Introduction

A student drawing of me in a kilt.

Are you looking for a teacher who can help students prepare for the IELTS test, teach academic writing or make grammar fun?

Do you need a writer and professional who can bring out the best in their subjects?

Do you have a creative project that you want someone to take a look at?

I would love to hear from you. I am always looking for private students, writing contracts, or editing projects. I can help you bring your writing skills to the next level, no matter if you are a native English speaker or a language learner. Check out my contact page to get in touch with me.

Nov 2020 Reads: Webcomics

I forgot to add two LGBTQ+ webcomics to my list of November reading!

Long Exposure by Mars. Completed webcomic. A bully and a nerd are forced to work together and, spoilers, fall in love!

Magical Boy by the Kao. Completed webcomic. A young trans guy inherits a position as a magical girl superhero and rebels against cisgender tradition to go and be awesome.

Nov 2020 Reads

Read

A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. Ebook. This book! Oh my gosh! So many people have recommended it to me. This book is about a crew of sapients, human and non-human, tunneling holes in space. They have to live with each other for long lengths of time. What does that do to a group? This crew becomes really close, except for, as you may guess, the one asshole in the group. I love the incredibly detailed and thoughtfully written aliens. I love that the ship’s crew, including the AI, are basically chosen family. It reminds me of Cedar McCloud’s writing in that the novel keeps subverting the dramatic directions I think it’s going to go. One friend described this book as a comfort read and I think he’s right. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

Front Door by grrrlspells. Zine. A by-trans-for-trans love letter/manifesto. Content warning: transphobia, body horror, and blood mention.

Pagan Portals– Loki: Trickster and Transformer by Dagulf Loptson. Physical book. This was a slim volume that I read in one day while taking a break from Alan Watts. It was packed full of info about Loki–lots of little tidbits I’d never even heard of before. Great stuff. Absolute must-read for a beginner Norse pagan.

Poetry Magazine, October 2020. (The Poetry Foundation). Physical magazine. I’m not as into these magazines as I used to be. There’s a lot of wordy high-brow poetry in this magazine. I found it hard to concentrate. I am, perhaps, too accustomed to spoken word and blunt brief millennial poetry.

The Cowboy Havamal by Jackson Crawford. Free poem on his website. A beautiful translation of the Norse Havamal done in a Western American English dialect. I really enjoyed this.

The Two Towers by JRR Tolkien. Physical book. Reread. TREEBEARD!!!

Walk the Blue Fields by Claire Keegan. Ebook. I read one of her short stories in my pandemic short story club. Given that I want to read more Irish authors, I decided to buy the whole (e)book. I love how meditative this book is. Keegan really plumbs the depths of human nature here. I would definitely read more by her.

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? And Other Questions About Dead Bodies by Caitlin Doughty. Physical book. Doughty calls her Youtube fans ‘deathlings’. I’m happy to be a fan. This book is as hilarious as the title.

Aborted Reading

In My Own Way: An Autobiography, 1915-1965 by Alan Watts. Ebook. Wow, this book is bogged down by many unimportant details of his childhood. I don’t really care about your neighbours or schoolmasters, Alan! Just skip ahead to all your Buddhist interests, would you?! It might’ve been better for me to have just read one of his books on religion rather than his autobiography. There’s just so much I don’t care about in this book. -.- I read around 600 of the 2000-ish pages on my ereader. Since I bought the damn ebook, I suppose I might come back to this book one day. Or not.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Physical book. It’s pretty good–well-researched, thoughtful, and so on. I just… I dunno, after 120 pages, I just… couldn’t keep going. I’ll keep the book and come back to it later.

Currently reading

This is How You Lose the Time War by Max Gladstone and Amal el-Mohtar. Physical book. Reread. My ereader has crapped out so I am reading an actual book now. Anyone who knows me personally may remember that I spent the end of 2019 recommending this book to anyone in sight. This is a beautiful, poetic, epistolary scifi about QUEER LOVE between two alien women who are spies on opposite sides of a time-traveling war. They write each other letters. It’s the most romantic thing I will ever read in my life. (I even got a small tattoo for this book!)

I will likely finish this book tonight or tomorrow morning which means I must choose another book to read!

TBR

Kindling Our Stars: Nurturing Bright and Dark Flames by Genevieve Wood. Ebook. A pagan book about the practice of flamekeeping.

Poetry Magazine, November 2020. (The Poetry Foundation). Physical magazine.

Bookish Notes

I have one issue of a Norse pagan magazine coming in the mail soon. (Soon?!) (I know the USPS has been having trouble, so I must be patient.)

