amongst books

amongst books

Saturday, August 06, 2022

The Sealey Challenge 2022: In Focus - Just Meat Not God by J.D. Howse

The Sealey Challenge is a community challenge created by poet Nicole Sealey to read one poetry book a day through the month of August and share a shelfie, photo or poems and comments through social media. It can be a book or chapbook and I’ve also seen poetry journals shared as well.

 I’m taking part in the challenge for the first time this year. I share photos and brief commentary on the publication daily through my social media:; and

 On August 6, 2022, I completed reading Just Meat Not God by J.D. Howse, the first publication by the new UK publisher, Hem Press, run by Richard Capener. Full disclosure: my pamphlet, Trouble is coming out with Hem Press in October. I’ve also been published in the former Babel Tower Noticeboard and would consider Richard to be a friend, but I’ve never met J.D. Howse.

 Just Meat Not God is a collection of poetry that engages with the art of Francis Bacon. It is unlike any ekphrastic poetry I’ve read before. It engages with the art on several levels: biographical, critical, political, social, philosophical, and emotional. It puts the art in the context of current strife.

 The articulation of the art of Francis Bacon is as vibrant, lush, striking and visceral as the art itself, and as such feels unflinching and vulnerable as the speaker gives space for emotion.

 The work plays with the form of the English or Shakespearean sonnet with 3 quatrains and a final couplet. Each line is divided into groups of words, fucking up regular meter perhaps, and serving to create disjointed, irregular rhythms and accumulations, the art made textual and the senses brought out through articulation in words. Colour is related to emotion in ways a synaesthete like me can really get into: “endless green silence,” (Study for Portrait of P.I., from Photographs, 1963), “beige emptiness of unnecessary & unwanted existence.” (Lying Figure, 1966).

 The vocabulary is muscular, Biblical, sonorous and the similes are unusual, controversial, the crucifix compared the animals as meat in the slaughterhouse (Crucifixion, 1965 (3)) to make the smell of Jesus’ death palpable and perverse. “just meat not god,” is the title of the work and it is repeated throughout like a refrain. “I am a body, & nothing else but repellent soullesness – just meat not god, rotting, textured, displayed & unsettled.” (Lying Figure , 1966). This is a work of existential uncertainties, of self-loathing, pain, grief and queerness. I found it mesmerizing and I think it will keep me up at night, staring into the shadows.

 “The world inside a painting / is a history / that rejects / the notion of events / following events; it is a narrative / that rejects / the closure / & certainty we / seek out in our stories / it is an ocean / that has dried blue / it is an occasion of thought”

Triptych, 1974-1977 (2)


Sunday, February 20, 2022

notes after the occupation: we need to fight hate

 i am all for healthy debate about the occupation here in Ottawa but i have noticed that those who question the use of the Emergency Act do not seem to acknowledge the influence, both financial and organizational of the far right, of white supremacists & hate groups.

the organizers wanted to overthrow the government & murder the PM. they are part of hate groups that have used a variety of techniques to radicalize and spread their hate. there were blockades in other parts of Canada, those with an arsenal of weapons in Alberta had ties to the organizers in Ottawa. Ottawa police & OPP had done nothing - abandoning us here. people, especially the vulnerable were harassed, taunted & beaten by members of the occupation. occupiers used trucks. there were flags of hate. they wouldn't tolerate anyone wearing masks.

it's fine to say noise and blockages are part of standard protests, but these were attempts to deliberately hurt the vulnerable and those who simply want to protect themselves & others against a deadly & contagious disease. the hate groups are using dissatisfaction to sew their seeds of hate & gain power. this is happening around the world. unless the far right extremist power techniques are dealt with, we are doomed to their constant & increasing intimidation & brutality. the Cons' flirtation or worse with the far right is a dangerous trend that will usher in the likes of 45 & his coterie of white supremacists into positions of power here. we must do everything we can to stop this. citizens in Ottawa had to take things into their own hands & if governments don't act to prevent hate, citizens everywhere will be forced to do so. all i see coming is violence & insurrection attempts. now we have to live here in Ottawa with an increased police presence & that is awful. these occupiers have taken away the freedom of the collective based on the brain washing they have received by being radicalized by white supremacists from the USA where capitalism is king. Canada has a history & ongoing racist practices & attitudes. put these together & we have an increasing volatility & no protection for the vulnerable.

