Starting a new quilt forces me to sit still, stay focused, and think about next steps. The last few years I've been giving them away, keeping people I love warm while I work on the next project.
The next one I finish might be mine.
This is the longest I've gone without a post on this page, I think, or at least close to, and I'm finally figuring out why.
The last time I shared something here,
I wrote about my bookstore, the gilded edge of a romantic corner of the world,
and asked you to celebrate it with me.
I basically asked you to be brave then did the easiest thing I could think of.
That post in October, with its shine and nostalgia, was my way of hiding that part of me was falling to pieces after agreeing to another summer here.
It was a slow decision, slower than the last few have been, and as the weight settled onto my shoulders the more it made itself known in the pit of my stomach.
I don't do takebacks, so I took a few months to fight my way back into the joy that only an exhausting summer in Alaska can bring. I'm just about there, buoyed by the now-greater-than 8 hours of daylight and growing list of things to do.
It's been a long few months, though.
I spent them falling down and embracing the loves I've found, in body, mind or spirit.
I turned inward, sending emails and letters, packages and postcards, texts and vibes.
I failed at a few not-small things. I let important projects and emails fall by the wayside as I tried to collect my own pieces.
I started and finished a quilt.
I was part of a few odds and ends in town, and soon will start hosting TEDx nights at the library once a month in an attempt to get folks together to talk about big ideas. We're waiting for their permission to show a few YouTube videos and use certain letters of the alphabet in our advertising, and don't think I don't shake my head at the absurdity of that.
Some of this mattered more than others, and for awhile I couldn't be bothered to sit down and try to make meaning out of it. I realized I was scared of what I could find.
So then that's what I did.
And this is where I leave you.
I love memoir and the self-examination it brings, but part of me abhors the voyeuristic nature it takes on the internet.
There are certain pieces of myself I do not owe you, that are worth examining but not under the blue light of the screen.
So when those pieces are the ones I need to be wrestling with, I will not be here.
I am pulling words from the air when they should be coming from my chest but it's still too heavy there. Summer's a few months off yet.
Instead I will leave you with the conference/paper proposal I spent a month writing.
If it gets accepted I'll be even less fun at parties.
Which is saying something.
I'd like to start writing smaller pieces based on the research I'll be doing for this paper. Questions about pieces of our world I find so devastating and interesting, hopefully with some pieces of sunshine as well.
Please be brave. You're worth every second of it.
Thank you for making it this far.
I'm sorry I don't have more for you right now.
I might be the luckiest person in the world, and you are no small piece of that.
Meet back here later?
A Scavenger’s Love:
Social Reproduction, Post-Capitalism and Survival in Alienation
At its core, much of feminist theory is the politics of survival, namely, how marginalized populations can navigate a world that acts at its best indifferent, at worst, malicious. Finding strength in assimilating to the structures of power, feminism and queer theory has fought for institutionalized feminist discourse, including ways of imagining institutionalized forms of support and protection. But what happens when institutions fall? Written from a place in the margins, outside traditional academia in the trenches of a potential post-capitalist, post-extractive economy, this paper aims to interrogate the possibilities inherent In queer and feminist theory as the era of scavenger/solidarity politics approaches. Jack Halberstam’s Queer Art of Failure, an interrogation of queer and cultural studies through focusing on alternative objects of analysis, is the model upon which this shaky structure is built.
The questions in this project center on the uncomfortable notion of sexuality and gender as being a ticket for survival, and the formation of these identities in the vacuum of collapsing empires and climate-level change. What does it mean to embody a sexuality that enables the survival of that body? When choice means obligation, what kind of laws will obligate our security?
When the institutional powers are shown to be shadows of their intent and the people left behind are facing an onslaught of extremes, sexual and gender politics are a source of survival and joy, even under duress. Maybe especially then. This paper will be a celebration of that unholy marriage, an insurrectional cry in the bowels of the institution.