2022: A Year in Books and Movies and Other Things

2022 has been a year of radical change for me. I fell in love again towards the end of 2021, but due to distance I wasn’t sure how it would all play out. In April of this year, Chris moved here partially due to economics and to see if we had something more than my random visits to Texas. Love is challenging at a distance. It is hard to know what is real when every time you are together it is full of longing and excitement. Neither of us had been in a live in relationship in a long time. But if the years of Covid have taught me anything, it is that you can’t put things off for later. There might not be a later. I am so happy he came here. We are complimentary people while at the same time being very different. He is the first man I have trusted in a very long time. He earns it every day.

The last several years I have spent working on myself, learning to love the person I am, and trying to figure out why my life unfolded the way it did. In this research, both in books and in my heart, I have discovered that I have spent a life on the Spectrum. I arrived at the place by understanding that my child is there too and that the late discovery is because their behaviors mirrored my own and I was supposedly “normal.” I read the book “Divergent Mind” by Jenara Nerenberg this year and spent the entire book crying as I saw myself on every page. What a miraculous thing to discover the reason you’ve suffered a lifetime inside a book. A book filled with science. This book gave me the courage to claim my traits, to be able to discuss them and understand how I manage relationships. So many friendships and relationships failed without me understanding why. The reflection is just as priceless as being able to move forward as a whole person without masks and the struggle to be like everyone around me. It has made the end of year more quiet for me. So to my friends out there in the world, I love you more than you can ever know. I’m just digesting life. I haven’t forgotten you.

I became an empty nester this year right around the time Chris moved in and it was more change than I could handle. Anxiety was my constant frenemy, but both Kai and Chirs got me through with soft hands, good hugs, and understanding. I love change. It is where creativity comes from, but large change really fast makes me nuts. So to battle that, I added more change. Seems counter productive, but that nervous energy needed action. Chris and I started painting the interior of the house. The colors are bold and full of life. The rooms are being transformed into the spaces I had always imagined: a bright orange art studio, a sky blue meditation/yoga room, a desert sand guest room with vibrant paintings everywhere, ocean blue hallways, and more to come. It is something spectacular to watch the house of my dreams become a reality.

2022 found me lucky enough to have three books of poetry published: Looking for Wild Things (Impspired), Running Red Lights (Gutter Snob Books), and Layers of Half-Sung Hymns (Cajun Mutt Press). I stretched my art legs this year and have done seven book covers this year. I also was part of my first ever art show called Climate Change: The New Economy 2022 which spoke out about the effects of climate change on nature and society. There was a jury prize offering for those artists that could use upcycled, recycled, and green materials. I worked very hard to meet these demands and gathered much of my supplies from the banks of the river. I was utterly surprised when I won first place. I was finally, at age forty-nine, both a paid writer and a paid artist.

The first of year always starts with a hike for me and 2022 was the year I was determined to get a Finger Lakes Trail badge for completing fifty miles of trail. This year was the 60th anniversary so we had to hike sixty miles, but they were kind and gave us the first three months to gather miles anywhere outside. In April, Chris joined me on most of my hikes and he was there when I completed my 60 miles for the year just after Thanksgiving. He keeps me moving when I think I can’t find anymore strength in the uphills and always keeps me laughing. I am so happy to have earned this badge with his help and next year, we earn one together. We hope to complete the entire Crystal Hills Trail map as well as the M12. Maybe we will have enough in us to start a new map.

I set a goal to read/listen to 50 books this year, but hot damn, I read 71. Here are the goods:


The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones (January)
The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan (January)
The Care of Strangers by Ellen Michaelson (February)
Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune (February)
Jakarta by Rodrigo Marquez Tizano (March)
A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet (May)
A Crooked Tree by Una Mannion (October)
The Spectacular by Zoe Whittall (December)


Untamed by Glennon Doyle (January)
The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan (April)
Divergent Mind by Jenara Nerenberg (October)
Homegrown Berries by Timber Press (November)
Broken Horses by Brandi Carlile (December)

Fiction (Audiobook)

Memorial by Bryan Washington (January)
Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey (January)
Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi (February)
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (March)
Send for Me by Lauren Fox (March)
Actress by Anne Enright (April)
Dark Roads by Chevy Stevens (May)
Pretend I’m Dead by Jen Beagin (June)
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow (June)
Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline (June)
The Guide by Peter Heller (July)
Ways the World Could End by Kim Hooper (August)
On A Quiet Street by Seraphina Nova Glass (August)
Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh (September)
A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw (October)
Territory of Light by Yuko Tsushima (October)
Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine (December)

