amongst books

amongst books

Saturday, December 17, 2016

A Gift Guide For Unholidaze

For synaesthetes, art dabblers and the insatiably curious

Alexander Theroux, “The Primary Colors: Three Essays” (Henry Holt and Company, 1994)
given to me as a gift while I was in hospital in 2009 by a dear friend, this book is a delicious and splendid rumination on red, blue and yellow with a serpentine meandering through art, literature, music and film, if memory serves.

For Justin Trudeau’s dead father and others who walk in the snow

Brightly coloured boot laces from StolenRiches.com. (I admit I got this from Oprah’s list, but purchased them earlier this winter for a certain husband who does a lot of walking and gets tired of all the dark colours.

For Purdy fans and sweet fangs, (No, I don’t mean Al)

Purdy’s Himalayan Pink Salt Caramels. I have purchased these locally at the Rideau Centre location. They are divine and delectable treats for anyone who enjoys the combination of sweet and savoury.

For those who spend a lot of time indoors with lovers on long winter nights

“Love Where the Nights Are Long: An Anthology of Canadian Poems,” edited by Irving Layton (McLelland & Stewart, 1977). Let Leonard Cohen and gang inspire the libido of a potential lover.

For the sipper, not the tippler

Pilliteri Estates, Niagara-on-the-lake 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine, a taste of sunshine so sweet and light, it will lighten any dark night of the soul.

For the housebound, who needs a trip to Spain

Miles Davis, Sketches of Spain – the man plays the flugelhorn. Davis was an experimentalist who amped up jazz and this album is no exception. Bitches Brew is my favourite Miles’ album, but this one leads the mind to sunny climes, elevates the spirit.

For those unable to resist wounded birds

Born to Be Blue, a film about Chet Baker. this film came out last year and seems to have been lost in the usual Hollywood big-box of bland. Ethan Hawke plays Baker skilfully & even sings.  Baker was a troubled soul. that trouble is reflected in his performances and in Hawke’s rendering.

For Miss Lonelyhearts who never dines out

A gift certificate to North and Navy, one of Ottawa’s most delectable restaurants. It’s a beautiful place, the food is exquisite, Italian old world and new . $30 will provide a platter of varietous cich├Ęti, each one no more than a mouthful and an aperol spritz with its lovely orange sweet and bitter tastes. She can sit at the gorgeous marble bar at the back of the restaurant and chat up the waiter.

For the explorers, the rebels and questioners of convention

“The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships and Other Adventures” by Dossie Easton and Jane W. Hardy, 2nd Revised Edition (Celestial Arts, 2009). I actually prefer the first edition, but this one will do. A helpful guide by example for those who wish to explore relationship types other than monogamy. It is a book I have given away a few times now and one I go back to help others interested in opening the cage and seeing where they might fly to.

For unsatisfied lovers


“When Someone You Love is Kinky” by Dossie Eastn and Catherine A. Liszt (Greenery Press, 2015). I have an earlier edition of this book and don’t know what has changed, but I highly recommend it for anyone who has a partner who might want to engage in adventurous, more than  missionary…sexual activity. It’s a way to communicate with them and understand their needs. It doesn’t speak down to those who are not into sexual exploration, it just helps them to understand.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

imaginary? patreon-like request for support in exchange for goodies

“I can draw and write, and you'd be foolish not to hire me.”
--Djuna Barnes

i think it’s great that some of my creative friends are offering their work via patreon, but i took a look at the community guidelines & realized that my own dream of doing it might not be possible. i have some tweets in to patreon to verify…but I’ve always been an odd creature who doesn’t fit into conventional spaces very well..

the guidelines are unclear when it comes to fiction or creative work. it may be that fantasy of any kind facilitates or contributes to harmful activity. some have made a case for that. i am of the belief that one shouldn’t take things literally or should allow creative work to cause a person to think. as far as glorification of rape or violence goes, as far as i know, i’ve never written anything that has done so, but what if i have a character who is a rapist? who is to judge whether or not this character’s portrayal glorifies rape? do i want patreon to judge that for me? no, i don’t. in fact, i don’t think it’s any of their business, but hey, they’re offering this service for free (at least it seems free from what i’ve read, so it’s their decision). i can’t be part of attempts at censorship of any kind. I doubt I would be able to fit into their mould. I have seen that some people are creating NSFW erotica on patreon, but I’m not sure I could commit to the guidelines.