i am not ok. we have nothing to celebrate. we have to have an inquiry into why Ottawans were left to fend for ourselves or be harrassed & intimidated, why people just trying to get to work were forced to stay home out of fear & intimidation, why businesses barely able to eek by since this pandemic & lack of government help during it have happened, we're broken as a society, as a country, as a city. 

we have an opportunistic mayor who used the occupation's mayhem as an opportunity to plant his anti-urban, pro development allies as members of police services, then proceeded to negotiate with one of the occupation's organizers, which is disgusting. he needs to resign. i see strong voices & leaders that are going to need to step up in Ottawa, but i don't see any kind of leadership in Ontario or federally with eyes open - our main duty right now needs to be to fight hate. 

the right are waging war but the left & moderates don't understand this, or refuse to take it seriously. we have never been a peaceful country. ask Indigenous people. what we have been is a country of "kind" people who close their eyes to racism & hate & spout rhetoric. 

these occupiers sang the anthem & had Cdn flags. this kind of nationalistic fervour is the first sign of supremacist beliefs. we had Christian churches supporting the occupiers with food & money. we have to understand & do something about their role in all of this. we have farmers in nearby rural areas giving the occupiers land & support. these camps need to be dealt with & the farmers who aided & abeted this occupation need to be arrested & put in jail. 

we need to fight hate.

Sunday, February 06, 2022

Everything Affects Everyone by Shawna Lemay: A Response by Means of a Fictional Conversation

 I love all of Shawna Lemay’s writing. I follow her blog, Transactions with Beauty, delighting in her gorgeous photos and her references to other writers and artists. I have devoured her essay collections and her novels. I’ve sat slowly with her poetry, surrounded by other books and little doodles. I relish the quiet thoughtfulness that Shawna’s writing provides. It nourishes me.

 Everything Affects Everyone (Palimpsest Press, 2021) is the story of friendship and art shared between women, the need to ask questions and not necessarily have the answers. It explores the idea of whether writing about one’s art removes the mystery or helps assuage loneliness. It’s not really an either or. This is not a binary question.

 “But if we don’t talk about women artists, if we don’t keep them in the air with our breath, they’ll vanish.” [206]

 Yes too, the angels. The angel. The mystery. The wonder. The pain. I’m leaving out much of the angel part of the book because I don’t want to ruin the mystery.

 For me the most satisfying response to work I’ve made is another creative work made by someone else.  I enjoyed the conversations between women in this book and so I’ve made a fictional one here that is my attempt to infuse some of the elements from the book into my own misfit whimsy. This is an homage to dear women friends I don’t get to spend time with anymore, either because of the pandemic or because they’ve moved away or both. A few names are anagrams for those I love.


 Alanah M Yews (AMY) receives a parcel from her dear friend, Lara Ema Dan (LED). The parcel contains a number of items, including Everything Affects Everyone (EAE). They speak regularly over Zoom during the pandemic.

 AMY lives in a house by the sea in the Maritimes; LED lives in an apartment building in a small Ontario city. This is their conversation, interspersed with quotes from EAE. Page references and descriptions are between square brackets.

 “The insane gift of two women talking. So commonplace and yet so elusive. Like two birds singing to each other in a stand of trees—it’s hard to find the one singing, and then one off in another tree responds. You spot one and the song comes from another place.” [62]

 AMY: I was so happy to receive your parcel in the mail last week. You know how much I adore receiving mail.

 LED: I still remember receiving that first parcel from you after you’d moved away. I missed you so much. Eel grass tea for womanly complaints, you’d written on the label of the tin container. And a little squiggle that I knew was supposed to represent an eel.

 No letter or note, just the tea. You were so full of grief. I imagined you sitting on the porch of the house you’d purchased, overlooking the sea and rocking in a chair as the waves rolled in.  [Sips tea from a flowered china cup, coughs briefly.]

 AMY: Yes, exactly that. I missed my darling so much. I still do.  [Unbuttons her cardigan, her face is flush.] Another hot flash. You know how it is. [Takes a gulp of water, fans herself.]

 “I was interviewing and reading about people who lived with extreme sorrow and loss. How they can carry these terribly sad things inside them, but also function completely normally, and how most people who met them were unaware of this deeply, deeply sorrowful side of them. So it as if they were constantly two different people, co-existing: the one who carried the unspeakable sorrow and pain, and at the same time, the one who was fine.” [184]

 LED: [Nods.] I do. I’ve got the balcony door open and it’s -10 right now. When my family moved away from the small town I lived in as a child, my classmates mailed me letters and told me all about what happened in 101 Dalmatians, the book we were reading in class at the time. There were drawings and everything. It was beautiful.  I still see mail as this intimate way for friends to connect and keep in touch. I know it was a hard time after Zoe died. Your sweet daughter. I miss her too.

