Wednesday, February 28, 2007

On my way to Minneapolis

In 12 hours I leave for the 48-hour train from Seattle to Minneapolis, okay I need to sleep. Wish me luck-- when I arrive there will be snow, I like snow but I don't think I have the clothes I mean no boots or anything-- anyway, I'll be out of touch for about 3 days but then I'll be back...

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Maybe satisfied

Traveling makes me restless, that’s what I’m thinking on this way-too-hot bus, the heat blasting in my face, sinuses pounding --I mean, what else would explain the fact that I’m heading over to Basic Plumbing when I don’t really have any energy at all? Back at the house, I thought I had energy-- that must’ve been some traveling illusion or a sex delusion, no I wasn’t horny then either just curious to see Basic Plumbing on a Saturday, right? Anyway, here I am on the bus with a bunch of drunks of various races, ages and sexualities. Oh right, I can open the window-- that’s better.

But guess what? I get off on Capitol Hill and it’s bustling, I mean there are people everywhere walking around and standing out in the rain even, eating food at various vendors set up on Pike Street -- there was none of this when I lived on Capitol Hill, I guess that was 10 years ago. It’s kind of hilarious -- I’m standing outside of some chi-chi gay club with music that sounds sort of okay, the kind of music that Bruin hates because we just talked about it -- I mean the music I live for, beats that build and horns and air-raid sirens and a calculated messiness that gets more and more layered until you can’t stand it I mean you can’t stand anything else really but wait I’m getting carried away -- I can’t tell if there’s any of that, just the bass -- that’s what I hear, the bass. Which is a good start.

I’m watching the gays go in and out, then next door the straight rockers at the Comet and then I’m walking around the block because I can’t decide what to do, salsa upstairs around the corner and two guys are playing soccer in the park near where I’m pissing. Soccer in the dark park in the rain? I guess it’s not really dark, there are lights-- it’s pretty funny. Of course, I’m sitting out in the rain on a wet bench eating, it’s not really raining just drizzling -- I can hear the salsa I guess it’s about 1 a.m. now I wanted to get to Basic Plumbing around midnight so I could leave by 2 but whatever. I’m not even sure that I want to go there anymore -- it’s kind of more fun to watch the guy in a plaid suit walking with his girlfriend wearing glittery gold thigh-high boots, no I’m getting confused -- the guy in the plaid suit is with a few other people working something between mod and preppy, the gold fly-high boots are with a group giving some kind of ‘70s retro bought new and very expensive. That’s Seattle.

I’m walking around the block for about the fourth time, no now I’m actually sitting on a stoop right near the chi-chi gay club or at least gay tonight, I’m seeing some of the same people like the guy I thought was Keith from way back except this guy is maybe 25 which is maybe about how old Keith was then, this guy’s giving lots of attitude with his Justin Timberlake electroclash friends, although they’ve been walking around the block too, okay? I’m just trying to decide whether I should go into this club, even though I left my earrings at home since I didn’t need them for Basic Plumbing-- I mean I didn’t want to lose them, I’ve lost too many earrings at sex clubs, and besides -- no one appreciates them there anyway. My earrings make me feel safer, sort of, and I realize I haven’t been inside a gay club in how long? I don’t know -- I can’t even remember the last time, really. I mean clubs used to be kind of a large part of my life, but now I’m sort of afraid of them. So I’m sitting in the rain by the park and the salsa again, the air is so fresh in the Seattle winter, good for my sinuses too I’m thinking, and just when I’ve decided to go to the club I realize that I have a whole container of digestive enzymes with no label, they look just like ecstasy capsules really and I’m worried they’re going to check my bag at the door I mean check the contents but also I really am kind of afraid of the gays inside too, the surfacey conversations even though some of these gays are way cuter than the ones at Basic Plumbing, I mean there’s a scary circuit monster outside with no shirt on, modeling some sort of off-center expression like none of you are really here it’s just me and my cigarette -- I bet you could poke him and he would deflate, all of that creatine filling his body with moisture. But the ones who are cute to me are the ones with a little bit of counterculture accessorizing, like a fashion-punk haircut or some kind of soft prettiness rarely found in sex clubs. Some of them are even giving me a look, this one guy even says you’re so cute -- I say thank you-- he doesn’t look anything like my ex-boyfriend Jeremy, but the outfit he’s wearing is similar to the one Jeremy was wearing when I met him, kind of casual and preppy not preppy on purpose necessarily just from frame of reference. Maybe I should go into the club to find that guy, except when I look back there he is standing outside still, on the phone maybe or maybe waiting for me but I’ve already walk too far past to walk back without feeling embarrassed so I walk around again and then he’s not there, I decide to go to Basic Plumbing so that I don’t get obsessed or depressed, that circular pattern in my stomach-heart-brain complex-- NERVES, you could also call it, stomach clenching brain in circles heart hurts.

But now I’m at Basic Plumbing, almost lamenting the lack of a softer romance maybe until this guy’s dick is in my throat a different kind of feeling. I like it because it’s so all-encompassing, especially when there’s a whole group in this little hallway I almost can’t tell who is doing what I like that abandon without abandonment. But then the two guys I’m most engrossed with are pulling me elsewhere except that’s the exact moment when some guy’s lips press up against a muscle connecting my cock with the rest of my body, muscle or bone? Whatever it is makes me come when I’m trying not to, dammit, on this guy’s face which is hot except the other guys are pulling me away then I’m in a little room with them laughing because I just came, then sucking their dicks anyway and the hugging part I like best and kissing necks because both of them have suspicious breath, I mean one tastes like poppers and the other like something else rotten -- okay, not suspicious -- just gross -- but the rest is hot and eventually I decide to walk around again, we’re all walking around again but hugging and kind of queeny too chatting even -- that’s fun.

Maybe I shouldn’t leave since now it’s late -- 2:30-- but suddenly I get that second wave of wanting to come which doesn’t happen usually because usually I leave but now I grab this guy who’s touched me a few times when I’ve walked by and I didn’t know if he was one of the guys I already had sex with but now I realize neither of them had a lip ring. Then we’re in one of those rooms grinding that second time coming is more desperate, more like the energy of most of the guys here is what I’m thinking but also I’m loving the passion and playing with this guy, when I come which takes a while I’m sitting on the floor because I’m worried my legs are going to hurt from so much thrusting but also I’m grabbing his dick until he comes all over my thighs which I think is funny, I put his hand on it. I can feel his passion leaving the room, I mean him, which is what happens a lot at sex clubs or in casual sex anywhere really, I’m not depressed about it just aware. Or maybe a little bit depressed, I can allow space for the depression too, right?