I’ve preordered the paperback edition of How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell. It’ll arrive at the very end of the year.

I’ve asked my local library to order to Scottish books: The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd and Scottish Myths and Legends by Daniel Allison. They rejected my request for Scottish Myths but have accepted Mountain, likely since they already have a French copy.

Canadian LGBTQ+ children’s press Flamingo Rampant is raising funds for their next season of books. Support them if you can!

Autumn/winter seems to be a great time for rereading. Are you rereading or planning to reread anything ?

Oct 2020 Reads

Read

An Unseen Attraction by KJ Charles. Ebook. A gay romance! An autistic protagonist! Characters who genuinely enjoy quiet time! This was fun.

Daughter of Black Lake by Cathy Marie Buchanan. Physical book. A historical fiction of two generations of a small northern village. Set in the time of the Romans invading Britain for the third time? Boudicca’s era basically. This was a great book! Very realistic, well-written, and tense. My own personal hangup was that there was a character debating between two love interests and I usually dislike that trope. I kept reading and was delighted that the character’s choice had very long term consequences throughout the whole book. The book centers around a mother and daughter and their respective coming-of-age in the village. The daughter is physically disabled, and this also has consequences in the book. I think it was respectfully done.

The Dagda: Meeting the Good God of Ireland by Morgan Daimler. Ebook. A well-written and deeply researched book on the Dagda. It’s a short primer, but packed with info. It was great for a beginner like me.

The Threads That Bind by Cedar McCloud. Kickstarter ebook. I couldn’t put this book down! If you want to read about queer magical librarians who are often asexual, this is for you. I loved the themes in this book: chosen family, healing from abuse, and unlearning perfectionism. I wanted to join this fam. Ugh. Looking forward to the prequel.

The Year 1000: When Explorers Connected the World—and Globalization Began by Valerie Hansen. Physical book. This tracks the trends of globalization in medieval times across a multitude of countries. And it doesn’t only focus on Europe, which was great. I did find I had to push myself through this book a bit. I’m still not used to reading history books.

Currently Reading

The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien. Physical book. This has become a comfort read for me, despite the fact that I have only read it in full twice. I have really been engaging in fandom this year, and now I am just delighting in returning to this story.

Ogham: Weaving Words of Wisdom by Erynn Rowan Laurie. Physical book. What a well-researched, well-written book. I am so into this. I will definitely be using this as I study Irish divination more in-depth.

TBR

I have my eye on some Taoist texts and Pagan Portal books. I’m feeling reinvigorated and want to return to reading spiritual texts! I don’t know where to start! Hahah! This is a great problem to have.

This weekend, I did impulse-buy a small zine by and for trans people. I’m actually really excited about it. It’s been on my wishlist for years and it looks like a very wholesome and spooky text. I also impulse-bought a pagan magazine on a topic I want to research, so that should be cool.

I’m debating what books to order next. Taoist or pagan? Perhaps one of each? That would make sense, right? Yeah.

Bookish Notes

The Nap Bishop Tricia Hersey, creator of the Nap Ministry, has tweeted that she is writing a book. I am very excited for this. I foresee it having the potential of becoming a sacred text, since her tweets already feel like a sacred text.

A transgender minister/playwright, Rev Shannon Kearns, is writing a book about transgender theology. I’m not even Christian but I am so curious to know what he’s writing about.

Sept 2020 Reads

Read

The Bestiary by Nicholas Christopher. Library book. A surreal adventure into the world of ancient animal bestiaries. I found it a bit slow at times, as the main character info-dumps a lot. He’s often on his own doing research, which frankly, did not make the book more exciting for me, no matter how excited the main character is about his research. Still, I am glad I finished this.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. Ebook. This was advertised to me by many people as “lesbian necromancers in space.” Yes, it’s as EPIC as it sounds. This book is heartbreaking. I would’ve cried while reading it had I not been at work. I really wanna read the sequel.

The Book of Seed and Abyss by R.B. Lemberg. Patreon exclusive. Having just finished the Four Weaves, I didn’t want to jump into this right away, but it was just too tempting. Lemberg hinted at some very exciting worldbuilding in this story on their new Birdverse website, and I was not disappointed.

The Four Profound Weaves by R.B. Lemberg. Preordered book. What a delight. If you wanna read about platonic-friends! trans elders going on a fantastical adventure to accidentally-on-purpose fight against tyranny, read this. (I got an impulsive tattoo featuring the number 4 for this book!)

