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Freedom in Canada -India’s Rampant Gender Inequality

Pulp Cottage | Culture | 10 min read | April 24, 2020

Freedom in Canada -India’s Rampant Gender Inequality

I moved to Canada 9 years ago and now I freak out over the thought of ever moving back to India. If I had a daughter, I would have banished her notions of ever living in India. Yes, as a woman who has now experienced true liberty here in Canada; who was raised in India—I  experienced severe gender based harassment for most of my life. Activities as simple as walking down the street, contrast heavily here in Canada from anywhere in India. India still struggles with rampant gender inequality. I am FREE here in Canada. I feel SAFE here in Canada. I can birth a daughter here in Canada.

In India, I  had all the privileges, financial independence and constitutional rights like men. On Paper. Yet, out on the streets, our daily life as women did not reflect our “paper-rights”. I survived the daily ogling by men while I walked to the bus-stop  to access my work place. And while shopping for food. Accomplishing any public task that you can imagine was an invitation for sexual harassment. I wore culturally appropriate clothing most of the time and was still whistled at and subjected to obscene sexual innuendos and gestures. I barely survived being touched inappropriately in public transports before I started earning enough to use private transportation. I worked hard and studied hard to claw my way out of those physical daily placements.

Despite my achievements in life I was often made to feel small, dirty and loathsome in my own skin by many men because I’m a woman. Growing up in India,  it was all part of life. As a mother, now naturalized to Canada,  I would want my daughter to have an easier way.

Freedom in Canada for Women

Innumerable Indian women have been successful as doctors, scientists, business women, artists and other professions due to their unique dedication and determination. Most often, families support their daughters as they quest for higher education. But some daughters are forced to go against their family’s wishes to achieve their dreams. For girls and women in India, there is a constant struggle to exist and thrive and this is why….

Indian mythology designates women to the status of Goddesses. This ideology raises a woman’s status much higher than men. That all sounds pretty cool, right?  Yet, there’s always one giant caveat to this “rule”: A woman is to consider her husband a God and is expected to worship him. Unconscionable in Canadian or western world value systems.

There are many factors influencing men’s behaviour towards women, in India. Raised in homes that support this outdated generational ideology of male superiority is primarily what keeps this “cycle” alive. Secondarily how we marry and experience life’s milestones is also a crux point. It’s most ironic as a woman in India to be liberated to vote, to be identified and counted, only to disappear on the streets of India society in a wasteland of sexual abuse and harassment.

The zealousness of male sexuality is just another manifestation of this hierarchy of:  Male control, domination and intimidation to promote subservience.

Women are objectified to serve the men. We are “things” we are simply assets.  To stay short and crisp, I would just highlight the mentality of such generational men who openly punish women by molesting them, physically, mentally and psychologically.

Male Hierarchy in India

Mythologically and religiously, a son is the most important asset parents can accrue during their lifetime due to various superstitions and misconceptions, hence the feeling of superiority comes with the gender. Furthermore, women are raised as “family assets”.  A daughter is considered “Laxmi” the ‘goddess of wealth’ and once she is married, that wealth (along with the woman herself) moves to her husband’s home. Parents must have no share in that wealth or their daughter and they must pay a large dowry (money) to the groom’s family to get her married. This is widely how it operates today. Moving beyond folklore in Canada and insisting on reality in India.

The birth of a daughter is still mourned in many Indian communities to this day. Wealthier citizens often travel out of country for gender identification ultrasounds (illegal in India) and quickly abort female fetuses. Over and over until a son is conceived.

In India, as a woman, I felt unwanted by society and the need to justify my existence was overwhelming. I would try to prove that women were worthy of as much respect as men, using my own achievements.

You CAN wear shorts and spaghetti straps in India. But typically only in few places meant for relatively privileged class designate people. The very same privileged women would need to cover themselves more appropriately while stepping out of their privileged and protected territories. And still, covering yourself up completely doesn’t guarantee immunity from sexual harassment. This is the paradox of the Indian culture. There are freedoms for women protected on paper. There are recognized illegal acts such as aborting gender ID’d fetuses, but the cultural divide needs much improvement to reach those paper-rights. And life moves on in India everyday, this way. 

After moving to Canada, I felt an immediate sense of security as a woman. It took me sometime to stop watching my sides for potential miscreants while walking alone on a street. It felt amazing to be able to walk, run and exercise outdoors without needing another person’s company for safety, or to worry about what exercise gear I should be wearing.

I felt completely at ease wearing what I felt good in, without people giving me those stares. My family members no longer had to ask me to change my clothes in concern that my skirt was only 2 inches below my  knees.

In these nine years, while testing out public transportation in Canada, I have not once experienced personal risk for my safety. Even a drunk or addict is more respectful to women on public transportation in Canada—amusingly so!

And the best part, I can do my own liquor shopping without anyone batting a single eyelid! That is called real freedom (okay, I am just exaggerating right now. Though it is definitely a big milestone!) I can select my own wine for a public party with my girlfriends and we can all wear whatever we like. Wow. Having a cup of coffee with a male friend or colleague doesn’t make me a characterless woman.

In Canada, I drive almost everyday, without ever being hooted at or bullied for being a female driver.

Not a single person in Canada told me about how important it was to have a boy child, which was a huge relief during my pregnancies away from India! I won’t go into detail about how some of the well wishers back home were extra happy about me bearing sons, because HERE, in Canada, that simply doesn’t matter.

