Eaton Hamilton

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.

Tag: painting

I try not to

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.”

This week

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?

A Poetics of Risk: On Publishing My Debut Novel in My 60s

Write/paint well this week, puppies, and may you find an iota of peace away from the frothing world.

Ah, well, we seem to be half through the first month of 2023

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).

Cheers to you all!

#AutisticArtist #FaceBlindness #AcylicArt #AcrylicPainting #MixedMedia #OilPainting #Drawing #FigurativeArt #Strength #Endurance #OnLineDrawing #LifeDrawing #Visual Art #PortraitsOfWomen #NonBinaryArt #PastelArt #transArt #AuthorsWhoPaint #PatreonHamiltonArt #ArtForSale #DisabledArt

Feel Like Faking Your Own Death? Apparently, You Can

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.

You can find more about this fraudster here:

BBC

The Times UK

Happy New Year!

Painting: Eaton Hamilton 2022, oil on stretched canvas, 20×20″

ID: Two small kids run barefoot through a green meadow wearing red and white striped shirts and blue shorts

#AutisticArtist #FaceBlindness #AcylicArt #AcrylicPainting #MixedMedia #OilPainting #Drawing #FigurativeArt #Strength #Endurance #OnLineDrawing #LifeDrawing #Visual Art #PortraitsOfWomen #NonBinaryArt #PastelArt #transArt #AuthorsWhoPaint #PatreonHamiltonArt #ArtForSale #DisabledArt

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.

I feel so lucky…

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.

If you’re interested in hearing about the combo of writing and painting, join me, will you, on Patreon at Hamilton Art? https://www.patreon.com/hamiltonart

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!

Swim, much?

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.

Mastodon-morphing–aren’t we all?

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.

Please don’t let it.

Here I am Avoiding Life-ing Again

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?

It’s Sunday all over again…

painting: mixed media, Eaton Hamilton, unsure of size, 2020 or 2021

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.

What an effing week…

Painting by: Eaton Hamilton, 2022; “Slouching” oil stick and fingerpainting on stretched canvas

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.

Today, I am dull

painting: Eaton Hamilton, oil stick on oil paper

…but hopefully my work still is not! Not much from my pen or oil stick this week with a new pupper and a concussion. Today I feel pretty ill.

Nonetheless, I wish you a safe and cheering week.

Still Mulling Over Trauma

painting by Eaton Hamilton 12×16″ oil stick and fingerpainting on canvas on board

Peculiar week where nothing went as planned. Had a freaky meltdown using zoom. Always knew I couldn’t manage it but had no insight as to why (obviously, autism, but when it was first around I imagined it would be a wet dream, and it was the opposite, and I had to stop. I still wanted the contact, and the reading or workshop or whatever I was on there for, but I couldn’t handle it so quit zoom altogether). I’ve talked about it a little and it’s actually quite common. We’re not good with phones as a population, and we’re not great with zoom either.

As for painting, yum, going great, but oils are so *wet.* Using a lot of RF oil sticks this week because I ran out of a lot of colours, and those of course require whacks of driers resulting in an instant headache. My Corsi-Rosenthal filter is helping with this a lot, thank goodness. I’m using only oil sticks and fingerpaints, and anyone who knows this media knows they’re as good for fine detail work as, I dunno, socks? Still, I’m learning to control them, in part by painting bigger (covering old work I never finished). The two brands I really love, RF and private ones I have made, are sooooo sexy and buttery, but the driers for the former exhaust me. The sexiness reminds me of Kroma tube paints (Granville Island, Vancouver); it’s like lubing up a canvas, I swear.

Writing, well… I seem to keep running away from the difficulty of it. I know I have many, many pragmatic and urgent things to do and ordinarily that would keep me head down, writing, right? (The way the urgency of having to clean behind your fridge with a toothbrush only arises on a writing deadline.) I am procrastinating, and it’s the thing I despise most about myself. It gives me days and weeks and months of agony for utterly no reason at all.

Have a good one, wherever you are. Mask up, keep your kids safe(r) in their schools. Promote ventilation to every business you use.

Trauma Keeps On Giving

painting by Eaton Hamilton, 16″x 20″, oil sticks on canvas, “The Impasse” 2022

I doubt anyone writing a childhood memoir is not writing, at least peripherally, about some kind of trauma. We have to, after all, have an issue at the center of our self-inquiries. Of course that may be an illness, an unusual death, or any number of other topics, but childhood memoirs are often quite focused on troubling events from the past, and, sometimes, how those reach out to affect your current life.

Certainly mine is such. I can’t even, people advise, tell the complete story, for it is, they say, too awful to read. This infuriates me. Reading it is, to living through it, as a puddle to an ocean. However, nevertheless, I’m constricting it. Jury’s still out on my third attempt to land at a workable first draft. I’ve just edited and printed the first 100 or so pages, so I’ll see how they read, whether I’m getting anywhere at all or just making things worse.

