Word Witch

Pride and Prejudice and Pride

Spring 2024 Boston Austen Book Club Meeting

Sunday, Jun 30, 2024 at 2pm via WebEx – Just As You Are by Camille Kellogg

Spring 2024 BABC Meeting Details

Join us for our special Pride Month Boston Austen Book Club Spring 2024 Meeting, which we’re calling “Pride & Prejudice …& PRIDE!”

We will meet via Webex at 2pm on Sunday, June 30 to discuss Camille Kellogg’s book Just As You Are.

As always, new members are welcome. All you have to do to join is read the book and come to the meeting to discuss it.


About Just As You Are

From Goodreads:

Equal parts witty and steamy, this debut rom-com brings a healthy dose of queerness and a whole lot of heart to a Pride and Prejudice -inspired enemies to lovers romance.

The only thing worse than hating your boss? Being attracted to her.

Liz Baker and her three roommates work at the Nether Fields, a queer magazine in New York that’s on the verge of shutting down—until it’s bought at the last minute by two wealthy lesbians. Liz knows she’s lucky to still have a paycheck but it’s hard to feel grateful with minority investor Daria Fitzgerald slashing budgets, cancelling bagel Fridays, and password protecting the color printer to prevent “frivolous use.” When Liz overhears Daria scoffing at her listicles, she knows that it’s only a matter of time before her impulsive mouth gets herself fired.

But as Liz and Daria wind up having to spend more and more time together, Liz starts to see a softer side to Daria—she’s funny, thoughtful, and likes the way Liz’s gender presentation varies between butch and femme. Despite the evidence that Liz can’t trust her, it’s hard to keep hating Daria—and even harder to resist the chemistry between them.

This page-turning, sexy, and delightfully funny rom-com celebrates queer culture, chosen family, and falling in love against your better judgment.

We are so excited to have our first ever Pride-inpired title, and look forward to making this a tradition each June!

Upcoming Boston Austen Book Club events for 2024

Here’s the (still somewhat tentative) plans…more details to come!

  • CONFIRMED: Spring 2024 – Sun, Jun 30 at 2pm – “Pride & Prejudice & Pride” Event: Just As You Are by Camille Kellogg, via Webex
  • High Tea Special In-Person Event (Make up for Summer 2023) – Sun, Aug 18 at 1pm – 19th Amendment Celebration; “A Vindication for the Rights of Women” by Mary Wollstonecraft, at Jolie Tea Room in Salem ($36 per person plus tax and tip)
  • Summer 2024 – Sun, Sep 15 at 2pm – Discussion: Screen Adaptations, via Webex
  • Fall 2024 – Oct 20 at 2pm – Murder in Highbury by Vanessa Kelly, via Webex
  • Winter 2024 – Sun, Dec 15 at 2pm – Jane Austen 249th Birthday Bash; Devoney Looser, “The Making of Jane Austen” via Webex

Looking forward to seeing those of you who can make these meetings!

Follow Bridget Eileen Madden and Boston Austen Book Club

Word Witch

BABC 2024 Tentative Schedule

Save the Dates: Boston Austen Book Club Meetings and Events, 2024

Hello everyone! It’s been a very busy 2024 up ’til now (the end of the academic year). I finally have time to plan for the upcoming Boston Austen Book Club Events for 2024.

Here’s the TENTATIVE plans…more details to come!

  • Spring 2024 – Sun, Jun 30 at 2pm – “Pride & Prejudice & Pride” Event: Just As You Are by Camille Kellogg, via Webex
  • High Tea Special In-Person Event (Make up for Summer 2023) – Sun, Aug 18 at 1pm – 19th Amendment Celebration; “A Vindication for the Rights of Women” by Mary Wollstonecraft, at Jolie Tea Room in Salem ($36 per person plus tax and tip)
  • Summer 2024 – Sun, Sep 15 at 2pm – Discussion: Screen Adaptations, via Webex
  • Fall 2024 – Oct 20 at 2pm – Murder in Highbury by Vanessa Kelly, via Webex
  • Winter 2024 – Sun, Dec 15 at 2pm – Jane Austen 249th Birthday Bash; Devoney Looser, “The Making of Jane Austen” via Webex

Looking forward to seeing those of you who can make these (TENATIVE) dates.

And Happy Bridgerton Week! I’m all caught up on the first half. What do you think so far???

Other Holidays

Please Do Not Wish Strangers a Happy Mother’s Day

A Public Service Announcement for Mother’s Day

Repost from An Arts Notebook, Bridget Eileen Madden’s arts, culture, and entertainment blog

As we approach Mother’s Day, I would just like to give the following advice: please, do not wish *random women* a “Happy Mother’s Day.”

Of course, for any person who you know for certain is a mother and will be happily celebrating mother’s day with their family and loved ones, definitely *do* wish them a Happy Mother’s Day.

However, for a lot of women this is a complicated and not necessarily celebratory day. A person may not be able to have kids, or may have recently miscarried, or may have sadly lost a child, or–in my case–may have never met the person with whom they’d like to settle down and have children. They may have recently lost their mother, or be estranged from their mother, or never knew their mother. In such cases, hearing someone, however well-intentioned they may be, say, “Happy Mother’s Day!” gives a stinging, painful tug at the heart.

For a long time, while my mom lived in New Orleans and I in New England, I stopped going out in public on Mother’s Day. Having no kids, I just didn’t feel like being around those who were celebrating. And I don’t want to ever be subjected to any strangers who might wish me a Happy Mother’s Day again, like those times it happened in the past, which precipitated my desire to stay in for the day.

Now that my mom is my downstairs neighbor, and she is getting on in years, I do love celebrating Mother’s Day with her. But there are a lot of people for whom this day is complicated and perhaps painful. So, best not to make assumptions, however well intentioned.