 AMY: You have kept me going with your letters and these conversations especially. Thank you, my dear.

 LED: [a brief pause as the two women smile at each other]

 So did you open the parcel right away?

 AMY: Well…[blushing], you know how I like to savour things slowly…to look forward to them. I let it sit on my kitchen table for a few days. I contemplated those violets you’d doodled on the envelope. Thought about ordering some seeds, dreamed of spring.

 These tangents. … 

 LED: I love a good tangent. I like that we don’t have to follow some kind of linear path in our conversations. We wind, we leap! It’s marvelous.

 AMY: Yes, me too.  That’s important to me. We’re ourselves with each other.

 Eventually I couldn’t bear it any longer and I opened the parcel. The first thing I noticed was your card, your near illegible handwriting in purple fountain pen ink and on the cover the painting of colourful wings. So lovely.

 “Ink is more than you think it is; it’s a kind of air that you breathe together in a small enclosed space.”  [107]

 LED:  Yes, my handwriting, ha! It drives some folk crazy, but not you. I feel comfortable sharing my self with you too. All our years of chats over tea.  


I’ve been painting those wings for a long time. I’ve always loved wings. I think of angels. I used to collect feathers, but my mother worried about bringing insects into the apartment. Feathers seemed magical to me. When we moved, I used to dream I could fly back to my old house, an hour away from the city. 

 AMY: I dream of flying still. The ground below blurs. I try to capture that sensation by taking the train. Remind me to send you the booklet of photos – my blurry snapshots on trains. I think you’d like them. I see a lot in the blur of things. Self-published, of course. Because who would publish it?

 LED: I’d love to publish it. If I had the money. I’ll take the booklet with pleasure. Blurry, yes. There are ghosts in the blur and angels. The way the light is captured. I’m excited to know what you looked at next.

“I touched the feathers, the dead feathers. And I felt everywhere he had been, everyone he had touched. I learned that everything affects everyone.” [80]

AMY: I read your card. I did manage to make out your handwriting. I know many can’t read it, but I always could. It’s art of its own, those slants and marks. I made myself a pot of tea as you asked, an aromatic chai you sent me in the last parcel.

LED: Tea makes me feel so much better. It warms the heart and sets my mind to dreaming. I should go make some tea too. [Wanders off, sound of water coming out of a tap, spoon hitting cup, returns.]

[AMY is holding up a tiny red notebook and little pen.] Welcome back.

 [LED] Sorry about that. I forgot to say I was going off.

 [AMY} I like hearing the sounds of tea making, of anything really, of another human being doing something that brings them joy. It’s so rare these days. We are both sequestered. There’s grace there.

 “Part of the reason I came here, to live out here by the lake, near Irene, or the ghost of her, is to let myself be me, for once. How many women get to do that? Some would use the word wild, but that’s not it. I just want to be myself with out any pressures. I want to be free to write things without any pressures. I want to be free to write things without coming to any point. I want to write as a bird might fly, in a direction of my choosing, free of obstacles. My flying is in multiple directions at once. Here it is lithe and balletic, there it is intense and furious, and then again it is dreamy., then fiery, then confidently muscular and airy and sexy. At last it is so quiet and faint it is a wisp.”  [194]

 As you instructed, I went over to my coat pocket and placed the notebook and pen inside the pocket for a walk with my thoughts. Then finally I opened the larger parcel. It was the book. Right away I was intrigued by the cover, a glowing white wing in the dark, its edges frayed or sparkling with snow. I couldn’t tell.

 LED: This book made me feel like walking through forests and writing down my impressions. I felt certain that I would find angels there. I haven’t been walking as much as I should during the pandemic. It’s rough in an apartment building, you don’t want to meet up with people and expose them or yourself to the virus. But I thought I might walk vicariously through you; maybe you could share your writings.

 AMY: I will. I promise. Maybe your colourful wing cards are a way to fly, to escape from the pent-up feeling, and the anxiety?

