I’m 50, and I play with Barbies. Okay, I cosplay with Barbies.

Derek Newman-Stille, eight-time Prix Aurora Award winner for Speculating Canada, encouraged me to write this post. So, it’s all their fault. 😉

Actually, I’m glad they did nudge me to do this because the strangest thing happened to me five years ago. I saw a Uhura doll online, and for some reason, after decades of not caring a fig about Barbies, I had to have her. That was the start of it all. Since then, I’ve climbed aboard the Barbie Fashonista line—which is full of different body shapes, hair colours, and skin tones—and bought the ones that caught my eye the most. In the last year, I’ve also bought Barbies with visible disabilities, then I bought a Barbie and decided they were neurodiverse, so I made a little neurodiversity symbol for their outfit. But my Spoonie Barbies Network is for another post.

Also five years ago, I finally caught the bug for cosplay. Dressed as a fashionista dalek, I met publishing director Nathan Fréchette of Renaissance, who is also a cosplaying nerd, and not only did Renaissance become my publisher, Nathan also became my “cosplaying spouse.” (I have my husband Bruce, but Nathan is my “husband” for fun duo cosplays.)

Put these two geekdoms of Barbies and cosplaying together, then you can understand where I went next. It began with my loving the comic Rat Queens. I even cosplayed as Hannah, whom I call the “sweary magical elf.”

ID: Me, dressed as Hannah, reading Life in the ’Cosm.

I really wanted a Hannah doll, but none were available. So, one day while Barbie Browsing, I saw this one:

ID: Brunette Barbie with a grey one-shoulder top and pink skirt. Her hair is worn long in the back with two tiny buns on top.

Hmmmm, I thought. Then a lightbulb went on. I bought the Barbie, and with some help from materials at home, my past experience with styling hair, and my trusty Cricut machine, Barbie transformed into Hannah. At least she resembled a Barbie who was cosplaying as Hannah!

ID: Hair is cut into bangs. The buns are large on top and the rest of the hair falls just beneath the shoulders. She's carrying a wizard's staff with bright blue stone. Her outfit is a strapless pink top with gold edging and golden swirl design on each breast. She has a black belt with the gold Rat Queens rat-face belt buckle. Her red mini-skirt has more golden designs. On her skin are swirly black tattoos.

I felt really happy with the result! So, a little time passed, and I got nostalgic for Jem and the Holograms. Once again, I browsed for vintage Jem dolls. YIKES! Too expensive for me. Then PING! I decided to try the cosplay thing again.

I found this Barbie:

ID: Barbie with extremely long pink and blond hair under a crown, wears an aqua and pink dress.
(Amazon product image for Barbie Endless Hair Kingdom Princess Doll, Pink.)

But after finding a dress online that I thought suited Jem, a pink marker, and a furious cutting of her locks while channeling my 80s teen past, she turned into this!

ID: Barbie as Jem from Jem and the Holograms. Blonde and pink hair is cut into 80s rocker style. Pink diamond makeup shapes surround her eyes. Her slim strapless dress is black with silber stars, with a pink ruffled bottom that bows out like a mermaid cut.

I can almost hear her singing Twilight in Paris!

Finally, last week I saw Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). Oh my word, I loved this film so hard. I think it was the next day when I decided to search for Harley dolls. And, you guessed it, I decided to make another cosplay attempt.

This is the before shot:

ID: Barbie with blond hair and pretty pink dress, holding a gift against a birthday party backdrop.

Isn’t she sweet? Very girl next door. So, I did a thing:

ID: Blonde hair is cropped in small layered ponytails. One tail has pink dye and the other teal. She's wearing a fussy pink crop top with cut-off jean shorts (that have black stripes and red stars). Red ribbons became suspenders. Tattoos on the face and legs done with marker. And for fun, I added pale pink feathers to the side of the top.

I’ve always been someone who loves crafts, so to me, cosplay is “fancy-dress crafts!” It’s really fun, and when my brain is too exhausted to write for my creative outlet, this is another way to be inventive.

Anway, I decided to share my hobby because I don’t think you’re ever too old to enjoy getting your geek on, even with toys or games from your childhood. Life is short. Have fun, I say!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to strategize how I’ll become Bob Ross’ happy little tree.