here’s what i’d offer if i could, knowing that it is unlikely that anyone would partake anyway, let’s dream.

any support goes to my general comfort, upkeep, tea & shenanigans that help me to conjure up strange wonders. there are better ways to spend your money. give to the food bank, help the homeless, cure cancer, etc. but if you have some funds for an artist & you like what I do, this is what I can image as an offering for you, darling potential or imaginary patron of the arts. so sit back in your leather chair, sip your scotch & dream with me…

Level 1: The Go Wilde Volptuary: $100 / month ($1200 annually)

4 e-mails a month containing:

1. a lascivious short story which could be kinky, taboo, romantic or zany as hell; either unpublished, published but revised, or new;

2.  poetry, either unpublished, published in a limited edition, revised or new;

3. a steamy confessional note detailing my latest sexual activities or thoughts on sex.

& that’s not all! . . .

4.once a year per investor editing consulting service of a short story  or novel manuscript of no more than 2,000 words or five pages of poetry;

5. any books or chapbooks of mine that are published during your investment period mailed to you;

6. a signed copy of Kiki mailed to you upon first payment.

7. four visual poems on lovely paper, mailed to you on the spring & autumn equinoces & the summer & winter solstices.

Level 2: The Kiki Folle Hedonist: $40 / month ($480 annually)

1. 2 e-mails a month containing a visual poem & new or revised poems;

2. a signed copy of Kiki upon first payment;

3. copies of previously published chapbooks (while supplies last);

4. new chapbooks published during your investment period.

5. a random surprise in the mail: could be anything from a chapbook to a visual poem to a music mix, a custom hand-crafted collage, a personal letter…the possibilities are limitless.


Level 3: The Duchamp Readymade: $20/ month ($240 annually)

1. One e-mail a month containing new or revised poems;

2. a visual poem on lovely paper mailed once on the solistice & equinox.

3.  one new chapbook a year either self-published or something that comes out with a publisher (while supplies last!);

4. a signed copy of Kiki upon first payment.

Level 4:  The Edith Sitwell Eccentric $10 / a month ($120 annually)

1. 6 random surprises in the mail: could be anything from a chapbook to a visual poem to a music mix, a custom hand-crafted collage, a personal letter…the possibilities are limitless;

2. a signed copy of Kiki upon first payment.


''I am not eccentric. It’s just that I am more alive than most people. I am an unpopular electric eel set in a pond of goldfish.'' Edith Sitwell

Please note that if anyone should happen to be interested in any of these packages, you are welcome to contact me at amanda at amandaearl dot com to discuss financial arrangements. it’s unlikely though. but hey, why not try?

I can promise you work that is free from censorship, unboundless in imagination & as quirky as its creator. but I can’t promise you safety. I can promise you that anything I write is thoroughly researched to the point of obsession on my part.


Oh that’s right..it’s the holidaze…treat your lovers & pals, why don’t cha?


Monday, December 12, 2016

One Thing Too: Rob Thomas

solace
 
Europe lies on a Swedish bed
with an indecipherable name
a drunken teen thrusts his membership
into her wounded side
 
Donald Trump is on television again,
this time as the apprentice
somewhere snow is filling divots,
on an exclusive golf course, with Christmas
 
the snake withdrawn at Standing Rock
coils like a deadly turd
the mighty dollar is down
but the holiday lights are up
 
tomorrow the kids will build a fort
the kid next door is gonna pay
we’ve dressed our bonhomme like a klansman
to melt in effigy come spring
 
thirteen days shy of solace
/scratch/ solstice
supply of Leonard Cohen is down
but demand for music is up

--------------------

your invitation:
tell me or show me one thing. it doesn’t have to be profound. it could be visual or written or a combo of both.  it could be about your work; it could be an artefact or a glitch, a link to some film or tv show you’ve watched or a coffee place you like. it could be short or long. i’ll post it along with a link of your choice to your work or somewhere else. disclaimer: i might choose not to post if it doesn’t suit me.
your reward? send me your mailing address & i’ll send you something whimsical…
it’s dark out there this summer  fall/winter [since the election of that motherfucker in the USA etc] ; i think we need an injection of whimsy / duende.
so fire away. svp. amanda at angelhousepress dot com

