Week eighteen in ephemera

Cloudspotting

As a card-carrying (or maybe a wannabe card-carrying) member of the cloudspotter’s club, I was excited by this recent rumpus. Keep watching that sky! Where I live, we’ve been getting more sunshine over the past few days and while I love clear blue skies, I really love nothing more than to lie on the grass in a park or by the water and just watch those clouds roll on by, casting shadows and making me dream of cotton candy, bed, waves, whatever.

Meritocracy

You’ve heard of the meritocracy? Critics of affirmative action legislation and policies love to throw the meritocracy around and it’s pretty annoying. Yes, affirmative action can often be a one-dimensional solution to lack of diversity, opportunity, and equity, when it ignores intersectionality and cultural infrastructure; it doesn’t really dismantle the problematic relations of power we live with. Yet, the meritocracy fails us. The guy who coined ‘meritocracy’ was pretty annoyed by neoliberal goofballs in power throwing that concept about. Excellent reminder that satire serves a specific purpose and we need to consider our sources.

Leave Me Alone: I’m eating and reading

Fran Lebovitz knows where it’s at when answering the NYT’s ‘by the book’ column, especially when talking about fictional dinner parties with authors living or dead.

GET OUT

I went to see Get Out in the theatre with a friend and even without captioning it packed serious power. Go see it, if you haven’t. Squirm in your seat if you’re a white viewer, and have a think about all those little microaggressions you recognize acting out. Read more here.

Comics, Again

Rob Delaney totally loves Phoebe Gloeckner’s A Child’s Life. Have you read Gloeckner’s work? It’s intense and dark and *so* beautifully written/drawn. Gloeckner’s Diary of a Teenage Girl is better known (movie, etc.). Also, I appreciate the way Delaney talks about depression and reading.

I Have Something To Tell You

PAY ATTENTION. This has been short and not that sweet but it’s something. Just going to hold onto that: it’s something. Thanks for reading.

 

Week seventeen in ephemera

Water, We All Need It

When it’s slow at work, since I’ve made a promise to myself to stay off fb on my office computer I just rabbithole. The thing about this is that it reminds me of the late 90s and early 00s when the internet was just cool and full of random stuff that begat random stuff. And indymedia. Remember indymedia? And Nerve before all the paywalls. Colours of Resisistance. And Scarlateen (still around, yeah Scarlateen!). But mostly, random discoveries.

It’s an older post, but snarkmarket’s history of water crises in Flint, Michigan is a gooder. And the water situation for several First Nations communities across Canada is only getting worse. Total bullshit, you guys. Everybody knows it: water is life.

You Say Rayon, I Say Viscose

I love fashion and design and stuff and I love picking it apart politically. My approach is naive and undisciplined, c’est la vie. Peripherally, I’ve noticed different sources touting rayon/viscose as a more environmentally palatable (green, eh) alternative to polyester and other cheap, popular, accessible fabrics. Nuh-uh! It’s some nasty stuff. It has the potential to be less nasty but then it’d cost more to produce. The guy in the interview references the factory fires in Bangladesh which killed hundreds of workers so we can wear cheap fast fashion. He raises an interesting point, that we need to pursue stronger regulation of production and employment standards rather than leave it to the consumer to vote with their dollars. To this I say… DUH. I’m not shaming fast fashion. Clothes are expensive. We gotta wear them. But regulators can do so much more to ensure that it doesn’t cost lives, abilities, and the environment.

All That Manifest Destiny HooHaw and We’re Left With This

Granta online has decent free content sometimes. If you like meandering, sometimes wanky, sometimes excellent stuff, check it out! I veer to the wanky, of course, so I love it all. Carys Davis is researching his novel in what sounds like a pretty juicy archive at the New York Public Library. First-person accounts of early American expansionism to the West (including examples of resistance to this concerted, government-funded colonial process) which resonate with today’s political climate in the US.