India has a rich heritage and a colourful culture. That is TRUE.  There is a lot of warmth in Indian hearts. It is sincere. But sadly, it is not the best place to be born as a girl.  I can’t ignore the limitations women face in India or in similar culturally inept and unequal countries. The World has come a long way, yet there still remains too many cases of gender harassment, molestation, domestic violence, rape etc. Canada is far more socially and culturally advanced, but is not immune to gender based inequalities and how this can wreak havoc on the very threads of civil and safe societies.

For me, as a WOMAN, Canada feels way more comforting. I really love my new found freedom and I appreciate it! I have respect for all those who fought for it and who are still struggling to protect women and other gender-based rights in Canada. My freedom is the single and most important reason for me to stay in Canada. I am thankful.

_________________

Dr. Vatsala Sinha is a new writer to Pulp Cottage and an international medical graduate focused on Clinical Research and Public Health and Medical Aesthetics.  Art, fiction and poetry continue to be special interests. Currently, she is working on her second fiction book, along with going pandemic-crazy with her kids.

Welcome Dr. Vatsala Sinha to the Pulp Cottage team!
Find Dr. Vatsala Sinha on her socials today!

https://www.linkedin.com/in/vatsalasinha

https://www.facebook.com/albertacurves

https://www.instagram.com/albertacurves/

https://www.pinterest.ca/AlbertaCurves/

 

Pulp Cottage Politics | Meet our Cartoonist

Pulp Cottage Politics | Cartoonist 3 min  Read

Welcome to our latest website GALLERY addition: Pulp Cottage Politics! Here is where you can enjoy 100% ad-free space to browse favourite political everything from Canada and beyond. Our gallery has a pop-up-shop feel and we wanted to kick it all off with an introduction to Pulp Cottage’s very own Cartoonist!

Everyone meet “G”. Yup, he’s SO good that he need only go by a single letter…lol! Just another extension of G’s many humours lent to Pulp Cottage and our audience. But for reals now….here’s G’s bio and a sampling of our zany renditions of Canadian Political Life as we see it…watch weekly for NEW #PulpPolitics ‘toons across all your favourite social mediums!

Have YOU ever spotted G in the flesh?

G is a Canadian Oilman TRAPPED in a digital cartoon land of wonder! Hoping to humorously open minds and ignite spirited debates. A connoisseur of all things “oilpatch” from downhole to midstream, G can frequently be found haunting the oilfields of Everywhere, Alberta.

Welcome G to the #PulpPolitics team of content contributors!

PMO Justin Trudeau uses his favourite wedge issues in the quest to “Divide & Conquer” Canadians coast-to-coast!
During COVID19 crisis, many Canadians wonder WHAT has The Trudeau Foundation donated to help his country-peoples? Hint *Nothing*

Find more G works of art at:

Instagram @thrugrahamseyes

Facebook @pulpcottage_carmenverrier

 

COVID19 and Teenage Relationships

Pulp Cottage | Teen | 5 min Read

COVID19 both easily and obviously impacts everyone in unique ways—ways that alter emotions, situations and naturally, relationships. I mention relationships with great emphasis because the quarantine caused by the coronavirus has us locked up inside and stripped away our social dynamic. Some of us, were just getting started with our new love interests!

The scenario created by this fact is incredibly harsh on many relationships, especially those of teenagers. This is true because teenagers don’t have the liberty of visiting with their significant other, which means more separation that often leads to more speculation. It’s hard to connect with our friends. How are they really doing? We like to see each other’s faces. We like to gauge their body language and facial expressions. Digital group hangout sessions are not as effective to accomplish this as real-in-person-face-time.

We miss getting messy and having fun!

Everyone’s situation is different however, some teens are let out by their parents while some are not and this leads to spotty interactions. I’m fascinated at how “across the board” some parents view quarantine restrictions.  I notice some parents are chill, some are extra afraid for their teens. Understandable.

Not only is this confusing but it is also deceiving at times, as many teens gather excitement leading up to a scheduled hangout with their significant other only to be denied by the rules of the opposite parents. This phenomena only adds to the seemingly bleak situation us teens are already living through. Many of us grow increasingly worried about the status of our relationships through this hard time, only a few are lucky enough to have that worry under control. Going as long as a week without seeing each other is sometimes enough to spark anxiousness and worry with many teens and perhaps severely impact their relationships as well.

This is our unfortunate truth right now. However, we must accept and surrender as we all “bunker-down” to navigate the coronavirus situation together. Bubbling to the surface is the realization that we’re all in this together.

If we endure this hardship together, it supplies us with the realization that all teens are experiencing this simultaneously. There’s an ironic comfort in that realization.

This realization allows many teens to become lenient with their partner and to show much respect upon the conclusion that they may not see each other for a while, which is at least a small comforting element. Our parents say that trust and respect is the foundation of building quality relationships. This pandemic is certainly highlighting the importance of trust and respect.

We massively miss group dates!

Speaking personally and from reference collected from my peers, us teens all commonly notice how little time we can spend with our significant others, regardless of our parents’ imposed restrictions. Many of my friends claim that although they have some small freedom to see their boy or girl friends, it remains drastically different and we’ve all had to wildly adapt to the pandemic.

Places to meet become restricted to each other’s homes, still maintaining 2m distancing, if that. Many date ideas are banished and impossible without putting yourself and your partner at risk. And this of course is without the parental disagreements added in, which often turn the idea of dates into fantasy, for the time being. However it is incredibly important that us teens realize that although the situation is despairing, it is not everlasting and will lead to freedom within our relationships once again. This freedom will also most likely come sooner than expected. The month of May is looking up!

