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: writing

It’s almost Valentine’s Day!

painting, Eaton Hamilton 2023, 16×20″ oil

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.

Please join me at instagram at hamiltonart1000, and at Patreon at Hamilton Art. I’d just love to see you there!

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

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!

Good afternoon, writers

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!

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.

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.

Writing is so much fun,

painting by Eaton Hamilton, 2021, acrylic on acrylic paper

…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.

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)!

I Hate to Report…

painting: Eaton Hamilton 2021

…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.

Scrivener

Scrivener system software

Who uses this program? Who values it?

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 you use it for?

In the Green Sublime

My Garden with Poppies 2020; photo: Eaton Hamilton

What Do Writing a Novel and Tending a Garden Have In Common? by Naheed Phiroze Patel

at LitHub.

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.


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.

Phew, that’s finished…

artwork by Eaton Hamilton 2020

Pretty astonishing to get a first final draft of my 2011 novel done this week! That makes eleven years on this one, though indeed most of that time was not spent on much beyond ignoring it. It did go through 7 or 8 drafts to get here. Wooee! I really enjoyed the process this week, though the hours were grueling and my life fell to wrack and ruin while I engaged with it. Now it’s time to do all.the.things, like work on query letter, synopsis, chapter synopsis, and getting blurbs, maybe. Seeing about hiring an agent. It’s strange to me to be unagented since I almost always have an agent, which does make the submission process possible.

Anyone craving a psychological thriller with a queer disabled ornithologist as protagonist?

I keep thinking of all the populations hungry for TV, movies, and books with disability, infertility and IPV rolled up into one. Publishers always say, “Oh, we just don’t have a market for this.” But that’s only because they prefer not to develop the audience for whatever reasons. $, homophobia they don’t understand they have, ableism they are ignorant to, etc.

It’s time for us to shine, publishers. Let us. Help us.

Hello, everybody!

It’s sure chilly where I live in the PNW. The daffodils love it and extend their blooming, but I think all the humans are just ready for some warmth at last!

My life just got eclipsed by medical concerns last week, so if I was meant to get back to you and didn’t, that’s why. Scrambling to catch up. A lot is uncertain in my life just now so please send your good wishes my way.

Meantime, I’ve been trying to teach myself how to paint florals. Clearly not something I can pick up quickly. I admire the skills, but it will be a long time before I can join good artists at this. Still, I do feel the urge to celebrate the floral urgency outside.

I’ve been taking notes re: my memoir (aka current wip), but haven’t had a chance to sit down with it yet. How has writing been going for you? Today I was on zoom with the g-babies (7 and 5) practicing their writing, only my audio was out, and instead of helping them write a story they came up with, as planned, I had to make one up on the spot that they could copy. I know the older one, at least, was very proud of herself when she was done. The younger one just wanted to move on to art, where she feels most competent.

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.

January holds twelve months

painting by Eaton Hamilton 2022

Anyone else feeling the pinch of the longest month of the year? God, it drags. Never sure I’m ready, though, for how life escalates after February until, by April, it feels like a race. Not sure it’s possible to get back the feeling of endless summers I had when I was a kid (“Mo-oo-om, what’s there to do?”).

But I appreciate all the garden changes–the buds, the bulbs shooting up, the snowdrops, the crocuses blooming. The idea of clean-up. Getting compost on the beds after being indoors all winter.

I’m not able to work efficiently at this time because of health issues keeping work at bay, but I’m able to work steadily, a little at a time, without taking any days off–what would I do with them? I’m in lockdown–and bits accrue, they do. Up to about 35,000 words in the memoir-in-progress now, looking to March as a possibility for finishing the first draft, leaving me a few months for hopefully making my way through two more drafts.

All very pie-in-the-sky hopes at the moment. But, dream big.

Dream with me, won’t you? Pick a dream and let’s dream it with me in Feb and March. I’ll dream that I’m somehow able to stay in my house another year and with that dream get a dependable car.

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