 LED: Yes, I think they are. I’ve given them to friends. My dear Violet Promches immediately sent back her own winged art, a textile piece with words from songs that feature wings. She’s a little older than us. She’s a rock star, ferociously driven to make art.

 “If you can believe in dreams and also in poetry, then you have probably already flown. You have moved through the air and soured over the mountains with steel in your wings. Your wings have been black stone, and carved dense snow, and have been covered with the finest moss, the sweetest small flowers. The believer of dreams and poetry and angels is a psychologist of flight and the reasons you fly and the sensations you experience while flying and your subsequent lightness and intoxication will be the subject of the book you write after you read this one, darlings.” [134]

 AMY: Women exchanging their art is such a wonderful thing. I’ve started an exchange with Ann Scrimritchie. Since the pandemic her garden has become so important to her.

 LED: Dearest Ann. She’s becoming a witch. I had some salves and tea from her not long ago. The lavender helps me to sleep. What did she send you?

 AMY: Dried flowers for tea, some of that salve and a pair of socks she’d knitted in my favourite burgundy and blue combo. [holds up a foot to show off the socks] [They both laugh.]

 LED: Don’t fall off the chair! They’re gorgeous!

 I see it’s late. Shall we resume our conversation tomorrow?

 AMY: Yes, please. I’d like to wander in the twilight for a bit.

 [They say their goodbyes.]

 [Next afternoon]

 LED: What I love about our conversations is that we always start in the middle. No small talk or meaningless banter. We just pick up where we left off.

 AMY: Exactly. I’m even drinking more of the chai tea you sent me.

[laughter] So where were we?

 LED: Hmmm. You were just starting to tell me about reading the book…

 AMY: Oh right! I took the pot of tea and the book out to the living room in front of the big picture window. It was early afternoon so there was still sunlight on the water and in the trees. I started to read. Right away I knew why you had sent me the book. There are friendships there, beginning with Daphne’s and Xaviere.

 “What does it mean when two women get together and hold a conversation, when they get to the point where only honesty comes into play?” [62]

 LED: Exactly that. How often do we read of women’s friendships? You and I have been friends since you lived here. I recognized you as a kindred the minute I saw you in the gallery, leading a tour of an exhibition of small things. I was there with another kindred, Diandra Lyres. She and I had just buried a poem of mine in her garden and had some lunch on her sunny back patio.

 In between bites of macarons, I told her about the exhibit. She loves small things. We jumped into her car and went to the gallery. There were tiny close-up shots of creatures and plants. I came over to you and asked you a question. Don’t remember what now. We chatted about them, and I knew we would be friends. This happens rarely, this feeling of recognition. Old souls meeting again.

 The artist was really something. I can’t remember her name.

 AMY: Elly Faye Vim. It took me a long time to convince her to show her art. She was a friend who hadn’t shown her work publicly. She gave her art out to dear friends as gifts. I collected these little canvas watercolours and collages she sent to me. I contacted others who’d received them and asked them to let me borrow them for a show. Some had given them away. It was like a treasure hunt, talking to people, finding the pieces. I felt like a detective. Eventually, and this would have been several years later, I had enough for a small exhibition, and I asked Elly if she’d mind if we put on a show. She was so touched by my efforts to find the pieces that she couldn’t resist. She agreed.

 “If we could lose our fear and truly become free making art, then maybe the rest of the world could also learn to be free. And by free, I mean sharp and innocent and incorruptible and utterly clear. We are scandalized by such humans, and this makes it hard for them to create the necessary space they need.” [96]

 LED: I’m glad you convinced her. I saw another collection of her work: slogans to piss people off, in the gallery after you’d left. It was fun and empowering. I’m glad she’s now able to be bold and show her art.

Did you read a long time?

AMY: I read only the first chapter. This is a book that I needed to read slowly in small bites. The little photo reproduction of the Albrecht Dürer artwork, Left wing of a Blue Roller. I gazed at it until my tea went cold. All those variations of blue in the feathers, and the join of the feathers to the body of the bird. I contemplated that connection. They say he painted it when looking at the dead bird. I thought about art and immortality. I went off for a while to my office and looked it up to see the painting online. I don’t know the author, but I believe she would like that her inclusion of this piece set my mind off on tangents. I’d like to make some woodcut stamps. Wings perhaps.

 LED: I agree. It’s inspiring to me when something I make leads someone to explore. You have a lot of ideas for making things! Me too. I thought you would like the descriptions of photography, the “time between seeing and capturing”... the hallelujah.