To conclude, it is crucial that everyone and especially us teens, live with optimism and the knowledge that the pandemic may not last as long as expected—which will in turn will lead to precious time spent with our friends and new love interests, soon. It’s a great idea to use this time to reflect on HOW much we appreciate our special people and to perhaps conjure up new and out of this world date-plans, when this bad nightmare is over.

This piece is dedicated to my friend Sidney. I can’t wait to see you again.

 

Tyler Verrier is a new writer to Pulp Cottage and we are excited to welcome him to our roster of content contributors. Tyler writes about local and world-wide social interest topics from a teen perspective. In his now ample spare-time, Ty plays the drums on a space-grey DW acoustic kit and is anxious to fire up his dirt-bike this spring.

Pulp Cottage Related Reads:

https://pulpcottage.ca/2018/02/14/whats-a-real-gentleman/

 

Femme Luxe Life Co. Why We Can’t Get Enough!

10 Min Read | Pulp Cottage Women in Business Highlight Segment —Meet the brains behind Femme Luxe Life Co. and learn about the fabulosity of its start-up Founder Principal, Krista Weber!

I’m not often fallen with inspirational GLEE! Like the gooey-drippy-glittery-glee that comes when you are watching greatness about to unfold in front of you. And this is precisely why I neeeeed to place a special individual in front of you—with a robust recommendation to explore (with me) the interstellar and cosmic grandeur of Femme Luxe Life Co. A  newly minted start-up corporate reverie styled by the ever talented, Krista Weber! Mark my words—This is a BOSS-Babe COACH to add to your watch list!

Oddly not oddly, my introduction to the star-is-born-phenom of Krista Weber came haphazardly from Instagram by way of classic pen-pal fashion! Our Dior dishing word nerd penmanship featuring all the digi E-glory that is afforded by modern day social platforming.  I can’t recall who followed who first? Me to her? Her to me? Hmm? No matter, our connection was instant and furiously FUN. Kindred from the start, I wondered (in those early friendzies days) WHY and HOW did this @Blondetastic_ gal delight me so?! Her Germany based Insta feed care-bear-beamed me daily with digital sparkles replete with black and pink and heavy doses of sleek-skinned panthers. Truly—She had me at the glam-slam panthers in diamond collar cuffs! Here’s the “oddly” part…we’ve.never.met.in.reals. Yet, in those early days, I felt like I just KNEW her. She slipped right into my heart—no easy feat for this way skeptical Virgo.

Sure, for a German broad, her English text copy was impeccable! Not commonly found with German motherland patriots. Curious. I didn’t even know her real name, she was ever mysty like that! This intrigued me. Must know more. But, Instagram is a play-it-cool kinda joint, so the curiosity continued for months until I observed her in my home Province of Alberta! Gah?! Wha?! She was suddenly traveling close to me! Had I read this all wrong?? No time for playing it cool any longer, I flat-out DM demanded to know how/why she was visiting Athabasca County (approx 2 hours away from me and Bonnyville). This particular mystery is solved below in the rest of the story…AND as I’ve generously digressed above in my ultimate she-love for Krista, it’s time for YOU dear reader to learn about WHY I remain fascinated to watch Krista Weber’s next Femme Luxe Life smooth move!

Please enjoy our Pulp Cottage chit chat 5 Qs with Krista Weber, and TELL me that she doesn’t feel like she’s right in your coffee corner, chatting with YOU directly!

Femme Luxe Life Co. Founder 
Krista Weber
Canadian Expat Living In Germany, helping WOMEN all over the Globe!

1- Femme Luxe Life Co. Wow, what IS this all about? What are you up to Krista?

Fantastic question. Femme Luxe Life Co. represents a culmination of the lessons I’ve learned in my life – situations, events, even relationships – which could easily have broken me – a possibility I refused to accept. I believe that women are immensely powerful. We are capable of extreme strength, perseverance and mental flexibility, but we are also blessed with the wonderful gifts of feminine softness – the ability to soothe, nurture, feed and council our loved ones. The combination of these strengths both physical (for example, childbirth!) and mental (multi-tasking Moms, please raise your hands!) are extraordinarily potent.

Femme Luxe Life Co. shows women how to awaken their power, while revelling in their femininity. We do not have to choose between femininity and power. Femininity IS powerful. We are both. 

FLLCo. Wants YOU to make your next move!

2-How did you, yourself, find the GUSTO to activate your plan? Was this a dream living in your heart, for a long time? 

When I look back through my life now, I can see that my greatest passion has always been helping others overcome and succeed. That’s what has always set my soul on fire. I’m the enthusiastic problem solver for my friends and family, the extra brain who’s there for them when they need it, and I feel honoured by that trust.

When I lived in Alberta I worked in Real Estate, and always said the most satisfying part of the work was helping to make what is generally a stressful and unpleasant process of buying or selling a home seemingly effortless and, dare I say, fun. Now, in Germany, I enjoy supporting my husband in his work as an immunologist and surgeon, proof-reading scientific manuscripts for he and his colleagues prior to publication, working as a proof-reader and editor for writers of historical literature and helping them get published; and most recently working with a language institute as an Business English Instructor, helping adults overcome the hurdle of learning a foreign language. Having had to learn German when I moved here, I now know first hand how daunting learning a second language can be. The running theme is evident – I am passionate about helping people and seeing them win. 