If you want to be nice, saying something like, “Happy Springtime!” should do the trick just fine. The purpose of your desire to wish someone a “happy something or other” is to show kindness & manners. For some, skipping the assumption of their happiness in motherhood is the best way to do so.

…for some, skipping the assumption of their happiness in motherhood is the best way to show manners and kindness during Mother’s Day…

So, if you know of people who could use this very kindly given advice, please spread the word! Thank You and Happy Springtime!

Sabbats, etc.

Happy Beltane 2024

I’m a bit late with my traditional Sabbat Graphic, but I made a Beltane one, finally. This holiday comes at the second busiest time of year at work, so my celebration is usually delayed, and this year was no exception.

This weekend I will start what I am hoping becomes a long-standing tradition, where two of my friends from high school and I get together at each other’s houses for the sabbat to talk witch-y stuff, and life stuff.

We have gone out to events and such, but we wanted to start going to each other’s houses, so that we don’t have to spend and arm and a leg to do witchy things. Plus, I have so much stuff at home–crystal ball, crystals, tarot, books, tea, plants, decos. I just want to be able to appreciate all that I already possess, and share it with my dear friends.

I am looking forward to the weekend celebration. I hope your Beltane has been a good one!

Activist Witch Plant Witch Word Witch

Tori Amos’s Imaginary Earth Day Festival

a make-believe 2-day festival of Tori’s most nature-y and/or eco-justice-y songs

Bey Hive, Swifties, Deadheads, Phish Phans, Ears With Feet–all devoted fan bases have the same troubles: what to do with oneself when the tour is over and we are no longer weirdos on social media constantly refreshing our feed for news from people at the shows, waiting for posts on the latest song from the set list.

This is why I made up a 2-show Imaginary Earth Day Festival playlist of Tori songs.

You Tube Playlist: Tori Amos Imaginary Earth Day Concert

Behind the Scenes for the Imaginary Earth Day Festival

I do not want to tell you how much time I put into this. Actually, yes I do! First I had my own brainstorm, then I went to the Facebook Tori groups and to Tori Twitter and asked for further recommendations. I gathered them all up and added the songs to a playlist. But then, I went even further and put the playlist in a specific order. And then I didn’t like that order so I redid it. And I didn’t like that one either, so I redid it a third time, this time hand writing out each song on the playlist on quarter sheets of scrap paper (reduce reuse recycle) and grouping them by subtheme, then building a set from that.

Then I listened to the end of each song and beginning of the next to make sure they flowed well, and did some additional tweaking to get that part of things correct. And I also made sure to incorporate almost every studio album (sorry, Midwinter Graces).

Facebook Event Page “Reporting” from the Show

I created a Facebook Event Page where I would “report live” from the “shows” and I said I had a (fantasy) interview with Tori about the song choices, so I could report commentary for each choice. Then I promoted this mock event to my fellow Tori fans via social media.

“Imaginary Tori Amos ‘Earth Day’ 2-Show Mini Festival” Facebook Event Page:

Yes, this is a lot of work for a fake event, I know. However! I was supposed to be writing a poem-a-day for NaPoWriMo. (Actually writing a poem-a-day for all of 2024…) So I counted each song commentary as lyrical prose-poems to fulfill my NaPoWriMo obligations. Voila!

The Fake Set List Vignettes

In addition to the set list with comment, I also made mock set list print out. I went to Tori’s social media, downloaded a setlist picture, reuploaded it to a “font finder,” did some research to find a comparable font in Canva, and created PDFs of the fake Tori set list.

Next I made up keys for the songs (I’m not doing THAT MUCH research; there must be a limit!) and add them in my best facsimile of the handwritten notes.

After the “show” I decorated the set lists like Tori’s social media team does. And then I posted the set lists like Tori’s team did after the shows. I gathered up a bunch of witchy and whimsical tchotchke to put around the printed set lists to make it look like those lovely vignettes we get on Tori’s social media channels of the final set lists. Then I posted the photograph those on social media and in this blog entry.

Set List with Commentary

I promised I’d post the set list and commentary in one long segment here on the blog, because currently it is only in individual posts on the Facebook event page. So here’s the full list of songs, with my prose-poem commentary. It first starts off with the DC Commission on Arts & Humanities Land Acknowledgment:

Land Acknowledgment 

Recognizing the Nacotchtank and Piscataway People, the First Residents of the land that would become the District of Columbia

Every community owes its existence and vitality to generations from around the world who contributed their hopes, dreams, and energy to making the history that led to this moment. Some were brought here against their will, some were drawn to leave their distant homes in hope of a better life, and some have lived on this land for more generations than can be counted. Truth and acknowledgment are critical to building mutual respect and connection across all barriers of heritage and difference. We begin this effort to acknowledge what has been buried by honoring the truth. We stand on the ancestral lands of the Nacotchtank and the Piscataway People. We pay respects to their elders past and present. Please take a moment to consider the many legacies of violence, displacement, migration, and settlement that bring us together here today. And please join us in uncovering such truths at any and all public events and to use such truths to guide the legacy of this [imaginary concert].

The land acknowledgement was created by CAH Commissioner Quanice Floyd with resources provided by the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, and was adopted by the Board of Commissioners on May 21, 2020.

Day One

1. wampum prayer
we started off with the Land Acknowledgement projected on the backdrop of the stage, and this song choice to open the festival goes along with that; we are where we are in the state of the world because of colonization, because of patriarchy, because of a deeply misguided notion of those who take power from others and think it means they are actually all-powerful, when in reality, the greed that is the gift for the sons will eventually lead to nothing left to take, and the true power, whether you call that power Mother Nature, or the Earth Mother, or just plain nature and earth, will always be the force we all must respect and honor.

Tori comes out solo and sings this standing, in front of the piano, like in the Scarlet Walk tour.

