the problem with being trans is cis people. The problem with being queer is straight people. The problem with being disabled is abled people. The problem with being Black is white people. In other words, prejudice.
This piece traveled to Mexico where it now provides this gorgeous tableau in someone’s living room.
ID: Vivid abstract landscape framed in gold. Plant-like shapes swirl in colours of turquoise, orange, yellow, green
I’ve been out of the studio again this week dealing with life stuff, but late last night I did start an essay that is, in part, an excerpt from the memoir I’m creating. I’ve been working on books, so it’s been two years, nearly, since I submitted an essay. It’s time to catch up!
Other than that, trying to keep up in the lovely garden, where spring has burst into its main display of poppies and roses. I noticed Westerland is blooming along with an amazing coral rose that is the next thing to thornless, and which I should have planted by the stairs where it wouldn’t hurt people going up and down, but didn’t. Oh no, I reserved a rose with thorns the length of shark teeth for there. The clematis are also blooming.
How does your garden grow?
Photo: Eaton Hamilton Columbine in my garden this week.
Photo: Eaton Hamilton Clematis in my garden this week.
Photo Eaton Hamilton; my grandparents’ lantern in my garden
painting by Eaton Hamilton, 1918, oil sticks 6′ x4′
Painting shows an impressionistic look at spring with explosions of colour.
It’s been lovely where I live the last couple weeks. The perfect moment in the garden, where spring is poised on the edge of finishing and summer has not yet taken up. Alliums, roses, lilacs all blooming together. The scent is amazing. The brilliant mason bees are completing their last nests.
I haven’t been able to either write or paint this week, alas, because I have had more earth-bound matters to deal with. I’m itching to get back to my memoir, though, and holding myself off.
Painting by Eaton Hamilton, oil on stretched canvas, 16″ x20″.
ID: Yt woman from the 40s walking across a street with baby carriage, yellow balloon and small brown dog. She wears a red hat, dress, shoes.
I don’t want to say Happy Mothers’ Day while there is no Parenting Day to encompass the people left out by the word “mother,” but who are still parenting. I hope you also think of them today on what for many is a very fraught “holiday.” There are a lot of permutations on what today can mean when you never had a mother worthy of the name, had a mother who disliked you, had a mother with addiction issues, didn’t want to be a mother, wanted to be a mother and lost pregnancies, wanted to be a mother and never could, or lost your child/ren, are a trans parent, are a non-binary parent, and so on. Whether you’re an auntie or a gramma or a teacher or someone else, if you make a difference in the life of kids, I salute your unpaid efforts.
Hello to all of you, and to those who were parented well, and those who weren’t but now parent their own kids well. I hope you have a gentle day.
Lovely to be notified on twitter that I have a Notable essay in Best American Essays this year. My essay “Splinter” was published in the LA Review of Books (LARB) and edited by Gina Frangello. With many thanks to BAE, and thanks and gratitude to Gina and LARB.
Congrats to the essayists included in the volume due Nov 1! And to all the Notables!
painting by: Eaton Hamilton, After David Tennant, after old photograph, oil on stretched canvas, 10×10″
ID: Two yt women wearing business suits circa 1940s, one brown, one blue
This week the sun came out and we actually had nice weather. I think we surpassed seasonal averages for once in this chilly, wet spring. My grandchild had her 7th birthday and we celebrated at my place before she was whisked away to parental festivities for the weekend. We had waffles with whipped cream and syrup, presents and then cream puff cakes–lots of goo and sugar.
Work wise it was a bust. I was supposed to work on my Human Rights case but I just could not do it. There’s not enough of me left to take on extras. I really didn’t get anything done all week, though I did manage some more stuff around the house yesterday.
At my place, just suddenly, the mason bees are hatched. This is the start of the season when the males appear first and hang out waiting for encounters with the females before dying. I put out new tubes and they’re already using them which is cool. However, I’ve misplaced a big bundle of the full cocoons. I looked around all fall for them. I thought I’d put them in the shed, but I have a vague memory of moving them, but not to where. Yikes. Sorry, little bees. I keep opening the shed door lest they are in there, to let them out, but nothing seems to happen. I hope I put them outside somewhere.
