Jane Eaton Hamilton

"At the bottom of the box is hope." – Ellis Avery.

“The book to beat for the 2016 Lammy…”

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“This is the best book I have read this year. Hamilton brings us four wonderful characters who live and grapple with lesbian/queer/women’s contemporary experiences. The sex is hot; the characters are wonderfully flawed, human, and relatable. This is the book to beat for the 2016 Lammy in Lesbian Fiction. Buy it. Read it. Love it.” –Julie R Enszer, Goodreads

Crow Bud

Trying to take a selfie while typing… Hmm. Not so much.

Folks on FB, some of them, have been following my crow adventures here at Historic Joy Kogawa house where I am writer-in-residence. Today was a remarkable day. After our usual Shut Up and Write session (today with writers Cathleen With, Holly Flauto Salmon and Helen Polychronakos), I wrote a while longer.

I wanted to do three things here at the house: re-read Obasan, hug Joy’s cherry tree trunk while bare-footed and write a little something on the typewriter where Joy wrote Obasan.

Now I have done the latter two and I’m working my slow way through the first.

It was more clumsy than I could believe to be back working on a typewriter. For one thing, the force with which you have to pound the keys! I could not quite organize proper margins or spacing, but that hadn’t been the point. I loved the sound of the bell, the sound and feel of the platen level moving the platen for a new line. I loved the sound of the hit keys, and remember it fondly from my early days. Rolling the platen up, putting the page face down beside the typewriter to await another page on top, until, slowly, a manuscript built.

Though I loathed the process, later, of cutting and pasting documents arrayed across the living room and kitchen floors, on my hands and knees with scissors and Scotch tape, reassembling a document for re-typing. And the re-typing! Blisteringly boring and a complete waste of time. It’s surprising I didn’t invent computers myself just to avoid it.

Here is what I wrote on the only paper I have here. (How is it that I now travel completely paper-free?)

“One of Puppy’s favourite things is sitting on the Kogawa porch [for a] cuddle together. Today, June 21st, I heard a soft cluck above us. There on the telephone wire was one of my crow friends. I had no idea that crows cluck to say hello. I clucked back but this alarmed them. Then I put the cat inside to see if that increased comfort and it did. I rested my head back and suddenly experienced a strong sense of space and roundness. I sensed this was from the crow’s brain but my infernal analysis stopped it. Although it did not stop the nausea. I kept thinking about how the globe is round. All the lines were bent. There was a sense of isolation and unbridled space. I didn’t realize while I was “seeing” it that I was “seeing” sky or being in sky.”

Now that I consider this remarkable event again, and close my eyes to encompass it, I “see” it as an oval. I realize there is no encompassing it, because the roundness or oval-ness went on even though the sides of my brain ended. It was like photographing through an 8 mm lens, with a pseudo fish-eye (or maybe a crow’s eye) view. Only much later did I realize I was probably not only experiencing sky on a cloudy day but also flight. (I know, obvious, but I can be thick.) The world moving but me not moving in it, sort of. It wasn’t at all what we see even flying in a plane under clouds with a city below us where everything seems more or less intact as we know it. In this moment, I knew rather than saw (there were no trees or houses) that everything around this was tossing, that trees, for instance,  were in constant motion. Also there was a minor glassine feel, or look, to all of this.

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It’s an hour or more later now since my clodhopperish attempts on the typewriter took a while. But I am still very, very motion sick.

Maybe all this is baloney, or the product of a failing mind. Or maybe a crow just allowed me into its brain for a few seconds.

One of my crows, this one, is a lot less nervous than the other (while seeming a devoted team), but I have no clue of its gender; I can’t even tell them apart except by behaviour. Their baby tried to eat cherries while this one visited in its intimate manner, clumsily trying to keep balance on the telephone wire while nibbling. The baby crow has a soft caw–I can always hear when it’s about.

Things I have discovered about crows, or at least these crows: ixnay on watermelon, blueberries, and nuts are a so-so. Yes to cherries and cat kibble and pecking on the garage roof for what I assume to be bugs (or it’s being obsessive).

crow1 JEH

Annie Proulx: ‘I’ve had a life. I see how slippery things can be’

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On Annie Proulx by Lucy Rock in the Guardian. Annie Proulx published her first novel in her 50s.

