– “Are you asking me about Trump because I’m an American?” – “No, I`m asking you about Trump because you are feminist.”
This is not how my interview with Amanda Eagleson started, but it was definitely one of its highlights. We met at the Vancouver International airport where she works as a customer service ambassador. When I showed up exactly at 1 pm as scheduled she was already there waiting for me. Before the meetup, Amanda went to the employee gym and before that to the yoga class. She was wearing sports clothes with bright pink socks. “Do you think it’s okay I’m wearing such socks?”, she asked me. “Who cares what people think? You can wear whatever you want”, I replied bluntly. She ordered a regular medium latte while I decided to try a new cascara one. Then we went to the employee food court area.
Amanda has begun her journey in writing a couple years ago while battling her mental health issues. She realized that poetry would help her to go through that crisis. She used to write a little bit in a high school and then in college. Yet, jotting down poems and presenting them at the open mic events at Spoken Word community in Vancouver had started happening only two years ago. She would write about her problems and while some of her pieces were good, some contained more drama. “I’m a sucker for metaphors”, she claimed and one of her poems proves that.
Whose eyes widen
When you whisper what you want
On the back of their necks
Who want nothing but to fly
From the four walls that
in even smaller places
As they grow older
That makes you want
She did her first chapbook a couple of months ago. It`s called ‘Cinderella sleepwalks’. It’s a feminist version of fairy tales. Amanda used a print press, where she picked her own letters and printed each one individually. She has also made an illustration of a Tinkerbell character on her computer with a stamp.
She has been using social media to advertise it. Moreover, Amanda created an Etsy page to sell the books to her American friends. “They can buy my books online and pay for the postage”, she laughed. She also gave out some of her books for free to her fellow poets as a gesture of gratefulness. They were helping her through the rough times and she wanted to give something back to them.
She is considering writing a fiction or nonfiction book but afraid to get lost while working on it. “A book it’s a huge thing. I don’t have the patience or the time for that, but someday…”. She thinks it’s especially hard to start working on it because she has a full-time job which consumes a lot of her time. Amanda wants to focus on short fiction novels for now and then move forward onto bigger projects.
When I asked her where she was looking for her inspiration, she said that she could see it everywhere – “even in mundane, silly things”. Taking transit helps her to express her thoughts about people’s flaws and weaknesses. “It’s strange to be inspired by this…people being shitty”, she confessed. Even so, she believes that it’s all about human’s reaction to the difficulties. Each person can behave differently when it comes to resolving issues. “I have flaws and I’ve done stupid things, but it’s how you deal with those things. I would just laugh at myself. Some people just lash out of anger”.
She doesn’t consider her poems being aggressive – she always tries to soften words she chooses. “Poetry uses a lot of emotion so everyone can relate to. It’s a human condition – happiness and sadness. It teaches empathy when you read it and can empathize with the author emotions and you can relate it to something in your life. I think it’s important”, Amanda states.
When it came to talking about feminism she said, “Every woman has a different struggle, but all women have same struggle due to their gender”. She believes that it’s hard being a woman these days because of people and especially men expecting ladies to behave in a certain way. Even that ordinary “Smile!” yelled by some man on a street is already a provocation. He expects her to smile while she doesn’t have to. “We don’t express ourselves with a certain sharpness. Sometimes it’s good to be abrupt and say things sharply”, Amanda observed. Even though she does not consider herself being that “loud and angry woman” as a feminist, but a quiet one. Mentioning Trump comes in handy. He is known to objectify women, so I decided to ask Amanda what she thought about him. “…the things he was saying…It’s a very dangerous message for men and boys. It’ s not acceptable to talk to people like they are not humans”, she said.
She wants to improve her writing by learning how to write grants in February-March this year. She was looking for some job postings online and it was listed as a valuable skill. Amanda would also love to work as a writer in the art industry. She has already gained some experience – she was helping her actor friend with a play this year. Her responsibilities were to check on words missing and come up with the right words for a scenario. Besides that, she would like to join a Vancouver Poetry House society and do some volunteering work for them. She is excited to be able to meet poets and be involved in a community.
Here is one more Amanda`s poem called ‘Neverland`s girl’
She’ll take the fucking pen
Sly sideways knowing grin
‘cause he’s not trying to be a myth
She’s all flesh and blood and
And tongue that wants to tell her own story
And real women
They have shadows too