 AMY: Yes! Absolutely. It inspired me. I picked up one of my Polaroid cameras from the cabinet in my office that is filled with many cameras, both digital and film. I put on my coat, and I dashed out to the beach, which was covered in a light dusting of snow that glistened on the trees and I took 8 photographs, 8 being the number of film squares in the pack.

 LED: I remember reading that part and wanting to wander into a forest. There’s a forest of old trees in the middle of the city. I haven’t been there in ages. I wrote for awhile about those trees, how I see them as friends. Chauteaubriand wrote a whole memoir called Memoirs from Beyond the Grave where all the trees represented different ages of himself. This is something I wouldn’t do. I see trees as old friends, companions. They represent immortality to me too, even though they eventually die.

 “Trees are angels. Their bark can be read like braille, and I walk through the trees and feel each one, closing my eyes.” [115]

 “A: We’re having a love in!

M:  When women get together this happens, though, when we really listen to each other and look at each other. It’s simply that. That’s what’s happening. And I really do believe, if I can be said to be a believer, I believe that everything affects everyone. What we’re doing here has meaning. This is where meaning is found. where it arises.” [219]



 Shawna Lemay - Alanah M Yews

Amanda Earl - Lara Ema Dan

Emily Falvey - Elly Faye Vim

michele provost – Violet Promches

Christine McNair – Ann Scrimritchie

Sandy Ridley – Diandra Lyres



 Biography: Amanda Earl (she/her) is a Canadian pansexual polyamorous feminist writer, visual poet and publisher, living in Ottawa, Ontario with her husband, Charles. 

She’s the managing editor of, the editor of Judith: Women Making Visual Poetry and the fallen angel of AngelHousePress. 

From February 1 to March 12, 2022, Amanda is raising money by means of an IndieGoGo campaign to pay AngelHousePress contributors to and Experiment-O. Please contribute if you can. 

Author of Kiki (Chaudiere Books, 2014, now with Invisible Publishing), A World of Yes (DevilHouse, 2015) and Coming Together Presents Amanda Earl (Coming Together, 2014), over 30 chapbooks, Earl’s most recent work is the short story, “Do Smurfettes Dream of Electric Blue Blush” published in Big Book of Orgasms: Volume 2, 69 Sexy Stories (Cleis Press, 2022). Most importantly, Earl is a reader. Please visit for too much information about Amanda Earl. Or connect with her on Twitter @KikiFolle.

photo by Charles Earl

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

a note on kindness

 I can’t say that I was taught to be kind, but at some point growing up, it became clear to me that to be kind was mandatory and desirable. those who weren’t’ kind must be terrible people: selfish, not co-operative and not trying to  make the world a better place. I can’t quite remember ever being told this, it seems almost intuitive. Of course I wanted to treat everyone kindly.

 my father was very affectionate with me. he put me on his knee. he gave me lots of cuddles. then at a certain point, he started to put his hands places that I knew were not right. I was probably around 8 years old. I told him no. I was supposed to love my father so this confused me. I had never said no to him. it made him sad and sometimes he got drunk and came to my bedroom door in his underwear and cried. I felt terribly guilty. I felt mean too. I didn’t feel kind.

 growing up there were other men who tried things as well and I always said no. sometimes I had to be quite forceful. sometimes I had to call them names, “get away from me you motherfucker,” spoken loudly on a bus or subway usually worked. I was lucky that nothing more happened to me once I left my parents home. there are more details about that time, but I’ll spare them.

 I can’t speak for other women but it is not uncommon in my experience to have been told to be nice, to do things that I don’t want to do and not to make trouble. even most recently when I was working on Judith: Women Making Visual Poetry and discussing some of the issues I had with the way women artists and writers were treated, I was told that “nobody likes a whinger.” there’s lots of pressure to be nice, to be kind and very little support or help for those who can’t be always be kind.

 Should trans people be kind when TERFs question their right to be who they are or when they are beat up or killed because of who they are? Should gay men be kind when they are the objects of homophobia? Should Black people be kind when they are the targets of racial profiling by the police?

 Here’s how I would like to be kind: I would like to listen to those who are telling me that something is wrong, that they are suffering an injustice due to the colour of their skin or their sexual orientation or their gender or their size, age or ethnicity or their mental or physical differences from ableist conventions. I’m not going to be kind to everyone. I’m not going to empower misogyny, racism, trans and homophobia and ableism. Telling people to be kind is often another way to try to silence them.