Sunday, December 04, 2016

One Thing Too: bill dimichele

Aaron's rod, aaron was brother to moses. It was aaron's rod that turned into a snake, then it ate the false magic of the egyptian sorcerers.


your invitation:
tell me or show me one thing. it doesn’t have to be profound. it could be visual or written or a combo of both.  it could be about your work; it could be an artefact or a glitch, a link to some film or tv show you’ve watched or a coffee place you like. it could be short or long. i’ll post it along with a link of your choice to your work or somewhere else. disclaimer: i might choose not to post if it doesn’t suit me.
your reward? send me your mailing address & i’ll send you something whimsical…
it’s dark out there this summer  fall/winter [since the election of that motherfucker in the USA etc] ; i think we need an injection of whimsy / duende.
so fire away. svp. amanda at angelhousepress dot com

Friday, December 02, 2016

Desperately Seeking Pen Pals

Dear Readers,

Would you be my pen pal? I propose an exchange in the mail of letters (handwritten or not, but mine shall be made on the computer because my handwriting is illegible, even to me).
If interested, please send me an e-mail with your mailing address & I will acknowledge then send you a letter. my email is amanda at amandaearl dot com.

These letters can include anything that can be sent in the mail that you can dream up & would like to send, but shouldn’t cost you a fortune. I want personal and ongoing correspondence between kindreds. I want the intimacy of letters transported from your home to mine, crossing oceans or travelling along bumpy roads to reach us.

I recently wrote a rant on my Polymumbles feature on my Tumblr blog about the lost art of communication. How few of my friends or other people I know return e-mails, text me or communicate with me in any way except for emojis and hearts on social media. At least that’s something.

But the world feels cold to me & lonely. This lack of human interaction is making things worse for me & I suspect for others. I see people occasionally at poetry readings or other events, but we barely talk to one another because too much is going on. I want a quiet moment of contemplation with your words, pictures, mix tapes or anything else you care to exchange.

You can be a stranger to me, a friend, a former lover, a current lover. You can be local or far away. On this planet or another. Whoever you are, what matters most to me is that we have an interesting exchange of words that helps us to feel less lonely on this fucked up little planet.  

I expect the correspondence to be sporadic, rather than regular. No commitments to anything. I don’t like that myself. Just occasional surprises in the mail.

I don’t know if anyone will respond to this at all or if a bunch of people will. I will answer your letters if you send them to me.

Are you a fan of the Griffin and Sabine trilogy of books? If you are, you would make a great pen pal. The rest, I’ll leave us to discover.

your fellow weirdo,

Amanda Earl, lonely but still trying to reach out…

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

One Thing Too: Dominic Bercier

Shine On…
Hope. “What if hope exists only I cannot see it!?” This phrase kept me alive during my very darkest hours. Hope did not return quickly. It did not come with trumpets blaring. But it did arrive.

I drew the above illustration on ‘ART’ exactly 20 years ago while still in high school. I was quite the little star in my small fishbowl world. I had won the Visual Arts Medal and was poised to win the Artistic Excellence Award a couple of years later. It was a big deal. Fellow students pegged me as working for big comics publishers within only a few years. But that never happened.

Well, it sort of did… After turning down an artist’s invitation to submit to Marvel Comics, Dave McKean told me to go to art school and so I did. I was a talented draftsman, I had an old soul, I was ready for comics, but I listened to his advice instead and went to OCAD in Toronto [I was never one for easy paths]. OCAD turned out to be both a blessing and a curse. I became more versatile, quicker, and… more unpredictable; I had become an editor’s paradox of good surprise / different surprise. At OCAD, I met lifelong friends and I did well, but as the years went on from four to five to six [as I was working as assistant-penciler on gigs for big publishers full time – my fifteen minutes of un-credited fame], I started to lose my grip. I was unhappy, unfulfilled, and unable to speak about it with anyone. I persevered silently, finished school, but within months of graduating, I found myself squarely in what I called my “dark night of the soul.” And I festered there and went to a dark, dark, place, from which some do not return. So I went on a lark… and I asked myself : “What if hope exists only I cannot see it!?” It was either to have blind faith in that idea or, well…

It was my greatest experiment. And my conclusion is that hope does return. Not quickly. Not ceremoniously. But it does.