Do you keep mason bees?
The garden is beautiful this time of year. The Shirley poppies have all germinated, the lilacs are pushing out buds, the clematis armandii is redolent with blooms, the peonies are considering their futures, the irises are full up and I’m sure will send up flower stalks soon. Last year I lost most of my peonies to wilt, and I’m still fighting that this year (but at least I have been on top of it).
Mine was sort of a wreck. The weather is still wintery and cold here and I feel like I’m hanging on by my thumbs. The garden’s growing anyway, and the daffodils are out, lasting forever because it’s so brisk. The clematis armandii is starting to bloom, its evening scent mesmeric. When I take the dog out at night, the frogs in the pond croak, the crickets saw, and it smells divine. If only it would warm up. I’m still wearing my winter gloves to go for daytime walks. I couldn’t get it up for anything this week. Doesn’t matter how perpetually behind I am with everything. Doesn’t matter that some things are urgent. Doesn’t matter that I have upcoming things that will take me away from my desk. I just … couldn’t.
I cope with isolation by working seven days a week. I’m glad Tamara Taggart called what I and other vulnerable citizens are experiencing eugenics this week. It helps to have a celebrity voice telling it like it is when most are gaslighting themselves, their families and their communities.
Those “Festival Flus,” those “Coachella Colds?” All covid. Covid is raging out there, and in hospitals too, where many covid negative patients catch it, ten percent of them dying because of it without anyone standing accountable. There’s no such thing as hybrid immunity with a virus so rapidly changing. That’s why even with flu we need a vaccine once a year–because it’s not the same flu we had before. Covid does this five times as fast. It’s new every few months and we’re learning about the damage of repeated infections. There’s not one part of your body they don’t harm in perhaps permanent ways.
It still could be a game-changer for humanity if we don’t smarten up and fast. Wear respirators and elastomerics. Buy HEPA filters or make CR boxes at home (instructions on You Tube). Keep windows cracked. The best thing is to never catch this bastard.
It wrecks everything, but one of the everythings is that it wrecks your autoimmune system. This leaves you unprotected against things like pneumonias and strep A, and also to age-old infections we thought we’d never see again.
We know how to stop it. We stop it by cleaning the air.
Nobody wants it here. Nobody longs to put on masks. Nobody wants to spend money on protections.
But we don’t have a choice. The only way out of the humongous mess we’ve made is to stop it infecting us.
painting by: Eaton Hamilton, oil sticks on stretched canvas, unsure of size
ID: Non-binary person sitting in green chair wearing black t-shirt and blue pants, orange wall. Short hair.
I’m so tired from the demands of my week, trying to do the work of three people at once, that I ended up with a bad episode of PEM from overexertion. This is hardly new. I’ve had PEM for nearly 40 years. I don’t usually have to go back to bed with it, though, just sit quietly with few demands on my attention. So that’s all for this week, I’m afraid.
Painting by: Eaton Hamilton 2021? pastel on pastel paper, Shirley poppies
ID: Red poppies in a green garden
Has the literary world has shifted to the right over, say, the length of the pandemic? If pressed, I’d say yes.
I’ve been hoping to see more work from marginalized authors–racialized, yes, and also from non-binary, autistic, disabled, older authors–but is publishing becoming more conservative, less likely to take chances on books they would have to develop or tap into unused markets for? Perhaps in part it’s book bannings having a spillover effect; perhaps the anti-drag-queen/trans propaganda is becoming convincing to some; perhaps MAiD turns people away from disabled lives? Perhaps it’s simply the economy.
Somebody was asking my favourite presses. My knowledge of US publishers is not vast, but I’m especially fond of books coming out of Riverhead (Penguin Random) and Counterpoint. In Canada, we are spoiled for small-press choice. I’m hooked on books from Book*Hug, Coach House, Wolsak and Wynn, House of Anansi and Biblioasis. Hardly an exhaustive list. Near me, Arsenal Pulp Press who brought out my last book, the novel “Weekend,” and Caitlin Press, who brought out my last book of poetry. It’s poetry month, so please consider Brick Books in Canada.
