“Ms. Worth goes against the longstanding pile of bullshit that women’s art cannot portray the grotesque or the unspoken.”
~ Amanda Earl, AngelHouse Press; photo by Shawn Nolan
My name is Liz Worth. I’m the author of several books. People often ask me what my books are about. Each one is different, though they all play on similar themes.
Sometimes I’m a journalist.
Other times a poet.
And other times a novelist.
One of the most popular things I’ve ever written was my first book, Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History of Punk in Toronto and Beyond. Published in late 2009, this was the first book of its kind to document the history of Toronto punk.
Because I wrote a book about punk, people sometimes ask me, “Are you a punk?”
It’s not a title I’ve come to wholly identify with. While punk has influenced and inspired me, I can never consider myself just one thing. What I like about punk – specifically the first wave – was that it was an invitation to do and be anything you want:
Wear that weird outfit.
Go to that open mic and read your strange poems.
Follow your creativity, rather than popular opinion.
These are some of the themes that have continued to influence me as a writer over the years.
I believe that words can be spells. Poetry is witchcraft. Read the cadence of a witch’s grimoire and you’ll see what I mean.
I gravitate most to work and words that speak uncomfortable truths. If a book makes me think, or makes me feel something – especially anger or sadness – I’m hooked.
I don’t believe art should exist only to help us find escape or soothing. I believe it should be a reflection of the hardness of our world, and the discomfort of the human condition.
I write from many of my own personal experiences, even if they are sometimes hard to tell, and hard to take. Because I believe that the more room we give ourselves to acknowledge the truth, the less lonely our journeys can be.
Our culture might not always be open to reality. But it’s not a writer’s job to coddle the masses.
Writers are not your mother. They are your mirror.