Many of my friends in the USA are now living in fear and despair. To you and to them I tell you to believe in hope. In fact I’ve thought about it quite seriously and have come to understand that I myself can do the following to foster hope in others :

1.       Vote.
2.       Be myself and do my thing [this might be the most important element of all].
3.       Tell those under duress all over the world that they are loved.
4.       And pray. Pray* harder than I have ever prayed…

It is a miracle that hope ever returned to me. And so I believe in miracles now. And now is the time when we need miracles the most. *I’m not talking about religion, or even spirituality, I’m talking about the human condition… Like that little bottle of light when Frodo is near the end of his quest, so too does your hope shine when things are at their darkest – just reach for the light.

Your thoughts matter. Your emotions matter. Your actions, whatever you can do, matter… YOU matter!!!

So… as Pink Floyd would say : “Shine on you crazy diamond!!!” We need you now… more than ever.


www.mirrorcomics.com – Dominic Bercier, November 30, 2016.

your invitation:
tell me or show me one thing. it doesn’t have to be profound. it could be visual or written or a combo of both.  it could be about your work; it could be an artefact or a glitch, a link to some film or tv show you’ve watched or a coffee place you like. it could be short or long. i’ll post it along with a link of your choice to your work or somewhere else. disclaimer: i might choose not to post if it doesn’t suit me.
your reward? send me your mailing address & i’ll send you something whimsical…
it’s dark out there this summer  fall/winter [since the election of that motherfucker in the USA etc] ; i think we need an injection of whimsy / duende.
so fire away. svp. amanda at angelhousepress dot com

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

One Thing Too: Ally Fleming



"I struggle with mental illness. As a child and teenager, I picked up a lot of poor coping mechanisms and self-destructive habits. For about ten years, since my most severe depressive episode, I've been trying to undo the damage I've done to myself and learn to channel my symptoms into more useful activities. My urge to obliterate is so deep in me that resisting it sometimes feels like pulling out my own veins. But I'm learning to turn to writing poetry and making vispo/photo art in my most painful moments. Not addiction, not projection, not rage. Art. At least, it's what I aspire to, and I've been fortunate to have had friends and mentors who are much better at it than I am, who show me ways to go about it.

One thing that sticks in my brain, often, is image. As in, our own, our faces, and how they communicate emotion. I have a lot of trouble with self-concept. I have a poor sense of self, part of my illness and childhood issues. A couple years ago, I started taking selfies in moments of high emotion. Mania, desolation, infatuation. I get entangled in the disconnect between the intensity of the emotion and my own expression of it. I can't comprehend myself, I don't see the tempest. Lately, I've been riding out tough times by "fixing" selfies. I use popular photo editing apps and conventional "beautifying" filters and overlays, but try to trick them into interesting effects. It's still an obsessive thing, but a step up from the more unhealthy behaviours I first learned. The images are low-res and can't be used for much, I might show them to one or two people. I do it for the unlearning aspect, the discipline, tolerance. It's an inversion process. Learning to see the thing I don't want to see (myself), and amplifying instead of denying. It's why I make a bad minimalist - I'd minimize to zero if I could, have tried to, but now I fight that. This is one way I fight, thought I'd share it with you."

your invitation:
tell me or show me one thing. it doesn’t have to be profound. it could be visual or written or a combo of both.  it could be about your work; it could be an artefact or a glitch, a link to some film or tv show you’ve watched or a coffee place you like. it could be short or long. i’ll post it along with a link of your choice to your work or somewhere else. disclaimer: i might choose not to post if it doesn’t suit me.
your reward? send me your mailing address & i’ll send you something whimsical…
it’s dark out there this summer  fall/winter [since the election of that motherfucker in the USA etc] ; i think we need an injection of whimsy / duende.
so fire away. svp. amanda at angelhousepress dot com

