As I write this introduction, it’s mid-April and the wind is howling against the windows. Bits of ice stubbornly cling to the sidewalks, and the sky oscillates between sunny optimism and impending storms. This is life in Saskatchewan, where I was born and raised, and I feel it says much about me. That I’m unpleasant, cold and bipolar. Kidding, I hope.
But people who are grown on the Canadian prairies tend to have a certain grit, a fierceness of character that could only be crafted by the pressure of extremes. You have two options during the long winters – play hockey or make art. I assume it’s evident which route I took.
I’ve always had an abundance of passion projects and interests, oppressed by the notion of having “one true calling”. I’d watch in awe as people went after their one thing, and spent many years figuring I was broken, that I needed to tame my rebellious instincts.
On a whim that began by wanting to impress a boyfriend, one of my many projects was learning how to cook. This started by following recipes in cookbooks, evolved into having a vegan food blog, being a cookbook recipe tester, and going to two different culinary schools – Living Light in Fort Bragg, California, and the Natural Epicurean in Austin, Texas. Austin will always feel like a second home, and returning fills my heart with nostalgia and optimism.
I did a brief stint working in a Toronto-based kitchen, but chopping endless boxes of veggies wasn’t a high point in my life (Read: I cried in the car on my drives home from work). You could say that my culinary pursuits went nowhere, since I didn’t make a career out of it – and why bother going to culinary school if you’re not going to make a career of it? – but I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything.
I’ve been teaching piano since 2006. It happened by accident; I was working at a popcorn cart one summer and needed to pick up work for the fall. At the time, I happened to be studying for an exam with my piano teacher, and she floated the idea of training me to teach. I said “hell yeah” and she took me under her wing. Soon I had 50+ students each week at the local music school, where I fumbled my way through those early years of teaching.
After becoming disillusioned with cooking as a profession, I started teaching piano independently in Toronto, my first true venture into entrepreneurship. Within four months, I had a full schedule. Eventually I moved back to the Prairies and started a home studio – and a YouTube channel. I’ve since ceased in-person lessons, but my YouTube channel is still going strong. I’ve released piano courses and have privately coached many adult learners at the piano.
Interwoven with my piano teaching and culinary journey is a long thread that has been a part of my life since I was a small child – writing and performing music.
As a teen and adult, I’ve been in three bands (Kat Has the Key, The Weak Links and The Criminal Kid) and have collaborated on several projects.
Currently I’m working on some solo music with the intention of collaborating with a variety of talented musicians I’m lucky to know.
I’ve always been an avid reader and writer. For the last several years, I’ve set and achieved a challenge on Goodreads to read 52 books each year. I’ve completed NaNoWriMo twice (neither piece of writing saw the light of day). I’ve penned three books about piano. Most recently, I’ve begun a self-education journey (with a blog to go along with it) to study literature and the craft of writing and story, in order to improve my writing skills. My goal is to publish two books in the next five years – one fiction, and one non-fiction. Both are currently underway.
Since 2015, I’ve created well over 400 videos for my piano YouTube channel, and have nearly 100,000 subscribers. I’ve also been creating videos on my personal channel for the last year or so. I love creating videos and this is a natural, enjoyable outlet for me – and I’ll continue making them for a long time.
Another long-running thread of interest in my life is personal development. I’ve read dozens of books on personal effectiveness, time management, creativity and excellence. A favorite blog of mine for many years is by Steve Pavlina, and I’ve been a member of his Conscious Growth Club for the since 2017. I’m also a member of The Dynamite Circle, a group for online entrepreneurs and digital nomads. These groups have brought massive value into my life, allowing me to connect and mastermind with people who are cut from the same weird cloth as I am.
Take care and stay creative!