The development of Femme Luxe Life Co. was the result of a powerful epiphany. I did not expect it; it was not planned. But once this idea came to me, the momentum was undeniable and there was a rapid snow-ball effect.

I had hired a career coach with the intention of starting an English as a Second Language business of my own. I’d been having such success as a language instructor and thought I’d start my own school with a chic, distinctly Canadian flair. But after just a few sessions working with my coach, as we delved deeper and deeper, she blurted out, “Krista, do you wake up every day excited to learn more about verbs, nouns and comma splices?” I had to admit that no, I did not. And she continued that what she was hearing is that I am passionate about helping people achieve their goals, and had I ever considered becoming a life coach? I was stunned. No, I had not considered that. I was limiting my career options based on my geographical location. Here in Germany, being an English instructor was my best bet; it’s what most expats do, like a “jobette”. But I’ve never been one for “jobettes”. I thrive off of taking on challenges and was feeling stagnant in this role, a fact my coach sagely zeroed-in on.

She explained that as an empowerment lifestyle coach I would work with women internationally, and wouldn’t be constrained by borders or language barriers. This realization was like a bolt of lightning to my brain.  I knew instantly that this was my purpose. I feel like everything in my life has led me to this. I’ve sometimes said I feel like a cat with nine lives and I’m currently on my seventh. I’ve been told I should write a book someday, such an interesting and unusual life I’ve lived. But through this work, all of that experience has greater meaning because I can use it to help other women through the darkest times in their lives.

I got to work right away. A new fire was lit in me. My husband was shocked at how quickly things began to happen, but he is overjoyed to see me so vibrant with passion and purpose, and has been unbelievably supportive during the process of creating the brand, the tools, the concentrated 12 week one-on-one coaching program and bringing it all to life.

You’ve got untapped potential, let’s unleash it!

3-WHO is your ideal client? Who do you NEED to access the most and why?

I feel called to work with women who are, for whatever reason, feeling disconnected from themselves, and therefore, disconnected from their families, friends, their lives in general. They feel defeated, deflated, insecure, overlooked, invisible, and unimportant. But worst of all, they know that they don’t have to feel this way, because they haven’t always felt this way. They know what it’s like on the other side – but they don’t know how to get back to that place. Because of this, they’ve lost their self confidence and their sense of worth, and feel unsure of their purpose. They’re going through the motions of the day to day, but it’s become more and more difficult to access any sort of joy. They feel listless, bordering on dread, and this is manifesting as resentments toward their partners or even themselves, for “allowing” this to happen.

They may have become lost in a role they never intended to play. Women are highly adaptable; we flow like water. We can take on the shape of the space we inhabit, and sometimes as we go along, not wanting to disrupt the flow of our lives – for example, we go to University, we marry the “right” guy, we have the kids – then one day realize we don’t recognize the woman staring back at us in the mirror.

I am here to help women hit the “reset” button – to gain clarity on their identity, to fall in love with themselves again, to regain control and empower them to live life on their own terms, and to show them that by nurturing themselves, all other areas in their lives will be richer, more fulfilling, and they will feel energized, present and powerful.

4-What do you want women to KNOW most? A secret tip for us (value share) 

I want women to know that they don’t need years of clinical therapy to banish harmful habits and thought processes from their lives. There are simple, nurturing practices they can incorporate into their lives RIGHT NOW that will bring immediate results, making them feel confident, grounded and unshakable. After all, we can only control ourselves; we can’t control what others think or do, we can’t control what happens in the world. We can change the way we perceive these things, which – big picture – changes our lives. Thoughts create feelings, feelings create actions, actions become habits, and these habits make up the blueprint of our lives.

Are YOU ready to Glam-Slam your life?!

So, by starting within, at the very foundation, healing and nurturing ourselves, every area is positively impacted. For example – and I LOVE sharing this tip with women – if you feel neglected, overlooked, disregarded, unloved, try this:

  • Buy a new journal (a fresh journal for fresh, positive vibes!) and first, write down three things you are grateful for this very moment. They could be as simple as, “I’m grateful for my home which keeps me sheltered and warm” or “I’m grateful for my strong, healthy body that carries me from A to B” or “I’m grateful that I have such great cell reception.” Literally anything, no matter how big or small. This tunes your mind to be more receptive to the good things around you and will immediately break you out of the blues. (For bonus points, start doing this every morning while you sip your coffee or tea, and observe how your energy level and happiness rise exponentially!)
  • Next, write down five ways you’d like to feel. For example “I want to feel loved, honoured, understood, prioritized, and abundant.” (Side note: “abundant” is code for feeling rich, luxurious and/or generous.)  Then, write a sentence about how you will treat YOURSELF this way today. Like, “Today, I will love myself by choosing to have a hot bath and going to bed early to make sure I get a great sleep.” or “Today I will honour myself by saying ‘no’ to things that I don’t feel like doing, and honouring my authentic feelings.” Do this for all five feelings, and then write them as “I am” statements. Ie) “I am loved.” “I am honoured.”, and so on. Re-read these sentences and the “I am” statements out loud to yourself. Let the feeling of the truth in these words wash over you, and notice how your energy has already shifted. (For more bonus points, read these “I am” statements before you go to bed at night.)

This is the power we have. We can access these feelings whenever we want or need to, because they are already within us. This is just one of the processes I bring my clients (or “FemmeBots”, as we’ve jokingly been calling them) through, and I’m continuously delighted by how empowered and energized they feel with just one week of regular practice.

