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.
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 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.
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.
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?
painting by Eaton Hamilton, 2021, acrylic on paper, perhaps 11×14″
The weather has (happily) continued mild, and the dog seems finally to be more or less over her aversion to rain, which makes our walks infinitely more enjoyable. She has spied a couple deer and yesterday, a cat. She’s keen for the chase (but leashed).
In her past, I think she was forced to eat a lot of rotten food to stay alive, and so feeding her continues to be an issue. I’m sure she’d be happy with human fast food, somehow, but dog food is tricky for her. I have to make a “bread crumb” pathway for her to follow to her bowl, since once she sees it’s good, she’ll eat another and another little pile of it until she reaches her bowl where she’ll dig in. She does mean a lot of mopping; so much mopping that I just leave the mop and bucket out now.
This week, I’ve been painting in tones of black and white (and none of these are finished to show you). The black I concoct is very much like Payne’s Grey, so really tones of grey blues. It’s been fun to take on old family photos, but sometimes after all the monotone, I itch for colour. Still, there are things I’m trying to teach myself technically with my new water miscible paints, but also compositionally as my canvases go bigger.
Thanks to all my clients! I love and appreciate you all! I can say for certain there are more of my works on US walls than Canadian now. Funny that.
As for writing, I did get a handle on the first draft of an essay on a deadline I’ve been working to conceive. This week I’ll be banging at it to see if I can tap it into submittable shape. We’ll see. The gears feel like they need oil.
How are your artistic pursuits coming along? Are you making it through winter okay?
I notice here on the west coast that our bulbs are up, way up, and the O. poppies (orange) that were already here and that a “helper” tried to steal, whereupon shattering the dreadful roots into many plants, are already up and at ’em. They look tender as annuals at the moment. The robins are back! They’re such pests, re: berries, but I wish them well, because the barred owls are up in the tree limbs sharpening their nails (last September an owl killed a mother robin and three babies in one particularly bloodthirsty week).
Painting by Eaton Hamilton 2022/23 12×12″ on stretched canvas, oil, The Friendship (maybe they’re discussing Susan Meachen)
ID: Two yt women lying on a floatie at the edge of a swimming pool, holding hands, blue and white towel on side of pool
How desperate are you to succeed in the lit world? People have faked a lot of things in writing–faked their identities, faked being Indigenous or Black, passed other authors’ texts off as their own work, and now, have even pretended to commit suicide. Would you fake your own death to increase your sales? Well, romance writer Susan Meachen did, while having her”sister” continue to post on social media, until, finally this week, 2.5 years into it and wanting her old life back, she came clean. She apparently didn’t think she’d done anything wrong, but the moral injuries others feel are heightened.
Folks, we made it! For all my isolation, 2022 seemed to zip by with me, as usual, always behind, behind, behind. It helps, I guess to have meaningful work you love (even if more than half the time it is crunchingly hard). I hope you have that, too. It means the world when disabled people have been cast aside, officially by governments (legislated super-poverty, systemic ableism, MAiD, triage out of hospital care, lack of SARS2 mitigations) and unofficially by friends and family, who find vaccinating, wearing a mask and improving their ventilation absolutely a road too far to protect the vulnerable and children. Three years of selfishness is killing the disabled.
I don’t have high hopes for 2023 given we’re getting “Kraken” with the SARS2 omicron variant XBB 1.5, which is virulent, transmissible and a great evader of all the current treatments. It’s what we get when we pretend this thing is gone, instead of dealing with it, and there will be worse ones behind it if we don’t start cleaning the air, just like we once learned to clean the water. Problem is, SARS2 is wrecking our immune systems, more and more with each reinfection, which means all the other nasties are getting better footholds and overwhelming healthcare already stressed by bad right-wing government and SARS2: strep throat, foot and mouth disease, meningitis, measles, malaria, tuberculosis, cholera, pertussis, influenza, pneumococcal disease, and gonorrhea. We’re also seeing huge rises not only in long covid (LC) but in SARS2 sequelae like sudden death from bloodclots and heart attacks.
There’s every reason to make the virus pass through multiple filters before it reaches your face. You don’t want to get it. you especially don’t want to get it a second, third, fourth, fifth time. Protect your precious body. In the end, it’s all you have.
Painting: Eaton Hamilton, 2022, oil and acrylic on stretched canvas, 30″x40″
ID: Women in red dress reclining on purple sofa with green wall behind. Orange/yellow cushions.
I seem to have broken out of what’s been my worst writer’s block in twenty years! I’ve written my way through it, but it was desultory, unhappy writing–and with ADHD procrastination that’s like pulling teeth–but, fingers crossed, I’m done with it now and moving back up to speed. My advice with writer’s block is to always have several projects on the go at once so that, when you encounter it, you can just move yourself to a new piece. It’s always worked–until it didn’t, these last couple months, because I refused, absolutely refused, to get engaged by a different work. I wanted to break through to the fiction under my fingers, not any other piece.
