trigilio.

elise-cowen-poetry-book

Recognized only for her associations in the Beat movement, her writing went unseen. We never hear that Elise was a writer, they often say “wasn’t she Ginsberg’s girlfriend?” After her death her parents burnt her work, its content disturbed them with its references to sex and drugs and they didn’t want it going public. To burn the very words that seep from a writer’s soul is to destroy it altogether but her poetry still lives on. Her parent’s decision to burn her work is quite disgraceful but like a phoenix, she certainly did rise from the ashes even if she isn’t around to see just how many people enjoy her work.

elise-cowen

Loren Rhoad’s Tea Picks

loren-rhoadsLoren Rhoads is the author of Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel. Her new book — 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die — will be out in October.

You can find her website here

My day starts with tea. I turn on the computer and the kettle at the same time. Tea helps me wake up gently, brings my brain back to focus during the day, and chills me out in the afternoon. I have a cupboard dedicated to teas that I’ve collected on my travels. There’s nothing better than wandering into a foreign grocery and looking over their selection of tea — or finding a dedicated tea seller on my adventures.

My favourite tea at the moment is Harney & Sons’ Paris, which is blend of black teas, vanilla, strawberry, and orange. It smells wonderful and tastes better.

lorens-tea

 

 

 

Lydia Peever’s Tea Picks

lydia-peever-1

Lydia Peever is a horror author and journalist from Ontario, Canada. She is a big fan of horror music, books and film–so anywhere there is blood, you will probably find her lurking somewhere in the corner.

Her short stories have appeared in Postscripts To Darkness, Dark Moon Digest, For When The Veil Drops and her small collection, Pray Lied Eve and it’s sequel Pray Lied Eve 2. The follow up to her first novel Nightface has also been written.
In her spare time, she helps update the new releases section of the Horror Writers Association website, photographs zombie walks or bloody punk rock bands, and records a few podcasts.

You can visit her website here



I’m a big tea fan, although it often gets overshadowed by my massive coffee consumption. To tell the truth I’m not one to pick sides, except in the morning I may prefer a coffee, and in the evening tea may sit better.

My darling tea is hands-down Earl Grey. Twinings makes a great one, though the last two boxes I’ve had were from Ahmad Tea. Both really great. There is a boutique roastery in Ottawa named Bridgehead which has some of the best loose leaf Earl Grey I’ve ever had and I often gift it for holidays – the Twinings loose leaf is a runner-up to that.

Rooibos of all kinds is my decaf star, over and above any decaf coffee I’ve ever had. Rooibos is lovely any time of day, the redder the better!

I also love Sunflower brand loose leaf Jasmine Tea. Nothing beats heading into Chinatown for so many varieties of Jasmine!

Not a big fan of dried herbals, but when I have a garden handy, I really like mint, borage, basil, chamomile or whatever you can pick and steep. The exception is Yarrow tea for circulation, and counts as the only real medicinal use of tea I can get behind other than tea being a hot cup of something which is usually always good!

Last year my sister was into Pu’er teas and some of the longer steeping teas, and while I don’t have the patience for that or some of the lovely green blooming teas, I will note those for retirement when I have more time to steep tea!

Commonly, I opt for a black cup of whatever Tetley or Red Rose is around when the coffee or milk is suspect. It’s very rare that I take tea with any milk, sugar, lemon, or anything so it is a frugal bet.

My father has been a tea drinker all of his life and for a short time was into a good Earl Grey. Save that tryst, he’s been an Orange Pekoe guy but the Earl Grey reminds me of him ~ likely because it was an oddity. The bergamot scent even worked its way into my first novel, Nightface, and it’s all because of this tea. I’d have to say I like it for these things and also because even a bad cup of Earl Grey is at least a decent cup of black tea!

The Joy Of Self-Publishing

anais-nin-at-her-printing-press

Anaïs Nin is a perfect example of someone who self-published, something that is frowned upon, even today. American publishers rejected her writing yet some high profile writers praised it. Why was it rejected? Well, it was deemed to be uncommercial; in other words, it wouldn’t make enough money. Defiant in her approach to pushing her work, Anaïs decided to print the books herself. Printing them by hand with the help of a friend – dedication to her craft can never be under scrutiny. It is interesting to note at this point that when her self-published work sold rather well, the publishers were then interested in reprinting them.