I want women to know that they don’t need years of clinical therapy to banish harmful habits and thought processes from their lives. There are simple, nurturing practices they can incorporate into their lives RIGHT NOW that will bring immediate results, making them feel confident, grounded and unshakable.

5-Who inspires YOU? (and why please)

Oh my goodness. I find inspiration in so many places, but the three women who come to my mind right now are my Mom, because she is an absolute power house. Life has brought her truck loads of lemons, and she has always handled it with a benevolence and a quiet grace and fortitude that few could manage. The older I get, and now being a mother myself, I appreciate her strength and consistency more and more. It’s staggering. Also, my Godmother, or “Goddie”, as I call her. She is a powerful, self-made business woman who continues to thrive and live life on her own terms. (This is one of the founding principles of Femme Luxe Life Co.!) She is a no-nonsense, to-the-point, ferocious negotiator while simultaneously being one of the most beautiful and feminine women I’ve ever known. Truly, I would not be the woman I am today if it weren’t for her. And I can’t go without mentioning my mother-in-law, or Schwiegermama, as it’s called in German. She is 40 years my senior, and she has seen it all. She is fiercely intelligent, the epitome of old-world elegance, and I honestly believe there is nothing she can’t do. She inspires me every day with her creative problem solving, her sense of humour, and her ability to assess and bounce-back from negative situations seemingly unfazed.

I could mention so many more women who have inspired and taught me, but there wouldn’t possibly be room in this article to mention them all with the praise they deserve. I am aware of how fortunate I am to have this bounty of incredible women in my life, and I want to be the same for those who don’t have such resources to call on and show them that they can be their own hero, making positive changes that will have lifelong impact. That’s what I do with Femme Luxe Life Co.; that’s my passion, and my purpose.

_________

Somewhere between our shared love of Haute Couture, David Bowie nostalgia meets pink heavy metal music, my friendship with Krista evolved to sisterhood. A sister I long to meet in person! But with the ultimate conversational convenience  that our online world affords, I am SO thankful to include Krista into my cachet of “good bitches”.  Naturally, I neeeed to share a good thing, with you! I remain ever proud of Krista and ANY woman who puts herself out there— who says to world, “Hey, I’m HERE. I’m taking up my space with zeal, and I’m ready to shoot my shot!” THIS.IS.KRISTA.WEBER. She is the nucleic juice infused into her corporate start-up venture: Femme Luxe Life Co. 

If YOU have found yourself described here—stuck, in a funk, confused, SCARED…I URGE you to reach out to Krista to access her LIFE Coaching brilliance TODAY! Do it!

Find Femme Luxe Life Co.

Instagram @FemmeLifeLuxe.Co

Email: kristaweber01@gmail.com

Web: www.femmeluxelifeco.com

Femme Luxe Life Co. Founder 
Krista Weber
Canadian Expat Living In Germany, helping WOMEN all over the Globe!

Bio NoteKrista Weber is Alberta born, but – as evidenced by her recent move to Germany – she is an adventurer at heart. Raised between Athabasca, Edmonton, Calgary and Southern California, at 29 she followed her heart and husband to Germany when his job required that he relocate to his homeland. Now a mother to a precocious 4 year old and fluent in German, Krista has been through some things. Her motto is “never surrender; every obstacle can be overcome”, and now she’s making this mindset tangible and showing other women how they can conquer their challenges, develop unshakable self-confidence, and be fierce forces of nature, aware of their innate strength and ability – while embracing their va-va-voom femininity. 

**Please note: At time of publishing, Femme Luxe Life Co. is polishing up finishing touches to their website and media roll out plan! Follow Krista’s new business on Instagram NOW and stay up-to-the-minute on details of her new start-up business, as they rapidly develop!

 

Welcome Marcia Lee Laycock!

Pulp Cottage is THRILLED to welcome and host our Artist in Residence Scholarship Winner 2019! 

Apply for Pulp Cottage Artist in Residence Scholarship

Marcia (Mar-see-ah) Lee Laycock has arrived with her husband, Spencer, and their charming fur baby— Jackson!  They are tucked in nicely at Pulp Cottage and we had a wonderful opportunity to check in with them, recently. We invite YOU to learn more about Marcia and her long and illustrious career as a 12+ time published Canadian author.

Pulp Cottage is proud to present a SAMPLE of M. L. Laycock’s writing — a quintessential Canadian summertime treat shared with us—and a small Q & A session. We are equally excited to announce an afternoon WORKSHOP for local area writers and enthusiasts to attend:  Terrific Tips for Terrific Writing! (Aug 24 @Bonnyville Beach Hall, 1 -4 pm)

Pulp | Welcome Marcia! After a few days getting settled in the Bonnyville, AB area, how are you enjoying your stay so far?

MLL | We are really enjoying ourselves and find the cottage is a close distance to the Town of Bonnyville and everyone is quite welcoming! We are enjoying the lakefront space and remark how quiet it is. The neighbours have waved hello and seem to be quite pleasant. (Pulp Cottage neighbours really are the best!)

Pulp | During your stay, what will you be working on?

MLL | While at Moose Lake I am working on a YA fantasy series. The first draft of book 1 is complete, the second almost done and the third only in outline form. My goal would be to polish book one and finish the draft of book 2. I have been in touch with a royalty publisher who is interested in this project, so I would like to be able to send off the first two books by the end of September.