I Pee A Lot At Work; To This I Say NOPE

You guys, when the Pew Centre surveys you, you gotta keep it together. Be real. What are these risks to safety you’re willing to compromise ownership of your time/movement for? Surveillance at work is not a winner-winner-chicken-dinner. #JustSayNope.

Guys, I pee a lot at work because I drink a lot of water and because it gives me exercise to walk down the hall to the washroom and makes me move out of my chair at least once an hour if nothing else will. On another note, I’m so used to my rolling chair that I forget the dining table chairs at home don’t roll and I spend a good deal of time making my chair screech at 7am while eating breakfast. Our poor neighbour downstairs must really hate us.

This isn’t Divorce, American Style

An ugly truth of American culture:

The worst, most terrible things that the United States has done have almost never happened through an assault on American institutions; they’ve always happened through American institutions and practices.

How the use of fear engineers social hysteria and drives all the bullshit stuff that’s been happening, is happening.

I’m Feeling Bookish – Are You?

Most of the time I’m confident that I’ve kicked my bibliomania to the curb, then a shit week happens and I drop into Munro’s or Russells because I can. And I leave cash poor with books I won’t get to for months at least because I’ve already got three or four going at home and in my bag, not including the library books racking up fines. Pretty sad story, huh? <sarcasm> When I dropped out of school and went to NYC with my roommates and ended up at the Strand bookstore, I think I spent $250 I didn’t have in 15 minutes. In my defense I bought some sweet, SWEET art books that I’ve since donated in binge tosses. There’s having no regrets and there’s stupidity. My real regret here is that I missed out on the Blue Stockings bookstore, but that’s a small complaint to have so I’m okay with that.

Have you read Slammerkin? I think you should. Emma Donoghue writes historical fiction like no one else (not that I’m an expert; I have to admit that I don’t read much historical fiction but you should still take my word for it – winky face emoji). Life Mask was good too.

So, I had one of those shit weeks recently and picked up Katherena Vermette’s The Break. I have not read a novel that opens with an explicit trigger warning about violence, trauma, and healing. I’m just a quarter in, but it’s a heavy and beautiful story centering multiple generations of women in a Metis family in Winnipeg. The blurb on the cover of my copy is from Eden Robinson, whose Monkey Beach blew my mind several years ago, and exposed me to slight elements of contemporary Haisla experiences. So, I grabbed it. I’m in it, and I’m moved.

About That Image

On Palentine’s Day I went to see Häxan with my friends S and S (yeah, it was pretty slithery, snakes and witches and all the things – sibilant!). It’s a Danish silent film, released in 1922, about witchcraft through the ages, mostly the medieval period when the Inquisition was on a rampage. A musician accompanied the film with electronica. Pretty pretty good, you should check it out if you get a chance. High drama, interesting set design, and a closing, contemporary chapter drawing parallels between treatment of poor people, particularly women in the early 20th century and during the middle ages.

 

 

Week Whatever in Ephemera: What lights my fire?

This beauty has been making the rounds on social media (which I’m trying to limit my time on, but you know how it is). I love it and have so much respect for the bravery of author/hiker Rahawa Haile naming all the things to fellow (white) hikers as she makes her way. A quote that struck me:

When was the last time you saw yourself at your best? When did you last wish you could? I can’t tell you my last time. What I know is that I moved to New York City in 2008 at the start of the recession, and after a few years a vanishing began. That’s how it goes. You stop being yourself without even knowing it. You withdraw. You retreat like a glacier, slowly, until people wonder if there was ever anything more to their memory of you than an inconvenient pile of rocks. You tell yourself things will get better until there’s barely anything left to remind. And then you decide what you can still fight for.

Active literary citizenship can take many forms, particularly during times of transition. There’s more to writers than writing and more to readers than reading; you are not your byline.