Rubber Soul

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Just because of my article on Rumpus on Saturday past about my harrowing descent into heart disease (Infarct, I Did) this flash fiction I wrote about a different encounter with cardiology. The truth is that in trying to find an image of rubber food, I plugged in “healthy rubber food” and found nothing. There is only rubber junk food, which should tell the dietician something, don’t you think?

rubber soul: the dietician

jane eaton hamilton

so what are your concerns she says and i say i want information for my ankylosing spondylitis and she says but let’s talk about lowering your triglycerides i say my triglycerides aren’t elevated she says the things i show you will get them back in range and i say but i am really interested in the list of foods i should avoid with ankylosing spondylitis and she says also we will also work on a plan to get your blood sugar more stable and i say my blood sugar is within range and she says let’s talk about how to even those numbers out because obviously your body is having trouble converting your sugars triglycerides and sugars are our concerns today and i say but what i’m consulting you for is ankylosing spondylitis and then she says what time to do go to bed what time do you get up why do you stay up so late have you heard about sleep hygiene do you watch tv in bed do you read in bed reading in bed is particularly bad because your eyes move back and forth and i almost laugh because reading in bed is what writers do and sometimes we write too with pens or even laptops so i say just consider it as me working the afternoon shift she says only sleep that you get before midnight counts and the window should be open you don’t want to add rotten sleep hygiene to your woes i say heaven forfend she says the only thing you can do in bed is sleep i say am i allowed to have sex because although it’s often unhygienic what we do we do do most of it in bed considering our older bodies i’m sure you can understand her lips collapse together and she pretends i didn’t say this she says only the sleep you get before 10 p.m. counts i say does sleep know what time it is what if i have sex at 2 does that orgasm not count it makes me sleepy she ignores me and says what time do you rise do you ingest food when you get up what do you eat and brings out plastic bowls red orange and blue so i can choose the amount of my yogurt and asks me to estimate the size of my apple which makes me giddy why am I giddy i say jiminy crickets doesn’t that depend on the size of the apple the store sells we move along through the day’s food when we get to dinner i say could we just discuss the hit list for the ankylosing spondylitis now and she bends to her bookcase and plunks a rubber mound of individuated white rice kernels a blob of sliced melded carrots a blop of cooked spinach and pasta with discrete strands along with a chunk of salmon on a plastic segmented plate more food than i would eat in three meals like portions in nashville she says you should eat more vegetables all of the stacked vegetables quiver like we are having a slight earthquake 4.4 say or the aftershock of a 5.7 i think of japan where there is rubber food in restaurant windows cultures are wiggle-rubbing like tectonic plates and i try hard i try really hard i try excessively hard sucking in my lips wiping emotion from my eyes not to react so as not to be labelled a bad patient but it is hard to answer questions with rubber food shaking not inches from your face i want to tell her that once my daughter had a boyfriend in japan who made prosthetic ears and i kept one by my canadian telephone and i was keen to collect more body parts i got rubber lips and one eyeball i ask her if she imagines that eventually i got a whole face (i didn’t because the kids broke up) but she says do you eat fish do you eat beef do you eat chicken do you eat fried foods salt breading do you drink alcohol pop coffee water what do you take in your coffee how much of it do you take she is going to find something wrong with my diet if she prys enough she is getting more insistent more charged up more i can see the roots of her hair bleaching in front of me she plunks down a glass of rubber milk which cannot slosh and a glass of rubber orange juice the food off-gasses in a way that makes me swoon with nausea i think you don’t put rubber food in front of a writer she says because we are gonna write about it i will give you a print out of your weight loss goals and the changes you need to make so that your triglycerides and blood sugars come down try it for a month then make an appointment to see me again and i say if i come back will you be able to prepare the list of foods that aggravate ankylosing spondylitis and then there is a silence and into it i say may i please have some rubber food to take home so i can compare portions but she just gives me a quarter of an elastic laugh i say is there a website i can order rubber food when she leaves the room for the print out i slip the rice just the rice into my gym bag

 

 

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