3:30 and I’m in a cab on the way back to where I’m staying, trying to eat the sandwich I bought which is the same one I used to get years ago from QFC but now they only have it at the co-op, it’s called Mama’s Mushroom-- is disgusting actually, I don’t know how I used to like it -- probably when I was drunk is what I’m thinking, or maybe the bread wasn’t so chewy rice didn’t taste crunchy? But then I’m back at the house -- I love 4 a.m. is what I’m thinking, tomorrow I’ll probably feel terrible again -- maybe even worse than today, and today was terrible -- but now, 4 a.m., why can’t it always be like this -- my brain and body are calm, everything feels connected maybe satisfied I can’t even think of the right word for it.

I actually can’t believe that I have a hundred entries already, blogging has become part of my writing process and I’m pretty sure that I love it -- one thing I’ve noticed recently is that I’ve drifted into past tense since the time and date are marked I feel obligated to report at-the-minute. I’m going to try present tense again, I generally like present tense better. One thing I’m thinking about is the way that the blog has changed -- started out mostly about visiting my father, incest, his death, then it shifted to center around fibromyalgia and now It’s mostly about the book tour -- I find myself becoming self-conscious about these changes, like writing about sex I think wait: what if people don’t want to hear about sex, they want to hear about the book tour? I think that kind of self-consciousness, or maybe we could call it false-audience-consciousness, whatever it is it’s dangerous so I will fight it, I will write about incest and fibromyalgia and the book tour and sex and all of them together which is how it is in my life, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. But I’m truly loving this blog, even now when somehow my voice activation software suddenly won’t work at all in Word so now I’m using Microsoft Works which seems okay so far -- whatever keeps me writing, I just need to keep writing -- earlier I felt so horrible, worn out just from leaving the house and taking the bus downtown and then everything downtown was abandoned not even the financial district part but the part where I thought there would actually be things open, nothing was open. My feet were hurting so much from walking too far, shoulders burning from carrying my bag and probably from carrying groceries yesterday too maybe from sex also and sleeping on a very hard bed, I felt so totally hopeless and worn down and desperate really until I started writing -- I wrote the blog entry that will come after this one, now I feel okay. My shoulder still hurt, my feet feel better outside of shoes but now my back is a bit sore from this chair but my mind feels expansive once again, that’s what writing does for me.

Village Books in Bellingham, standing at the back, and getting this book when I was 16













Yesterday I wanted to post something about how I actually slept through the night which was pretty incredible since that almost never happens, I mean I didn't exactly sleep through but I didn't have to get up to go to the bathroom until I got out of bed. When I realized that, I got kind of excited, but then the wireless connection wasn't working in the room where I'm staying so instead I ended up rushing to Bellingham.

I've read at Village Books in Bellingham before, but this time it was in the new building that they built next to the old building I guess because this one they own and also because the top floors in the old building had been condemned for quite some time and are now being renovated -- or that's what people were saying. I loved the conversation with audience members before the reading, mostly middle-aged queers from the area who seemed excited to talk about all sorts of topics -- Minneapolis, police brutality in Bellingham, biking, gentrification. The audience as a whole was smaller than my other readings but not too small -- about 20 people -- everyone was quiet but attentive. There was someone standing way in the back of the store almost behind a bookshelf but listening the whole time so I tried to talk as loud as possible so she could hear -- the microphone stand didn't really work, so I wasn't using the mike.

It was great to see people who I remembered from previous readings, including one guy who asked if I would have a new novel soon -- the gossip is that I'm expecting a contract for that new novel any day, cross your fingers and whatever else works. Someone else asked how I chose the pieces in the book, that's a pretty common question, and someone else asked about intersectional politics which is of course what I'm ready to talk about. It seemed like most of the street people in the audience left right before the questions, and then it was all queer. It was a different kind of reading than the others because people are very interested in the ideas but didn't buy as many books, probably more similar to many of my readings before this tour in some ways and also of course there's the small town thing so people were certainly a bit more shy. One woman told me she was buying the book for her 16-year-old who was "exploring a lot of options," and at the time that sounded nice but it didn't exactly register until the next morning, that was earlier today I guess, when I woke up with that grinding sinus headache feeling the worst I've felt so far, overwhelmed by the thought of getting groceries. But I thought about that woman getting the book for her kid and that kind of struck me as spectacular, wondering what it would have meant for me to have received a book like this when I was 16, and from my mother! -- I can't even imagine, really. So that gave me a few tears and I also thought about what someone else in Bellingham said about my tour and how two months so focused on the project allows for more of an experience and then I actually got to the coop -- I really love the health food stores, actually -- they make me feel more grounded. I also liked taking the bus through downtown, remembering different places I used to end up -- just intersections, really -- when I lived in Seattle, I would walk downtown just to be downtown, even though there was nothing there really.







Friday, February 23, 2007

Exhaustion and touring




So I'm thinking about exhaustion and touring, whether I'm more exhausted now or whether it's the same just that I have different obligations and I'm out of my routine, apartment, etc. I don't have the answer -- I'm certain that touring opens up this emotional soft hopeful space in my heart yet also wears me down and I don't know whether there's a balance, not just with touring but everything really through this fibromyalgia drama I always have to push in order to do anything, pushing gives me what I’m looking for I mean it allows me to create something but yes it also wears me down except if I'm not pushing then I'm still worn down and so I'm stuck in this place of rumination, looking out the window here in Seattle and the people I'm staying with said that from my window I could see this huge warehouse where Amazon.com stores their books, the only huge thing I see is what I remember to be a hospital, could that really be the Amazon.com warehouse?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Knowing something








(First image is the view from the room where I'm staying, next images are the gorgeous photos Bruin took at the reading at Bailey/Coy)

For some reason I was extra-nervous before the Seattle reading, or maybe not extra-nervous just nervous like I always am except then the audience was laughing and smiling and loud and present right away, all of the chairs filled and more brought out and then people sitting on the floor too. My intro is now at the point where it's pretty much memorized, and I can improvise different parts and it's always fun when the audience is loud, actually this was probably the loudest audience per-person that is -- I mean, Portland was much larger but quieter to -- of course, there are different ways of paying attention, but I always like the immediate feedback. Jennifer Blowdryer joined me and read part of Kirk Read’s essay about passing as a model sex worker, then I read part of Nico Dacumos’s essay, the part that's a scathing critique of academia and Smith College in particular -- there were a few Smith College graduates in the audience, so that was fun. Then Jennifer read her piece and the audience was bursting in laughter right away.