Probably I won’t read it. Probably I’ll just use my headstrong energy to go ahead and make more mistakes I’ll need to repair.

Read this by Beth Macy, from Lit Hub.

Hard to be enthusiastic at the mo…

painting by Eaton Hamilton 2022

Hard to be enthusiastic these days. No matter how hard I push to keep up, I seem to fall farther and farther behind. I haven’t snapped back from June surgery the way I should have yet. I’m dragging myself from event to event, and because I haven’t felt this much fatigue in a good while, I’m going to go out on a limb and call this a flare. In any case, nothing personally catastrophic is happening in my life so I’m going with that! Very concerned about the general conditions in the world (is this the beginning of dystopia? Is Cdn healthcare going to be gone in six months, once mpx hits hospitals hard? Is war going to ever stop? Where are the vaccines? Anne Heche! Etc etc. I find myself thinking about the kiddos from Uvalde, both the victims and the survivors, a fair deal). What are we doing to ourselves? What are we doing to our world/our globe?

As for writing, it’s going well. I finally had my book printed the other day (I thought I’d changed the font size but I had not, so it’s all printed in 18 pt, what a waste of paper) so that in case the web goes down permanently, I have a copy of sorts (of sorts). I made a chart of what’s happening in each chunk so I can keep track. I’m beginning to “read” it though I’ve never been good at reading my own work. I work on it as I go instead. Not very far into it yet.

Meantime, the enormous project of getting some artwork on paper ready for my new website has concluded! Hurrah! Now to build the site!

Not at all looking forward to this week. It has some challenging pieces to it.

Hope your week is looking fabulous. Have a good one!

Hello from Sunday!

Eaton Hamilton: After Modi, acrylic

What do I have to say for myself this week? I last saw humans Tues when the family (daughter and kiddos) dropped by to give me berries and peas from the market. Otherwise, I have been head down, working hard, and sometimes fighting sickness. (Was quite ill at points, unknown cause.)

Every boiling day I’ve been managing to get a snippet of gardening down. Can’t ignore watering during heat waves, alas, and that’s my least favourite thing to have to keep up with every day. Otherwise, it’s time for the Shirley poppies to go. I’ve been waiting for them to go to seed first. Now the seed’s collected and away their brittle brown corpses can go, down the hillside. I’ve lost the young man who did an astonishing good job cutting my grass (to a job!), so I’m trying to at least weed-eat the dandelions before they seed, though the battery isn’t properly charging so this is tedious. Otherwise working on the already seeded weeds. How did I let them get this bad? A question I ask every summer.

Since I don’t go to the nurseries (covid, inaccessibility), I don’t have my usual filler annuals. It is already looking very brown out there and once it’s clean, I imagine that will be far worse. I’m trying to be chill about it.

I’m controlling the heat in here by keeping curtains drawn most of the day and then, when they’re open placing fan in front of open door facing house, with bowl of ice, to cool the place in the evening. The heat spell is said to be about to break. I’ll be glad.

Have barely painted, and I just don’t know what to say about the mess I’m making of this memoir, so I won’t say anything. Working hard when I can on getting images of paintings sorted, named, measured and web-res’d to go up on my new painting site.

Hope your weeks as summer ends are good ones, with satisfying connections and summer play. Tonight I’m taking the girls to see (swim in possibly) phosphorescence (masked in my Flo Mask, of course)!

These days, while I’m moving…

pastel by Eaton Hamilton

…and have a lot of medical appts to wade through, it never happens that I can clear my schedule for a week. It seems baggy and luxurious, like an emotional space I can fit into for once.

Moving has never really been as bad as now, since if you don’t find a place before you to have leave, there’s literally nowhere to go. Not for the wealthy, I know, but for we serfs.

So, I had a week where I could cancel a couple last things and just feel the space around me. I motored through a partial draft of my memoir having no idea if I was hitting the right direction or losing it even more entirely than I had in the draft where that was allowed. I’d laugh except the daunting task of reading this one-third book has not happened yet. I dread finding out it doesn’t work, again.

What are you writing this week? Are you getting through in a project that’s been giving you pain? Any successes to report?

Have a good week if you can with all the worry.

Diversity in authors and subject matter

painting by: Eaton Hamilton 2020; woman in wheelchair

I knew diverse representation in publishing was bad, but I didn’t understand quite how bad it really was until authors divulged their advances on twitter’s #whatpublishingpaidme thread a couple years back. Even to me, who absolutely expected evidence of racism, homphobia, transphobia and ableism, it was a shock how publishing advances often had nothing to do with prior publishing success and a whole lot more to do with whether or not the author was white, able-bodied, straight and cis, and, often (still), male.