On this week of remembrance of gender-based violence, and the anniversary of the massacre of 14 women by a man who hated women, we have to ask ourselves about what kindness really means. in my experience predators can be very kind people.

Sunday, November 07, 2021

Sunday Thots

 Hello friends,

 Time change is fucking me up, of course. Woke up this morning at 2 a.m, formerly 1 a.m. and yet, if normally when I have trouble sleeping I wake up at 3 a.m which would be 4 a.m., right? Oh well, I wrote a bunch of confessional and silly social media posts and ended up falling back to sleep around 5:30 a.m. I’m here now, somewhere between the old and new times. It’s harder to adjust with aging. To pretty much everything, they say.

 Charles and I are working on Experiment-O this weekend. I start working on that in the summer, inviting contributors and doing a basic layout by the fall, then Charles comes in and pretties it up.

 My attention span is short this morning. We’re waiting for the groceries to arrive.

 “Art can do this – excavate a buried thing inside of us and hold it up until our eyes adjust to the bright truth of it.” Sin Boldly, A sermon for Reformation Day by Nadia Bolz-Weber

 I’ve been painting wings with my hands enshrouded in vinyl gloves. It’s really fun.

 “My father threw me a puffball mushroom as big a beachball and I didn't catch it and it broke into tiny glowing white pieces on the dark ground. Shards of the moon.” Jason, Logan, Toronto Ink Company, The Colour, Wild Grapes. Aside from a phenomenal ink maker, this fellow is a poet. Also, please subscribe to his newsletter. As he says, “I am trying to build a colour revolution one reader at a time.”

 Sarah Bodman’s Book Arts Newsletter makes me want to make artist’s books. UK friends, if you’re in London. Into the Dark Woods - Su Blackwell, Long & Ryle, London, UK 17th November - 17th December 2021 A book launch and accompanying exhibition of new works by Su Blackwell at Long & Ryle Gallery London, opening Wednesday 17th November 2021, 5pm - 8pm. Fragile and beguilng book sculptures? Fairy tales with strong women characters? I’m there. And here is more of Blackwell’s art.

 The groceries came. No laundry this weekend.

 I’m in love with November light and I have a lifelong love affair with trees. I leave you with some photos from last week’s walk to Strathcona Park, Sandy Hill and Lowertown.

Ottawa, you’re lovely in the autumn.

 I urge you to get out there and bathe yourself in that golden light if you can. I feel so much better. Actually I’m feeling good these days. I am 12 years past my expiry date and no longer rotten.



Friday, October 15, 2021

The Before, a video reading from Welcome to Upper Zygonia is now online!

Dear Friends,
I am pleased to share the debut of a video reading for "the Before," an excerpt from Welcome to Upper Zygonia, a series of long poems set in the imagination of a scribe, who dreams of a better world.

Cast of Characters
The Scribe – creator of Welcome to Upper Zygonia
The Tattooist – Earthling who tattoos passengers leaving for UZ
Willowmena – willow tree resident of UZ, former owner of the House of Burlesque, former resident of Saturn
Sparrow – resident of UZ, former resident of Pluto
the Potter – Plutonian who makes pottery out of the remains of dying planets

I am grateful to the Writers Union of Canada Public Readings Program for sponsoring this video reading, and to the City of Ottawa Creation and Production Fund for Established Writers for funding Welcome to Upper Zygonia. WTUZ is made up of guided remixes, combining words from my own work, texts from H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds, William Britton, The Burnt Planet, G. Peyton Wertenbaker, The Coming of the Ice, Frances Hodgson Burnett, THE SECRET GARDEN, from Project Gutenberg Wikipedia entries for , online magazines such as Architectural Digest, Time, Science Mag, the National Geographic, Country Living,, NASA and NOAA’s sites, Google’s Arts and Culture site, the Abandoned Ottawa and Wildflowers groups on FaceBook and two newsletters: The Colour by the Toronto Ink Company and Matter by Cindy Deachman. Thank you to the Lazarus Corporation for its Cut Up and Remix Engine.

Gratitude to friends for sharing your tattoos and viewers for watching and sharing this video, and great thanks to Charles Earl for spending hours on this with me.