One Thing Too: Ronald Seatter

"at MacLarens with the glass half full"

your invitation:
tell me or show me one thing. it doesn’t have to be profound. it could be visual or written or a combo of both.  it could be about your work; it could be an artefact or a glitch, a link to some film or tv show you’ve watched or a coffee place you like. it could be short or long. i’ll post it along with a link of your choice to your work or somewhere else. disclaimer: i might choose not to post if it doesn’t suit me.
your reward? send me your mailing address & i’ll send you something whimsical…
it’s dark out there this summer  fall/winter [since the election of that motherfucker in the USA etc] ; i think we need an injection of whimsy / duende.
so fire away. svp. amanda at angelhousepress dot com

One Thing Too: Margaret Saine

THRESHOLD OF A DARKENED WORLD
HAIKU [9]



let the daylight fade
and night fall: I want to be part
of your dreaming

when the ocean roars
and hills echo with murmurs
we shall move closer

flying through the night
a moth makes the air tremble
our dreams start rustling

from a darkened world
we quickly cross the threshold
to hold and cherish

I spread out my dreams
at your feet, open my heart
to your tender sighs                   

in the sheets of night
your bold body appears dressed
only in my gaze

bodies surrounded
by air in a naked space
open to the skies

the burden of words
our rosary of poems
holds joy and sorrow    

in the night’s embrace
unison bodies inflame
hearts nude to the touch

your invitation:
tell me or show me one thing. it doesn’t have to be profound. it could be visual or written or a combo of both.  it could be about your work; it could be an artefact or a glitch, a link to some film or tv show you’ve watched or a coffee place you like. it could be short or long. i’ll post it along with a link of your choice to your work or somewhere else. disclaimer: i might choose not to post if it doesn’t suit me.
your reward? send me your mailing address & i’ll send you something whimsical…
it’s dark out there this summer  fall/winter [since the election of that motherfucker in the USA etc] ; i think we need an injection of whimsy / duende.
so fire away. svp. amanda at angelhousepress dot com

One Thing Too: Devon Balwit

I want to send you an image from one of my favorite artists, Ivan Albright.  As a teenager, his work fascinated me (and it continues to do so and to inspire many ekphrastic poems).  I was captivated by how his surfaces were roiling and bubbling, splitting and blistering.  Much was going on unseen (just as it was within me then and still is now).  I was taken by the fact that he spent years, even a decade, on a single work.  That spoke to an obsessiveness and a fierce fidelity to his own vision that I hoped to find within me as well as I undertook my own creative tasks.  Also, many people find his works repellent as his humans and the worlds they inhabit look wrecked or diseased.  In contrast, I took (and take) comfort from this.  It is from our wreckage that we create.  It is from disease that we heal (or die and change).

This painting, "That Which I Should Have Done I Did Not Do (The Door)" was the one that took him a decade to paint.  It hangs in the Chicago Museum of Art.  It is worthy of a pilgrimage. 

your invitation:
tell me or show me one thing. it doesn’t have to be profound. it could be visual or written or a combo of both.  it could be about your work; it could be an artefact or a glitch, a link to some film or tv show you’ve watched or a coffee place you like. it could be short or long. i’ll post it along with a link of your choice to your work or somewhere else. disclaimer: i might choose not to post if it doesn’t suit me.
your reward? send me your mailing address & i’ll send you something whimsical…
it’s dark out there this summer  fall/winter [since the election of that motherfucker in the USA etc] ; i think we need an injection of whimsy / duende.
so fire away. svp. amanda at angelhousepress dot com

One Thing Too: Ellen Wiener


 here's your invitation, everyone...

tell me or show me one thing. it doesn’t have to be profound. it could be visual or written or a combo of both.  it could be about your work; it could be an artefact or a glitch, a link to some film or tv show you’ve watched or a coffee place you like. it could be short or long. i’ll post it along with a link of your choice to your work or somewhere else. disclaimer: i might choose not to post if it doesn’t suit me.
your reward? send me your mailing address & i’ll send you something whimsical…
it’s dark out there this summer  fall/winter [since the election of that motherfucker in the USA etc] ; i think we need an injection of whimsy / duende.
so fire away. svp. amanda at angelhousepress dot com