The Other Shore: A New Translation of the Heart Sutra with Commentaries by Thich Naht Han. Library book. It was a pleasure to expose myself to a new-to-me sacred text.

The Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire. Physical book. I got my own copy so I could scribble in it to my heart’s content. This is my second stab at reading this book. I feel more ready for it this time. For a year or more now, I’ve been feeling a profound urge to transform my teaching practice and I think critical pedagogy is going to point me in the right direction. So I am pretty excited. I am even managed to read this on my breaks at work! Actually reading the book was tough. I am not used to reading philosophy. I wish there were more examples, comments from peasants (his term, not mine), templates, or lesson plans. Friends have suggested reading works by Freirean scholars to get what I am looking for.

The Unreal and the Real: Selected Short Stories by Ursula K LeGuin. Gifted book from S + R. I was so glad to be exposed to so many short stories by such a beloved author of mine. I’ll admit, having read it, I need a break from reading LeGuin. It’ll be awhile before I pick up another one by her! Still, I was very thrilled to read her scifi stories, and realize more stories in the world of the Ekumen. This made me happy.

Threads of Life: A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle by Clare Hunter. Library book. I loved peering into all these amazing world histories of needlework. Wow! If you’re interested in embroidery, go pick up this book!

Welcome to the Goddamn Icecube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North by Blair Braverman. Library book. This was a great read! If you wanna read an engaging autobiography, pick this up! Braverman talks about her first few years of experience dogsledding. (!!!) Content warning: sexual violence, dudes being assholes.

Aborted Reading

Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetics edited by TC Tolbert and Trace Peterson. Gifted book from S + R. I finally started reading it! This is a hard-hitting book. I was reading it at bedtime but honestly this book needs lots of time to digest and ponder over. I’ll be taking a break for now and coming back to it later.

Currently Reading

Irish Paganism by Morgan Daimler. Ebook. This was recommended to me by my friend V. It seems decent so far. I hear good things about Daimler’s rigorous academically informed writing, so that’s a point in their favour,

TBR

I’m not sure what to read next after reading such stunning fiction this month. Recommendations welcome.

Listen to my poetry!

6 of my haiku have aired on the Haiku Poet podcast. Listen on Anchor, Listen Notes, Apple, or Spotify. The introduction to my work starts around 23:57.

I love listening to the responses of the young boys to each poem. The host and father, Josh, is right that eggs and hash browns are one of my top favourite breakfasts.

Thanks to Josh for reading my poems! It was a delight to hear!

I wrote all these poems during the pandemic lockdown, taking frequent walks to look for haiku inspiration. It is a surprisingly successful practice that I must find ways to continue on my days off from my new job at a pharmacy.

August Reads 2020

Read

Cold Mountain Poems: Twenty-Four Poems by Han Shan translated by Gary Snyder. Library book. These poems were beautiful. There were only 24 of them so I feel like I zoomed through them too fast. I may have to reread this.

For Want of a Nail by Mary Robinette Kowal. Ebook short story. This has been nominated for a Hugo. To celebrate, the author has offered it online. It includes human/robot family relationships and how memory exists between these two very different beings.

Poetry Magazine, July/August ed. Physical magazine. An intriguing array of poems, as usual. (Note: there was one tone-deaf poem that has since been removed from future publications due to anti-black sentiment without reflection. After a letter from the community, the editor has apologized, and is actually leaving the magazine to make room for new big changes at the Poetry Foundation itself.)

The Power of Ritual: Turning Everyday Activities Into Soulful Practices by Casper ter Kuile. Physical book. A thoughtful look at what constitutes a sacred practice, focusing mainly on meals, sacred reading, and… wait for it… the gym!

Settler: Identity and Colonialism in 21st Century Canada by Adam Joseph Barker and Emma Battell Lowman. Ebook. I’m learned a lot but I gotta admit, reading this is a slog. I really had to push myself. Still, this gets into the nitty gritty of settler colonial thinking which is super useful to know. Definitely worth a reread, although I wish I had a physical copy I could scribble in.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty. Ebook. I ate this book up! You get to read about this mortician’s first six years of work in the funeral industry. It was funny, provocative, and just plain interesting. This is the second book of Doughty’s that I’ve read. I look forward to more.

The Fox and Mr. Shimamura by Christine Wunnicke. Translated from the German by Philip Boehm. Ebook. I read this for the August Japanese Book Club at the queer-owned Argo Bookshop. This was an interesting story about a doctor sent abroad after Japan opened itself up to the world. It was an odd tale about aging, folklore, and death. It’ll be worth a reread in the future to look for all the little nuggets left by the multiple unreliable narrators.