Cait Gordon, in a black and white digital sketch

Cait Gordon is a disability advocate and the author of Life in the ’Cosm and The Stealth Lovers. When she’s not writing, Cait’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She also teamed up with Kohenet Talia C. Johnson to co-edit the Nothing Without Us anthology in an attempt to take over the world. Narf.

Am I too old for cosplay?

Spoiler: nope.

Once upon a time, I was not a Child of the Enlightened. Yes, there was a period in my life where I didnae understand cosplay or cosplayers. I didn’t even know it was called cosplay. I refer to my ignorance as The Dark Times.

Then in the fall of 2015 at the tender age of 45, I would attend my first con, Ottawa Pop Expo. My friends wanted to dress up as a group, in Doctor Who cosplay. I inwardly groaned and barked, “I refuse to go unless I can be a Fashionista Dalek!” Everyone said, “Okay!” So then I was like, Crap, I need to figure out how to become a fashionista dalek.

I own a craft biz where I make jewellery and handmade cards. I love working with my hands and being artistically creative. When I sat down to work on my dalek costume, I had an epiphany—cosplay was crafting! Once I realised that, I couldn’t get enough of it!

dalek-costume.jpgI raided dollar stores and bought paint, styrofoam balls, a plunger, some black silk gloves, and rhinestones. I grabbed a red dress I never wear. I bought a red construction helmet and hacked an old flashlight. I glue-gunned to my heart’s delight. I used my Cricut mini, too.

It took several days, but for me it was a craft project, and I got really excited over it!

When I was done, I felt proud and had a blast at Ottawa PopExpo. People took my photo and paid me many compliments. Everyone laughed and seemed happy to see me pass by them. I think I might have had a flirtation with an actual dalek. My husband unit didn’t seem to mind. And my friends were glad that I finally got why this is so majorly fun!

The thing is, you never know who you’re going to meet at these cons. As I was leaving, Caro Fréchette, author and director of Renaissance Press, shouted at me, “Hey, I like your custome!” Next thing, we’re talking about my book and you all know by now that Renaissance is my publisher!

Since then, I’ve loved every opportunity to dress up (and Caro is my cosplay buddy, which is awesome). This is us at our book launch in October 2016! Party on, Wayne!wayne-garth

JoyI also loved cosplaying as Joy from Inside Out. Author Amy M. Young thinks Joy is my natural personality. Welp, I guess she’s not wrong. I wore my Joy cosplay when I was selling my crafts at the Creative Ottawa Nerds (CON) holiday craft fair last November. That was a total blast.

Being an extrovert and having people come up to me to chat is like heaven for me. I adore meeting new people and if cosplaying makes people comfortable enough to approach me, then so be it.

AND NOW, THE THING THAT’S HAPPENED. In these last couple of months, I took on a new challenge. Caro loves the comic, Rat Queens, and really wanted someone to cosplay with them. I’d never heard of the comic before but was immediately drawn to Hannah, who I call the magical sweary elf. I said, “I wanna be Hannah!”

Well, I had no idea what a challenge making that costume would be. I’m just grateful to the creators of Rat Queens that they draw women with realistic bodies. At 47, my body is more realistic than it’s ever been.

But wow, so much actual swearing went into this project. I needed to make those hair buns, which was not as easy as I thought they’d be. (No joke, I wrapped the wig’s hair around black fuzzy socks that were rolled into a ball. This was the only way I could figure it out.) Then there was the bra. OH, THAT BRA! I couldnae find a pink bra to save my life. Also, my boobs cannot go strapless. Them girls need straps. I ended up totally life-hacking a white and grey sports bra and stretched pink underpants fabric over it. I ironed on the ribbon and used dimensional fabric paint for all the swirly designs on it (and the rest of the costume).

I fretted over this cosplay but thankfully Caro talked me off the ledge and a kind Twitter word from an actual artist and the creator of the comic didn’t hurt either! When Kurtis Wiebe tweeted me (tweet not shown), I didn’t even know who he was. How majorly embarrassing. Caro squeed for me and then I was like, “OMIGOSH!”

Owen Gieni Rat Queens
Owen Gieni retweeted me!

I did take out the first volume of the comic from the library and laughed my butt off. So well written. The characters are truly sassy and badass. Now I want to be Hannah more than ever. And I’m buying the series.


