Every year, for one month, local singer/songwriter Jane Eamon logs onto her computer and starts to write.
As part of an international writing collective, she makes the commitment to follow the random prompts sent to her for inspiration and see where her mind takes the muse.
“If I don’t get it in the morning, if it’s late, I start to think about what I’m going to write and what it’s going to be and I get myself all caught up,” she said. “it’s just not as good.”
If that doesn’t make artistic prowess sound like a torturous journey, her description of selling off house and home to take to the road and live by her talents certainly will do the trick.
Just back from a 14-month vagabond journey across North America, the former accountant-cum-starving artist says she and her husband, Gord Brush, finally decided they wanted to write and work and live by the sword en route to her sixth CD and first book of poetry a couple of years ago.
And like their trip, which took them through far-flung haunts like Arches National Park in Utah and Mississippi’s Shack Up Inn, the resulting work is spontaneous, real and, well, all over the place.
“I don’t write poems just about me; just like I don’t write songs just about me,” said Eamon. “It’s boring.”
And so one set of verses called Gypsy can be found floating among more complex efforts like Black Friday, about the 1939 Australian wildfires, and a poem about auctioning dreams of having children, becoming a writer and even driving a car off to the highest bidder.
“Lot 157. The dream of becoming a writer at 19, sold to the woman in the blue sweatshirt,” reads Dream Auction in a revealing line penned with such stark honesty it’s hard not to flip the page.
Despite moving across the country to pursue her music as a busker on the streets of Vancouver in the mid-70s, Eamon initially abandoned a songwriting career, convinced friends’ judgment that she was no good was fair.
“In those days, women weren’t songwriters. Sure there was Joni (Mitchell), but I looked around and couldn’t find anyone doing what I wanted to do,” she said. “And so I just didn’t do it.”
It took a few decades, until her husband convinced her to pick up the guitar and throw a song into the BC Festival of the Arts songwriting contest, to find her true calling. And with the win in that songwriting venture, she earned more than just an entry back to the field she loved. Eamon discovered the true artist within.
While this poetry book is a first-time reveal, published under the same name as her sixth CD Caught in Time, writing poetry has been part of her creative practice for almost as long as the songwriting, and she’s now dabbling in photography as well.
The cover is her own shot of what’s believed to a clown car, now a fixture on the Mississippi cotton plantation where she took a little time revel in the blues. Eamon has 11 years worth of verse lined up between these covers—with plans for another book or two on the way—and says she’s really keen to keep expanding on her storytelling abilities.
Eamon has won numerous awards including the 2005 Socan-sponsored Songwriter of the Year and Best Female Artist awards at the Okanagan Valley Music Awards—the same outfit that’s awarded her Best Folk Artist three years running. She received several BC Interior Music Award nominations in 2010.
The book is available on Amazon.ca, www.chapters.indigo.ca, and in Mosaic Books on Bernard Avenue. Eamon will do a joint book and CD launch at the Minstrel Café on Tuesday Jan. 24 from 8 to 10:30 p.m. ($5 cover charge).