I don’t have a lot of insight at this particular moment. Just the relief. You know? I’ll be considering the plight I put myself into for the next while seeing if I can figure out the collision between my reticence and stubbornness.
How’s writing going for you? What are you working on? Drop a line and let me know how it’s going.
Disabled, trans, autistic authors maybe have to build support amongst ourselves? I’ve been left in the agonizing situation, since I’ve been unable to “work” due to disability for decades, of having pension/supplements under $1000/month, which doesn’t even cover housing.
I have to scramble. At the time I might want to consider retiring, I can’t. I won’t ever be able to. I don’t have a partner or inherited wealth. There’s a real plague of senior poverty in Canada–it’s an ungenerous, dangerous country for older disabled Cdns. It’s hard not to believe, between legislated poverty, ableism, MAiD and hospital triage (BC kicked 1/3 of patients, disabled all, out of hospital in Sept, and is continuing this eugenicist practice, even with kids) the actual agenda is our hastened deaths
So, please, if you can spare the cash, please help by joining me on Patreon. It’s an aspirational place I’d build into a site where I can discuss being a cross-disciplinary artist–writing and painting–and how the two intersect, but I need followers to engage by asking questions and leaving comments! I’d love to get to know you there!
Painting: Eaton Hamilton 2022 acrylic on paper 6.5×9″
Hello, folks. I see we are very close to the holidays, while I’m lost (as usual) many months back. The acceleration starts in the spring and keeps going the rest of the year. I can’t quite keep up.
I’m doing a fundraiser to cover housing for Jan, so these little paintings are only $100 USD, incl shipping continental N America. So many folks ask after work but can’t afford my prices, so these little pieces are for them. See Hamilton Art on FB for more.
Meantime, I’m writing. Are you writing this week? If you are, what are you working on? Me, I’m turning from project to project–whichever one I have energy for. Novel rewrite (again? Are you kidding me? This book has had ten years of rewrites) and memoir rewrite (which makes sense because only draft 3 and still looking for the shape). I try to keep more than one project on the go at a time because it helps against blocks.
I hope you’re keeping safe against the new omicron variants in this worsening SARS2 pandemic, and managing to keep away from RSV, influenza and the other viral/bacterial resurges. Here in BC the government behaviour is catacylsmic, and many adults and now children are losing their lives due to gov’t’s “let ‘er rip” policy. It’s heartbreaking. More still are feeling the sequelae to infection because covid presents as respiratory but its damage is deep and long-lasting, from mini-clots, sudden heart attacks, heart damage, brain damage, liver damage, kidney damage, vasculature damage and new study this week noting accelerating osteoporosis. It’s the anti-gift that keeps on giving. It’s worth doing everything in your power to NOT CATCH IT. People are going to have to be a lot more careful, and this means N95 or better masks, building CR boxes (google it; You Tube has instructions; dead simple), HEPA filters in all your spaces.
CLEAN THE AIR YOU BREATHE.
Be well this week. I know how stressful Dec is, especially for parents. Hang in there if you can. The shortest day will soon be upon us, and then every day will be longer again, thank goodness. Loads of my plants are loading up for spring already, in particular lilacs and magnolias. It’s going to be beautiful, and we’re going to need it.
Celebrate love. Celebrate your friends. Celebrate your animals. Find a thing of beauty to remark upon today if you can.
painting: Eaton Hamilton, Nov 20 2022, unfinished, oil stick on canvas board, fingerpainted, 8×10″
What’s to say about this week, folks? Life, ever precarious, grows more so by the day. Watching kiddos without updated covid vaccines or flu vaccines navigate schools is daunting because so terribly dangerous. Every day I hear the wait times for BCCH, where one of my grands once spent time in an isolation room, and I wonder how parents are not breaking. I know how frantic one is when kiddos are seriously ill; to then wait with that sick kiddo in a room full of coughing need-to-be-patients for hour after hour only to finally give up after a day in exhaustion and hunger? What the hell are we doing, Canada? What the absolute hell?
We know that covid is a chronic disease now. We know it affects every bodily system–from brain to heart to liver to kidneys to vasculature. We know it stays in the body even after a so-called “mild” acute stage, and we know, now, that it is working to kill people a few months hence. Young people without comorbidities, usually quickly by heart attack or stroke. We now that the “brain fog” people have identified shows up as dementia-like damage in brain scans. We know that the damage caused by reinfections is unsurprisingly much, much worse. We also know that because of the PHO’s “let ‘er rip” DIY pandemic that most people have gotten ill again and again.
But we also know how to slow down (and even perhaps stop) the bastard. We know that N95 masks and elastomerics work a charm–their electrostatic charges attract and trap virus particles (we also know we can’t pick that virus back up from the filters of these masks). We know that easy-to-make CR boxes work brilliantly at cleaning indoor air. All they need is duct tape, a box fan, and 1-4 filters the same dimensions as the fan and about two hours of your time.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy safety.