I said to a friend, after reading this last week, I’ve grappled with the fact that many black writers have captured experiences of “in-betweenity” and erasure in a way that resonates for me, deaf in a hearing family and hearing world. Why do I grapple? Because I’m white and it’s such a common and lazy trope to cherrypick the experiences of people of colour and wrap them up around white and middle class (in my case) experience. And yet, it’s true. Living in a dinky small farming town/bedroom community (yeah it was confusing but there we are), I knew few kids or adults, other than old folks, who were “like me.” Stories of erasure, in-betweenity, and hybridity opened a door for me. Of course I realized a long time ago, as an adult, I have far more in common with other white people because of the privileges our shared skin accords us, without our even knowing. What I love about Haile’s article is how familiar and unfamiliar it is. I’ve spent the last few years unraveling a functioning (and sometimes nonfunctioning) depression related to sensations much like she describes in the above quote. I’m fighting that vanishing. It’s not easy. But I need to.

In fighting that vanishing, I’m compelled to think about my responsibility to resist the erasure of people “not like me” – solidarity rather than unity. The strength that it takes not to vanish because it often feels like it would just be easier to let coworkers, friends, family members, and well meaning whomever pretend that not finding a way to communicate with me outside their norm is my failing and not theirs, is something I can fuel and direct towards listening, witnessing, and disrupting “business as usual” in colonial and racist habits and patterns. Tall order, but necessary.

The NYTs chronicle of the ways in which local youth were firestarters for the power we see at Standing Rock (yeah, I liked that song by the Prodigy – it was the 90s, alright). They have so much power, and the story of how they woke up their elders, while recognizing and accommodating colonial generational trauma and its legacies. Heady stuff!

That’s it for tonight, but I’ll be back. Thank you for reading.

 

Ephemeral, not Ethereal

What does the ethereal my title mean, eh?

I’ll tell ya what it means for me. I had a weird experience today, dripping with well-meaning ableism that left me feeling pretty ghostly (ethereal, yo), even erased. I’m not comfortable going into details as I’ve not brought it up with the people I had the interaction with, and this blog has my name on it, so. One thing I can say to my one or two readers, if ya meet people, in whatever context – work, play, yadayada – and they communicate differently than you, just think for a moment about how you can shift your behaviour to be inclusive. Make a freaking effort. It may seem like a big ask, but in the end it’s not. It’s being human and humane. Oh, the self-censorship is strong here.

Beyond that, though, what an incredible clusterfuck it’s been the past few weeks (and I know that there’s a lot to be said, that has been said, about this clusterfuck being new to a limited privileged group, and not to many others in North America or worldwide). Folks have compiled lists of what you can do if you’re feeling immobilized, angry, scared, overwhelmed, and maybe like big crowded masses of people are not your thing – here’s a place to start, for Canadians: contact your MP and insist that they act on the US’s travel ban. Read up on Canada’s Safe Third Country Agreement and why it’s dangerous. Remember that the US’s legislation is actually two articles: one related to Muslims and the other related to refugees in general. It’s FAR-REACHING and it’s CHILLING. Learn to recognize and disrupt Islamophobia, and think about how you can resist. Also, keep thinking about the water protectors at Standing Rock – their legal defense needs funding support. And learn more about how you can name colonial racism in your communities. It’s everywhere in Canada, and so, so, so normalized. Listen to, or read the transcript, from today’s forum in Vancouver on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). There’s a wealth of information out there, get informed and get active in your resistance and solidarity, eh?

I’ve written here before about the overdose crisis in BC, and the opioid crisis across North America. Some generous folks, in Vancouver, who use drugs, offered some advice on how all of us (drug users, neighbours, healthcare providers, legislators, bureaucrats) can respond to the overdose crisis. So much power, experience, and love there. Donald MacPherson summarizes the trajectory (non-trajectory?) of Canada and BCs response to drug use, overdoses, and criminalization.

Not to veer too jarringly, but did you hear about Beyonce?! Speaking of music-makers, Four Tet has made a playlist of artists from the human stain’s list of banned countries. That’s beautiful, my friends. I don’t care what the haters at factmag say, I love Missy’s new single and video.