My friend Bruin who I'm staying with asked a good question about how to go from thinking and exchanging ideas to social change in the world instead of just knowing how to talk about everything correctly -- I don't have the answer to that one, unfortunately. One of the questions was about identity politics, and where can we go since it's so limiting but also comforting. My take on that is that identity is a great place to start, the problem is when it becomes an endpoint and that's where the horrors begin, the way that the dominant signs of straight conformity have become the ultimate signs of gay success (gay marriage, gay adoption, gays in the military, gay cops, etc.) -- of course, I've talked about that a lot. A lot of the discussion was about the connections between passing and the violence of assimilation, and the intersectional politics that Nobody Passes invokes -- not just gender or just race or just class, etc., but the messy intersections and interrelations of all of these things in all of our lives.

After the reading, there were a lot of hugs -- I love hugs! I love the emotions this book brings up, for both me and for the audiences. Bailey/Coy, the store where we read, was really excited too and they sold almost all the books -- that's been true at all of the reading so far, actually -- it's pretty amazing, since in the past that's always been hard to predict -- even with big crowds, sometimes only a few people buy books, but this time around they’re flying and I can't help loving that, especially I think I love the act of signing the book and interacting one-on-one (which can happen with or without the book), that gets me excited!

Afterwards, I went to dinner with a few people, including a few more Smith graduates who weren’t at the reading. Then later I was driving around with a few people looking for Basic Plumbing, the sex club in Seattle where he used to go when I lived here but it moved. I decided that nothing could be worse than the sex clubs in San Francisco, so I was pretty excited about finding it, though we had to go to someone's apartment first to look it up on the internet. It was pretty interesting to me that they were open until 9 a.m., at first I thought what a tweaker epidemic, later realized it's because they are doing that discreet cheap hotel-stay-for-fags-too-drunk-to-go-home thing, since now they have rooms in the basement and I could hear someone snoring really loudly.

There was almost no one there, but I liked the public area and eventually I pursued this one guy long enough that eventually we got it on and it was hot! I mean HOT! He was really into me licking his belt buckle, which was pretty funny, that was the thing that got him the most turned on. I told him I liked it when he grabbed my neck, and then that became a whole session and later we were lying in his room just breathing and maybe exchanging a few words here and there. He didn't want to take his baseball cap off which I thought was strange -- I always think guys are hiding their age or bald spots with those caps, but he looked so much cuter and younger with it off. Maybe it was because he had a military haircut, I mean maybe he was in the military -- or maybe it was a recognition type of thing, like he didn't want me to see him. But it got kind of romantic and he took it off, I guess he was trying to pass as straight because he asked me if I was gay. I said yes, not wanting to get into a complicated conversation about identity since it was clear that what he meant was that I like to have sex with. Or maybe not.

Anyway, I like the part about how he took plain belt buckles and glued on old Soviet stars so that he could have something different than the guys around him in Butte, Montana; Spokane, Washington; Salt Lake City; someone else. Wyoming? What do you do in all of those places, I asked. Different things, he said.

Anyway, I let the come on my face dry there, a huge puddle on his chest too after so much teasing, that was the fun of the whole encounter -- 2 hours I think, that's a long time. Definitely the first time I’d had sex in weeks, I've been focusing pretty much everything on the tour and all. It was amazing, really, even the recognition that so much beauty can arise between people without much else in common -- I'm so glad that I know that, although knowing that doesn't always make it easier.
..

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Touching my face softly with my fingertips thinking it's okay

Earlier on the train from Portland to Seattle, I had my first touring moment of complete and utter exhaustion leaning towards despair -- no, right in the middle of despair -- what am I talking about? I sat listening to music on my MP3 player and touching my face softly with my fingertips thinking it's okay then realizing it's not okay so instead I thought it'll be okay -- for some reason, this exhaustion made me look at the blank spaces in my tour and wonder about more events to fill them in which might seem counterintuitive except that the events are what give me energy. I ended up zoning out on the colors of the carpet, pink and green leading towards gray and then I felt a little better.

Now I'm at the wonderful collective King Street House where I'm staying in Seattle and emotionally I feel better -- physically the same -- sinus headache grinding, difficulty focusing but I like it here and maybe I should be getting ready for bed, everyone else is in bed and here I'm thinking about tomorrow's event I'm almost more stressed because they've all been so amazing so far and so I'm scared of the crash I mean I'm in the crash but I'm scared that the events won't keep up the same incredible momentum. Okay, I'm off to send an email to my Seattle list -- yes, there is wireless here too! I never knew I could be so grateful for technology.

Oh, here's the Seattle info, in case you want to remind anyone:

NOBODY PASSES IN SEATTLE
Wednesday, February 21 @ 7 p.m.
Bailey/Coy Books
414 Broadway E.
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 323-8842
with Jennifer Blowdryer

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Jennifer Blowdryer gave me this sparkly flower at the reading and hello does it match my tie or what?


It also matches my belt, but I couldn't get that in the picture...thanks, Jennifer!

A lightness in my eyes


Where I've been staying in Northeast Portland is historically a black neighborhood, but you wouldn't necessarily know that walking down the street past white hipster/yuppie bars and restaurants, so it was somewhat surprising when I stepped on the bus and noticed that everyone on the bus was black, and mostly kids too, from elementary school age to maybe late teens. One of the younger kids asked his friend what he thought of her (that's me), they were debating something and then the older kids said that's not a her, that's a dude -- that's not a her -- dudes can wear pink, too.

I liked the accidental use of the correct pronoun, but couldn't think immediately of the best way to support it so I just turned back and smiled. Later, I ran into a friend of mine from the Bay Area -- she was working at the restaurant where I was eating -- I like running into people I know from SF in other places, an exciting warmth -- or at least it can be that way. In this case, my friend ended up giving me that warmth and several amazing hugs and a free meal, something that I never see happening in San Francisco anymore -- that's for sure. No one will even give you a break like sliding the produce through at the corporate health food store or counting four bunches of kale instead of six or whatever -- I miss that kind of thing, it should be a given really but everyone's been worn out by gentrification and corporate loyalty and maybe just being worn out for so long too. Honestly, I also liked the way people stared when I walked down the street like I was an unusual spectacle -- Portland is very hip, but it's also still a small town really.