I had a good, if grinding, writing week. I’m editing 10 pages of the current novel per day, which I sometimes don’t manage to finish until after midnight. This week was hard because I’m toward the end of the book and have changed some plot lines as I’ve gone along, so there’s a lot of deleting text and new composition, and, when I’m through, a new set of scenes to write. Draft 9 and eleven years in!
These days, I generally set aside time in chunks to work on the house, paint and work on writing but my schedule sort of fell apart when I looked after grandkids for half of their spring break. Hopefully I can force myself back on track, because I count on studio time to force my over-active brain to chill out. I already sit to paint, and because of my disabilities I can only last about an hour, physically. What do other disabled painters do to manage the challenges and limitations of their bodies?
Writing and painting are similar. For both, you require discipline, creativity and the ability to translate nebulous ideas into reality. They also involve a lot of drafts. Most painters don’t refer to “drafts” of paintings, but I do. I would love to be able to paint alla prima (finishing a painting in one sitting) because my disabilities are made for it, but in actual fact I can’t stay at it long enough.
I’ve learned that my brain will switch off at a certain point when it’s unable to pay true attention any longer. That’s a better cue to vacate than waiting for my bodily cues, which often come too late to stop a day of pain.
If you’ve ever been inclined to buy a .painting, now is a most excellent time. 10% off to anyone in April who mentions this post. I mail throughout continguous N America.
painting by: Eaton Hamilton 2023 18×24″ oil on stretched canvas, for sale
ID: Yt woman from the 1950s walking her tan-coloured dog; her dress matches the dog
…but it seems to be snowing in a lot of places in the mid-west.
Gads, we’re already through one-quarter of this year, which seems unbelievable. I had kiddos this week so the almost completely sunny days were spent rocking on the yard swing while we listened to bird song, going to town for ice cream, finding beaches and playgrounds with zip lines and monkey bars, painting and playing, of all things, Monopoly. We agreed we didn’t want to be good little soldiers for capitalism and in the end just made it a three-way tie. But I’m glad the delightful days weren’t longer, because even though the kids are older, less messy, utterly joyous, and came with prepared lunches, this body could not have done more.
Meantime, I didn’t paint at all. I did manage to keep up with finishing the edits on the new novel, 10 pages/day, though!
I hope you have stress-free weeks. But honestly, our swiftly-tilting planet is unlikely to allow that, is it? I hope you have the best weeks you can have under the circumstances.
Hello authors, painters, lit lovers and collectors!
It’s ruddy cold where I live and it’s been below seasonal all March. Hard to believe it will ever let up its hold. There are not many public-facing gardens in this rural area, but my own is lovely, and starting its colour parade already with crocuses, early daffs and the first heavenly, scented hyacinths. While I’ve seen other forsythias in bloom, mine is not, and at this point it looks like the lilacs will beat it. Somehow even so, we’re just at the cusp of needing the grass cut.
Got three climbing roses back up on their trellises. One of them is my favourite, Ilse Krohn. Another is Westerland.
How does your garden grow? Do you grow native plants or are you part of the water brigade all summer long?
I’ve had a good writing week. I rounded page 200 on my ever-so-agonizingly-slow novel edits, which felt like an achievement of a small sort. I’m at the interrogation of sentences part, which for me on this draft is cutting those flabby sentences down. So happy every time I see words go for being repetitious or adding nothing. I have a lot of scene work to do coming up, but it’s nice to have some basic stuff to go through as well as a break. I kept up with painting every day, though sometimes only for ten minutes or so, and the dog got fed and walked. I did not continue with taxes, woe is me, which means that pressure ahead. Accounting is organized and finished. Phew. That’s the truly time consuming part of things.
I actually went out to pick something up from the neighbourhood sales thing and forgot my mask! Never happened before. Thankfully I found an N95 in the car, never used. Phew. I prefer my elastomeric any day, but I’ve never been so relieved.