Oh, I’m reading Deborah Levy’s Hot Milk. It’s been pretty effective at drawing me in, though I wouldn’t say it’s “hypnotic.” Swing Time was hypnotic. I’m a shameless Zadie Smith fan (except for Autograph Man but I’ve let that go). I loved Swing Time. I’m also reading Elena Ferrante’s Troubling Love. It is so intense and infuriating that I feel myself scowling like a beast when I read it. I’ll take it.

Ephemera in the New Year: Some Top Reads So Far

It’s a new year, whether you take that as a matter of course and turn over new leaves or whatever, or you view time as the “same as it ever was”, and there’s so much ephemeral stuff floating about.

I finished Zadie Smith’s Swing Time and loved it even more than I expected to. It’s an uncomfy read, in a good way, as a white middle class reader. I got so sucked in and felt myself identifying with the two main characters and then getting smacked awake at my arrogance. Recommend, recommend, recommend.

Something I *really* identified with, to an uncanny degree, is Anne Helen Peterson’s tribute (would that be apt?) to being in college in the late 90s, early 00s, before the internet became what it is now. My world was icq, napster (metallica broke my 12 yr-old heart when they sued napster, but here we are), hotmail, and and the university email system, and little else. There was a rich chump (to be fair my school was full of rich chumps) in my dorm who had a cell phone in 1998 and at one point I had the misfortune of being stuck with him in the elevator while he harangued the folks delivering his brand new toyota to our dorm. Nice mom car, by the way. We literally did wander around dorms and cafeterias looking for each other. It was romantic. The best was meeting up at the library or the fancy, exotic starbucks coffee cart just outside one of the classroom buildings. When I dropped out and had to walk across the city each morning to get to my job because the buses hadn’t started running for the day, I had an arrangement with my coworkers to be at a specific corner at 6:30am for a ride, and if I wasn’t there by 6:32, I’d be walking the rest of the way. No phone. Though, being deaf, I don’t really romanticize the days before texting. I do miss getting together with my people face-to-face for conversations and not half-assed conversations that sometimes happen via text or instant messaging (partly because these conversations are happening with hearing people).

Another thing I *really* identified with is Reading Ta-Nehisi Coates in Idaho. I first got into my mum’s worn college copy of Black Like Me (which is a super problematic piece of non-fiction, to put it mildly) in the middle school years, in a small town in eastern Ontario. Our part of the Ottawa Valley could have been described quite like Idaho is described. My mum was from a working class suburb in New England and came of age during the Civil Rights Era. The book meant different things to us, but it definitely made me feel confused about my whiteness and privilege – it unsettled me. Anyway, back to RTCI: read it! It’s a very thoughtful and genuine engagement with race, bigotry, white supremacy, and Idaho.

Becoming Ugly really got to me:

It was a game that everyone but me seemed to love. I was a girl who mostly hung around boys because I hadn’t yet learned that female friendships, though infinitely more confusing, were also infinitely more rewarding. I was the self-professed type who loudly preferred spending time with men over spending time with women because they were less dramatic and complicated. And so I surrounded myself with boys who found it funny to grab my body when I least expected it, and were spurred by my discomfort to push me further and more painfully.

The game ended the night that Tom*, the one who always grabbed me, did it to me again while we were walking up a flight of stairs. Familiarly, everyone laughed and I tried to join them, desperate to appear easygoing and in on the joke despite being the literal and figurative butt of it. But suddenly, the effort of it all—the smiling, nervous chuckling, and eye rolls that I had allowed myself over the past several months—sickened me. It felt like I was choking on my own vomit of anger and humiliation. To save myself, I’d have to spew my own bile. And so I turned and punched Tom directly in the groin.

Can’t really add much to that, but “story of my life” as a kid and a teenager. Ugh. Shame and dissociation and rage and futility, all in an easy-to-open can of spork.

