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.
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, 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 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).
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!
ID: yt woman with red hair and blue shirt, profile
painting by Eaton Hamilton, acrylic
How was your week? I had a troublesome one after one of my kids got hurt in an accident, but I think now that she’s okay, so I’m standing down with an ever-vigilant eye.
Happy to say I finally wrestled my procrastination to the ground and am back working on novel revisions at the same time as my memoir. It’s good for me. Usually November is a great writing month, but this time around after all the housing shenanigans (which must continue in the spring … do everything you can not to become a disabled senior without much of a pension, because Canada doesn’t have a safety net for disabled people, but, instead, programs of eugenics) I was too exhausted to stand up. I don’t get rid of any disabilities simply because there’s need for me to do extra things, and I don’t have more money to fund those things either.
But making stories is a good way to pass the time. I love that feeling of finding someone’s character. Well, hello! I say when they announce themselves. Hello and where have you been all my life? It doesn’t even have to be a person I have anything in common with, or even someone I like or admire–they just have to have some pop and sizzle and I’m all theirs. Character-driven work writes itself. Maybe that’s why cnf will always come second in my heart.
How about on your side?
Meantime, support my literary and visual art endeavors at Patreon at Hamilton Art. For as little as $5/month, you can join me as I talk through writing and art dilemmas, joys and techniques. You can ask me any questions you like, and, if we can get a big enough group together, I’ll be happy to do mini-classes too. Let’s make the site together. Join me!
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.
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.
…except when it’s not. But when it’s going well, oh my, oh my, those days or moments are worth their weight in lightbulbs. Talk about illuminating your way forward.
How’s your writing going? It’s a terrifically hard month to write because of all the distractions and interruptions. I manage less well in August than any other month. My garden, though, even at its worst, is a paradise of calm, a true oasis of scented beauty, and this is what this month has been for me creatively this year, as well (yes, despite the gruesome news cycles including the attack on author Salmon Rushdie. May he live on), calm inside the storm. You know what that’s like, right? The way forward announces itself to you and off you go, chasing it like the rainbow it is.
Good luck to you in August, creators. I love how the days stretch and morph. Don’t forget to smell the martini as you drift by.
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)!
…that I am no further along in unlocking the mystery (infrastructure) of this memoir than I was seven days ago, and not for lack of trying. It’s me that’s my impediment. I would give a lot, some days, to be a different writer with different skills, though then I’d likely pine for my original skills, right?
How are all y’all doing? It’s difficult with BA.5 on the romp, I know, since it’s our most infectious variant yet, and transmissible even outside–and how we want to be maskless outdoors! I suspect everything will worsen until governments realize the “let ‘er rip” plan is ruining lives, creating mass disability, wrecking the economy from record numbers of days-of-work lost, and put back in effective measures and education programs. We must protect ourselves from dirty air just the way we protect our water. We must get serious about cleaning our air!
Hope you manage to have safe and good weeks, folks.
I use it and I value it, though even after years, I don’t understand it completely nor use it efficiently. I do love it, though, for the ease of bringing up alternate versions of the ms I’m working on, or other chapters, or research notes. Toggling through is intuitive in a way that Word just isn’t.
I’ve never used it to organize a poetry collection, but I think it would be useful. What do you think? Have you ever tried it for poetry?
What Do Writing a Novel and Tending a Garden Have In Common? by Naheed Phiroze Patel
I can’t think of a better metaphor for writing than gardening. All the work one has to do outside–cleaning the debris from last year, tilling the soil, planting, waiting for germination, waiting for plants to grow and bloom/produce. Every year, if we have them, we side-eye our gardens thinking about what can be done better next time. What should be moved, and where? Editing, editing, editing.
We’re never truly satisfied, and so it is with our books as we coddle them through draft after draft, nudging them closer to fruition.