NOTE: after reviewing the entire video instead of just its individual pieces during editing i realized that the red dress which hangs on trees and various places throughout the video might be seen as a reference to the REDress Project, a public art installation created by Jaime Black to commemorate missing and murdered Indigenous women, which inspired Red Dress Day. My inclusion of the red dress was not an intentional reference to this project, and is unrelated, but since it is here, i take the opportunity to encourage viewers to commemorate, honour and grieve for missing and murdered Indigenous women and point you to Red Dress Day, which takes place on May 5 annually:
I apologize for my use of the red dress which is meant to reference the character of Willowmena and the ransacked ballgowns of later day capitalism. I felt it was important to acknowledge the REDress Project here and to apologize for my unintentional appropriation. I greatly respect and support the work of the REDress Project, and all who are working to call for justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Here is the final report from the Inquiry. Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

I am open to any comments you may have on this or other things in the video. Thank you and kind regards.

your friend,
Amanda Earl, October 15, 2021 (my 58th birthday).

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Sunday Thots

 I slept so well that when the alarm when off for the laundry I was confused as to why it was going off. Then I forgot a few things for the laundry. This pleases me…to have such a deep sleep. The laundry is in the wash and so far we’ve had elevators 3, 3 and 2. We are on the way to a descending trifecta if we get 1 on our downward trip. We had to stop off at the main floor to load up our Coinamatic card. Why isn’t it in the laundry room you ask? Good question. No idea why. It used to be in the laundry room and then they moved it for some reason. This is the kind of scintillating prose you get at 7 am on a Sunday, friends.


I am way behind on reading all the newsletters that come in during the week. I’ve been busy working on a poetry manuscript and my brain has been focused on that pretty much solely since August. I met some milestones so now my brain has a bit of room again.


The Babel Tower Notice Board’s chock full of musings and writing exercise in the form of a newsletter is the first in my to read subdirectory of my newsletter folder of my e-mail, arriving on August 25. Sadly, this is the last newsletter of this nature, but Richard Capener, the editor makes sense – at the time of BTNB’s first anniversary (yay, Babel!),  its newsletter is reaching a very large audience and the editor doesn’t want to seem like a mouthpiece. I will miss the recommendations, writing exercises and musings.  I didn’t agree with all of the positions taken by the editor, but they always gave me food for thought, and I don’t need to agree with everything to enjoy it. I like shit that gets my brain working and their shit did. The work in BTNB’s issues also do that for me, so fair played, Capener, fair played. You can read the work and the year’s worth of newsletters here.


As I have mentioned here, I adore ink maker Jason Logan’s (Toronto Ink Company) newsletter, the Colour. To read it is a true treat. I have just finished the chicory newsletter from August 27 and it is a delight. And oh the rabbit holes! He’s been fairly constrained this time, but he’s led my mind to wandering and that is what it likes to do best. I’m such a fan of Jason’s that I have a character in my ongoing poetry manuscript who is called the Ink Maker and I have remixed, along with many many other sources, some of the words of the newsletter into the poems. Credited of course!


We had elevator 2 for the downward, so no descending trifecta. Upward we did get 1, but only after we didn’t get into elevator 3 with a fellow early morning laundry doer, who kindly held it for us, but we said no—there’s a two-person limit during the pandemic and I’m good with that. Apparently, says Charles we could not get a general trifecta because we had two of the same elevators in a row, the 2. This resets it. If we get a 3 now, we will have a general trifecta. We have two more chances at an ascending trifecta but that would mean we needed the 2, followed by the 3. I’m not sure 3 has woken up yet. I know how it feels.


Another newsletter that takes me down the rabbit hole is Matter written by local artist and writer Cindy Deachman. Volume 1, Issue 12 is entitled “And We Breathe” in which we learn how about oxygen and how wind is created, going back to Ptolemy and Cosmographia, “the earliest German language description of the world, first published in 1540 by cartographer Sebastian Munster.” She references an ancient story about how humans found their way to the moon and it’s a beauty. It involves three-headed vultures. One step for mankind, one giant beak for …uh… moving on… I love all the art and photos in Cindy’s newsletter as well. If you want to subscribe, give Cindy a shout at  cdeachman at gmail dot com.


I continue to write usually until it is close to time to picking up the laundry from the dryer, but today I’m going to stop here. I shall leave you in suspense. Did they manage to get a general trifecta? You’ll never know…dah dah dah!


Thanks for reading. If you are. If you aren’t, I expect you are doing more interesting things or even catching up on some sleep, and that’s ok!