 

Between the Years

Between Light and Dark / Between Short and Long

It’s that weird time of the year (all times of the year are weird but this is more poetic, I think) when the light is short and the darkness long. I walked to work this morning and arrived before sunrise. I left for a coffeeshop just as the light was weakening, and got home in darkness (well before 5pm). Between the years!

I always think of this time between hexmas and new years as the time in between, even though we’re technically still in the year it’s been for the past 12 months. My relationship with math can be ambiguous; I don’t care. It’s still the festival of light for those who practice the Jewish faith and/or its cultural markers. Everybody and their mother is blogging, tweeting, whatever, about contemplation, reflection, looking back.

At the moment, I’m recovering from a two-and-a-half-week long beast of a sinus infection that’s led me through many stages of physical grief and self pity, as well as cost me several days of pay (the joy of benefits never hits harder than when you don’t have them, in my experience). I also watched a lot of netflix.

The OA freaked me out to no end. I mean, I lost the majority of my hearing when I had meningitis at nine months old. I nearly died. Some religious relatives and teachers treated me like one of God’s chosen, without my desire or consent. It’s incredibly stressful and also kind of distancing to hear from family members what it was like to watch me come so close to death and come out of the experience transformed (without hearing, and without sound until I got my first hearing aid). I don’t remember going through this. I know I lived through that trauma and that I’ve carried the physical/social/cultural marker that is deafness in a hearing family, community, series of schools and workplaces. I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit trying to answer hearing people’s questions about “what it’s like,” (I dunno dude, I don’t know what it’s like to hear like you, though media, culture, representation all give me a good idea). I’m also cool with being deaf – it’s just the way it is. It’s not tragic, it’s not really loss, and if it makes you uncomfy, that’s on you, dude. (I’m not cool with ableism but that’s a different post).

So, back to the tv show. I was so hooked. I need to process it a bit. The way people treat Prairie as so completely strange definitely resonates. I felt envy for her character, that she can remember losing her sight, and that the experience is meaningful for her. Beyond that, there’s more but I don’t know what it is yet. There’s a lot of stuff in there about masculinity too. Gotta unpack that.

This post is about flexing my writing muscle. Didn’t have a good deal to say, but thanks for reading.

 

What the world needs now…

Is Serious Media Literacy Skills

And yes, love, etc. And rage. Bread and roses. JUSTICE.

All the things!

I’m skipping a comics class because our apartment building is running on one laundry machine and I just don’t think I can hang out every day after work this week waiting until I get that magic spot. (yeah, world’s smallest violin, I hear it too).

There’s a lot of stuff going on in the world, eh? Some truly incredible resistance led by indigenous people and people of colour in North America (yep, let’s problematize NA as a place naming, another time). Look up #IstandwithStandingRock and #BlackLivesMatter and #webelieveyou to get a taste of what I’m talking about.

On my mind, at the moment, though, is our collective need to cut down on spreading crap media (lies, lies, lies) around like peanut butter on warm toast (or nutella, if you prefer).

If we don’t develop critical media literacy, we’re fucked. I know, it’s crass. But it’s true. Just, critical thinking in general. I’ve taken for granted that my folks raised me ask questions and cultivate thoughtful, hopeful doubt. I also got to sit around in classrooms in high school and university and have a think about “how we know what we know, blah blah blah.” Something increasingly rare, it seems, in neoliberal approaches to post-secondary education of late. So, privilege and timing / timing and privilege. But, developing critical thinking skills and media and digital literacy does not require access to the university. I’ll stop here and research this more for another time.

Buzzfeed nails it, discussing Myanmar‘s astoundingly fast conversion to internet access, when less than 1% of residents had internet access two years ago. In the span of a hot minute, the country has moved from near-total state control of the media and telecommunications to a huge percentage of the population getting online. As the article notes, this leap in technological access and lack of media/digital literacy is feeding anti-Muslim rhetoric and misinformation at a terrible rate. You may think it’s just because it’s Myanmar (which would be pretty idiotic). But this is partly what happened with Trump, in the land of so-called free press (have you been paying attention to Trump’s relationship with the media? Ugh. Danger ahead).