Another incredible reading -- I just hope they all stay this incredible! It was packed, all the seats filled and more added and then still standing-room and sitting-on-floor-room only. I can't believe I forgot my camera -- I need one of those photos that shows the whole audience up to the podium, especially when it's so packed! Just to make me feel good, if nothing else -- I like crowds, I mean crowds for my readings.

Anyway, this crowd was really wonderful -- a few people here and there who I've known in other cities (San Francisco, Seattle), including some surprises, and also an intergenerational crowd, from people who grew up in the ‘40s and ‘50s down to the present -- a lovely mixture of types and personal styles of presentation, etc.

Jen Cross started, so again there was this intense presence of surviving abuse right at the beginning, then Priya Kandaswamy’s critique of the domestic violence prevention movement/industry, and Jennifer Blowdryer's story of how she got her SSI diagnosis. A lot of questions this time -- about the psychiatric industry and whether it can help (unfortunately industries don't help, they only have their own needs to account for), depression (whether I struggle with it -- of course!), vulnerability in my work (it's what helps me to feel safer), hopelessness (well, not in this moment), passing as a writer (because I talk about that jokingly in my intro), whether a certain degree of assimilation is healthy (never! that's why so many movements have failed), surviving abuse and expressing emotion and telling the truth (yes!), the connection between personal stories and political engagement/social change (I hope that's what these pieces are doing, starting from somewhere intensely personal and then taking on the world).

I have so much more to say, I mean these answers in parentheses are seriously appreciating the discussion since actually every answer I gave went on for a while, I mean I had a lot to say so I'll tell you more later. Right now I'm exhausted -- here in Portland I have the magic of wireless internet -- I may not have this in Seattle, but I will try to keep in touch as often as possible. This tour has already given me so much to think about, so much excitement and hope except of course there is still exhaustion and sinus headache heartache but also a lightness in my eyes.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

This is Portland on an incredibly sunny spring day like heaven and like heaven it may not last







Something explosive and saturated with emotion and vulnerability

One of the things I like about touring is that I get to stay with so many incredibly sweet people, many of whom I've never met before, including this time in Eugene, where I arrived around 4:30 a.m. at a house I'd never been to before (door unlocked so I could attempt not to wake anyone) -- and a friendly black cat who was very excited that someone else was awake -- cats are night owls like me, and yes I like meeting all these cats when I'm on tour too. Anyway, the house was spacious and spotless, I probably didn't get to sleep until 6:30 or so, then I was awake too early getting ready for the reading and talking to Abbie, one of my hosts. I like it when you’ve just met someone and you're in their house and it feels comfortable -- Eugene is a town like that, at least in my limited experience. From the outside it’s prefab 1950s/1960s houses, hideous strip malls surrounded by the gorgeousness of so many trees, inside there's a softness and a commitment to hospitality based on striving to create something challenging and sassy and soft too -- wait, this is getting too general -- let's just say that about the queers who I've met in Eugene, that's what I mean. Like the incredible Karla who brought me there in the first place and I could sense all this energy from the politics and priorities we share, something like commitment even while barely knowing one another. That's what it is about traveling -- finding other people who care, I mean other people to connect with and challenge the monstrosities that surround us, together maybe even if we’re only together briefly. Like they were having a vegan feast for Winter, my other host at the place where I stayed, but Jen and I needed to leave to get to Portland so I only got to say goodbye to everyone, hello and a hug and goodbye to Karla too.

But let me move to the reading, which was beautiful and thrilling -- this time it was in the MultiCultural Center, which was a pretty interesting room in a hideous modern character-free complex, somehow they created a rustic, wood-beam-feeling lounge/lecture room in the basement. The audience was interesting -- they would be totally quiet at parts when I would expect people to laugh, then everyone would burst out in unison at specific moments, like I remember they really liked the phrase "nonprofit industrial complex" and my list in general when I summarize some of the wide-ranging pieces in the book + my anti-assimilation queer reads went over well, and when Jen Cross talked about her experience as a femme being read as "gay by association." Oh, and they loved all critiques of academia and the role-playing of convention. Jen also read sections of Stephanie Abraham and Ralowe T. Ampu’s essays, it was interesting hearing them read by someone else -- not me and not the writers -- actually, it gave me a new sense of how strong the work is. Again, there were several times when I could have burst out in tears -- when Jen was reading about surviving sexual abuse, when I was talking about visiting my father before he died, there were even moments when Jen was reading Stephanie's piece I think -- and I said something at the beginning of the discussion about how I kept catching myself stopping myself from crying because I was passing as someone more distant, perhaps -- no, not distant -- I don't know, in control? I mean, the editor presenting her work, I guess. Maybe by the end of the tour I'll just be able to start sobbing, that seems like it would make sense although I'm also somehow resistant, like I don't want to determine other people's reactions I mean maybe I'm worried that crying somehow takes away from the celebration even though crying is celebration, or it can be.

It was great to see people who I first met at my reading at University of Oregon two years ago, especially Opey who contacted me and brought me back and even said that my earlier talk was the first time hearing the word "queer" and the potential of that, Johnny who talked about when queer might not be all of that potential -- and then the incredible conversation, a lot of it centered around surviving abuse and how we can use our knowledge to create something else, I said that’s where I first found my critical engagement, I mean adults would look at me and say enjoy your childhood and I would think who are they kidding? I mean why are they lying -- to me, to themselves? That's where I learned that everything around me was lies and I had to tear through all of that if I ever was going to find or create anything else.

It was so great reading and talking publicly with Jen, since the two of us are in a queer incest survivors group together and we actually met when Jen came to a reading for one of my past anthologies, Dangerous Families: Queer Writing on Surviving. It seemed like there were a lot of survivors in the audience, questions about how Jen dealt with putting such vulnerable and challenging work out in the world and what her birth family thought, people sharing their stories afterwards about surviving abuse and also about so many of the other intersections Nobody Passes addresses: the complexities of mixed-race identity, hierarchies of passing within subcultures, how we know and never know when and when we're not passing and what that means.

There was such a raw and complex and critical and rigorous engagement in the room at University of Oregon, in what Jen and I were saying both to one another and with everyone else in the room and our relationship outside that room and in the pages of this book and elsewhere, in what everyone was saying and feeling and expressing and our relationships to one another at that moment -- something explosive and saturated with emotion and vulnerability, I mean I didn't want to leave that incredible potential, hopefully we’re all taking it with us.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I know I'm going to miss this sunny San Francisco global warming weather...

In two weeks I'll be in Minnesota, hopefully it won't be -120.

Okay, I'm on my way...

