Amanda Nicol Different Stories

AuthorAmanda

Love, Medicine & Mexico

‘And an excellent and moving read it is too. And edgy, witty, informative, counter-hegemonic…’  Dr Alec Grant, Reader in Narrative Mental Health, University of Brighton.

One of my doctors in Mexico told me that cancer was a mensaje, a message. This piece of work (in progress) is my interpretation of my healing journey and an exploration of what that message was for me. From a crippling fear of doctors and medicine to profound gratitude and wonder at humanity’s dedication to preserving and improving life; from anxiety and despair around my identity to feeling comfortable about defining myself as spiritual as well as a human being, one responsible to and an inseparable part of the whole of our increasingly fragile biosphere.

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A Dad Observed

Cover image of Cryptograph 'Pull of the Moon' By Denise Franklin
‘Pull of the Moon’ by Denise Franklin

Losing your mum is a big thing; I can only imagine what losing a wife of 53 years feels like. I am so impressed by how Dad, Bruce Nicol, has risen to this most challenging of life events.

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Hastings Independent Press Review – Dead Pets Society

Cover of Dead Pets Society by Amanda Nicol - Detail of image by Roland JarvisA big thank you to Tim Barton of Blue Green Earth, @BOOKBUSTER and Hastings Independent Press for this review of one of my ‘Roland Jarvis editions’. More about Roland and his work here.

Ecological crisis is a dour subject. It takes a lot to make a novel with this as one of its main themes enjoyable. Still less, ‘fun’. But Hastings-based Amanda Nicol achieves this in Dead Pets Society. Even direct personal grief is handled with humour, and it is such grief that leads the protagonist to conceive of the Society of the title.

 

 

 

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Transition

Image of painting - Sussex Downs in Winter by Amanda Nicol
Transition mixed media on canvas 60cms x 60cms

Inspired by walking on the South Downs, repainted endlessly while Mum was ill and dying, this is the only painting I have done this year. The merging of matter into spirit – the indefinable place where the two meet. A completely inadequate expression of the experience of the death of the woman who brought me life, who supported me through that life and who I miss more than I can say.

This painting is to be donated to St Michael’s Hospice, with thanks for their tireless work, compassion and dedication.

 

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Bridges Not Walls: The Border Fence at Playas de Tijuana, Mexico

Photo of graffiti on the US/Mexican border fence at Playas de TijuanaPresident Trump’s determination to press on with his diabolical plans for a wall has made me think a lot about the border fence at Playas. I’ve been drawn to it again and again on my many trips to Tijuana for medical follow-ups after life-saving treatment in 2013. The graffiti is powerful, the sight of relatives speaking to loved ones through the fence heartbreaking.

These photos speak for themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

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Autumn and I, Daniel Blake

Autumn scene mixed media on paper by Amanda Nicol
Autumn mixed media on paper A3

A friend told me I should send Ken Loach a copy of House of Bread. The central characters share a name and have more in common than that. Both up against an intractable system where kindness and humanity are the exceptions, not the rule. Sanctioned, sectioned – strangely similar words for what feels like punishment; for non-compliance to some constructed norm.

 

 

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Dead Pets Society

Image of the front cover of the novel 'Deaad Pet's Society by Amanda Nicol)On any other day I might have cursed and said, ‘Typical,’ but when Pat and I turn up at the Fishermen’s and find it closed I’m relieved. It was a stupid idea anyway, borne of the madness of grief and I don’t want to get involved. With anyone. Unless they’re living on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean or anywhere separated from here by a good few thousand miles.

 

 

 

 

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Drawing from life

Pen and ink drawing - back view of female nude

Most of these drawings done in various classes in Hastings Art College as it was a decade or so ago. Not great, but honest attempts to wrangle with the complexity and beauty of form.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Amanda Nicol Different Stories

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