And this from the New Yorker’s Adrian Chen on Russia’s concerted misinformation campaigns on behalf of the Kremlin.

Yeah, I should take it easy with citing the New Yorker all the time. Sorry. The New Yorker was my best friend (not an exaggeration), regularly left in the hospital lobby by one of the local doctors with a subscription, where my mum worked reception nights and weekends. A definite step up from Readers Digest. So, I get a little wrapped up in the NY (my security blanket, really). I’ll take it easy.

Some satire brightening my life for moments on the daily: “TODAY’S DEBATE: Should men THEMSELVES be involved in decisions about their reproductive health? Or would that be seen as pandering?”

Have you seen the new Gilmore Girls? Have you noticed how fatphobic it is? Episode three (Summer) is particularly cruel and lazy in this regard. At first I thought it was just the new edition then I went back and watched some old stuff and yep, it’s a constant thread throughout. WTF. GG offends on multiple levels, but this struck me in particular last Saturday. And still I watched it.

A book I’m nearly done reading is Kate Bollick’s Spinster. The review cites one of my favourite lines from the book:

she recalls eating a Big Mac late one drunken night on the sidewalk on her walk home. “I chomped and strolled as slowly as I could, prolonging the delectable realization that waiting for me at home was nothing but an empty bed into which I’d crawl naked and drunk and stinking of fast food, disgusting nobody but myself.”

And with that, I bid you adieu. Till next time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 9th, 2016: Pussy Grabs Back

The cat came back the very next day: here, pussy, pussy

This is not a pussy reference, god no. But close. More an acknowledgement of trumpy’s not-so-surprising capacity to reappear, good as new, no matter what shit hits his stupid suit and hair (and that perma-tan face). Anyway, I’m not going to say too much about it because what’s there left to say that hasn’t been said both eloquently and asininely online and in the media? I’m supremely disappointed that white people like me (not going to play the “us good whiteys” and “those poor losers” because that’s shortsighted, self-aggrandizing, and absolutely not true) gotta let humanity (or just the totality of existence?) down again and again. So much respect for those who’ve been fighting white supremacy in its all-encompassing power for generations, and who continue to do so (#standwithstandingrock #blacklivesmatter and so many more).

So, that’s my day after US election dirge.

Also, last night I listened to this on repeat because goddam Nina Simone. Tonight, it’s going to be Hercules and Love Affair (okay, I’ll be honest. as my fb friendz know, I’m always listening to Hercules and Love Affair. like, leave me alone, okay).

Coffee and TV

Last week I binged through Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, yes I did. Then Monday night I watched the first season of Chewing Gum. Both so good. Both definitely getting that feminist-y talk about race and gender and sex and work out there to the front, in different ways. I recommend them both. I don’t know how to write about TV or books critically, except to say I like ’em or I don’t. Should have spent more time in English Lit in my undergrad, I guess? Last night I half-assedly watched The Crown while half-assedly following the election counts online. It’s alright so far: the casual, entitled ignorance Prince Philip displays when they visit sites of empire in Africa are gaggy and real. And the line Elizabeth uses about the country being savage just a generation ago before the Brits cleaned it up. Ugh. And the line from an advisor about how they need that country for the crown, because independence is eating up the rest of the continent. And of course empire is far more sinister and violent behind the polite facade of British Rule. Anyone seen Issa Rae’s Insecure? I can’t wait to watch that. The NYT wrote a profile of Rae a year or so ago and it was exciting!

What I’m reading now

Well, too much soundbite political coverage on social media, I’ll admit that. But also Elizabeth George’s A Banquet of Consequences. This is high-end trash. Sadly, there’s some lazy xenophobia sprinkled throughout the novel, and the class divide in Britain is real and relished (by the rich?). Putting that aside (I know, I know) I’m tearing through it. It’s so interesting go between contemporary literature and trashy reads, and I quite enjoy the bouncing back and forth. Plus George’s description of how Sergeant Havers eats is deeply satisfying – butties and pineapple upside down cake and chips, and anything crap, you name it, it’s going in. I know, sounds gross, but given how much I love food – cooking, eating, sharing, talking about it – it’s no real surprise.