A quick book tour announcement before I go...

Okay, I'm CRAZY at the moment but here's a book tour announcement -- tomorrow I'm on the road and may not always have e-mail access, but you will surely be hearing from me when I do!

Tell your friends, tell your enemies, tell the world...

Following are all the events so far (more are in the works, especially in New England), first an abbreviated list and then the details for each venue (who's reading, etc.). Please spread the word, and definitely let me know if you have any ideas for publicity/press/additional events, etc.

Here are the events (all will also be listed on my homepage and myspace, so feel free to check in on those, which are listed in my links):

San Francisco: Wednesday, January 24 @ 7:30 p.m., Modern Times Bookstore, 888 Valencia

Los Angeles: Friday, February 9 @ 7:30 p.m., Skylight Books, 1818 N Vermont Ave

Eugene, Oregon: Friday, February 16 @ 4:30 p.m., University of Oregon, MultiCultural Center, Suite 33 Erb Memorial Union (EMU)

Portland, Oregon: Monday, February 19 @ 7:30 p.m., Powell's Books on Hawthorne, 3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd.

Seattle: Wednesday, February 21 @ 7 p.m., Bailey/Coy Books, 414 Broadway E.

Bellingham, Washington: Friday, February 23 @ 7:30 p.m., Village Books, 1200 11th St

Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota: Saturday, March 3, time and location TBA

Minneapolis: Monday, March 5 @ 7 p.m., Amazon Bookstore Cooperative, 4755 Chicago Ave. S.

Chicago: Thursday, March 8 @ 7:30 p.m., Women & Children First Bookstore, 5233 N. Clark St

Milwaukee: Friday, March 9 @ 7:30 p.m., Broad Vocabulary, 2241 S. Kinnickinnic Ave

Ann Arbor: Sunday, March 11 @ 4 p.m., Shaman Drum Bookshop, 311-315 South State St

Toronto: Tuesday, March 13 @ 8 p.m., This Ain't the Rosedale Library, 483 Church St

New York City: Wednesday, March 21 @ 7 p.m., Bluestockings Bookstore, 172 Allen St

Columbia University, NYC: Thursday, March 22 @ 7 p.m., location TBA

Wagner College, Staten Island: Monday, March 26 @ 7 p.m., location TBA

Philadelphia: Monday, April 2 @ 5:30 p.m., Giovanni's Room, 345 South 12th Street

Baltimore: Wednesday, April 4 @ 7:30 p.m. (date and time are TENTATIVE, please check back for confirmation), Red Emma’s Bookstore, 800 St. Paul Street

Washington, DC: Thursday, April 5 @ 6:30 p.m., Busboys and Poets Books, 2021 14th Street, NW

Yale University, New Haven, CT: Wednesday, April 11 @ 7 p.m.

NOBODY PASSES IN SF
Wednesday, January 24 @ 7:30 p.m.
Modern Times Bookstore
888 Valencia (@ 20th)
San Francisco, CA 94110
www.moderntimesbookstore.com
(415) 282-9246
with Sand Chang, Logan Gutierrez-Mock, Amy Andre, Jen Cross, Dominika Bednarska, Tommi Avicolli Mecca and Eric Stanley

NOBODY PASSES IN LA
Friday, February 9 @ 7:30 p.m.
Skylight Books
1818 N. Vermont Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90027 (323) 660-1175
with Dean Spade, Jessica Hoffmann, Ruth Blandon, Irina Contreras, Stephanie Abraham, Benjamin Shepard, Jen Cross and Jennifer Blowdryer

NOBODY PASSES IN EUGENE
Friday, February 16 @ 4:30 p.m.
University of Oregon
MultiCultural Center
Suite 33 in the Erb Memorial Union (EMU)
Eugene, Oregon 97403
with Jen Cross

NOBODY PASSES IN PORTLAND
Monday, February 19 @ 7:30 p.m.
Powell’s Books on Hawthorne
3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR 97214
www.powells.com
with Priya Kandaswamy, Jen Cross and Jennifer Blowdryer

NOBODY PASSES IN SEATTLE
Wednesday, February 21 @ 7 p.m.
Bailey/Coy Books
414 Broadway E.
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 323-8842
with Jennifer Blowdryer

NOBODY PASSES IN BELLINGHAM
Friday, February 23 @ 7:30 p.m.
Village Books
1200 Eleventh Street
Bellingham, WA 98225Tel: (360) 671-2626
www.villagebooks.com
with Jennifer Blowdryer

MACALESTER COLLEGE
Saturday, March 3
St. Paul, Minnesota

NOBODY PASSES IN MINNEAPOLIS
Monday, March 5 @ 7 p.m.
Amazon Bookstore Cooperative4755 Chicago Ave. So.Minneapolis, MN 55407
(612) 821-9630
www.amazonbookstorecoop.com

NOBODY PASSES IN CHICAGO
Thursday, March 8 @ 7:30 p.m.
Women & Children First Bookstore
5233 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60640
773-769-9299
wcfbooks@aol.com
www.womenandchildrenfirst.com

NOBODY PASSES IN MILWAUKEE
Friday, March 9 @ 7:30 p.m.
Broad Vocabulary
2241 S. Kinnickinnic Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53207
www.broadvocabulary.com
(414) 744-8384

NOBODY PASSES IN ANN ARBOR
Sunday, March 11 @ 4 p.m.
Shaman Drum Bookshop
311-315 South State St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 662-7407

NOBODY PASSES IN TORONTO
Tuesday, March 13 @ 8 p.m.
This Ain't the Rosedale Library
483 Church St
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 929-9912
with Stacey May Fowles

NOBODY PASSES IN NYC
Wednesday, March 21 @ 7 p.m.
Bluestockings Bookstore
172 Allen St (between Stanton and Rivington)
New York, NY 10002
www.bluestockings.com
with Helen Boyd, Sand Chang, Rocko Bulldagger, Naeem Mohaiemen, and Liz Rosenfeld

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
Thursday, March 22 @ 7 p.m.
New York, New York
in conversation with T Cooper and Felicia Luna Lemus

WAGNER COLLEGE
Monday, March 26 @ 7 p.m.
Staten Island, New York

NOBODY PASSES IN PHILADELPHIA
Monday, April 2 @ 5:30 p.m.
Giovanni 's Room345 South 12th StreetCorner of 12th & Pine Sts in Center CityPhiladelphia, PA 19107(215) 923-2960
www.giovannisroom.com
with Rocko Bulldagger

