Signs and Inspiration: For L.M.

Inspiration shows up in the strangest of places at the strangest of times. A while ago I met a lovely person through a colleague. Today this woman and I found out that we were linked in other ways, through other people. Then this woman told me that she followed my blog. A couple of years ago, I would have been thrilled to hear this. Now I’m just embarrassed because I am one of those failed bloggers who keeps promising to write more, post more…and then doesn’t. I could go into several reasons why I haven’t written but then I’d be even more embarrassed. So instead, I’ll take her acknowledgement of being a follower as a sign. I won’t promise to write more often because every time I make such a promise, I break it. Today I will see the sign and be inspired to try again–to take time to allow myself to be creative, to play with language and form, to write freely without harsh self-criticism–with no strings attached. Here’s to (today’s) new beginning.

Letting go of something without really being
Aware of the fact is often more
Upsetting than
Recognizing that you are leaving it behind until
Eventually someone reminds you of who you once were and you realize that
Nothing is forever and that you can start over again, at any time.

If you’d like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read,
please email me: judyamy74(at) or tweet me @JudyAmy74.


Seven Years

It’s taken me (give or take)
l            o            n            g
To get this project (almost)

And Worrying:
(thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? digital literacy? gender literacy? architectural literacy? digital? feminist? architectural? is it (I know, I know, but I have to ask:) possible to switch to a Master’s of Gender Studies in the                         middle                        of a Master’s of Education program? (in case you’re wondering, the answer is no. at least, not on the prairies.) thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive? thesis? comprehensive?)

And (finally)
Deciding (actively deciding or resigning myself to the fact?)
on the

(Wondering once more: did I make the right choice? if yes, why do I feel this need to explain my choice? as though a Comprehensive is somehow inferior to a Thesis, but it is, right? everyone knows that Real Scholars go the Thesis route so that they can roll merrily along into a ph. d. but that’s not my reality. and although the amount of blood, sweat, tears, thought, snot, you name it, that I have put into these

Seven (Give or Take—take 1 year off for having twins and see if you manage to Pass Go and Collect $200 ever again.)

is Equal if not Greater Than some who are writing a thesis, by choosing the comprehensive route I still feel Less Than. and not without merit: it’s definitely more difficult to be accepted to a Ph. D. program without a thesis, even though an M. Ed. is an M. Ed is an M. Ed. there are no extra letters for a thesis)

l            o            n            g
And this project (M. Ed., no more, no less)
Is (almost)
It’s (about) time

(For something new)

–J. Amy (July 13, 2016)

Notes: I’ve been absent for a long, long time. I know this, and hopefully this poem explains some of the ‘why’ behind my absence. I’m hoping to be back (regularly) on this blog in the not too distant future. Thanks for your patience. 

If you would like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me at: judyamy74(at)gmail(dot)com or tweet me @JudyAmy74

Goodbye 2015, Hello Sweet ’16!

2015 was a great year for me. In many ways I’m sorry to see it go. I spent most of 2015 as a 40 year old woman who was finally starting to feel comfortable in her own skin. That alone makes for a great year.

Here are some highlights:

I spoke at a few different venues on themes of writing, poetry, social justice, and creativity. I created a really fantastic art installation to encourage teachers to use artifacts in their teaching. I believed in myself more and was less afraid to share my ideas and feelings with others. The end is in sight for my M. Ed. degree. Overall, 2015 was pretty good.

Of course there’s always a flip side–

For every talk I gave on poetry and writing, I wrote less poetry. The fantastic art piece took a lot of my creative energy and before I could continue, I needed to recharge. With my newfound confidence also came new challenges, particularly for other people who were used to me in a certain role.

So, what am I hoping for from 2016?

More of my own creative projects. While I enjoy researching and crafting assignments for professors, I am very much looking forward to choosing what I want to create based on my ideas.

For the poetic muse to return. It feels like it’s been a long time and I’m hoping it’s not lost forever. I used to always wish people love, laughter, and poetry for the New Year. Perhaps I need to wish myself the same.

For my newly discovered sense of self to continue growing, while still being mindful that it might be difficult at times for those around me.

To nurture a giving and generous spirit, in myself and my family. Having seen our oldest raid the pantry daily during the month of December for his school’s Food Bank drive, I know that this spirit is strong.  Giving always begets more.

To be happy. I always wish this. And each year my happiness seems to grow. I attribute this to my wonderful family and friends.¹ So this is what I wish for you: Happiness. Pure and simple. In whatever form, wherever you find it, grab onto it and hold onto it, but remember to also give some away to those who have less than you.

Best wishes for a Happy New Year, in the purest, truest, deepest sense of the word! Here’s to a Sweet ’16!

A picture of the author, many celebrations ago. Cheers!

A picture of the author, many celebrations ago. Cheers!

¹ My happiness may also be attributed in part to Wellbutrin® and a great therapist. (And gin and tonic.)

If you would like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me at: or tweet me @JudyAmy74





Valentine’s Day 2015: A Facebook Found Poem

Because I intervened
Valentine’s Day will
Never be the same.

