Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Catching Up on Visibility

A whole pile of good things happened to me in the late fall, and my own chickenheadedness prevented me from putting news of them here. I have a few weeks of quiet before my final semester of grad school starts, so I'm catching up with all kinds of things, this blog among them.

In late November I went to Portland for a writing workshop. The trip was an unqualified success, both personally and professionally. (Except that I unintentionally caused a really bad meltdown on the part of my friend's toddler.) The Saturday I was there, I participated in a reading series called Burnt Tongue, and here is video of me doing so. I forgot to bring any makeup to Portland, so I did this reading without eyeliner or mascara. You have been warned.

Here's the full Burnt Tongue reading (it's long, with many wonderful, wonderful people and their work).

The piece I read is a pared-down version of a feminist manifesto I wrote after years of telling myself I couldn't and shouldn't. I wanted to revise/build on Hélène Cixous; primarily I wanted to point out that men and women live in their bodies differently, which I believe to be true. I could think of all kinds of reasons why not to write this, but they seem dumb to go into now, after the reception my reading got. Four people clutched me and said YES on the way back to my seat, and all the other friends who have read it have praised it. I wrote it in mid-November, finally, after a series of mildly sexist encounters and the comments of a woman who was totally ensconced in the patriarchy and couldn't see it. I wrote it (not only, but with her in mind as the inciting incident) to explain to her what she couldn't see. Mostly, I couldn't let my thoughts go unclarified anymore. I'm not finished with the manifesto, but I have big plans for it.

It was incredibly kind of the people who run Burnt Tongue to let me do this reading, and I'm grateful. The material was virtually brand-new and it was important to me to put it in the world. As always, I love to read my work, but I felt a bit funny doing so on ground that was so unfamiliar to me - not my town, not my writing community, etc. I think, I hope, I added to the event.

A few weeks later, I posted a picture on Facebook of the back of a Skinny Cow truck.

In the ensuing comment thread, my friends pretended to be the marketing department of Skinny Cow, and made up extremely funny dialogue about why/how they put this monstrosity together. A pair of fairy godmothers later, the conversation was transformed into a column for Funny Women at the Rumpus. The whole thing happened very quickly, and I couldn't be more surprised and proud that I instigated it.

There's another bit of news that hasn't come to fruition yet, so I can't tell you, but I am losing-my-mind excited about it. Check back in February.

And, at the start of December and the end of the semester, I wrote a 20-page scholarly paper comparing concepts of the Jedi Path to G.W.F. Hegel and Walt Whitman. The process of writing this paper was not something I would ever repeat or recommend, but I did get it finished and I did get a good grade on it. If you are a Star Wars nerd and you want to read it, please let me know, because I uploaded it to my website and a few other nerds have already read and enjoyed it.

It's a surprise to me that my last post, about Columbine, went over so well. I think about Columbine so much, but I believed that made me weird, and surely no one wanted to hear my opinions on it, because I basically have opinions about everything and only Matt wants to hear them all and why should this be any different? But I got a lot more feedback on Facebook than I usually get for these posts, and a lot more site hits. Don't know what to do with that information, but now I have it.

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