This project is perhaps the most personal and therefore the most difficult of all the books/articles and short stories I have written. It deals with a young woman’s longing for her father’s love, a theme that I have come to realize is one that is extant in the lives of women of all ages.

Pulp | What are you most excited to experience during your stay here at Pulp Cottage?

MLL | We have an exciting WORKSHOP planned for Aug 24! Here I will share craft tips surrounding the subtle art of “show don’t tell” and elaborate on the importance of focus with fiction theme-based-writing. Attendants will leave inspired and further prepared to proceed with their own productions.

Pulp | Marcia, we remark that you have developed an equally lucrative career as a speaker and educator! Can you tell us which you prefer more—Speaking or Writing?

MLL | That’s a tough one to answer! During the course of discovering that I was good at connecting with audiences through orations and keynote speaking engagements, a new passion emerged! I enjoy BOTH and I’m grateful that they are complimentary to each other. Sharing my observations and lessons learned with others, is incredibly empowering and unifying.

Marcia Lee Laycock is a christian and lively spirited writer who survived life near the arctic circle for over a decade and  had nurtured her family while settled 2 degrees away from the equator, in Papua New Guinea! Marcia and her husband Pastor Spence (newly retired) currently reside in Blackfalds, Alberta for the past 20 years. 

Without further delay, please enjoy this sample of writing shared with Pulp Cottage audience members. (Writing inspired from her time in Papua New Guinea)

When I was Away | Written By Marcia Lee Laycock

I sent you photographs:
 my daughters in the jungle,
 among bamboo, squinting
 by rows of pineapples and coconut palm
 into a tropical sun.

flowers, eruptions
 of scarlet on thick green stems
 showers of bougainvillea over water tanks
 hedges hazy with yellow blooms 
 and birds of paradise orange and open-beaked

tall green trees, bark peeling in strips
 of red and blue, palms 
 and broad-leafed bananas
 like stiff sails clapped by the wind

insects, sized for the movie screen
 edible, whole or in part,
 singing incessant cadences of
 voice and wing.

You sent me whispers of winter
mingled with lines of news
weddings, babies born,
friends moving, changing, dying

but never
did you describe that
once-known place,
assuming it still remained
familiar to my mind
not knowing
when I was away I wanted
to know,
how did that snowflake feel,
when it touched your cheek?

________________

Pulp Cottage invites you to learn even more about Marcia Lee Laycock by visiting her dynamic website https://marcialeelaycock.com/ and to search for her published works available on AMAZON, today!

Summer Haiku’s Anyone? Simple, profound, FUN! Be sure to stop here to catch even more of Marcia’s as-they-happen observations https://medium.com/pondrings

WORKSHOP | Check with Pulp Cottage Social Medias to learn how you can enrol in our upcoming Terrific Tips for Terrific Writing. 

Date: Aug 24, 2019 Where: Bonnyville Beach Hall (Summer Village) Time: 1 – 4pm Cost: $35

Meet Marcia Lee Laycock
12 Time Published Canadian Author

 

 

Keep Your Love Life, Money and Next Move Secret

Always Keep Your Money, Love Life and Next Move a Secret

On March 8th every year, women globally, raise a toast to each other and drop some serious estro-hoorah! Posts about classic recognition, flood social media feeds —highlighting how each of us fit into our respective worlds. A great day that has a bonus-birthday kind of feel, if you’re in the she-club. Secret Tip Time.

Currently, there are over a million small and medium sized businesses in Canada and fewer than 16% are women-owned, according to the Government of Canada. In Alberta we’re going on year 4, out of living in the flush bubble that $100 oil provides.

This leaves many wondering if NOW’s the time to deep dive into their great business idea that warmed their “someday” dreams for so long. That someday feels more and more like today and the last stop at the train station, in terms of supplemental income streams. If you’re ready to make that jump, here’s a few of my favourite and unconventional pieces of  startup advice.

1 – Pipe Down and Ignore the Nay-Sayers

Seen time and again, gals who get excited about their new business idea and soon dish about it at their next wine-mom-club-sesh, only to be met with well-intended, yet unsolicited advice. Ugh! You’ve just taken a couple baby-steps in the entrepreneur arena and now you’re wondering if you should scrap 3 months of secret plan hatching. Talk about deflating and totally avoidable. Keeping your next moves to yourself, allows you to focus on your brilliant ideas. Family and friends are great, but not everyone will understand your unique vision or how your approach is going to shake up their lives. Of course it will be sensational come time of debut, so work on that kind of reveal with your friends and family. Showing is better than telling, always! Doubly important is selectively approaching the right audience if you’re crowd-funding or needing startup capital. Excise caution, research the right people to approach, consider they sign your non-disclosure agreement if needed.

Don’t let ’em PoP your bubble

2 – What Kind of Business Structure Do You Need?

While you draft a tight business plan, ask yourself what kind of income do you reasonably expect to reap in your first year of operation? How will you handle tax responsibilities? Should you incorporate when maybe a sole proprietorship would suffice? Do you have a partner? If you’re looking for a straightforward incorporation—dinner for 1, consider avoiding the classic slap a number on it shelf corp preparations that your lawyer offers. Instead, try the ultra affordable Ownr App* approved by Revenue Canada to incorporate your business and get a fast Business + GST number, on the cheap. It is still highly advisable to head to your lawyer when dealing with partnership based corporations (they’re trickier) so they can expertly assist all operating partners in the event that your corporation needs to: Buy out your partner, guarantee debt , or deal with the 3001 plausible things that could happen to your business. Take advantage of free and readily available tips geared towards Canadians at BDC** online. Their Entrepreneur Toolbox is chock-full of cool calculators and templates to use.