Happy equinox, and I wish you successful and good weeks upcoming.
painting by Eaton Hamilton, 2022, oil stick on stretched canvas, 20×30″
ID: Non-binary yt person with short orange hair and black shirt and pants sitting in yellow chair. Green wall. Three-quarter view.
Do you have dreams of your mother or guardian?
Last night I dreamed a short story. I was writing it, but also characters were acting it out. The protagonists were a male and female aging couple, I recall, but what the story was is gone. At the end of the dream, my (long-dead) mother was sitting in a car with me. I was aware that I was editing my story, attempting to deepen it, and I introduced my mother to the characters, which regrettably woke me in such a way I forgot the short story.
I had a decades-long series of nightmares that I was responsible for the horses I grew up with, only no one had told me, and when I got back home, and back to the barn, they were all bone wracks on the brink of starvation. I’d run for water and food, but of course it was going to be too late. More recently, I dreamed of the same situation, that I was feeding starving horses, but this time they were inside the barn in stalls. I ran from empty stall to empty stall. There was one bale of hay and it was soon gone. I used the last of it to feed a mare and then I scrambled around again to find food for her filly. It never occurred to me in the dream that the filly could nurse. All I could find was a pen, one of those ones with four colours, black, blue, red and for some reason green. The pens were cheap and subject to breaking, and in the dream I remembered this, and I was worried about feeding the filly because the pen was likely to break into plastic shards.
It was easy to see when I woke up that the mother was the last horse I fed (true in life, too. I barely knew her in adulthood) and that I was feeding myself the gift of writing. A precarious gift, but a gift nevertheless.
As for last night’s dream? I have no idea. I just wish I could get back the short story and submit it.
Update: Another dream of my mother last night. We were in my childhood living room and I was urging her up out of her chair to dance with me outside under the birch tree. I was saying was a pity it was that the window between chairs was painted shut, and saying I should fix that. She reached out and opened it, when it had never been opened in all my childhood. My idea was that we could play music in the den and it would reach us outside. We both seemed happy. I have no idea what it means. I’m airing out our relationship? Things are magically fixing themselves? I just watched a Holly Near concert?
I have a lot of profound animal dreams. I often dream of seeing whales, though usually from either a beach or a ship. They are generally much larger than they are in reality. Last night I dreamed my ex-wife and I, still together, were swimming in what seemed like Deep Cove, at night, far far out. I turned around and looked back at the shoreline and saw it was far, and thought I should start swimming back regardless of what my ex wanted to do. At once I was surrounded by J-pod of orcas. One spy-hopped, facing me, and suddenly my body got hit with what I knew was her echolocation. I felt it on my right side, particularly in my torso. It was not a feeling I’ve ever actually felt in real life, but in the dream it was a cross between an adrenalin hit and electricity. Without words, the whale said, “Do you speak orca?” and I answered, also without words, “Only a little. A bit.” I said, “Well hello. You’re beautiful,” out loud. I wondered if I should be scared because they were so large and so many, but I was not. Being taken out by an orca, being slammed out of my skin–can’t imagine a better way to go. I could still see whale backs and blowhole breath as they surfaced around me. The spy-hopper submerged. I turned around and watched my ex treading water as the largest whale of the pod (I don’t actually know which one that is) spy-hopped all the way up to her tail flukes, an enormous tower of whale flesh. The next thing I knew my ex and I were swimming beside each other back to shore, and I asked her if she was scared. She said she was. I said her whale had reminded me of a croc that had stood upright on its hind legs once when we were in Namibia.
ID: Woman with blue hair rests head on hand. She wears a white dress with blue polka-dots
Good luck to the nominated tonight and a good week to all.
It was a good writing week of editing. I’m working on rounding characters now, mostly, humanizing the inhumane and making the goody-two-shoes protagonist a bit less virtuous.
Art was not so beneficent this week so I’ve been taking a few days off in the studio.
Moving along on accounting. Just about to catch up on this year, after which I’ll draw closer to actually doing taxes.