Firstly, I have no problem with people being taken on by agents and publishers. However, I do have a lot of excitement for those who go out and do it themselves. Many years ago I read about self-publishing and how industry bods were quick to dismiss them because if they didn’t get published by the “industry” then it must have been some bad writing. Taking the wonderful Anaïs as a superb example; her work may not read like a Harry Potter novel but it is some of the most beautiful and thought provoking prose ever written. Not everyone likes to read speedy thrillers or gore soaked adventures. Some like to be inspired, touched and invigorated by language that speaks to us. Anaïs wasn’t really the kind of writer to employ a detailed plot, the language she used just leapt off the page and enveloped you into bohemian worlds. For some publishers it seemed that good writing just wasn’t enough.

You are probably wondering what my point is here. Well, writers should never feel in order to be writers that they have to be signed by an agent or have millions of books in every shop around the world. You are a writer if you put pen to paper once an idea hits you. That is what being a writer is. Think of this, your writing came from inside you and you want it to remain as it is. You want to be in charge of every single piece of its journey, which of course ends up in the hands of a reader. In fact, there is no reason why you can’t do it yourself. Getting your story printed is relatively easy these days but the hard work may start when you try to distribute and market it but isn’t that kind of fun? Getting to know people, networking and finding readers who can look you in the eye and genuinely say they love your work? It’s funny because so many people say self-publishing is for bad writing but to be honest, I have read so many bestselling books that I believe are poor but it always comes down to the fact that everything is subjective in this world and this goes for the world of publishing too. Don’t let anyone or anything put you off, if you want to self-publish then do it. You are an artist, you are in charge of your craft and you can do whatever you want with it.

“Publishing today is a complete mess. I know brilliant authors who can’t get their books published,” Moore says, explaining that many publishing houses are afraid of taking risks on fiction. Moore’s solution? “Publish yourself. Don’t rely upon other people.” Alan Moore (Source)

Deadheading (this avant garden)

dreamstimelarge_62005165Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do.

Make good art.

Neil Gaiman


Delving into my mind and picking out the dead flowers isn’t really the way to start this journey  in public but I feel it is a must. Realistically I want you to see the wonderful array of colours, the aromas, I want you to touch me and feel the millions of textures that make up my being, indulge in my busy tongue and my rambunctious mind. The journey I have taken, the places I have stayed, the people I have met and the compromising situations I have had to deal with or have been forced to deal with that nearly saw the death of my craft.

For over twenty years I have constructed words into some sort of order but mostly disorder, I have painfully spent days and nights writing tales of enchantment. The amount of wax I have burnt in secret so I could read late at night is quite costly, the pocket money I spent on fancy fountain pens and the amount of aches and pains I have endured lugging back piles of books from the library. This has been no hobby – words have and will always be my life.

After earning a degree, my life changed. The year was 2006 and I was given a book by Anaïs Nin. Now to put this into context, I hadn’t written for years of fear of not being good enough, the ideas would come and attempt to form themselves and some days I would write a few lines but not enough to get back into the role of writer. So, starting this book was exciting, someone I had heard of but had never had the chance to read. I started with Henry and June. After a few pages I was absolutely glued to each word, sticking to each page and reading it so slowly as if I would absorb pieces of her very soul. It was through this I believed I could write again, I could breathe again, I was no longer drowning in a mundane existence that I had let people create for me– I had life back in my lungs. What is it that made me feel this I hear you ask? Anaïs has a wonderful skill of texturising, colourising and filling her characters full of poetry, you feel and you breath them in whether they are fictional or people featured in her diary, no-one goes untouched by her ethereal mind.

It is now 2017 and through many months of pain and distraction, I have arrived, yet again to a place in my creative life that I can comfortably say – I am not going anywhere. The journey has been long, tiring, soul destroying and at times it felt like I was about to give up a major organ but it came through, it came back and I have many people to thank for that, some I am very close with and some I have never had the pleasure to meet. One day I hope. I have finally made it to the core of my being and I believe this is just the beginning of a long and wonderful journey.