NOBODY PASSES IN BALTIMORE
Wednesday, April 4 @ 7:30 p.m.
(*this date and time are TENTATIVE -- check with the store for final details*)
Red Emma’s Bookstore
800 St. Paul St.Baltimore, MD 21202(410) 230-0450
www.redemmas.org

NOBODY PASSES IN DC
Thursday, April 5 @ 6:30 p.m.
Busboys and Poets
2021 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 387-7638
www.busboysandpoets.com
with Rocko Bulldagger

YALE UNIVERSITY
Wednesday, April 11 @ 7 p.m.
in conversation with T Cooper and Felicia Luna Lemus

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

That conversation with my sister

In the restaurant with my sister -- Real Food Daily, my favorite restaurant on the West Coast, by the way, because I can get simple food that tastes incredible and doesn't make me sick -- anyway, next to us is this couple arguing about everything except then they’re talking to us, the guy wants to know if my sister’s an analyst. He means a financial analyst, since my sister and I had been talking about my mother and her finances. It's true that my sister seems to know a lot about finances, she talks about different kinds of accounts and investments and my brain can't focus, some of it is because I'm not used to hearing about these kinds of things and some of it is because hearing about the BRIC fund -- Britain, Russia, India, China -- makes my eyes go somewhere up into my head where it hurts. No, not Britain -- that doesn't make sense, these are what they call emerging markets -- Brazil -- Brazil, Russia, India, China -- that's what this guy is talking about, he says it's going to skyrocket. Turns out it's his sister he's arguing with, she's the assistant director of a local production of the play Bent, by Martin Sherman, about gay men in Nazi concentration camps -- it's a good play, although I've never seen it on stage -- I read it and later saw the movie. The assistant director says there are hot guys in it, which makes me wonder about the pornography of the Holocaust as spectacle but I do remember liking the movie, then I wanted to see it again to think about whether the theatrical approach created distance from the feeling but I never did.

So this brother is visiting from New York, he's very friendly and kind of hot too, flirting with my sister I think -- especially when he says are guys intimidated by professional women? My sister thinks this question is ridiculous, but then she thinks again -- I don't know, she says. She's been living with the same boyfriend for six years, they’re in a monogamous relationship. This guy is talking about something called JDate -- he says everyone in New York is on JDate. What is it? Oh no -- like match.com except Jewish. This brother and sister next to me and my sister are the unassimilated New York Jewish types, down to the intonation and my sister later says she found them comforting -- maybe we should be arguing too, she says.

Then I guess we are arguing -- it's weird because it's about everything emotional but my sister keeps interrupting me like we're fighting, like she wants to win -- at this point we're in the car -- this is LA, right? -- I say aren't you a therapist? She says I try not to interrupt my patients -- or does she use the word clients? I say well when we are having an emotional conversation, you should also try not to interrupt me -- the point is for us to be able to express ourselves, right? I'm trying not to play the role of older brother that doesn't serve me on any level, like maybe it made sense when you were one and I was three but now we’re basically the same age and still sometimes I'm facilitating when you're saying fucked up things to me, like I'm trying to create that space for you.

We're talking about when she said about my father: I feel like he's a little bird who needs to be protected. Later, I told her that felt like betrayal, but first I just listened like I was a neutral observer -- the only non-therapist among the four of us -- psychiatrist father, mother and sister clinical social workers. Actually, we’re talking about my blog -- my sister thinks it's one-sided. It's supposed to be one-sided, I say -- what are you talking about? She says I know -- I know it's for you and I know I don't have to read it but I can't help it and then I can't help feeling angry -- he was mentally impaired and physically unable to take care of himself so of course I wanted to protect him. My sister says this a few times like it's an irrefutable logic -- logic, that poison we grew up with. I mean, I believe in logic, but not when it is illogical. I mean not when it is ONLY logic, that's what we grew up with. The illusion of logic and all that violence underneath.

This is where I'm crying, we're sitting in the car in the Whole Foods parking lot, it's the kind of strip mall I've only seen in LA -- a posh Whole Foods at the center but everything else has remained the same, like the wig store next door. I'm staring at a neon sign that I'm trying to remember, it would make sense to remember this sign. While I'm crying my eyes are closed because maybe I don't feel safe with my sister watching me, while she's saying of course she wanted to protect our father from me.

No, I'm not crying yet. First I say something that struck me was the way that both you and Mom seemed more invested in keeping me from saying what I wanted to Dad than he was -- he was fine with listening to me, in some ways with this was the only time in my life that he listened to me -- in some ways, I think he was keeping himself alive so that he could see me, and once that happened he didn't have any reason to keep himself alive any longer...

That's where I'm crying, in the Whole Foods parking lot. My sister says when you say they're abusive and I'm abusive, it's like you're saying I am the same as them. She's still trying to win the argument. This is where she has tears in her eyes, and I say I would never say you were the same as them, but I felt like you were participating in the same abusive dynamic -- protect the abuser from the survivor -- that's what everyone in the "family" has done. I mean, by any of their standards, he is absolutely the most successful of any of them, and he's continued to get more and more and more successful, and they’ve acted as if he was a little boy and I destroyed him.

My sister says you're right, that is the way they've behaved and it's awful, but I've tried to support you in any way that I can -- you don't know how many times I've defended you. I say I've never asked for that, the only thing I've ever asked for is that you acknowledge that he sexually abused me, I mean lowest common denominator that you at least ask him if it happened and you never even did that, and it's hard for me because you were there and you were the only person in a similar position as me and you haven't supported me in the ways I've wanted. My sister says I don't remember anything, I know that something horrible happened to you but I don't remember it's hard for me because I don't remember anything.

I say it was hard for me to be there because I hadn't seen you with them in 15 years and generally I think of the two of us as having a relationship that's entirely separate from them and I love you and care about you, but in their house it was like you were a part of them and it's hard for me to acknowledge that our relationship isn’t really separate from them at all. Like you've always said I believe him and I believe you, which really is supporting him -- not me -- and also avoiding self-actualization at any cost.

My sister says you're saying that you feel like I didn't support you, maybe I should have just supported him, it would've made my life a lot easier. In my head I'm wondering if that would have made my life easier too, and what easier means. My sister says I think you see everything as black and white. This is one of their arguments -- I know this one well, they used to say I was too "idealistic” and I always thought what you talking about I'm a total pessimist, somehow not realizing that idealistic wasn't the same thing as optimistic. The truth is that I see almost nothing as black and white, but I do try to act by my ideals. My sister 's talking about how I've had 15 years of creating myself that is totally separate from them and she hasn't had that. I say you're right, but that's something that I chose. About the black-and-white issue, I say that I do see them as monsters, but then I also see them as people who I love who have done monstrous things, both of these points of view coexist even when I don't want them to -- I mean I don't want to love them, like part of me still wants to save Mom, even though she never saved me from anything.