The Necessary Arthur by Garth Nix. Ebook short story. Recommended to me by L.H. It was short and fun game with Arthurian legends.

The Scripture of the Golden Eternity by Jack Kerouac. I’m still reading Kerouac when I can! Here he is writing his own Buddhist sutra or sacred text. It’s a wild read.

Currently reading

The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories by Ursula K LeGuin. Physical book (gift from S + R). This is fun! There are so many short stories! I have been giving myself breaks from reading this because it’s a long, long book. I’m especially thrilled by the sci-fi stories returning to the worlds of the culture-sharing league of planets, the Ekumen. I had tried reading such stories when I was younger but found them incomprehensible and boring. Now, they are fascinating!

Threads of Life: A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle by Claire Hunter. A library book on the sociopolitical history of fiber arts. I am more than halfway through. It’s an intriguing read but I admit I am starting to miss pouring myself into reading fiction.

White Noise by Adrien Lee. Webcomic. Recommendation from M.L. Unfinished LGBTQ+ webcomic about animal-aliens intermingling and fighting with humans. There are already ten chapters available. Content warnings: frequent mentions of slavery, hints of trauma, death.

TBR

Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetics edited by TC Tolbert and Trace Peterson. Physical book (gift). I was not expecting this book to be a literal TOME of poems but it IS. How magnificent. I look forward to reading this… eventually. I’ll probably read it a few weeks after I finish the tome of LeGuin’s short stories. (Too many big books)

After finishing Hunter’s book, I’d like to tackle the Heart Sutra, as examined by Thich Nhat Han. This is one of the main sacred texts within Buddhism and I’d like to try and understand it.

2 other books from the library are sitting on my TBR shelf as well. I’ll comment on them next month.

Misc Notes

Two aborted library books on history this month. I’m wondering if it would be easier to read shorter books, or historical fiction.

I’m also rewatching the Legend of Korra series for the second time. I’m on season 2 and am looking forward to all the extra backstory.

Two exciting books come out this coming September. I preordered them months ago:

The Four Profound Weaves by RB Lemberg. Transgender fantasy. I commented on Twitter that while I have read lots of YA novels and comics about trans youth, I’ve yet to read a book about trans elders and I am SO READY FOR THIS Y’ALL. These two trans elders are friends and have to weave Death?? Or something?? Who knows! The GoodReads bio relates it to LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, which is one of my fav books, so clearly this is gonna rock.

The Tea Dragon Tapestry by Katie O’Neill. Comic about tea and dragons. What more could you want?? Third in a trilogy of comics about little dragons that grow tea leaves on their horns and the people that foster these lil beings. It’s cute and heartwarming and GAY.

What are you hoping to read this fall?

July Reads part 2

I forgot to add some books!

Read

Unfinished Tales by JRR Tolkien. A book lent to me by a friend. More background info and legendarium nerdiness. Like the Silmarillion, I only read the parts that interested me and skipped over a bunch of sections.

Short Stories

Articulated Restraint by Mary Robinette Kowal. Ebook. An astronaut sprains her ankle and forces herself to go through some emergency training exercises despite the injury. This was a suspenseful read at bedtime, whoa!

Dear Santa by Ray Bradbury. Ebook. I was curious to read Bradbury beyond Fahrenheit 451 and the Illustrated Man so I picked this up. It was cute.

One More Body in the Pool by Ray Bradbury. Ebook. This story felt a bit like fan fiction. A fan/literary agent finds out where F Scott Fitzgerald is and tries to help his career.

Currently Reading

Original Plumbing: The Best Ten Years of Trans Male Culture by Amos Mac and Rocco Kayiatos. Physical book. This is a fun, sexy, humourous series of interviews, photos, and articles by trans guys for trans guys.

The Penguin Book of Prose Poems edited by Jeremy Noel-Tod. Physical book. Honestly this book is turning into such a Serious Literature slog. This book is not as fun as I thought it would be. Now I gotta think, do I wanna keep it or donate it? Maybe I’ll keep it for awhile and come back to it another time.

TBR

For these two books, I will likely wait until I’ve reinvigorated my love of books by reading some fiction for awhile. I’m on the library ebook waiting list for the second Murderbot book by Martha Wells…

Algorithmic Shapeshifting: Poems by Bogi Tagacs. Physical book. I obtained a signed copy of this through Patreon.

Poetry magazine, July/August edition.