Seen and Sometimes Heard: Observations 2018-2020 is an homage to the lost art of randomly listening in on other people’s conversations. The book references cartoonist Stan Mack’s comic strip that ran from 1975 to 1995 in the free paper the Village Voice: “Real Life Funnies. All Conversations Guaranteed Overheard 100% Verbatim”. Problem is, random listening today isn’t what it used to be. I tried. I spent a fair bit of time riding buses and subways, wandering around, sitting in coffee shops, hanging out. But social spaces in the 21st Century simply cannot compare to those of the late 20th Century. Then the Pandemic of 2020 hit. Subsequently, what began as a series of illustrated observations of the world around me in 2018 and 2019 ends with personal comments on life lived during Covid-19.
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A bone fide baby boomer, Martha Burnett is a former educator who worked for many years in the post secondary sector, teaching film theory, image ethics and English. When she retired, she had, at long last, the time, the motive and the opportunity to be utterly creative. No more “creative” problem solving. No more “creative curriculum writing”. In the words of someone near and dear to her, “Deep down, everyone wants to be an artist.” Who was she to argue? Martha is now the author/illustrator of two Kindle eBooks. They are humorous, irreverent but always respectful. She also does ballet and hoops.