She’s wearing a jade green silken tunic and matching palazzo pants, in the same style as her outfits during the O2O tours. The trim of the ensemble is in a rich chocolate brown. The shoes are brown strappy satin stilettos to match the trim of Tori’s outfit and they had jade green buckles and ankle straps!These colors were chosen to evoke earth colors, and to match Tori’s eyes, the designer tells me. It also makes me think of “mint ice cree-ee-ee-eeam.”
2. Up the Creek
=as Tori heads to the piano and the rest of the band joins her for this imaginary concert=

Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise
We may just surviveIf the Militia of the MindArm against those climate blind

this song work with two well-known idiomatic expressions that are commonly heard in rural and/or Southern regions in the US:
“up the creek without a paddle” meaning one is in some kind of trouble
“Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise” is an expression of hope that plans in motion will come through

We may just survive the climate crisis if the “militia of the mind arm against those climate blind.” That is, if those who acknowledge the existence of a climate crisis act accordingly, especially in the face of climate disruption deniers or those who claim to be deniers for the sake of their own gain, usually for power and/or money.
3. Dark Side of the Sun
We’ve known for years of the impending environmental crisis, decades, in fact. And during those years, we have also experienced other crises at the hands of those in power. Things were so bad during the Trump presidency that we look back on the W years with less of the visceral feeling we had during those years. When we were constantly at war, losing American military life, losing civilian Iraqi and Afghanistan lives. We were on the Dark Side of the Sun.
4. Riot [pRoof]
We think a lot of nature and the wilderness and greenery when we think of the impact of climate change. Or we think of the ocean and the rising sea levels. But the terror of the urban spell in the face of eco-injustice is a major issue in our cities. Just this week in Providence, RI, protesters “called on state and city authorities to shut down Rhode Island Recycled Metals following a recent fire at the Allens Avenue business that sent plumes of black smoke over the Providence skyline.” 

From the NRDC website:
The environmental justice movement—championed primarily by Black people, Latines, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Indigenous People—was born of a statistical fact: Those who live, work, and play in America’s most polluted environments are commonly people of color and those living in poverty. Because of environmental justice advocates, we now know this as environmental racism, and it’s precisely what communities of color have been battling for decades.
5. Little Amsterdam
so much of environmental injustice, environmental racism, climate denialism, is about maintaining dominance for those that are trying to take power where they have not earned it – Little Amsterdam looks at that dominance and imagines a way to subvert it. You’ve got to know these days which side you’re on. It has to be the side of science, of harmony (not hominy, though if we ate more legume for protein than meat, that would help). 
6. God
Of course this song has to be in the mix. We have to ask, “why is this happening” – like, Abrahamic God, come get your people because they are not doing this love one another thing well at all. How can we help? What women shall we send your way to look after things? Hera? Brigid? The Corn Mother? Papahānaumoku? Why must we always ask a woman anyway. I guess because we all suffer as this God struggles with finding a decent communications director. Maybe Rosemerta, Celtic goddess of communication, would be the woman for the job.
7. Tombigbee
from Blueridge to Cattailon the prairiefrom fly over countryback through Mississippi

one of the best Tori Amos interviews out there is the one done by author of the book “Flyover Country” Sarah Kendzior, formerly of the podcast Gaslit Nation:

If you haven’t noticed yet, today’s setlist has a lot of songs that reference land or freshwater inland. This is deliberate. “Today” is the “green” day. “Tomorrow” will be “blue,” and we will discuss that more with the second set list.

Tombigbee and the land it flows through and the state of things in Mississippi and Alabama – nearby Jackson, MS has been suffering a water crisis since late 2022. Talk about environmental racism. This manmade crisis was preventable and could be better addressed than the current governor is managing it. Instead of doing what’s best for the mostly-Black population of Jackson, MS, Gov Reeves is trying to use this as a means of a cash grab for corporations.
8. Code Red
The climate crisis is dire and today’s setlist was built to really hit this message home. Code Red, we are in need of some serious action. Don’t worry: Tori has some inspiring, fortifying tunes to jam to while working on your eco-activism. Keep listening!
9. Battle of Trees
We can’t have a setlist full of songs about the land and leave off the Battle of Trees. I happen to love this song more than most people do. I have a copy of the White Goddess but I have not read it yet. 

[Your periodic reminder that any mythology that is purportedly ancient Wiccan wisdom passed down through time must, like with all religious and spiritual text, be taken as allegorical. Yes, we are the granddaughters of the witches they burned, but not literally. Metaphorically; as in subverting the patriarchy has been a battle among the trees since the patriarchy reared its ugly head and every member of a generation who works to smash that glass ceiling (and recycle into something much better, like a really pretty set of vases or something) is, in that sense, a witch, who was burned or who they tried to burn, but the fire and the wisdom to subvert the oppression persists to the next set of people.]
10. Starling
We’re just getting very literal for Earth Day for a little bit. As Emily Dickinson says:

In the name of the Bee —
And of the Butterfly —
And of the Breeze —

Here we’re going with the birds. 
11. Datura
As if we’d do an Earth Day show and not include Datura. The song is essentially a list of really cool herbs, man. 

If you’ve ever wondered about poisonous plants like Datura, my sister and sister-in-law got a me a really cool book, called “Wicked Plants” by Amy Stewart, for Christmas one year.

And there’s an accompanying coloring book, which my fella got me for my birthday last year (my people know me well). There’s even a bit on wolf’s bane (as in “Devil’s Bane”).

Also with Datura, I know we all have our favorite snippets from the Ears With Feet equivalent of DC’s Library of Congress, 

What Tori has to say about Datura is some of my favorite “quottage:”

…I just had this thing about my garden. I got a list from my gardener about everything that was in my garden that was still alive.

Q: That was the list in the lyric?