The red carpet rolls out for those folks, and not so much for the rest of us. I do maintain that most agents and publishers give lip service to wanting diverse books and authors, but in actuality they really only want to want them. They used to tell us that our stories were overloaded by the addition of queer characters and they’d suggest the protagonists be straight so as not to distract from the storyline, but now they say there’s just not an audience. What they really mean by that is that they’re not willing to give a good advance to work they’re not personally interested in, nor go to the trouble and expense of finding the book’s enthusiastic market.

I’m sick of it. It’s lasted all my literary career. All of it, over 35 years of it. You don’t know my books because of this discrimination, and that is true for thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of other artists as well.

If you build it, to quote WP Kinsella, they will come.

Here’s The Guardian discussing diversity in publishing lately:
Changing the narrative on disability: is representation in books getting better? by Lucy Webster

and here they are, recently, discussing senstivity readers:

Stop moaning about sensitivity readers – if there was diversity in publishing we wouldn’t need them, by Juno Dawson

Roe, Roe, Roe Your Boat Safely Down the Stream?

painting by: Eaton Hamilton 2022, acrylic on acrylic paper

People will know me as half American in my heart, since I was once a permanent resident there, and that’s where I went to university and learned about literature. Watching the Supreme Court steal rights from half the population in the leaked draft decision overturning Roe, and reading their appalling and ludicrous basis for the decision (citing a dude who burned witches at the stake? saying we owe the country an increase in adoptable babies?) has been soul-crushing, and while I am worried and anxious about climate change, about the war and its deathly abuses, about violence against women and children, about justice, about transphobia and homophobia, about ableism, about racism, about the young people and children of today who need to be able to find homes, I am freaked the eff out about what’s happening. Yes, I can trace the white bread crumbs back to the seventies and see the GOP’s long-game, and I know the GOP is where grown-up bullies go to toy with new victims, but even so the sadism of this surprises me.

I grew up during the times of back alley abortions, which thankfully had mostly vanished by the time I was a late teen. Still, even then, abortion was only legal if the health of the mother was threatened, which wasn’t good enough. Three doctors (white men) had to agree and then the matter went before a hospital board.

And nor do I think Canada’s position on abortion, modernized since then so that we have no law at all, is by any means secure. It only allowed the right-wing to take over hospital boards, who rule access, and remove it where they can. Even while abortion remains legal, access continually dwindles and the threat of violence against people seeking procedures remains heightened.

We live in perilous times. But I always stop to remember that if you are Indigenous or Black or Latinx or Asian you have always lived in perilous times. Maternal deaths from childbirth in Black communities are high. In Canada, on the regular and in current times, Indigenous babies are ripped from parental arms for no reason beyond racism.

That supply of adoptable babies, again.

So, yes, I have been writing, and, yes, I have been painting, and, yes, I have been spring cleaning, but more I’ve been staving off depression because I cannot bear what’s happening.

I hope you’re doing a fair sight better than I am.

This week

drawing by: Eaton Hamilton

My kid had a birthday and took her children snowboarding for their first time–lucky ducks. They both loved it, and staying overnight at a hotel, too. The older child, 7, has fallen for independent reading in the worst way, doing exactly what both her mom and I did as kids, walking around with her book clutched in her hands, not willing to exit the story long enough to eat or interact.

I find that thrilling, I think because reading’s always been such a joy for me as well. “She reads a book a night,” her mom said, so I asked how she manages to keep up with the demand. “The library.”

Me, I’ve finished prepping the garden beds for spring thanks to a lovely sunny day yesterday, which thrills me except I’m so stiff I can no longer walk. So good to dig my hands into the loam. I swear I’m hungry for this by March, but the earth is usually too damned cold. Not this year where I live and love.

Next for power washing and a dump run and the outside will be in tip top shape. I moved my canvases from inside to the storage shed, where they’re set up with a dehumidifier. Glad that’s done. Next step is moving inside, where I will declutter, de-spider-web, and give the place a good going over. That should take some weeks.

Spring cleaning. Or should I say accounting avoidance?

I just got buzzed by a hummer telling me it’s time to change the nectar in the feeders–quite rightly. They know. So the new nectar is cooling in the measuring cup on the stove.

I have to create a grant application in the next couple weeks. I was trying to come up with a name for the new project and I realized I’d thought up a great title for a book a couple weeks ago and noted it down. I was wondering what the scope of the project should be–its defining scaffolding, if you will–and I went in search of that book title. There it was, not just the title, but as soon as I read the title again, the book itself announced itself, its range, tip to toe, where it begins and where it ends.

Also relieving.

I got a cheque for royalties for my old memoir, too. Good to know it’s still selling!

How are things down your way, here on the spring equinox, when days and nights are the same lengths? At least at this time of year we have the beautiful resurgence of spring. The first cherry blossoms here where I live are popping! They are perhaps my all-time favourite and most cheering sight.

I hope you see them where you are and I hope they give you hope and forebearance.

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