Here’s one a 6 and 7-year-old made almost alone. I steadied the sides while they applied duct tape to hold them together, then after that all I did was cut a lot of tape, check it when they were through, and cut shapes they asked for to decorate “Georgie.”
HEPA filters work a charm, too, and guess what? There are portable ones now! You can take them with you, whirring away on battery charge, to the doctor, the PO, the pharmacy, the grocery. School! You can even loop them around your neck and wear them like a purring pet kitten.
Anecdotally, I can tell you that I’ve had two positive people between a small HEPA and my 20×20″ CR box, and I was masked (they were not) and I did not get sick.
These protective measures work! I can’t tell you how relieving it’s been to be without viruses the past few years. What a feeling to know I’m not going to be plugged up and coughing my lungs out several times a year.
There is oodles of peer-reviewed studies on twitter covid or mastodon to read. We haven’t been getting the straight goods from PHO or govt. This is an on-going pandemic that is worse now than previously (more deaths in 2022) and that is now striking kids hard. At this point, it’s child abuse not to send your kids to school in masks as good as you can possibly provide to them. We don’t fully know what covid’s doing to developing bodies, but what we know without a scintilla of doubt is that it’s nothing good. This virus strikes to harm, long-term.
Eaton Hamilton. One of Matisse’s windows, re-visioned. ID: Open shutters seen from indoors. View of ocean/palms. 2022
I painted this small painting this week, 9×12″, oil sticks and finger painting, so keeping up in the studio, at least. Most of the paintings I want and need to work on are still (endlessly/frustratingly) wet, so one waits, and starts other pieces that, too, will also be wet wet wet. My drying rack is full to the brim and paintings dry all over the place, probably interrupting the drying of pieces behind them.
I’ve been trying to figure out Squarespace and wasting a good amount of time trying to decipher how to arrange art galleries there. I am useless at this. Hitting head against wall useless. When I was a photographer, we just bought a template and plunked things in–effortless. But this is not that. I’m about at the spot where I’ll go back to those days and find a ready-made site.
I’ve been thinking a lot about a short story I wrote on Salt Spring Island in the 80s. I did many drafts of a novel based on it before collapsing the project. I’ve learned some lessons about simplification since then, so if I could ever clean my desk of books-in-progress I’d go back to it and do it down and dirty without all the complications.
It was a very good week at the races (election); may we forever entrench democracy’s wins. It was also a very good week for the Giller Prizes, where Suzette Mayr took home the prize for ‘The Sleeping Car Porter,’ entrenching queer wins. It was a wonderfully diverse shortlist, and I look forward to reading all the books.
How about you? How are your short or long pieces going these days, folks?
And I’m still way behind. I work a lot, or feel like I do, and feel like everything is reeling regardless. The pupster does require a lot of attention until 4, when she conks out for more than 12 hours, so for sure, she’s part of this pressure that mounts for Sept and Oct without let-up. There are more things. Spending so long watering trees doesn’t help. The poor things. Years of drought and they’re going to topple anyhow from all the stress of being alternately water-logged and too dry to function. Toppling is dangerous to everyone, and a fine reason all of its own that we should address climate change.
And, Bonnie Henry, is BC planning to ignore Ebola just like we have monkeypox (still circulating), polio, and covid? Respectfully, to you and Dix: bite me.
In any case, it’s been a great, if highly stressful, work week. Got a ton done. Got back in the studio, finally, and did a rough draft of an oil stick 24×24″ in the new series, along with several drawings.
How did your creative week go? Wishing you all the best for the upcoming one.
This is me, I swear, though I am the next thing to bald (with many crop circles from alopecia):
It’s my new oil stick and fingerpainted work, on stretched canvas, one of a series of non-binary folks dressed mostly in black against colourful backgrounds. Inquire for price and size.
As far as work goes, wowsers. I’m sure it’s that I have not a second free and a list that could circle the globe of urgent TO DOs that I would suddenly, suddenly, enter a writing time warp and have to do nothing else. No, actually, it’s just as much deadlines. Now or never on those. Short work. Three full-length stories in various stages of drafts. Three short pieces out of nowhere. I need to get back to the memoir in the worst way (I ache for it and it’s owed), but, first, these necessities. What an incredibly fertile time, though, per most Septembers, and a mix of stressy and fun at the same time. Need to accomplish finishing one essay as well. Then freedom of sorts, back to painting and writing half and half each day (with loads of time off to accommodate dog and disability).
How is September for you? How you holding up? When I was parenting, I used to call Sept “Hell month.” Kids were freaked by getting up and out, new classrooms and teachers, new clothes, new pencils, and came home wrecked by having to keep up appearances all day, trying to get along, trying to fit in, trying not to mis-step. And homework! No need for anything except volunteer homework in primary–if you want to do it, please do. If you don’t care to, please don’t.