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, Medium.com, 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: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Dress_Day
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.
Amanda Earl, October 15, 2021 (my 58th birthday).