What Kind of Business Structure do You Need?

3 – Plan For a First Quarter Win

 Your company is born now, the ink is dry. You’re actively employing your marketing plan to sell your products and services. This is a fun, and busy time! If you’re off to a lacklustre start, consider targeting a community project that you could break-even on that allows you to get your first big win under your belt. Look for projects that highlight your brand and show your chops and that you’re here to play. Works every time *wink.

Look for a First Quarter Win Project

Lastly, Lady, know that you’ll be welcomed into the #bossbabe club with open arms and that us gals stick together in business. Solopreneurs need not fear, we got ya, let’s grow together!

*Ownr.co | Launch Your Business Today

**BDC.ca | Financing, Advising, Smarts

Pulp Cottage | Stylists for Your Business and Brand Hire Pulp Cottage, Today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHY Building Your Own Website STILL SUCKS!

Trade Secret TIP sheet : Express Websites are where it’s AT! 

Gah! We’ve all been there! You’ve got a great lil side-start-up-business and you need to GET the WORD out THERE! True, most people hit the Socials first to access free advertising. Social Media platforms are a great way to set-up-shop. But what happens when people start to look for your business online and find nothing but sketchy links to Facebook & Instagram?

Enter the land of building your own website.  There’s nothing that tough new business owners understand more than sweat-equity. Building your own website sounds empowering and many big name platforms promise all sorts of ‘ease-of-usage’. However, moments into your—full weekend dedicated to building—you realize that you’re in over your head and start to send frustrated emails to the platform support desk.

UGH! Not so easy after all. Now you’ve messaged them so many times, they’re suggesting that you now have to pay another small fee to access their ‘help’. Hmm, you’ve also made some cool graphic element choices to include on your DIY website, but those ones aren’t ‘free’.  More cost—blech!

DIY Websites are STILL frustrating!

At this point, you think that you’ve almost made it but forgot that you need 2 email addresses and 3 alias email accounts that route through your website. AND you can tell that your website looks crappy when viewed on your mobile device. WHY does it look different on your desktop than on your mobile phone? Arghhhhh. Stop the madness. STOP wasting your time and money!

WHY TRY EXPRESS WEBSITES:  HOT NEW SERVICE

EXPRESS Websites are where you need to be when your new business start-up soaked up most of your operating cash. These (typically) 3 page web stunners are entry-priced $1,200 – $2000 (all in cost) with all your bells and whistles included.

 

 

Pulp Cottage EXPRESS Websites target these elements on the cheap:

  • Complete custom | unique design with room to grow more pages as you can AFFORD
  • Unique graphics and way cool add-ins to make your site standout, like fun card-layouts | Flat Imaging | JavaScript | HTML | CSS | Content Management Systems galore!
  • Email routing:  3 core Gmail accounts with room for ALIAS accounts
  • GREAT display across all viewing devices: Desktop, Tablet, Mobile
  • Landing Pages that get visitors to convert to sales | Commerce websites
  • Address the core info of your business precisely: Who, What, Where, HOW, Contact | Google My Business
  • SEO (search engine optimized):  To keep your website at the top of Google search lists
  • Technical Writing: Professionally written content that uses your words—unique to you
  • There’s so much more offered….let’s chat anytime *TeeHee

What DIY website services like WIX and GoDaddy DON’T TELL YOU:

That you’ll end up paying at least $1000 + to get all of your website wish-list items achieved.

  • You’ll end up burning through a few evenings and weekends on your own, only to email them frequently for help, anyways!
  • That you’ll only get a bit of  ‘movement’ option on your website template chosen. Meaning, you can only place data, graphics and text, where they allow—poopy!
  • When you’ve got your ‘look’ the way you want it on desktop, it looks terrible on mobile | tablet display —Boo!
  • Lastly, sorry to tell ya, BUT…your website still looks like you or your sweet 8 year old built it….

SOLUTION

Look for website constructors that offer these CRITICAL services:

  1. Have a professional web designer on the team focusing on UX design (user experience).
  2. Have a professional technical writer | copywriter on the team—who else is going to string ‘dem words together’?
  3. Offer different websites at different prices. This one is important. Good website constructors offer full websites, commerce websites, and EXPRESS websites. You want to find the perfect website for your perfect cost.
  4. Building| Hosting that offers sensational tech support-obvi!
  5. Are they a certified Google Suite provider and installer? Your business needs to move beyond Outlook and into 2019, therefore this certification is important for ease-of-business-operation.

FRAUD ALERTS

A sham website builder will only offer a traditional FULL website featuring 5+ standard pages. These guys make more money on every extra web page they build for you, and this is how and why most people complain that their fancy websites cost no-less than a $5,000.00 entry.

These people are indeed tech scam artists. They are not interested in saving you money or offering you a staggered cost-entry into owning and understanding your website. Your website is a primary tool for your business.

You’ll also want to inquire if you OWN your domain after the website construction is completed and it is live on the world wide web. Run away from anyone who dances around this question. **Tip** Your domain (if purchased by your builder) will often, not belong to you, until your project is paid in full.

Lastly, look for website providers that engage you into a contract. These builders are legit and clearly define what you get and how much you’ll pay for the project. Everything is kept clearly defined and above-board with these types of operators.