Non-Fiction (Audiobook)

A Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N. Aron (January)
Vesper Flights by Helen MacDonald (February)
Wow, No thank you by Samantha Irby (February)
Wandering in Strange Lands by Morgan Jerkins (February)
Owls of the Eastern Ice by Jonathan Slaght (March)
Music is History by Questlove (April)
Feminism is for Everybody by Bell Hooks (May)
When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin Labatut (May)
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walkers PhD (July)
The Secret History of Food by Matt Siegel (July)
The Selected Works of Audre Lorde by Audre Lorde (September)
Never Simple by Liz Scheier (October)
Cinema Speculation by Quentin Tarantino (December)
The Philosophy of Modern Song by Bob Dylan (December)


Noise by Misti Rainwater-Lites (January)
All Around Cowboy by Scot D. Young (January)
Kinky by Denise Duhamel (February)
Space Time Continuum for Dummies by Michele McDannold (February)
The Gypsy Ballads of Garcia Lorca by Garcia Lorca (February)
Marilyn by Kerry Trautman (March)
No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay (March)
Views of Jeopardy by Jack Gilbert (March)
Something Like Forgiveness by Rebecca Schumedja (March)
There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce by Morgan Parker (March)
Confined Spaces by Cord Moreski (April)
These Hands of Myrrh by Scott Ferry (April)
Medicine for Busted Hearts by Dan Denton (April)
Raven Songs by Meg Macleod (April)
PostColonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz (audiobook) (April)
Frida & Vincent by Catfish McDaris (April)
Sundown at the Redneck Carnival by John Dorsey (April)
Prying by Micheline, Bukowski, McDaris (April)
Dear So and So by Rusty Barnes (May)
By Plane, Train, or Coincidence by Michele McDannold (June)
You Better Be Lightning by Andrea Gibson (June)
Proper Etiquette in the Slaughterhouse Line by James Duncan (June)
I am the rage by Martina McGowan (July)
Evidence by Catherine Harnett Shaw (August)
As Meaningful As Any Other by Donna Snyder (September)
Crow Funeral by Kate Hanson Foster (September)
Felicity by Mary Oliver (September)
Radioactive Starlings by Myronn Hardy (November)

When the summer got too hot to be out of air conditioning and way to deadly for me to be in the sun, Chris and I started watching Oscar winning films for Best Picture. It started out as a joke, sort of, but became an obsession. Mine more than his, but the journey has been wonderful. There were films I hadn’t seen in decades and films I had forgotten. It was different to watch them under the lens of having won the biggest prize for film and to talk about why or why not it seemed worth the win. Plus, snuggling under blankets in the winter is pretty darn awesome. Here is the list we made it through so far:

8/27/22: Nomadland (2021), The Hurt Locker (2010)

8/28/22: Argo (2013)

8/30/22: The Departed (2007)

8/31/22: Parasite (2020), Slumdog Millionaire (2009)

9/1/22: The Silence of the Lambs (1992)

9/5/22: Gladiator (2001)

9/6/22: Annie Hall (1978)

9/7/22: All Quiet On the Western Front (1931)

9/11/22: The Godfather (1973), The Godfather II (1975)

9/15/22: Birdman (2015)

9/27/22: Around the World in 80 Days (1957)

9/28/22: The Shape of Water (2018)

9/29/22: Spotlight (2016)

10/9/22: Green Book (2019), The King’s Speech (2011)

10/11/22: Midnight Cowboy (1970)

10/12/22: Terms of Endearment (1984)

10/13/22: Amadeus (1985)

10/17/22: Rain Man (1989)

10/31/22: American Beauty (2000)

11/2/22: Crash (2006)

11/3/22: A Beautiful Mind (2002)

11/4/22: Shakespeare in Love (1999)

11/10/22: Kramer vs Kramer (1980)

11/12/22: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1976)

11/14/22: Dances with Wolves (1991)

11/15/22: From Here to Eternity (1954)

11/18/22: Casablanca (1944)

11/19/22: On the Waterfront (1955)

11/20/22: Out of Africa (1986)

11/23/22: Forrest Gump (1995)

11/29/22: Chariots of Fire (1982)

