Friday, July 10, 2020

Story #5: My Kind of White Privilege

I wrote this flash piece a few years ago, uncertain of when and where it would ever be published. Now feels like a fitting time to share it. “Karens” walk among us and come in many forms. One must beware. Yes, this is an unfortunately true story, with no offense to roosters:

I stop for a quick lunch at a Thai restaurant on a Monday afternoon. I sit down across from two archetypal Chicago hipsters who look to be around my age: a coiffed and tattooed Bettie Page-lookalike having a loud conversation with a bearded and bespectacled young man, presumably her date.

“My last boyfriend wanted me to move in with him,” she declares at a volume for all to hear. “But he wanted a pet fennec fox. Fennec foxes are so ugly. I mean, I would never want to live with someone who had a fennec fox, do you know what I mean? Who would want that in their apartment? Who would want to be with someone like that?”

To illustrate her point, she plays him (and the rest of us) a YouTube video about fennec foxes on her phone, which she sets proudly in front of him as my dog would a toy or a stick he found.

Shortly after, he gets up to pay the check. When he reaches the counter, he leans over, puts his arm up and taps on the restaurant’s business permit with the back of his middle finger, looks at her, and proclaims that he holds more than one business permit but hasn’t “done anything with them yet.”

Her chair hits the edge of my table as she stands up to put on her coat, and I am compelled to look up at her. I discover that her right arm is tattooed in its entirety with the detailed and realistic image of

            a rooster.

City of the Big Shoulders, indeed.

"My Kind of White Privilege," copyright 2020 Amelia Cotter

Monday, June 8, 2020

Newsletter #8: June 2020

Hello friends! The world has changed dramatically in the last six months, and in these last two weeks, with many struggles still to come and so much work still to be done. This is an important and vital time to reaffirm publicly that I stand with #BlackLivesMatter. I stand with the LGBTIQA+ communities. I stand for conservation and environmental protections, and I stand with women. I encourage you to participate in some form of activism, from having difficult conversations with friends and family, to making donations, to marching and protesting peacefully, to getting out and voting. We all have different gifts and different voices. Please follow the links provided above for some information, inspiration, and resources on how to make your gifts and your voices felt and heard.

In the middle of May, I lost my job at the Adler Planetarium after six years, along with 119 other colleagues, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, I am temporarily a full-time writer. I have found some personal solace in the time of self-quarantine and social distancing, reconnecting with myself, friends, family, and pets. I have also found myself in the privileged position of living in a comfortable and safe environment. I struggle with chronic anxiety and OCD, and the time of COVID-19 has not changed that, but living without the extra labor of having to mask it publicly has been, in its own bizarre way, a gift. 

With all of this in mind, here is what I have accomplished since my last Newsletter in December, and what lies ahead:

Recent Awards/Publications

"Farah's Ghost," Mookychick
June 2020

"In a Bar," Crêpe & Penn Issues No. 6 & 7, February/April 2020 (pg. 20)
May 2020

Third Place, Mars Category by Adult Non-Resident, Highland Park Poetry's 2020 Poetry Challenge (and Chapbook), "here among the stars"
April 2020

"Burn the Witch" and "Stellar Nebula," Stentorian Bitch February 2020
February 2020

Upcoming Publications

Temporarily out of print, a third edition of my children's book Breakfast with Bigfoot will be coming this summer from Haunted Road Media. I have also been working on a book of ghost stories about the Old Baraboo Inn in Baraboo, Wisconsin, which will be released sometime in the near future, also from Haunted Road MediaAlso, after two long years of preparation, and more than a year of searching, shopping around, and submitting various versions of the manuscript to contests, publishers, and small presses, the chapbook of poetry I have been working on, apparitions, has at last been accepted for publication! I am excited to share more details soon! And finally, the anthology about the lives and experiences of children detained at the U.S.-Mexico border has also been accepted for publication, with further details pending.

Recent Appearances

I had a packed winter of appearances before seeing most of my spring events get cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus. In television news, The R.I.P. Files has been available on Tubi TV (as of summer 2019)! Here is everything else. I am particularly elated to share that all ten episodes of Spooky Story Tuesdays, which originally aired via Facebook Live, are now uploaded to my YouTube channel (see below):

The Edge of the Rabbit Hole , Ep. "Paranormal Storytelling with Author Amelia Cotter!"
May 26, 2020

The Grave Talks , Ep. "Are They Really Dead? A Conversation with Amelia Cotter"
May 26, 2020

This House: The True Story of a Girl and a Ghost Virtual Launch Party
April 14, 2020

The American Coronavirus Journal, Ep. "From Vacation to Lockdown - Amelia Cotter-Pollock in Chicago"
April 13, 2020

Spooky Story Tuesdays
March 24-May 26, 2020

The Outer Realm on 4680Q Niagara Online Radio/UPRN Talk Radio 107.7 FM New Orleans
February 12, 2020

Project PSI Radio
January 12, 2020

Astonishing Legends, Ep. "163: The Lost Christmas Eve Special" (Holiday Message)
December 23, 2019

The Paranormal Pride on WBHM-DB
December 16, 2019

Astonishing Legends, Ep. "161: The Stanley Hotel with Connor J. Randall" (Listener Segue)
December 15, 2019

Upcoming Appearances

Right now, these events are tentative as we move forward in these uncertain times. But if and when they do happen, I really look forward to seeing everyone and reconnecting with friends and fans!:

Printers Row Lit Fest with The Society of Midland Authors, Chicago
September 5, 2020

Chicago Ghost Conference at Congress Plaza Hotel, Chicago
October 16-17, 2020

"Monsters: Fact and Folklore" Presentation at The Haunted Savannah Paracon at Hotel Indigo in Savannah, Georgia
February 26-27, 2021

"Haunted Homes: Our Otherworldly Guests and Neighbors" Presentation at Haunted Road Media ParaCon at Mineral Springs in Alton, Illinois
Postponed until 2021

Thank you all for sharing in this journey with me. Everyone please be safe and well. As always, Happy Hauntings!

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Haibun #3: Hibernaculum

In the spirit of the strength and resiliency that we could all use a little more of right now:


My weapons come with me everywhere I go.
I am ready for the fight, come lightness or weight of days.

spring thaw—
the barren ground swells
beneath a billowing sky

"Hibernaculum," copyright 2020 Amelia Cotter (Black Bough Poetry Issue 1, 2019)