WHY use Pulp Cottage for your website project?

We LOVE answering this question! Pulp Cottage specializes in helping new business start-up owners. We take you from Logo to Launching your new business idea online. Here’s a sampling of our most popular business support services:

  • Build your new corporate logo | brand: Our graphic design team is exceptional! We’ve branded and re-branded amazing organizations, successfully. Check them out on our “Hire PC” page. https://pulpcottage.ca/hire-pulp-cottage/

    Pulp Cottage Brands | Clients 2018-19
  • Define your brand & analyze YOUR audience: What do you do or sell, who do you target?
  • Provide all the sensational Copywriting your new brand needs
  • Draft your UVP and marketing materials + print them at lower costs **zingaling!
  • Build your website the way you need it to work and flow to convert visitors to clients
  • SEO your website to make sure that you’re carving a niche where you need to be on the world wide web
  • We host your website in Canada, not some far off weird land where you have no idea how and where your personal information is directed too. The-Worst!
  • You OWN your domain, we remind you when it’s due, to keep  your ownership and don’t charge you unnecessary fees to maintain this service
  • Pulp Cottage has an insane and unorthodox advertising department! We get it all out there, specializing in Disruptive Marketing tactics, antics –you get it 😉
We hope you found our **  express website ** tip sheet helpful.

Book your website project with us, today.

 

Does YOUR Business Need a Technical Writer? Probably!

Does YOUR Business Need a Technical Writer? Probably!

10 Tired Steps to Change Now — Technical Writing to the Rescue

Chances are that your small to medium sized business is spreading out Technical Writing “jobs” like-Nutella-over-toast amongst your supervisors and managers, and you don’t realize it! Your most-expensive company personnel might be wasting their time and your dollars on scopes that are easily diverted to a Technical Writer.

Back it up a bit! What IS Technical Writing, anyways?

This specialized type of writing is: Targeted writing that meets your operational demands precisely. Tech Writing is a writing style used for custom writing scopes that are typically project specific.

Skilled Tech Writers are flexi wordsmiths who regularly combine amaze-balls digital designs into their work. Take an important yet simple press release project for example and learn how a Tech Writer gets the job done in a simplified process:

Press Release Scenario – Old Way – 10 Tired Steps  (No Tech Writer)

1-Corporate Kahuna wants the public and his staff to know about a big new company development!

2-Kahuna relates this sentiment to his General Manger, and says “get it done this week!”

3-GM is busy but takes time to compose an eloquent and concise written message. Hoping that she got it all right?!

4-When finished the GM notices that the message has no pizzazz and could use an image or two. She’s also not sure if the message is grammatically correct – she’s a Manager not a word-nerd.

5-GM remembers that Sally in accounting is great at hobby-blogging and enlists her help to proofread the mega-corporate message.

6-Sally has to stop what she’s doing and try to last-minute help out her GM. Sally promises to try to work on the project more, during her lunch break.

7-Sally is too busy at lunch, but hastily glazes over the message composed by the GM and starts to feel like she’s in over her head! Sally doesn’t want to disappoint the GM AND the Big Kahuna. Sally doesn’t know if she should bother her busy GM with more questions that she has about the last minute project?

8-Sally does the best she can, gives back the Press Release Statement to her GM and everyone hopes for the best.

9-GM publishes the Press Release on the company website and fans the same message out to the Socials and local newspaper.

10-Behold! The Press Release Statement is filled with grammatical errors —Quelle Horreur! The accompanying images selected are distorted AND everyone forgot to include the company logo-Grrr!

Time Fail. Energy Fail. Corporate Resource Fail = FrUsTrAtIoN!

Here’s the same scenario but with a Technical Writer to the rescue:

1-Corporate Kahuna wants the public and his staff to know about a big new company development! Kahuna relates this sentiment to his General Manger, says “get it done this week!”

2-GM contacts the staff Technical Writer or contracts a good one they know, to help. Tech Writer meets quickly with GM to learn the entire message and MOVEMENT desired. (In-person or video-conference call: requirement capture complete)

3-Tech Writer gets to work and bangs out a completely polished result that is eloquent, on-point, on-time and most importantly — on Brand!

4-GM confidently releases the sensational Press Release Statement with gorgeous graphics | images to the website maintenance crew, the Socials and to the local newspaper.

Pop the champagne corks, nice job everyone! Kahuna is extremely pleased with the level of professionalism amongst his crew and confident that corporate image remains expertly represented. Accounting Sally and GM never left their departments and hadn’t missed a single-productive-heartbeat!

Interested in how Pulp Cottage can help your business?
head over to our Hire Pulp Cottage Page Today!

What’s a Real Gentleman?

Hint* It’s Not What You Think

Every girl crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man. You typically imagine gentlemen to be the considerate fellas: opening doors, attentive to the ladies, nice to old people—you get the idea. But what makes a gentleman different from other guys? More than what meets the eye, our visceral attraction to gentlemen runs much deeper than a custom tailored suit or expert politeness, indeed.

Beyond Hard-Luck Alberta

As Canada’s last standing industrial giant stumbles, Alberta’s anxiety rises. How the drain-circling Oil & Gas Industry of Alberta, affects every Canadian. Everywhere you look in Industrial Canada, you’ll be hard pressed to find a ‘good news story.’ Take a peek at your struggling and barely-holding-on investment portfolio. When your advisor suggests ‘diversification’ amongst your portfolio to include more international investment, trust that THIS is why.