12/6/22: Patton (1971)

12/12/22: The Apartment (1961)

12/13/22: The French Connection (1972). The Lord of the Rings (2004)

12/14/22: Ordinary People (1981), The English Patient (1997)

12/20/22: The Greatest Show on Earth (1953)

12/21/22: Platoon (1987)

12/26/22: Titanic (1998)

12/28/22: Cimarron (1932)

This year was full of love from family and friends. It was a year of letting go, discovery, and patience. I hope all of you have found the things to be grateful for this year. The world feels like an unhinged place these days, a dystopian movie in real time, but there is still love and books and good times. Be an explorer. Do all the things you never thought you could. Be kind to each other.



Published: Mollyhouse & Paper and Ink Zine

“Gathering Ghosts” Original Painting by Aleathia Drehmer

My poem “To Cinders and Ash” has found a home in the upcoming Issue 4 of Mollyhouse. This publication primarily focuses on the LGBTQ community and those with disabilities, but have been kind enough to include me as a parent of a child in the LGBTQ community. This is a print issue so check back at the website regularly for their new work.

My poem “The Cold War” will appear in Paper and Ink #17 which is the survival issue. This is a great lo-fi DIY punk rock zine out of the UK. Stop by their website and check out their merch and previously published anthologies and chapbooks.

Published: Red Fez and Rasputin: A Poetry Thread

Tsunami Head by Aleathia Drehmer

It has been a hot minute since I have had work in Red Fez. My poem “How Many Saints” is part of Issue 152. Stop by and get enlightened by everything, or at least disturbed.

I am delighted to have work at Rasputin: A Poetry Thread. You can read my trilogy of poems called “Dismembered Sleep Study 1, 2, 3″ and then scroll around in all the other goodness.

Published: Spillwords

Richard Parkes Bonington - The Undercliff, 1828, poetry by Aleathia Drehmer at Spillwords.com

I am delighted to announce that my poem “Richard Parkes Bonington-The Undercliff, 1828” was the feature poem for 11/25/21 at Spillwords. I especially love when my ekphrastic poetry gets published because it serves to show my love for both art and writing. I try to imagine myself being in these paintings or being the painter or being the subject of the painting. It helps to expand the mind.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read my work. Enjoy some wonderful poetry they have amassed. There is something for everyone.

Collaboration: Poetry and Art

It’s no big surprise that my pace for posting has slowed down because in the last few months I’ve had the incredible opportunity to fall in love. Gasp. I know. I had written it off, to be honest. So many failed attempts made it harder to see hope. The interesting thing is that I wasn’t looking for love. I had gotten right with myself about being alone for the rest of my life. I figured if my grandmother could do it, so could I. She was one of the strongest, kindest ladies I ever had the pleasure of knowing and loving.

In a previous post back in April, I am sure I mentioned that I was doing something new for poetry month. I collaborated with another poet by using their overall theme and then their daily prompts. It took me exactly 27 days to fall in love with him. Romantic and silly, right? That about sums me up, anyway. When the month of poetry was over, we decided that we weren’t ready to let go.

Each day has been an adventure. We write poems separately now and I continue to work on both of my novels. We inspire each other to write better, to reach farther, to try new avenues. This is the best part of collaboration. Along with all of this, we have taken to writing each other love letters which we send the old-fashioned way through the mail.

This spawned a poem by him about a 4th century Prince and Princess. He asked me to write the second part of this series. It was a bit of a reach for me, but I did it. As something special, I had sewn, quilted, and beaded a piece to go with the poem. His work inspired my work. I can’t wait to see where it all goes.

Here is my poem in the series:

Amor Aeternus, PT. 2

The season pass so slowly
it hurts to breathe
as I sit by the window
waiting for my prince to return.

The memory of his gentle fingertips
trailing the edge of my cheek,
the way his eyes pleaded forgiveness
as he left the castle, haunts me still.

At night, sleep eludes me, calls up my ghosts
as I walk the cold stones to the tower.
I call out to the moon, tracing the sky
and it’s barely visible constellations.

With the sunrise on my face
I yawn like a cat soaking in the rays.
We share seemingly different worlds
and I pretend the warmth of his body covers mine.

The strength in his eyes carries me through
the days, follow me in every shadow.
The damp fog raises the imprint
of his kisses upon my neck.