Taking today off, and off from taking the dog for a walk, too, because the rain is sluicing down. I think it’s only the second day we’ve missed in the six months since I adopted her and the first was because of ice.
Painting by Eaton Hamilton, 2023, 18×24″, oil on stretched canvas
ID: Two folks from the 40s dressed in non-traditional clothing are looked at closely. They each wear white shirts with rolled up sleeves plus rolled up jeans. One wears saddle shoes.
I hope you’ve managed to get through the last week okay. Things grow increasingly traumatic and impossible between covid reducing our immunity to other viruses and illnesses, scientists coming out with more studies about how covid ruins the body after even mild infection (heart attacks anyone? how about erectile dysfunction? or brain damage?), inflation, endless gaslighting by officials (Big Brother, anyone?) and eugenics against Canadian disabled people. Added on to the rest.
Writers were having fun this week asking Chat GPT to generate their writing bios. Here’s mine with a corrected version below it:
Asked Chat GP to write a bio for me. It wouldn’t acknowledge me under my name so I used my deadname (identifiable problem with its programming right there). It continually misgenders me as well; my pronouns are they/there. Almost every detail is wrong. For shits and giggles, I will create a true bio based on theirs below it:
[name] Eaton Hamilton is a Canadian writer and author known for her insightful and impactful literary works. She was born on January 19, 1954, in New Brunswick, Canada, and grew up in a family of writers and artists.
Hamilton began her career as a journalist, working for several Canadian newspapers and magazines before turning to fiction writing. Her debut collection of short stories, “Hunger,” was published in 2001 and received widespread critical acclaim, earning her a nomination for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction.
She went on to publish several more acclaimed works, including the novels “This Hungry Earth” and “Weekend,” as well as the memoir “Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter.” Hamilton’s writing has been praised for its raw honesty, vivid storytelling, and exploration of themes such as identity, family, and relationships.
In addition to her literary works, Hamilton has also been a prominent voice in Canadian literary circles, serving as a mentor and teacher to emerging writers. She has taught creative writing at several universities, including the University of British Columbia, and has also been a judge for numerous literary awards and contests.
Hamilton is the recipient of several awards and honors, including the CBC Literary Award, the Prism International Short Fiction Prize, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Federation of BC Writers. She is also a member of the Order of Canada, one of Canada’s highest civilian honors.
Today, Hamilton continues to write and inspire others with her work. Her writing has had a significant impact on Canadian literature, and she is widely regarded as one of Canada’s most important contemporary authors.
Eaton Hamilton is a Canadian writer and painter barely known for their literary works or art. They were born on July 19, 1954, in Ontario, Canada.
Hamilton began their career working with autistic kids and became disabled before turning to creative writing. Their debut collection of short stories, “Hunger,” was published in 1991 and sank almost as fast as a stone. Hamilton’s work has been compared unfavourably to Alice Munro, when they weren’t even trying to write like her. Often their humour goes right over readers’ heads–not a compliment to Hamilton.
They went on to publish several more works, including the novel “Weekend,” as well as many poetry collections and the memoir “No More Hurt.” Hamilton’s writing has been praised for its raw honesty, vivid storytelling, and exploration of themes such as identity, family, and relationships, but not by many.
In addition to their literary works, Hamilton has also been a scratchy voice promulgating human rights in Canada. They were a litigant in the same-sex marriage case and are an activist against ableism, transmisia, and interpersonal violence.
They have been a judge for numerous literary awards and contests.
Hamilton is the recipient of several awards and honours, including the CBC Literary Award for Fiction (x2),the Event cnf prize (x2), the Prism International Short Fiction Prize (x2), and is published at places like the NYT, The Sun, The Rumpus, The Globe and Mail, Salon and more.
Today, Hamilton continues to throw their writing into deep wells.
But their paintings hang on walls in several countries!
Painting by Eaton Hamilton 2023 16×20″ oil on stretched canvas
An older yt man dances in a circle with his young yt grandchild. Both kick up their heels. He wears a suit, brown jacket, white tie, grey shirt and pants. She wears a dress, sweater and tights in scarlet. Around them is grass.
