Kate Pennington, Glitter Queen

I am a writer, ritualist, and ceramic artist based in Oakland, CA. I’ve been writing most of my life, though its only been in the last decade or so that it occurred to me that perhaps I might want to be a writer when I grow up. Lately I’ve been luring stories out to play. We seem to be getting along reasonably well so far.

I grew up with the bright lights and grease paint of off-off Broadway theater. My parents had been bitten by the theater bug early on, so it was natural that they drag me with them (the hubby and I did the same to our kids, cause why not?). I started on stage at the age of three when a director decided to fill a whole on the stage with me. I became one of Mother Nature’s children, there were five or six of us, in an production of “the Angles of Light” at Theater for the New City. Two years later I was cast as the youngest child in “Medea” by Euripides. When anyone asked what I did in the play I told them I died five nights a week for ten weeks. In reality I got to sit in the “wagon” on stage and watch our leading lady pour stage blood on her arms then go out and act the hell out of the ending. I got to die on stage a few years later when I played McDuff’s son (for two weeks) and be the only survivor, Banquo’s son (for the whole run) in “MacBeth”. I spent my childhood and teen years watching, and at times working with talented actors as they perform Shakespeare, Greek classics, banned Russian playwrights (in the 80’s), and Tennessee Williams on a tiny stage on the Bowery. Add in Star Trek, Rocky Horror, Star Wars, and most of the musicals of the 80’s and poof! you have a good idea of my foundations and who I am: glitter, ritual, theater, magic, and spirituality.

After college I moved to California to try my hand in films and ended up getting a master’s degree in Philosophy and Religion, and ‘coming out’ as a witch, which surprised no one. Go figure.

In 1995 I co-founded an alternative performance company called Magical Acts Ritual Theater. I served as the company’s Artistic Director for eight years, until exhaustion got the better of me and I choose to take a sabbatical. After a lot of sleep, I ended up writing a screenplay called “Persephone Rising” which made it to the semi finals of a screenplay competition and tarted work on a book about how I do ritual theater.

And then I got really sick.

In February of 2007, after having the flue for about two and a half years, I was finally diagnosed with Multiple Chemical Sensitive which means I am allergic, and reactive, to about half the planet. In the spring of 2011, just as I was getting used to life with MCS, I spent two weeks in the hospital with an extremely bad case of pneumonia. A few months later I began having odd pain issues. Eventually diagnosed with Central Pain Syndrome, which is pretty much what it sounds like: full body, chronic pain based in the Central Nervous System.

Life with chronic illness is a hell of a journey. There are bad days and really bad days but there are also good days and really amazing days. I’m learning that you have to live life in the moment and find the things that put a smile on your face and help you breathe through the hard times. For a long time I thought my life was over. No more dreams, no more adventures, just stagnation and holding on. And then I started to notice improvements in my health. I didn’t happen over night or all at once, and I’m not ‘cured’. I still react to all sorts of chemicals and I still live with pain every day but its different. More manageable. Breathable. As things started to change, I began to test my wings. And I learned I could still fly. I’m a little wobbly at times, and everything, especially trips, takes a lot more planning than it used to – but I have started to travel and go to concerts – neither of which I ever thought I’d do again. I’ve been blogging the heck out of those stories and taking a million pictures, some of which I post on my blog, lots of others are on my Instagram account.

Even cooler? I’m writing again. The first draft of my first novel is done and I’m up to my neck in edits and loving the process. I’ve got a set of short stories in the works, and a whole bunch of universes to bring to life. I’ll start sharing those here soon too! With a dash of glitter of course (biodegradable only of course!)

About Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

About Central Pain Syndrome

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