I plan to wear my Hannah costume at the Ottawa Geek Market (Apr 1) and for Comiccon. I also really want to get my Drunk Cersei cosplay going for Comiccon. Will let you know how that turns out.

So, am I too old to cosplay? I will be the moment I’ve died. Until then, I’m gluing, sewing, painting, maybe swearing, and creating costumes to my heart’s content.

I am, as I said, a Child of the Enlightened now.


CGAuthorCait Gordon is an Irish-Canadian warrior princess and author of Life in the ’Cosm, a space opera about a little green guy who’s crushing on the female half of his two-headed colleague (Renaissance). Cait’s also the editor of the Spoonie Authors Network blog.


A Light Bulb Went on at Ottawa Comicon

If you’ve been following this humble writer’s blog, then you know I lost my virginity at Ottawa PopExpo!  Now that I’m no longer a virgin, I went to Ottawa ComiCon last weekend with enthusiasm. Hubster and I booked all three days. strekgordon

Because of the busyness of life, I couldn’t cosplay as hard this round but I still dressed up every day. That’s one of my favourite things. I’d like to get better and better at it because cosplay is really just CRAFTS! (I am mad for crafting.)

Bruce and I primarily went to see actors do their Q&A’s, like John de Lancie, Rene Auberjonois, Billy Dee Williams, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, John Rhys-Davies, and Sean Astin. It’s funny how real people seem in person. It’s as if they’re human beings like the rest of us. Who knew?

I did love when Billy Dee Williams couldn’t recall something from Star Wars and he said to a fan, “Go home and ask your dad what he remembers from 30 years ago!” Fun times.

bunnyI wanted to scour the floor for artisans in between the scheduled speaker events, but was met with mostly large commercial vendors. That was a shame for an artist like myself, but I did find a few gems. My favourite buy was this bunny by Diablo Puppets. I nearly wept with laughter at its features and even made it sing to Bruce the next morning as he came out of the shower. I need to give it a name but so far I’m calling it the antidepressant bunny.

twoauthorsBut a light bulb finally went on when I came upon writers’ booths. This time I met Aurelia Osborne at the Renaissance Press booth. It’s kinda funny because I recognized the book cover of The Admirer before anything else. (Btw, if you love Jane Austen, you must buy it. I gobbled it up!) I asked the author to sign it and realized I was more starstruck from meeting her than I was about seeing Billy Dee Williams. Soon after I was guided to the independent author right beside Renaissance’s booth. I met S.M Carrière and bought her book, Human. She was so lovely and encouraging to this poor unpublished author. I told her I’d only buy her book if she signs it and she did. #squee

So my revelation is this: I’m a super huge fangirl of authors!

As I schedule in future cons, I’m going to make it a priority to go and find all the authors selling books. It hit me that I love meeting them face-to-face, and having them sign their work. Their books mean even more to me, because I have a small insight into the person behind the story. The experience of conversing with fellow writers is precious to me. How did I not know this before?

CaitSoloI totally cannot wait to do this again and meet more authors, even if I’m dressed as Drunk Cersei, a dalek, or Han Solo with boo-boos. Perhaps these authors might never know what I really look like unless they visit my Website, but that’s OK. What matters to me is that I’ve shared a brief bit of time with them, purchased their work, and got all squeeful about it.

Until the next con!


CGAuthorCait Gordon has been a senior technical writer for high tech and government organizations. Her first novel is being sent to the universe. She hopes the universe likes it. (The second book has begun and a third will happen, too!)

I lost my virginity at Ottawa PopExpo!

I am still reeling from all the super-crazy fun I had at my very first con this past weekend. Yes, at the ripe middle-age of 46, I popped my con virginity at Ottawa PopExpo.

I’ve always been labelled “the cool chick” by my proud-to-be-geek friends, and they would smirk at my complete lack of knowledge of their comicon culture. (I’m a rock musician. I don’t mean to be cool, I swear! Rockers gots feelings, too, you know!)

These days I am a writer of comic sci-fi, so I wanted to explore the realm that my targeted audience enjoys. I also wanted to know what all the hype was about with going to cons. This is what I learned:

Cons are craft fairs! Whoot!

OH MY WORD! Why didn’t someone tell me how incredibly creative these people are? It was a feast for my wee crafty Cait eyes to see all the craft booths out there. I wanted to buy everything I saw.