A lot to ruminate about this week. My mother’s been on my mind because today is twenty years since her death. I missed her dreadfully one day last week, and also missed the town where I grew up and being a child–the latter a first ever for me. It is not always a simple matter to think of her, as the experience is wrought with considerations of abuses mixed with the charm and incandescence of her good moments.
This week in the work front, I added a daily extra hour’s work a day of accounting. Wish I’d done it months ago because it is a good way to attack a stack of papers without becoming overwhelmed and resentful.
It’s been an excellent week in the office/studio, too, because I began to paint again after a week off to write, and the week writing, trying to break through a block, was fruitful. I’ve been working on the novel this stint, with periodic breaks for the memoir, since November. Lately I’ve been working on it in the evenings after I’ve cleared the deck of other necessities, which makes for late nights.
Yesterday I switched the first bit of the novel ms into single space which I always do if I’m trying to read it as a reader might. Of course I continue to edit, so it’s not entirely successful, but it’s the closest I’ve ever managed to come to being a reader of my own work unless years have passed. I think it reads well. For the first time, I’m not having to wince at awkward sentences or repetitions. The thing I adore about editing is that every time through you see new problems–and can fix them. My brain can’t or won’t consider all the problems at once. Sometimes they were only glimmering in the recesses. Sometimes the other, bigger work exposed them. Whatever–I feel so lucky to get to do the repairs and watch a manuscript improve. And then of course, the real magic begins, with one’s editor, when they add their fresh and perspicacious eye. That’s the stage that makes all the grueling years worth it.
I hope your weeks are good. I’m heartened, my burdens just ever so slightly lifted. May this happen to you as well.
ID: Yt woman walking whippet. She wears a tan dress with a red belt and a tan hat. Oil, 16×20″ stretched canvas
Every day I walk my dog, who isn’t a whippet, but a mix of who-knows-what, a rescue who was quite traumatized. When I lived in Phoenix, though, I did have a whippet who looked a fair bit like the dog in this painting. His name was Clint. It was like he was made of springs; if people clapped, he’d leap into their arms. The dog I have now is smaller, but I think dogs are bigger, somehow, when they’re smaller. Her hair grows and grows. It was getting long when the other day I used scissors to trim her over putting her through the agony of a grooming. I needed her hair shorter because I could no longer control her matting. Since I trimmed her–what a mess!–I’ve been brushing and combing her to get out the pre-mats, which leaves her with all the hairs involved in the snag now straight and frothing. Lots of clipping still to come. After five months we’re definitely getting used to one another and she securely feels this is her longterm home.
I haven’t painted this week because I’ve been head down with lit work. I like editorial work, generally, especially when it’s spurred by an exciting idea/direction.
How do you feel about editing your work? To me, it’s the best part of writing. Especially if it’s via someone else’s eyes. They have distance from the work and see it anew–so their ideas are usually fresh and delicious.
ID: couple dancing in mid spin. One person wears a long dress that has flipped up with the momentum. Done in black and whites.
Hello, good people, how are you this week? Where does the time go? Seems to me the year begins to speed up at about this time. I add tax prep to my guilty procrastination along with garden clean-up round about now, so I’m certain that’s what changes the perception I have about time.
This week I’ve been looking after my strange rescue dog. She is a joy and delight and also a perplexing, sometimes saddening, mystery. In the joy department, she only pilfers used tissues and tears those to pieces, I think because she lived in a bathroom for some time. Oh one time recently she stole my Lypsyl and ate that as well. But the important thing is that my furniture and shoes etc seem to be safe. But this little dog has so much trouble eating. She has the desire, but her fear is stronger and she’ll leave food she wants sitting in her bowl or on her lick pad for hours. She also has genuine trouble going outside after being cornered by a racoon. I’m hoping once the weather is better and I’m outside more she’ll be motivated by that.
Not the best writing week here. For a hot minute I was encouraged by something I’d done and thought I could follow it, but the next day I despised it and jumped as far away as I could.