Seriously, though, after reading Andrea Levy’s Never Far from Nowhere, it’s such *bloody* juxtaposition, the two (multitude of, let’s be honest) Englands blow my mind and are made all the realer, for me. Levy is amazing – Small Island is better known – but her early stuff is juicy.

 

 

 

 

beach in the city

week nine in ephemera

Maps and the city

There’s a new map of NYC in Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro’s Nonstop Metropolis, laying out the city as one of women. Sylvia Rivera is there, so’s Kitty Genovese, and Lil’ Kim. Zora Neale Hurston and Adrienne Rich are one stop away from each other. Edwidge Danticat, Dr. Ruth, and Salt’n’Pepa. Check it out.

Oil

Everybody’s saying oil is driving/killing *the* economy/planet (I emphasize “the” because there’s more than one, but this is how it’s talked about, and of course, there’s the behemoth global economy of stuff and people and forces; can you tell I didn’t study economics in school?). I’ve talked about Planet Money before, because it’s awesome. But this week I’m thinking about this podcast from August about oil and the stuff that makes oil/is made from oil/etc.

Musics

For most of the summer I couldn’t really wear my hearing aid because it didn’t fit and kept cutting my ear. Thus, I missed a season of grooves. Yeah, it’s as poopy as it sounds (or doesn’t sound, lolz). So I’m making up for lost time. Solange released A Seat at the Table at the beginning of October and I’m stoked. Google or search Fb for some thoughtful discourse on the politics of the album. Here, I’m just grooving (which, in my case, means chair dancing, which really means that I’m nodding my head as I listen. My grooving is sad but I like it.)

For when you need to be chill but need some groove too. I’ve not yet had a chance to peruse this playlist but something’s gotta hit.

Oh, shit

This stopped me cold. I know I pulled some hateful shit when I was a misinformed little kid who wanted more than anything to belong. To be a parent continually downgrading their anger when deciding whether/how to explain to another parent that their kid is doing racist turd things (which they in all probability picked up from them). Respect and solidarity to the poc and indigenous parents of poc and indigenous kids. This feeds systemic racism and grows cops that shoot to kill black people, just as much/even more than (?) the blatant stuff of Trumpies, etc.

Anecdotal but heartening

My weight and shape have fluctuated quite a bit since I started messing with starving myself at 12 (which is, like, the most classic narrative for white middle class girls of the 80s and 90s, apparently, though there are studies indicating that eating disorders go far beyond these folks; it’s just that doctors and counselors ignored everybody else). I’m a hedonist when it comes to food. I’m never, barring threat of death, going to restrict major food groups ever again, nor am I going to spend a shit-ton of time at the gym “working it off.” Nothing works the same for everyone, but I appreciate this doctor connecting the dots between pressure to lose it all and growing medically-sanctioned reliance on weight-loss drugs.

That desk jockey life though

So, yeah, I’m not gonna kill myself getting fit and stuff. But I do need to exercise on the regular, and go hard more often than not. Still figuring out what my routine is, but going from working not at all for nearly six months to working five days a week is wreaking havoc on my bod (lolz … such as it is.) Gotta step up the weights. And I need to move. Funemployment meant that I was swimming in the Gorge 2-3 times a week plus going on long bike rides and walks nearly every day. My favourite book on running (not that I read a lot of books on running; the blurbs or back cover descriptions make me shudder most of the time) is by Haruki Murakami. It’s about struggle and boredom and repetition, not triumph (a key summary). And I love it. Maybe it’s a life of being told I need to be exceptional to be average that’s got me down on inspirational motivation, so be it. Not into it. What am into is running as a way to get to know a city. I like that.