Rebel Alliance medallion by Elkasha Arts.How gorgeous is this woodwork?

IMG_20151121_142307 (1)
The Green Bunny Workshop (uhuru and redshirt pieces) and Lilipop (TARDIS and Star Wars earrings).

Team Targaryen
Wonder if anyone would notice if I wore this to a RedBlacks game next year?

There were vendors there, too, with great wares. My hubster bought me this jersey, because my hair is turning Targaryen, and my favourite CFL team is the RedBlacks. (On the car ride home, we caught the last few minutes of the final quarter of the game. ELLINGSON!!!)

So, yeah, was mind-blown by all the artisans and vendors at the fair. I especially love when people put their heart and soul into crafts. That impressed me.

Cosplayers are freaking awesomesauce!

Redshirt CaitI attended each day of PopExpo. On the Saturday, I dressed as a Redshirt, who didn’t want to die. It was a very simple outfit, and I made the sign using my Cricut Mini. Well, slap me to a pig and drag me through the mud, because so many people laughed. They got the joke. They asked to take my picture. How friendly and warm are these cosplayers?

What was so funny was how excited I was getting over their costumes. In the 80s I was a teen, and I loved Jem and the Holograms and the Misfits. This past month, I’ve been binge-watching them on Netflix.

Jem and Misfits

On the Saturday, I met these ladies. OK, what really happened is that I became a completely star-struck 16-year old from 1986 and screamed at the top of my lungs: OHMIGOSH, ARE YOU JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS??? CAN I TAKE YOUR PICTURE???

Then I noticed there were Misfits, too, and I just lost it. Only after I snapped their photos did I realize I was old enough to be their mother. But they were fantastic to me in all my fan-girlieness. Thanks, rockers, for making this woman happy and in the 80s again!

Oh yeah, and many thanks to these people, for another great 80s reference from the movies Spaceballs.

Oh no, I’ve captured their stunt doubles!

On the Sunday, I really got into the act with my friends and the hubster. We all decided to go as Doctor Who characters. Being originally from Montreal, I chose to be the Fashionista Dalek. (Exterminate those shoes ’cause they’re so two-years ago.)

Doctor Who Gang
Bruce (the Silence), me (the dalek), Miriam (River Song), and Mike (the human TARDIS).

Again, people we never met asked to take our photos. So many smiling faces and compliments on our creativity.

I’m telling you, my fibromyalgia was half-cured from all the endorphins my body was generating! I cannot remember the last time I had such a blast.

My day was made when the compliments came from actual daleks. Thanks, boys. You flirts.


The atmosphere of inclusion

I am not a tall and lithe 21-year-old. I’m a happily chubby lady, who likes to have fun. It didn’t matter about my age or body size. My enthusiasm is what counted. I saw people of all ages and every body type, simply enjoying themselves. There were gender diversity and sexual orientation diversity and insert diversity here. One big bowl of mad fun was going on. What we as a society can learn from fandoms, let me tell you.

There be book people there!

The end of our visit on Sunday was even better. I was walking with the hubster when someone said they liked my costume. When I turned to see who it was, I noticed a familiar name: Renaissance Book Press.

I walked over to the table and met the most delightful people: Caroline Frechette (author and publisher) and Madona Skaff-Koren (author). They told me about the press and answered any questions I had. Renaissance is a small press in the Ottawa area, and by the personalities of the people I spoke to, a press that I’d love to take me on. Madona told me the advantages of being with a smaller publisher, the main one being a more personal relationship and feeling involved all along the process. That sounds great to me! I bought Madona’s book and asked if she would sign it. She was more than happy to, and I was moved by her words:

Madona's inscription

To Cait,

To a fellow writer.

Enjoy the journey.

Madona Skaff

I will have to remember that. Enjoy the journey. A good lesson for a not-yet published author. Those of you who are published, calling someone like me a writer is worth a thousand points of validation. Imma make a note to respect all authors of words, wherever they are on their journey.


Go to cons. They’re cool. Even cooler than rockers. Now I know why the geeks shall inherit the earth. I’m proud to be one of them. BECAUSE FUN, YO!


Cait Gordon has been a senior technical writer for high tech and government organizations. Her first novel is being sent to the universe. She hopes the universe likes it. (The second book has begun and a third will happen, too!)