Meantime here is the link to the Paris Review, where writers with a sub can peruse seemingly endless interviews with writers, along with their stunning regular content.
Painting: Eaton Hamilton Couples Counseling, unsure of size, oil sticks and fingerpainting, 2022
The one time I went, for a period of about 6 weeks, I loathed couple’s counseling. I didn’t have an ethical person to attend with. My partner had already told me weeks before we attended that she was leaving me, and then, even despite our long talks about logistics, later claimed I’d fabricated this. On my side, I was desperately trying to get my partner to re-engage, and for that we needed truth on the table, but her agenda was to “win” the therapist so the therapist would find me unreliable. My partner was very calculated, very buttery faux-warm, and it worked, and it then became hard for the therapist to believe anything I said, and for me to respect the therapist. I needed to talk about a series of gaslights, and my ex saying I made up stories, rather than telling the truth, and the therapist chided me because, she said, my ex was obviously sincere.
I’d been feeling, after an increase in violence at home, imperiled, and I left counseling after my ex confided to the therapist that she’d been “waiting and waiting and waiting for [her] to die.”
Hello? I had time with that partner. I knew when she was sincere and when she was manipulating a situation, though I, like many others who knew her less well, tried not to believe she was as Machiavellian as she truly was. I’d had to see, and emphasize, the good side of her to stay. It turned out she was about to manipulate every “helping person” that came our way. The therapist, but later her lawyer, my (!) lawyer, two divorce counselors, all our mutual friends.
You both must form an intent to save the relationship for things to work in couples counseling, or don’t bother. That’s what I learned.
This week the Doomsday Clock moved up to 90 seconds to midnight. I watched bleakly, wondering if we’d be able to pull it back, sad and alarmed for all the children who are having to grow up around such complicated adult destruction.
But I also wondered how parents who take their children to dance, or soccer, or piano hoping they’ll have a leg-up as adults, who plonk helmets on their heads and buckle them into car seats, who feed them 3-square and make sure they get enough sleep, justify letting them sit in toxic air all day in school without the protections of masks and HEPAs. I wondered if they will have intact bodies after many, many covid infections, and if they don’t, as now seems increasingly likely, whether they will be mad. Furious. Livid at the parents who disabled them.
Another young Black man, this time in Memphis, was lynched by police. Mass shootings in CA targeted Asian Americans.
How can we cope? What can we do? How can we change things?
When I am desolate and there seems no way out, I keep Margaret Mead’s quote in mind:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world.In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
It’s a Dismal Time to be Marginalized, Painting by: Eaton Hamilton 2018
I’m aware this week on twitter of how many lesbians are ganging up on trans women in the UK. Trans women in EU, I’ve got your back. May you soon see a friendlier, safer world.
In the US parents are teaching their kids to shoot, all the while trying to tell us that drag queens reading to toddlers in libraries are the ones grooming kids. Do gun enthusiasts want their kids to be mass murderers? Do they know how disaffected teens and young adults can grow to be? Do they understand how scary it might be to be the spouse of their little boy grown to a man?
Meantime, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, billionaires took control of covid and used all the safety protections at their disposal. From PCR tests at the door and your entry badge decommissioned if you were positive or refused, to masks, HEPA filters and good ventilation (everyone wore coats to stay warm).
Now everyone is saying no double standards! As Imani Barbarin says on TikTok, we were all played when govts and public health said there was nothing to worry about. #DavosSafe for all!
In the writing world? Well, 6 writers at Creative Nonfiction left due to poor working conditions. Many of us can identify. You can find the writers on twitter along with the winter courses they were planning to teach at CN, and join up to help them maintain income levels.
Here’s an essay by Lisa Russ Spaar about publishing your first novel in your sixties, something I did (though I had many books in other genres by then) with “Weekend,” my 7-month (including edits) baby. I don’t know how that happened given I started writing novels in the 80s and most of them have sucked years and years of my life away. All those uncooked books are sitting in drawers, on shelves, in file cabinets, on jump drives. Sound familiar?