My sister says you're right it was horrible growing up with them, no parents should scream and yell at each other like they did but it's hard for me to think that you would want to put me in that situation of asking him whether he abuse you -- you know what would happen! Actually, this is where she has tears in her eyes, I've been crying more and it feels good to let things out even if nothing is resolved, no it doesn't feel good but it feels better than nothing I think. Although when I'm crying I feel myself lifting my body up and arching back -- protecting myself from crying more is what I'm thinking, even when I want to cry more.

I say yes, there's a high possibility that he would have gotten enraged, but he shouldn't still have that same power over you. If everyone had said what they were actually thinking, like what they had said when I first confronted him and sent them the letter. Florence said are you sure that this happened? I said yes. She said then it must have been him, because there was never anyone else around. Rose said I've read this 10 times and if it's true then how can I go on living? I said it is true, and I want you to go on living. I don't know about Mom, but if his mother-in-law had said no one else was ever around, and his mother had said how can I go on living, and you had said something horrible happened and I don't know what, then maybe he would have had to deal with it. Maybe not right then -- maybe he would have gotten enraged like always -- but at some point.

My sister brings up another analogy, why all these analogies? I say a better analogy would be if he were dying and you wanted to talk to him or confront him about anything, I wouldn't give a shit about him -- the only thing that would be important would be creating a safe environment for you to say what you needed to.

My sister is tired, so it's time for us to get groceries. Actually, I'm tired too -- now that my sister isn't interrupting me, I keep forgetting what I wanted to say. I mean, before I was forgetting too but that was because she was interrupting me. Now I guess it's because this is so draining. My sister says I've been saying a lot of things that you probably don't want to hear, but I'm glad that we can talk, I think it's important for our relationship and I'm wondering if she's right.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A love letter to LA, sort of

Growing up in Washington, DC in the shadow of government clampdown, there was really only one city in my imagination and that was New York, where I knew I'd escape to eventually. But then I needed to get farther away and so I ended up in San Francisco (later I lived in New York, I did my time but it was too late I mean New York was no longer New York -- not for me, anyway). San Francisco and New York have a few things in common, and one of them is certainly a disdain for everything LA -- strip malls, bikinis, tanning salons, 10 cars for every person -- San Francisco and New York want to see themselves as so much more cultured, refined, defined by a mysterious urban sensibility that scoffs at the surface excess of the suburban while simultaneously cultivating it.

Like many mythologies, that of Surface LA is everpresent, glorified and monstrous, horrifying in its audacity while reveling in so many challenges. Let me break it down, or I'll never get to what I'm supposed to be writing about -- I hated LA before I had ever been there, and everything I hated about LA certainly presents itself in more ways than I could even imagine (in New York too -- and San Francisco!). But the point right now is that now I'm in LA, staring up at palm trees that are actually healthy or eating at a vegan Ethiopian restaurant or gasping once again yes again that this huge expanse could actually be considered one city (or sure, gasping at what many call air), but the sheer volume of desires and the range of forces and territories and fissures breaks juxtapositions is also breathtaking in that way that feels like yes, breath again.

One of the reasons I've started to like some things about LA is my friendship with Jessica Hoffman, expansiveness through shared commitments to challenge and accountability and other beautiful things, and the people in LA she's introduced me to, Stephanie Abraham and Irina Contreras and an LA that is just like the dream of every other city thrown up against a wall and shattered too but also shattering chattering no more than that an explosion looking for the parts.

I'm getting nowhere with all this poetry, or no somewhere but I'll never get to posting this in time before driving back to San Francisco then three days to recover again so many more mornings waking up with my head blasted in, two months of travel hoping the beautiful moments can soothe me growing somewhere inspiration.

No I love the way this is proceeding, this writing thing that is.

I mentioned that the LA reading was phenomenal, but let me explain. I think more than any other reading yet, so many different perspectives styles of speech and differences among the readers interacting reacting glistening gorgeous. I mean there were so many times when I could've cried -- I know I've said that before, and here I am again saying that once again I stopped myself, why? Yes, passing.

Yes, I love that the place was packed -- and I do mean packed, as in standing all the way to the back -- but also packed with a certain excitement about these intersectional politics of dissolution and disillusionment and deviance and defiance and disaster -- if I could just live in that space all the time, yes give it to me! I mean give me to it.

Yes, I love words, especially these words as they're rolling I mean just give me these words... But sometimes just the words means lonely, in that room yes that packed room I felt something else like hope maybe, should I call it that? Hope that we can create something with the ruins -- the ruins of ourselves, the ruins we're living in, the ruins we’re creating -- does that sound too bold? Not cold, that's what I like about it.

For a second let me just mention the magazine that Stephanie Abraham and Jessica Hoffman and Daria Yudokofski are creating, make/shift (www.makeshiftmag.org), a new feminist magazine with the subtitle feminisms in motion -- did you hear that? Motion -- yes, motion. I will have a column starting with the first issue in March, then I'll be books editor starting with the second issue in the fall, and I'll be telling you way more about it but I just wanted to mention it here since here is LA, is Skylight Books last night for the reading, is make/shift and so many other interventions yes. Interventions, please give me more interventions!

But back to the reading, Stephanie Abraham teasing us with the assimilation/non-assimilation success story then revealing what's underneath then Dean Spade exposing gender regulation, Jennifer Blowdryer seducing us with over-enunciation satirizing medical diagnoses, Jessica Hoffman + Ruth Blandon + Irina Contreras as Vanessa Huang exploring the contradictions of the immigrant rights movement, Benjamin Shepard extolling the virtues of male-on-male lovelust maybe passing/not passing as queer, Jen Cross on surviving abuse and passing too well then choosing femininity after rejecting it as part of her stepfather's violence, finally Irina Contreras on what happens when you run into Code Pink in the bathroom of a museum where you work but today you're not working it's one of the big immigrant rights mobilizations.