Yeah. So at a certain point, this whole “Malagueña”… Why I say “Malagueña,” because it isn’t anything like it, but I remember playing that when I was eight or something, but it was definitely way before I got kicked out of Peabody. I loved the more South American — the tropical — pulse, and datura being a hallucinogen, that’s dangerous stuff. 

At the time, though, I was reading the sequel to Bloodline of the Holy Grail, which goes pre-Jesus, so it’s all Sumerian. [She pronounces this “Shumerian.”] Some people say Sumerian, but they [the experts] say it’s “shumerian.” 

So I was kind of drawn to the theories of what was passing through Canaan and the division of it. The Venus record was, to me, very much a bridge for my own work, from this time as we go over to the next numbership [the year 2000]. Whether it’s psychological or not, it doesn’t matter, you’re building a bridge. 

So, Canaan now becomes a planet, because… because it is. And the idea of the Apocalypse being that everybody thinks they own pieces of the sun, even if it’s a little house… and I’m a home owner; I have those feelings too. 

And yet I kept getting this sense of the patriarchal community for the last many thousands of years, whether it’s the Judaic God or the Christian God, saying, “You’re expelled from the Garden.” 

Whoa, wait a minute: What does she have to say about this? Because it is Gaia. We realize now that the planet is a living organism, and she’s kind of got a mind of her own.

So we go back to, because “Bliss” starts the record, and there’s this controlling patriarchal force… Instead of “Father who art in Heaven,” it’s “Father, I killed my monkey.” There’s a real delineation about who owns the goods here. 

Who has the entitlement of a woman’s body, of the Earth’s body, of the body of the Garden? I just watched the song come in and give the patriarchy datura, because it exists. It was all throbbing, and she’s doing a roll call of those now who can come in [the list of plants in the song “Datura”].

So here’s a direct quote about addressing the patriarchy, in case some one following this fake event objects to how “political” the set list and the commentary is. 

What are you doing following an imaginary Earth Day concert if you don’t think the kyriarchy is THE thing that Tori’s music is addressing, Straw Man critic of my imaginary event?

12. Butterfly
=This is a solo performance by Tori in this imaginary concert.=

This song murders me. I remember watching Higher Learning in the theatre. I sobbed so dang much throughout that film. 

“they like you better framed and dried” – this is a microcosm of why we have a climate crisis. 
13. Reindeer King
=the band returns= 

“gonna get you back to you”

it can be a line about something deeply personal – I remember loving this line after a really messed up break up; I was ghosted after 3 years of dating someone…he stopped texting, blocked my number, stopped communication. Then I got a non-covid cold virus that knocked me out of commission for a whole month, like right when this guy disappeared on me, right after the holidays and the busiest time of year at work. I was completely and totally sapped of myself. Covid was still raging even though there were vaccines and boosters. And I tested twice but never tested positive, but I was so physically drained. And of course I put a playlist together to process all that was happening. I had a new home, a breakup, a virus that removed all my energy. So I have a connection to this song in that very personal way. (I mean, I think every devout Tori fan can say that sort of thing about almost all the songs!) I listened to it to get back to myself, before that wallop. 

But in the context of Earth Day, this could be a song we are singing as environmental activists, to the earth. We’re going to get you back to you. 
14. Carbon
These two songs both mention “crystalline” – I love that Tori has some words that pop up like that in the songs from album to album. 
This song takes place at Wounded Knee. 

Sonically it goes to a hopeful place in my mind, but lyrically it’s a very treacherous place. 

It’s also included in the set list because carbon is an element, one that gets discussed often in the context of climate disruption: carbon footprint, greenhouse gasses. 

What’s the solution to this toxic carbon? Let’s find out from the next song. 
15. Speaking with Trees
“Tree planting sequesters carbon dioxide. Trees sequester carbon dioxide through the process of photosynthesis – absorbing CO2 from the air and releasing oxygen in its place.”

Feel their arms around you. Go hug a tree. What a really weird and dumb world we live in, in which “tree hugger” is an epithet. Speaking with the trees, hugging a tree, appreciating them, planting them, learning from them, what a wonderful thing!

As Coach Beard from my favorite show, Ted Lasso, puts it: “You know, we used to believe that trees competed with each other for light. Suzanne Simard’s field work challenged that perception, and we now realize that the forest is a socialist community. Trees work in harmony to share the sunlight.”

From yesssaid: 
In “Speaking with Trees” you sing about hiding your mother’s ashes under a tree house in Florida. Do you find solace in visiting this place?
I do, but I haven’t been there for 18 months. So I had to find a way to conjure up this place without being able to go there. So I was drawn outside to the trees. I trusted that there was some kind of ancient knowledge that the trees had wisdom. I was interested in how they communicate with each other. Believe it or not, I found that really comforting. By listening to the trees, I began to feel my mother’s presence. [Get to Text – October 29, 2021]

16. Mother Revolution
Okay, so it’s been an INTENSE set list so far, but it’s Tori, and Tori songs are intense. And it’s about the climate crisis, which is an intense existential issue facing all of us. And the songs have been driving this message throughout the list, but this is just day one. There’s more to talk about “tomorrow.” Mother Revolution is a hint at how things will go “tomorrow.” 

Tori played this a lot in the O2O tour. I think the fortifying message of the lyrics was vital. 

I remember when she played Boston in 2022, it was the week the Dobbs decision was leaked, and protests were happening around the country. In fact, I went to the digital Meet & Greet at the Orpheum, then went down Mass Ave to the pro-choice rally at the Boston Common that day. 

What does abortion have to do with eco-justice? Everything. They’re of a kind. The will of the patriarchy/kyriarchy to subvert power and agency from non-white, non-Christian, non-male, non-cis, non-queer, non-wealthy people AND every animal, mineral, plant they can, and attempt to dominate those beings, that is the issue at hand. Whether it is taking away agency over one’s reproductive health or taking too much from the ecological environment, we need a revolution that ends this relentless power grab. What kind of revolution will do? Not the usual.