My little neighbours
Were screaming:
Mommy is dead.

I felt like a
Big Mama Bear
As I
To my neighbours.

I pounded on their door.
The abuser opened.
I yelled.
He left.

Mommy lay unconscious,
With Baby beside her.

Days later,
My stomach still turns,
My anger still fresh.

Why did I intervene?
Possibly putting myself and
My boys
At risk–

23 years ago,
That was me.

And my neighbours did
To help me.
They turned a blind eye.

So I intervened.

–J. Amy & J. MacDonald, 2015

Notes: This is a new form of poetry I am working on. It’s an exercise of sorts and I’m not sure how successful it will be, and I would appreciate any feedback you may have.  I’ve always been interested in how social media, particularly Facebook, guides our behaviour and the words we choose to use to tell our stories. When my friend updated her status with an account of her Valentine’s Day, I saw the poetry potential within the lines. J.MacDonald has graciously allowed me to use her words and transmediate the text. Most Facebook status updates are pretty short, so I’m not sure how many poems like this I will be able to craft. Nonetheless Facebook friends, don’t be surprised if I ask you to collaborate on a poem with me–your words might be just what I’m looking for.

If you would like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me at: judyamy74(at)gmail(dot)com or tweet me @JudyAmy74

Z is for Tomayto, Tomahto

I haven’t forgotten my promise to make it through the alphabet with my blogging, but I’m really pretty tired of having “z” hanging over my head. I don’t like writing about things that don’t interest me which is why it’s taken me so long to get through this alphabet and also, why I am stuck on z. But I’m cleaning house to start the year fresh which means by hook or by crook, I’m going to finish off this alphabet. It doesn’t matter that it’s now February; 2015 is still pretty fresh, right? Humour me, folks. I could write about how I’m looking pretty zäftig post-Valentine’s Day, but to be honest the zäftig nature of my body has been steadily increasing ever since the twins were born. Which isn’t encouraging. Nor is it particularly interesting for me to write about. Historiated decorative initial capital letter Z in Blue [1659]
Historiated decorative initial capital letter Z in Blue [1659]

So, here’s what I’ve come up with. The most basic of basics. Z. To my fellow Canadians and to you Brits, “zed”, to you Yanks, “zee”. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a traditionalist and will always put the “u” in “honour” and “colour” and write the colour grey with an e, regardless of what spell check tries to tell me. It looks better. It’s Canadian. As am I.

And yet, ever since I was young, I’ve wanted to say “zee.”  Only at a very specific time, mind you. I remember learning the alphabet song with my mum and wishing that I could sing “zee” for that last letter, but my British-Canadian mother was having none of it. We are Canadian, she’d say. We say zed. But it doesn’t rhyme, I’d say. Even at a young age, my poet’s sensibility knew that something was amiss. I’ve been uncomfortable with that song ever since.

Recently the twins have been asking me to sing the alphabet song with them and every time we get close to that line, I tense up. I don’t know what to do. Do I stop them when they sing “zed” as they’ve heard their Nursery School teachers sing it? I usually just mumble when we get to that part and join in loudly again on “Next time won’t you sing with me?”

At least they get to sing it. I remember specifically avoiding singing that song with H. when he was smaller for this exact reason. It’s a wonder that kid learned his letters at all. And now he’s come home singing it in French . . . god help me.

P.S. I feel as though I need to add that I am not a rhyming fanatic. Most of my favourite poems don’t rhyme. But there’s something about the rhythm and cadence and flow to this simple song that makes me want to say “zee”. At no other time do I want to pronounce this letter as anything else but “zed”. Crazy, I know!

If you would like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me at: judyamy74(at)gmail(dot)com or tweet me @JudyAmy74

stereoTYPING: Blogging Toward Acceptance and Understanding

Happy Tuesday!

This post is a series of questions for other bloggers. I am giving a presentation next week at a local university regarding my experience with blogging about gender issues and how writing can deepen understandings and begin conversations.

So, my questions to you are:

  1. Why did you start blogging? (as opposed to a different form of writing) Why do you continue?
  2. Does your blog have a particular focus? (parenting, poetry, etc.) Why or why not?
  3. Do you read other blogs? If so, are they related to the writing you do on your own blog?
  4. Do you actively encourage comments/discussion on your blog? Do you comment on other blogs?
  5. Any other comments about blogging?

Please take a moment to think about and answer these questions if you have the time. I would really appreciate it. You can either write your answers in the comment section or contact me via email or twitter.

 judyamy74(at)gmail(dot)com                      @JudyAmy74

Throw Back Thursday: The Creative Process






2013/Revised 2014

Notes: This was one of my earliest posts, and is also the title of my blog. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. In a course I took last Spring, we were to come up with a definition or working idea of our own Creative Process. I feel in any creative endeavour, there is a continual revision, and a striving for that elusive feeling of rightness. My  Creative Process has evolved somewhat since I first wrote this, but it basically follows the same premise–think, dream, do. I’m doing my best. At least, I think I am. And if I’m not, I’ll try again.

What’s your Creative Process?

If you would like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me at: or tweet me @JudyAmy74