I’m filled with longing, a deep impatience
though there is nothing to be done.
There is no salve to cure my heart,
no way to close the distance.

The kingdom grows restless in his absence
as they look to me for guidance.
My leadership half-hearted 
and I feel the wolves closing in.

I stare at the horizon for his hopeful return,
the chair an uncomfortable punishment
as I stitch another patchwork with nimble hands.
They automatically flesh our hearts into the fabric.

Oh eternal love, come back to me,
I whisper into the wind, hopeful
my words will find his ear
and bring his safe return.

Aleathia Drehmer 2020

Art: Frida Kahlo

Much of what you have seen from me on this website has to do with writing which has been a huge part of my life since I was ten years old. Not long after that I developed a deep desire to be an artist, but I was not good with traditional mediums. This was discouraging to me and many times I gave up the dream to be able to show my work someday.

When I was pregnant with my kiddo, my mother-in-law taught me to cross stitch. It was what you would normally think of when cross stitch is mentioned. I was gifted a software program that allows me to stitch anything I want with intricate detail.

Our current isolation climate is helping me to finish projects that I started last year in hopes that when this isolation is lifted, I might be able to be a part of the local arts council member show at the end of the year. This portrait of Frida Kahlo is in good company with a nearly finished Pablo Picasso. I have also finished large portraits of Lou Reed and PJ Harvey.

Each of these takes roughly 160-180 hours of work. My hope is to be able to share these works and have them in people’s home. I’m a big fan of affordable art. What good does it do sitting in my attic? I’ll post again when it is finally finished so you can see the transformation.

Poem: Charcoal

This one is from the archives and seems a world away. I wrote this in 2007 when I was fascinated by articles in newspapers or magazines that didn’t make the front page. They were interesting notes on the human condition.

Charcoal Dust by Aleathia Drehmer

The prospect of sleep is dangerous 
and unpredictable legs moving, 
his body like a ghost in the night.
Eyes blind and turned,
brain awakened to faces hovering
on the underside of lids.

His control is stripped naked and still, 
nimble feet traverse steep stairs
leading to small dark spaces.
Crouching in the corner,
a filthy cur with face in high fever,
lines streaming from fingertips
stained in thick black charcoal.

In the light, sheets are twisted 
about legs in sailor’s knots,
he finds women’s faces,
arms, legs, breasts, lips etched
into paper with delicate, intimate precision.

The only evidence of his dissonance
witnessed by ebony fingers
and a throbbing skull.

Poem: Giacomo Balla, Girl Running on a Balcony, 1912

Girl Running on a Balcony, Giacomo Balla, 1912

The clattering of shoes
on the balcony distracts me—
she runs by in a blur
of aquamarine and teal, 
her peach flesh poignant
and effervescent, the auburn
tendrils surge like a fire
in my brain.

She has moved me

                            disturbed me

                        unnerved me

                      released me.

The mind loops this girl
in frantic flip book motion.
It is a nightmare
that will never find
it’s undoing.

Poem: Morris Louis, Gamma Epsilon, 1960

Morris Louis, Gamma Epsilon, 1960

When I was a young girl I remember my mother being an artist. She carried a bag filled with drawing pads, pencils, and charcoal. She’d sketch trees and wildlife, sometimes children. It amazed me to watch an image come to life from the pencil in her hand. My love of art started here, much like my love of poetry started with my father. My appetite for reading birthed among the stacks of books that lined the walls of my grandmother’s apartment. It is good to know the origins of your passions. Sometimes you have to peel all the dirty layers back of the things that happened after, to find these gleaming jewels.

Years ago I started writing poems about pieces of art that moved me. I like the idea that I was somehow collaborating with these talented, famous artists. I still write these types of poems and make a point to go to an art museum in every town or city I visit that has one. Art and writing are a person’s invisible emotions made solid. They are captured in forms created from a unique perspective.

My hope with Ekphrastic poetry is inspire you to look at art in a different way. Capture how your body and mind feels when you look at a piece someone poured their soul into. Please enjoy Morris Louis.

Morris Louis
Gamma Epsilon, 1960

My flesh bleeds
your filthy pigments
in jagged runnels
where the knife,
your tongue,
has carved me.

You leave clean
your favorite place,
whole and unblemished—
the place your lips
like to linger, the place
our secrets absorb
through osmosis
when you stay too long.

I bleed you.
I embody you.
I am the near beginning
and the not so end
of you.