“Lucky me
I guessed the kind of man
that you would turn out to be
Now I wish that I’d been wrong and then
I could remember to breathe”

We could easily say this about Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Thomas, Alito, Roberts, and the head handmaiden Coney-Barrett.  

From yessaid:
In “Mother Revolution” the woman realizes she cannot fight the patriarchy in the way that they fight and she can’t just turn her back either. In order to be effective she has to come up with a new solution. And sometimes the best solution isn’t to throw a bomb at a balloon, it’s to pop the balloon with a kitty heel! 

=and that’s the end of the regular show for Day 1! will we have an encore???=

=cheering and ovation continues=

=band returns, Tori returns=
17. Little Earthquakes
Yay! Encore. 

Hmmmm. Has anyone noticed a glaring absence in this setlist yet? If you noticed there hasn’t been a song off Tori’s first solo album played yet, well, she’s addressing that with the first song of her encore. 

It’s Little Earthquakes. Because this show is about the land, and we can’t fail to have an earthquake at a Tori show about the land!

Here we go…again!
18. Metal Water Wood
=stage rush finally allowed on the final song of the night; security is TIGHT here!=

One more song for Day One. One more time to honor parts of the earth. What parts? Why

Water and

Of course!

——short break and we’ll be back for day 2 of the make-believe concerts! hope your W&Ws are going well! ——-

Day Two

​1. Home on the Range
Just as yesterday began with the posting of the Land Acknowledgement on the backdrop curtain, so does today. And today’s show starts off with Tori solo and singing one of her songs that is very much centered around her indigenous heritage. In fact, the beginning of today’s set is centered around this and around Native American struggles throughout the United State’s history. 

Tori is wearing a dress today, instead of the usual palazzo pants with tunic as we saw on the O2O tour, and we saw last night.

In fact today’s ensemble looks like something from Lord of the Rings or other fantastical story. It’s a long peasant style gown with all shades of blue in a shimmering fabric. In fact it is made of sustainable bamboo, according to my imaginary interview notes. And her shoes are a magnificent gold metallic eco-friendly shimmering glitter pointy-toed stiletto.

This version of the song. So poignant.

Seriously though, Andrew Jackson was suuuuch an a-hole. 

“Oh who ‘discovered’ your azz?”
2. Virginia
=the band arrives=

==oh wow, I’ve just noticed that the stage looks different from yesterday…the band are closer together and they’re a bit off to the right…hm…= 

From yessaid:
In “Virginia,” Scarlet makes her way up to Washington and visits Jamestown, one of the earliest settlements. She wonders how a land built on the notion of freedom for the settlers could deny freedom to the native American people.
In her mind she sees the white brother coming and the young Native American girl following. The mythology of another land has been imposed on America. [Scarlet’s Walk bio]

They are not directly related but this song always makes me think of Tori’s ancestor who hid the supplies to live on through the Civil War in the burial ground of the Union soldiers, as told in “Piece by Piece.”
The things one needs to do to survive ruthless oppression. 
3. Father’s Son
Every late morning I visit my mother, who is my downstairs neighbor, before I head into work, after working remotely in the AM. I’m usually there at 11am and so I sit with her for a few minutes and watch her two TV best friends, Hoda and Jenna. After which, I usually sing this song in my head. I, too, like my mother’s daughter, love that dang show! IDK Barbara Jr and Jenna seem to me to be very much UNlike their grandfather, or their grandfather’s son. Maybe the cycle is broken. Maybe the old man who paints incessantly in retirement is repentant for his ways. For his lies. 
4. Indian Summer
Speaking of:
Can you Mr Bush
light the sage
Can you, anyone that’s listening
find a way

5. Broken Arrow
this broken arrow needs heeding
when great white fathers
your mistress is inequality

hot DAMN is that a fine set of lyrics – sometimes Tori teases phrases in the English language that just make my mind explode with OMG-ness.

And of COURSE Tori has to sing this song on this day in this [fictional] location of Washington DC.

I won’t be silenced or frozen out
by those who must account
in our Senate
and in the House

=something kinda funny is happening in this “have we lost her” section; the band is really jamming out and the lights have gone very dim on the stage; the backdrop where the land acknowledgement was projected has a lot of blue lighting that looks like waves…interesting…there’s a lot of shuffling on the stage now too and some low lighting and it seems there’s a lot of people coming onto the stage from the wings as this funky wah wah guitar (but on Jon’s 6-string bass) keeps going…okay the “have we lost her” is on a loop and fading out and now the lights on the stage are going up…=
6. Shattering Sea
=holy goodness! it’s a whole symphony orchestra that has just been assembled on stage left! And the projection on the backdrop tells us to

Well! That is a surprise! Things have come full circle, it seems! Tori is performing with her sorta alma mater’s symphony orchestra for this section of the show. I had a feeling tonight would be special!

And the first song is off Night of Hunters, “Shattering Sea.” Very glad she had this additional accompaniment because it would seem wrong without a symphony orchestra for this piece. (All the sudden it’s a “piece” instead of a “song” – har har music minor nerdspeak.)

This song is so fierce and dark. Like a churning ocean that is angry at the humans who abuse her and fill her with islands of floating plastic.
7. Pandora’s Aquarium
In my pre-show imaginary interview with Tori yesterday (dang but I wish this were IRL), she mentioned that this portion of today’s show, where we move into the vast blue of this great blue marble would not be as overtly political as yesterday’s “land” portion. That a lot of the songs would just be about sonic reverence for the many aspects and facets of the ocean and its myths and legends. Pandora’s Aquarium is more a song about interpersonal relations, but it does have a decidedly aquatic vibe and so it is part of the program today. It’s also a MARVEL with a symphony!
8. 1000 Oceans
This song is just so beautiful and I think that those little travel packs of tissues ought to be passed around during this song. 
9. Selkie
=the stage goes dark – a dark navy light, and the spotlight comes up on Tori. This is her solo section, while the symphony and band sit in still reverence.=

Perfect for yet another beautiful song. 
10. Bats
= the light are back on the whole stage and the percussion section is getting their moment!=

It’s Bats! Bats are land creatures, you say? That is true. And Tori has an adorable affinity for them. But this song is about the Little Mermaid, sorta.