 

Week eight in ephemera: Overwhelm, Vagenda and Nino Sarratore

What?! Hello again.

It’s been nearly two months (an intense two months) of overwhelm when thinking about when to post each week and realizing I had no energy to think about things, let alone write these thoughts. But, after a month at a new full-time job, I’m coming back to the quietude I prefer (and likely need). So, here’s a scattershot re-entry into ephemera!

On my mind:

Farrah Khan, Ann-Bernice Thomas, and Jeremy Loveday spoke/performed at the University of Victoria this week, as part of Sexualized Violence Awareness Week. It was a rich, heavy, and beautiful event. I was exhausted and feeling disconnected from any sense of participating in community. A thoughtful person affiliated with the event invited me to attend, and live captioning had already been arranged. On that note, that’s never happened before and it was incredible to be somewhere that I didn’t have to plan to be a month in advance, didn’t have to advocate for accessibility, and did not have to commit to going; it was an invitation with no strings attached. I can’t really gather the words for how this made me feel. The closest I can come would be that I felt a part of the room, because I didn’t have to spend the energy reading people’s faces and wondering if what I was getting was correct, etc. I could feel the feels in the moment (and given what was being talked about, the feels were there to be had). Usually, I experience this stuff at remove, disengaged, storing the stuff for later, if I get the stuff that is being said. So, so much gratitude for the work that went into making the event happen, and to the three presenters for getting most of their texts to the transcriber in time for projection. Always have gratitude for the folks who listen, comprehend, and type so fast to make that one kind of access happen.

The overwhelm:

Nino Sarratore, that selfish, sexist, and “sensitive” dude that Neapolitan Novels readers love to hate (I mean, I speak for myself here, but wait)! My friend got me onto the fuck nino sarratore tumblr that is all about dissing Nino. Yes, pure genius! Seriously, fuck that guy (sorry, parentals! Or maybe at 37 I’m too old to care about what my folks think of my cussing. Yeah, I’ll go with that. But the post-Catholic guilt is strong). If you haven’t read these books, please do. I’m imploring you.

I start my workday at 8am five days a week. I get out mid-afternoon each day, and that is awesome. But 8am? After years of starting my work days at 10, 10:30, or even afternoon, when working on contracts? BRUTAL. One of my great loves is being awake in time to watch the dawn sky change into day. The brutal thing about being up so early, though, is that things just don’t compute. I enjoy the early light but I don’t function well before 8:30am. I just don’t. I’m not ashamed to admit that my first year of university was dedicated to getting the requisite courses done, just never at 8:30am or Friday morning at all. I excelled at this. What I’m really talking about is that I woke up at 7am today, a full hour later than on workdays. And I managed to read in bed for another two hours. This is the life. The side effect of living the life is that I finished Americanah and experienced saudade (Portuguese and Gallician), that longing that I get when I’ve finished a book that’s absorbed me completely. The novel was published three years ago, and I resisted because of the hype. I’m so glad I finally read it.

Yesterday was Orange Shirt Day in Canada, an event honouring and remembering the forced removal of indigenous children to christian residential schools across the country. In these schools, the nuns, priests, ministers, and lay teachers enacted abuse of an incredible and sickening range, from forced erasure of the children’s language, spirituality, and rituals, sexual abuse, withholding of food, solitary confinement, and much more. Given that residential schools operated until 1996, this structural colonial violence was occurring as I went about living a “typically” Canadian middle class childhood and adolescence, completely unaware. Like many settler kids of my generation, I learned in the public school system that contact and assimilation was a thing that happened in the past, and for the benefit of indigenous peoples. Barf.

One small antidote to the overwhelm of how Canada has been built: Going Home Star.

Vagenda of Manocide” makes me laugh/shudder every time I see the phrase. Way to go, Maine, eh? But you gotta listen to Bitch’s vagenda playlist. It’s excellent. And then check out their story of feminist punk in 33 songs. Poly Styrene will always have my cold, angry heart.