Greetings from sunny Minnesota!
(I’m not being ironic: it’s freaking gorgeous here right now. I heart midwestern summer more than more.)
Just a quick hello, as I’m between gigs, currently hanging out on Becca’s deck, enjoying a beer and a lot of sunshine. I’m off in a little bit to the middle-of-nowhere, to celebrate The Baby Liam’s first birthday party w/Briana’s family, in the land of zero wireless and lots of cheese product on hot dishes.
I saw Liam yesterday, and he isn’t a baby anymore, he’s a very little toddler boy. Full head of hair, moving around, making a ton of noise, and reveling in his own chaos, just as he should be. I confess, I often feel a bit like an alien when I’m around babies and kids, and when I feel giant surges of love for them, I never find myself thinking, “Oh, I wish I had one of my own,” but instead, simply, “I wish I could see that kid more often.” I’m not sure if that’s really unusual — given the former reaction seems to be more common — or just whether the culture of women presented as needing to be maternal (and thus, women learning to present themselves that way) is just so huge that everyone has internalized that message, and thus, can often react differently. Of course, too, I have spent more time in the muck and the mire with other people’s children than most. In any event, I wish I could see that kid more often. We had a fantastic time yesterdat evening, and I expect that we’ll have some more before I leave.
Speaking of kids, my red-eye flight was from hell. It’s not just about getting exactly no sleep, even after taking a sleeping pill. I was seated in one of the most claustropobic seats possible, and in my row and the row behind, was surrounded by Amish family, who I haven’t been that near since I was a kid. The window was to my right, and at left, a 12 or 13-year-old boy. Not only did he snore like a mother (and here I thought, not sleeping at home for once, where Mark and Sofia are a veritable symphony of snores, that I’d get a break from snoring), but anytime I almost fell asleep, or looked asleep, he’d touch me with his fingers on my arm or my face, my guess is, out of simple curiousity. If I shifted in my seat, he’d harumph loudly, despite the fact that because I’m small and he was 12, we had plenty of room between us. The lone time I went to go to the bathroom, he was so freaking beligerent, he wouldn’t even stand up so I could get out, so I nearly had to give the kid a lap dance in having to crawl over him.
Suffice it to say, given it was Amish family, I didn’t exactly fell able to say, “Hey, sod the hell off, kid! While you’re at it, quit with the freaking snoring, wouldya?” Becca’s husband suggested I should have given him a copy of my book to read, since he was clearly so bored. Pity I didn’t think of that myself.
That child made me neither wish to have any myself NOR to be able to see him more often. And I have no doubt that that reaction on my part is exceptionally normal.
So, yesterday, I managed to nab three whole hours of sleep during the day, after which I had to do a Chicago Tribune phone interview, hoping to christ I didn’t sound as incomprehensible as I felt, but did have a fine afternoon and evening with Becca, Briana and lil’ Mr. Liam. I got to see Heather today, and expect Bri and I to make a long hangout of it tomorrow night. Sunday is the book release party, the first of the three events I’m doing while I’m here.
I’ve gotten more and more acclamated to Seattle, but not enough that the first thing I did when I got here was to call my hairstylist and my dentist and make appointments. I intend on going by the eye doctors while I’m here, as well, despite the fact that my cash flow for these things is not exactly generous at the moment. Alas.
Did have another book benchmark for me today, which is finding some libraries that ordered and are carrying the book, which in many ways, is far more important to me and of more value than bookstores carrying it. I was one of those kids for whom the public library was a second home: iwas latchkey, so it was normal for me to spend a lot of time at the library after school. In addition, when the shit really started to get super-bad at my house, one benefit of still managing to be a dedicated student is that when you won’t be allowed out of the house for anything else, you are often still allowed to get out of the house if you’re at the library. I need to make a point while I’m here in Minneapolis of heading to a couple branches with books to donate. I know I sat with my first copies of more than one vital sex book in the stacks, and it pleases me to no ned to think I can be providing the same experience for other young adults.
P.S. Just because it seems it needs to be said lately in more venues than I can shake a stick at: the feminist blogosphere is not feminism. The feminist blogosphere is not the feminist community. The feminist blogosphere is just that: the feminist blogosphere, and supposing it to be, or presenting it as, a good representation of the whole of feminism, the whole of theory, the whole of feminist activism or community is foolish. To be honest, I don’t even involve myself much at all with the feminist blogosphere or all its dramas in large part because it is so incredibly discordant to my experiences with feminism and community amoung women otherwise.
I mean, certainly, still in our culture, women as a class are in very big trouble. And still as ever, feminism is in big trouble. But in my estimation, neither are in the kind of trouble we’d think they were if we presumed the virtual community to be represnentative of the whole. And that’s the case with the blogosphere, period. It has it’s value, for sure, but an accurate representation of life and community as a whole it is not.
So, if you’re a person who feels strongly about feminism, but the blogosphere is bumming you out, I’d really encourage you to turn off the computer and go find some real-life community. Join up with your local NOW chapter, volunteer at a women’s crisis line or shelter or with a more ad-hoc feminist or women’s community, or just make your own. Names that go with faces that go with voices that go with a more visceral connection really do make a world of difference.