Undine of the Sea

From yessaid:

The EPA and climate change deniers are also tackled on a song called “Bats.” Its dramatis personae are water creatures — the Undines of the Sea — and its inciting incident is humankind’s betrayal of nature.
11. Ocean to Ocean
=oh this opening is symphonic and gorgeous as a result=

Well, of course this song would be here. It is, in fact, the finale of this segment of the concert. 

=oh my gosh, more people are on stage! it’s the PS22 Chorus!!! Love these kids!!!

I am told that all of the parents and guardians of the children who will be singing the refrain gave their explicit permission for the children to use a swear word. In the name of art and environmental protest, they agree it makes an impact to hear young voices sing fortissimo:

There are those who don’t give a goddamn
That we’re near mass extinction
There are those who never give a goddamn
For anything that they are breaking
There are those who only give a goddamn
For the profit that they’re making

The symphony orchestra and the PS22 choir all take their bows and there is thunderous applause for these guest appearances. It was awesome.=
12. Scarlet’s Walk
=Tori finally speaks to the crowd! She didn’t yesterday… “Hi everybuddyhowzitgoin?”=

We all applaud wildly. 

She’s thanking everyone for coming to the show and reminding us that proceeds from the tickets and the merch will be going to the Ocean Conservancy

And additional donation and membership information is available near the merch tables, along the row of local and national organization tabling at this two-day festival. 

Which ones, you ask? Leave it to us Librarians for that information. Here’s a comprehensive LibGuide from UC Berkeley (ugh but they didn’t make a friendly URL; as the person who does communications at my library, this drives me cuckoo)

Tori says yesterday we were on the land, just now we were on the ocean, and coming up we will be—

Leaving terra

It’s Scarlet’s Walk!
13. Benjamin
The backdrop reads
in big bold letters
14. Flavor
“All hope is not lost,” Tori told me in our pre-show fictional interview. “And the last part of the festival, the last songs of day 2’s set list is to answer the plea in Ocean to Ocean: there IS a way out of this.”
We must see each other’s shared humanity. We must make compassion the watchword.
15. Unrepentant Geraldines
Unrepentant Geraldines is really a sonic sister of God. More discussion with the Abrahamic God on WTF is up and how TF do we fix it.

Like the album version, there was also a recording of birdsong to start, and according to the information projected on the backdrop, it was recently recorded for today’s show at the National Zoo’s aviary.
16. The Beekeeper
– Wrap yourself around
the Tree of Life and the
Dance of the Infinity
of the Hive –

The answer comes from the source: nature.

=That’s the end of the show but of course not really! We’re all one our feet again and the applause is raucous=
17. Bang
=and the band and Tori are back! what inspiring message will they have to send us off with? what songs are a perfect finale to a set of shows that are all about environmental activism? I hope hope hope it is my favorite song of all time…=



I volunteered like 25 hours a week throughout lockdown in 2020 for the election, for local and national candidates and I played this song on repeat to motivate me through it all. It was my fight song.

“Immigrants that’s who we all are’cause we’re all made of stars”


“Can’t they see”
he said to me
“that we all
are Molecular Machines”
goals and dreams
all I wanna be
is the very best
Machine I can be

Oxygen and Carbon
part of
our Molecular Machine
goals and dreams
all I wanna be
is the very best
Machine I can be


all I wanna be
is the very best
Machine I can be


all I wanna be
is the very best
Machine I can be

and Zinc

all I wanna be
a Molecular Machine

Let’s all be the very best machines we can be for eco justice, kids!

=but wait there’s more!=
18. Mary
=Tori speaks one more time, “I know. I’ve been kind of trolling you because I know you all know this song. Tash calls it the OG of my eco-warrior songs”…=

Here we go! You know what it is baby!!!

Lyrics by Tori Amos

Everybody wants something from you
Everybody want a piece of Mary
Lush valley all dressed in green
Just ripe for the picking

God I want to get you out of here
You can ride in a pink Mustang
When I think of what we’ve done to you

Oh, Mary, can you hear me

Growing up isn’t always fun
They tore your dress and stole your ribbons
They see you cry, they lick their lips
But butterflies don’t belong in nets

Oh Mary, can you hear me
Mary, you’re bleeding
Mary, don’t be afraid
We’re just waking up
And I hear help is on the way

Mary, can you hear me
Mary, like Jimi said
Mary, don’t be afraid
‘Cause even the wind
Even the wind cries your name

Everybody wants you sweetheart
Everybody got a dream of glory
Las Vegas got a pin-up girl
They got her armed as they buy and sell her

Rivers of milk are running dry
Can’t you hear the dolphins crying
What’ll we do when our babies scream
Fill their mouths with some acid rain

Oh Mary, can you hear me
Mary, you’re bleeding
Mary, don’t be afraid
We’re just waking up
And I hear help is on the way

Mary, can you hear me
Mary, like Jimi said
Mary, don’t be afraid
‘Cause even the wind…
Even the wind cries your name

Butterflies don’t belong in nets

Mary, can you hear me
Mary, you’re bleeding
Mary, don’t be afraid
We’re just waking up
And I hear help is on the way

Mary, can you hear me?
Mary, like Jimi said
Mary, don’t be afraid
‘Cause even the wind
Even the wind cries your name
‘Cause even the wind cries your name
‘Cause even the wind cries your name
Cries your name
Cries your name
Cries your name

Setlist Commentary as Creative Writing

On the setlist and setlist commentary, as explained in a National Poetry Writing Month Facebook group I am part of for April’s “National Poetry Month”:

Tonight I’m going to do a lyrical, surrealistic-y commentary with each song “revealed” on the imaginary setlist for the “2-day concert” Tori Amos is performing (in my imagination). 

I’m putting on a fictional Tori Amos Earth Day 2-day mini-festival at this event page. 

I’m going to consider my free-write commentary with each song posted (as if I were reporting out from a live show) as my means of catching up on NaPoWriMo 😄

(I’m actually doing a poem-a-day for the whole year, but I’m behind by a month and a half!) 

I plan to do two playlist-poem-commentaries, in fact, as a means of catching up on my PoWriYe, so to speak. I have another mega-playlist of upbeat songs that I’m compiling. Each segment of the playlist flows into the next. And all genres, languages, and time periods of popular music are represented in the list. 

One thing that’s interesting about a human generated playlist vs an AI one is that there’s a lot of quirks and nuance that a bio brain knows that, for now, we have yet to teach AI to replicate. This makes a human curated playlist/setlist more “charged” and multi-faceted than an AI generated one. 

I consider the work I’ve been doing on my playlists as using the same creative part of my brain as making, or at least editing and revising, a poem or a whole manuscript. 

I’m looking forward to challenging myself tonight with this “assignment.” All the results will be on the event page, and eventually on my website (is the plan).

Labor of EWF Love

This process took a ridiculous amount of my non-existent free time, was so incredibly geeky, and was also entirely too much fun.

Don’t Just Listen: Act!

Proceeds from this imaginary festival will go to the following organizations. Please consider donating to these worthy causes:

Get involved at the local level! Find an environmental group near you:

Real Promo for This Fake Event

Here’s what I posted on social media to promote this event:

Imaginary Earth Day Tori Amos 2-Day Concert

Exciting news! In honor of Earth Day, Tori is doing a (completely imaginary, not at all real) 2-show Earth Day mini-festival! 💙💚🌏🌎🌍💚💙 

The set list is complete so now YOU get to play Wills & Wants! Two wills, two wants, and a bonus for each show (so a total of 10 songs, per person). One entry per person. Let’s hear your guesses!!! The prize is a donation in your name to the Ocean Conservatory!

The set lists will be posted here on the Event page, the day after Earth Day, on Tuesday, April 23, at 9pm EDT, so you have until then to play.

As requested, we’ll have a “freak out thread” so you can pretend it’s a real Tori show. Each song will be posted here to the event page. Lucky for me, I got to [fantasy] interview Tori about her set list for these shows, so I’ll add the [completely fictional] commentary of why the songs were chosen.

(Please note that since this is imaginary, the slow-roll-out of songs will happen at many times the speed of the actual songs, between 9-10pm EDT; I have a strict bedtime routine that starts at 10pm #XennialLife).

I’ll also have a YouTube Music Playlist link posted by the end of the event, so you can “hear” the full shows 😆 and maybe a surprise little bonus at the end as well…if I feel up for the creativity of it.

Again, this is a totally make believe, from my imagination event 🤭 But I figured it would be a fun way to fill up time between albums, and to honor Earth Day and Tori’s commitment to the environment.

This event was brought to you by Bridget Eileen Madden, The Notebook Witch: dedicated EWF since May 1992.

Word Witch

The Pumped Up Cabaret

The Most Epic Playlist Featuring All Up-Tempo Music

Songs from Around the Globe in Multiple Genres Featuring Popular Music from 1940s to Present Day

Please note: this playlist has content that is marked with the naughty [E] so it has some swears

Public Playlist Link on YouTube Music Streaming:

With these four hundred and fifty-nine songs from around the globe and from the past 75+ years, it feels like I have weaved a spell of sorts. A spell of energizing sounds to motivate me to power through the drudgery of work-a-day life.. The music has kept me energized during arduous days at the library. (As tends to be the case for me at the end of every semester at the college where I work, since I am in charge of course evaluations, which occur at the end, naturally.)

Why 459 Songs?

Nine is my favorite number. This list kept growing. And so I decided to stop at 459 since is a very 9-y number. That’s why.

How Did I Find All These Songs?

That’s the other excellent part of compiling this playlist: gathering suggestions. I have many stories to share. I think I’ll be adding those stories in the future, when I do my deeper commentary on each “act” of the playlist.

This Playlist Is Organized by Theme – I Call Them “Acts”

Of course, anyone is welcome to put this thing on shuffle, but I have put a silly amount of time making this playlist into a kind of caberet show with mulitple acts. (Speaking of Caberet, I did try to add some from that musical, as well as Fiddler on the Roof, but songs from musicals just didn’t fit well in the mix. Alas.)

The Pumped Up Caberet – An Epic Playlist in Multiple Acts

This section is “under construction” and I’ll be adding more in the future.

Here are the “acts” of The Pumped Up Caberet:

  1. Dinner and a Show
  2. Cuckoo Time
  3. Directions for You
  4. Land of a 1000 Dances
    • Na Na Na Ja Ya Ya
    • Genres
    • Dance on Film
    • Just Dance
  5. When?
    • Day
    • Night
    • It’s Gonna Be MAY
    • Time
    • Evening
  6. Wanna
  7. Lurrrrrve
  8. Around the World Around the World Around the World Around the World
    • International
    • Murica
    • Tear the Fascists Down
    • Freedom
    • International Instrumental Interlude
    • Travel
    • Outta This World
  9. Pronouns
    • I Demand Satisfaction
  10. Late Stage Capitalism
  11. Body Parts
    • Hands, Arms, Feet
    • Follower of Fashion
    • To the Eyes
    • To the Lips
    • Internal stuff (heart, DNA)
    • Hair
    • Hips
    • Bums
    • Erm…”snakes”
  12. The Menagerie
    • The Other Woman
    • Moving On
    • The Newly Single Lady’s Rumshpringa
    • So Hot
    • Reveling in the Power of Exorcising Fools
  14. Everybody Chill Out
  15. Women, Men, and Other Gender Expressions
    • Dream Interlude
    • Mums Rule
  16. Title Town
  18. Brown Chicken Brown Cow (Ssssssssssssexy Tihhhhme)
  19. Higher and Higher
  20. Easter Eggs
    • Here is where I really hit you over the head with all the songs from Ted Lasso episodes that have been sprinkled throughout this playlist up to now
  21. Finale
    • No Regerts
    • This Isn’t the Final Song
    • PUMP IT UP – my favorite up-tempo song ever, by Elvis Costello
a clearly photoshopped picture of Denzel Washington's face, wearing a skeptical expression, over the body of Arnold Schwarzeneggar posing as Conan the Barbarian. This body like Arnold with the Denzel face is in the foreground of a sidwalk on Venice Beach. In the background is another clearly photoshopped image of the three members of Salt N Pepa in mid 90s fashion in various poses, and they seem to be "checking out" the Arnold-Denzel amalgam.
“A body like Arnold with a Denzel face”
-Salt N Pepa
Sabbats, etc.

Happy Ostara 2024

Happy Ostara!

I hope your first few days of Spring are going well.

The blustery wind actually blew my storm door open until it broke 😳🌬 Guess we’re still in the “lion” portion of March — I’m ready for som lamby weather! How about ewe? (Ah but I love a terrible good bad dad joke.)

Ostara Blessing for the start of this new season 🐇🥚 

Happy Equinox to all!

Sabbats, etc.

Happy Imbolc 2024

Imbolc Is My Favorite Sabbat, and It IS Because I Am Named Bridget — Sort Of

Imbolc is my favorite Sabbat, and it IS because it’s in honor of the deity I was (in a sense) named for—but there’s more to it than that. The bigger story is that because I am a Bridget, I learned about modern and Celtic paganism, the alleged syncretism of Brigid/ Bridget, and the feast day/ goddess day in honor of this Celtic figure when my friend wished me a Happy Bridget Day on February 1, 2011.

After Kara did that, I went down a Wikipedia click-hole while working at the library that night, and the more I learned about modern paganism, the sabbats and modern witchcraft, the more I said to myself, “Yes! Exactly! This is what I have always thought!”

Whether about reincarnation; the fact that sexuality in absolute terms has no morality tied to it; the sacredness of nature; the connection of spirituality and smashing the MFing patriarchy/ kyriarchy; the prevalence of pantheism; and many more aspects that fall under the umbrella terms of modern pagan and modern witch, I found myself finding 🔥myself🔥 with each new click and read through.

Within a year, I had come to wholly embrace this identity. A year after that, by summer of 2013, I was fully out of the proverbial broom closet and openly expressing my modern paganism.

And today, lucky number 13 years later? I have this project: this slow-growing blog. Writing is how I process my thoughts and express myself. I do a lot by long hand, hence the moniker “Notebook Witch.”

I’m also grateful that I have made more friends in the witch community, and become closer to existing friends, knowing we share similar witchy ideas. And I am a Unitarian Universalist witch, so I have that community as well.

Happy Imbolc to all who celebrate. May the spirit of Bridget and Brigid be infused with this wintry time and the fire of the goddess bring hope for community, communion, and connection for us all. 

Other Holidays Sabbats, etc.

Merry Yuletide and Holidays 2023-24

Merry Yuletide! Season’s Greetings! Happy New Year!

What do Hannah Waddingham, Snoop Dogg, Blossom Dearie, Bad Religion, Leslie Odom Jr, Tori Amos, Ella Fitzgerald, Zooey Deschanel, Fred Schneider from the B52’s, Louis Armstrong, Weezer, Sam Smith, Run DMC, Diana Krall, the Living Sisters, The Teskey Brothers, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings…to name a few people…all have in common?

My epic holiday playlist!

My gift to you all is “Yule Love This Playlist 2023” available on YouTube Music:

Word Witch

Winter 2023 Boston Austen Book Club

Jane Austen 248th Birthday Bash!

Sense and Sensibility: An Annotated Edition from Harvard University Press, PLUS: The Making of the Harvard Annotated Editions of Austen’s Novels with HUP Editor Heather Hughes

The next meeting of the Boston Austen Book Club will be on Jane Austen’s 248th birthday, Saturday, December 16 at 2:30pm, and we will meet online.

We will be discussing the Harvard Annotated Edition of Sense and Sensibility, as well as the making of the all the Austen Annotated Editions from Harvard University Press.

My friend, poet and Harvard University Press editor Heather Hughes (, will be joining us to talk about her work, as she was instrumental in the production of this series from HUP

Thank you so much to Heather for agreeing to join us. I cannot WAIT to book nerd out with Heather and my fellow BABC Janeites!


We WILL meet in-person, on a weekend date in Jan or Feb 2024, to make up for not having a Summer 2023 meeting. We will be going to Salem’s “Jolie Tea Room” for High Tea.

We’ll meet to discuss Austen Adaptations for the Screen. (Please keep your “Pride & Prejudice: Keira Knightley vs Colin Firth Version” fighting civil, as we will be in a fancy place.)

If you are interested, I’ll be taking reservations closer to the event. It is $37/person. When I have a better idea of the date and time, I’ll follow up with you all to get you signed up.

Dress is medium fancy, like if you were going to a Kentucky Derby party or a slightly dressy NYE event or something like that.

More info on this Make-up Meeting after the holidays. It should be tons of fun!

Hope to see you on the 16th of December for Jane’s 248th birthday!