Can you see how this combination couldn't fail to be explosive? People were quiet during the question-and-answer opportunity, until this great question about mentors and competition within activism and resistance, each of us went around to talk about this -- many beautiful stories about friends and fellow contributors and inspiration from people who don't necessarily make it to the limelight and this was really thoughtful and splendid. Later my sister mentioned that it was also like everyone was maybe passing as not competing and I think that's true too although I'm also sure that we were creating something beyond that. The second question was a comment about how isn't it also true that everybody passes, and I loved that because yes, everybody passes and nobody passes and this book is about those places where we pass or fail to pass or refuse to pass and the interrelation of all of those experiences, bring it on.

My sister and I had a very stressful and not necessarily heartening maybe even hardening but also honest and explosives cathartic conversation a day or was it two days before the reading which later I will talk about more but tonight she said maybe you don't hear this from anyone else in the family (you know, that family, the one that was supposed to give me what I needed but instead gave me what I needed to resist) -- but my sister said I'm really proud of you because you're doing amazing and important work and that's when I was crying now too yes I'm crying and I love it.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Photos from the LA reading








Okay, I had so much to say but then I realized it was WHAT? 3 a.m. or whatever, I have to get ready for bed-- here are some pictures from the LA reading which was phenomenal!!!!!! and I'll hopefully write something more comprehensive tomorrow, just want to write something quickly-- I know there will probably be some readings on the tour that will be sparsely attended and may be even uninspiring, but for now I'm high on the incredible energy sparked by such a beautiful interaction of ideas --By the way, I realize that one of the pictures appears here twice, but I can't figure out how to delete it right now-- thanks so much to the volunteer photographer from the audience!

..

Friday, February 09, 2007

First it was fog, now it's brain fog


Here's one of my sister’s cats, taking a nap and that's what I should be doing -- I mean going to sleep, not just a nap. My sister and I had an exhausting but cathartic conversation that of course took place mostly in a car (this is LA) and I should have rushed immediately to write it down, but instead I worked on the book tour and now I'm just too drained to write anything more really so it's time to stretch.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Fog in LA

Okay, I shouldn't be writing right now I should be getting ready for bed, but I've arrived in LA and my friend Jessica picked me up at the Greyhound station and we were driving through Hollywood and it was filled with fog, which I didn't think about much at first since I was coming from San Francisco, until Jessica mentioned that there was rarely fog in LA this far from the ocean, so I will definitely take that as a good sign -- fog in LA! Yes, fog and LA! Bring it on...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A pillow and food on my fire escape, my favorite part of the view (does it look like San Francisco?), someone lost a shoe on the roof, oh there it is





The Fringe...

I did a great radio show earlier today, The Fringe: Genderqueer Community Radio with Mara Williams/DJ Cariad – the show airs Mondays 5 to 6 p.m. on KDVS 90.3 FM in Davis, CA. I went on the show a few years ago for That's Revolting!, but this time it was even more fun -- how great to have a radical queer/genderqueer program on prime time! You can listen to it here:

http://www.kdvs.org/showme.cfm?show=20&title=The%20Fringe&filter=mon

Not sure how long it's archived there, probably at least until next week and I'll see if there's a permanent link. Tomorrow I'm on my way to LA...

Monday, February 05, 2007

NOBODY PASSES in LA -- this Friday!!!!

Tell your friends, tell your enemies, tell the world...

NOBODY PASSES IN LA
Friday, February 9 @ 7:30 p.m.
Skylight Books
1818 N. Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 660-1175
www.skylightbooks.com
with Dean Spade, Jessica Hoffmann, Ruth Blandon, Irina Contreras, Stephanie Abraham, Benjamin Shepard, Jen Cross and Jennifer Blowdryer

In case you need the promo blurbs...

NOBODY PASSES starts by tearing binary gender norms to shreds, and then proceeds to examine the perilous intersections of identity, categorization, and community in order to challenge the very notion of belonging. Susan Stryker says it "gleefully demolishes the smug propriety that lurks within most contemporary debates about gender and diversity" and Naomi Zack says, “Nobody Passes is a fascinating example of how feminism and gender studies can support radically new identities that develop at the speed of life—or it may be part of the end of identity politics as known so far.”

From activism to academia, immigration to appropriation to cruising for sex, hip-hop to disability culture to trans communities, Nobody Passes challenges both societal mores and countercultural norms, asking, "If we eliminate the pressure to pass, what delicious and devastating opportunities for transformation might we create?"

Start thinking of questions -- I'm looking forward to the discussion...
.

My first blogging crisis, not documented so well right now because the sinus headache is a bit overwhelming after dissipating for several days

Okay, someone literally posted on my blog telling me they thought I suffered from "False Memory Syndrome" -- I'm serious! Briefly, "False Memory Syndrome" is a bullshit lie created by perpetrators to silence survivors -- no one except for my parents/abusers has ever made such an accusation, at least not directly. It was especially shocking because this harassment came right after a post where I'm talking incredibly vulnerable he and openly about memory and abuse and trauma -- speaking of trauma, that comment did destroy me for a few hours, initially I was stunned, I almost couldn't move and then I couldn't think about anything else. What should I do? I kind of couldn't believe it, although of course I should expect anything when I'm putting out intensely personal, raw and volatile material out for public view. But I was also worried about other survivors being traumatized by this awful comment (posted anonymously, of course), so I had to make a quick decision to moderate the comments. So far, I've been committed to accepting all comments, and of course it's easier to post anonymously for a lot of people, but for now the comments will be moderated. Hope that works for all of you.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Together

Later, much later, when my father wasn't dragging me downstairs anymore I was maybe too old, I remember sitting in his office and maybe I'd seen a syringe somewhere like in the closet where all of the drug samples were, I can't remember how this conversation
started, but my father said something about how if you ever wanted to hide the fact that you were drugging someone, you could just do it in the head because then there would be no marks. And everything in the room changed like my father was an island of just eyes,
huge eyes everywhere and I needed to hold onto something, I didn't know what it wasn't there.

Those eyes when I’d go to sleep, in my walls the blankets shifting into faces, keep my eyes inside.

Anyway, now I'm wondering -- it doesn't really matter, since there are so many ways of drugging kids -- but I'm wondering, since I never shot drugs on my own, I was too afraid of blood -- can you shoot someone up in the head? I guess I'm wondering about the mechanics of the drugging, does that matter? I mean, everything matters but also everything is there I mean here no matter what and so the details, I don't know --
sometimes I get caught up in the details, like I'm trying to figure it all out when really it's in my body, I don't necessarily need to figure it out as much as to get it out.

Just a few nights ago, a friend of mine wrote thanking me for the blog, wondering if I had a little sister because there were so many similarities in our abuse histories. I do have a sister, and I couldn't help wishing that she'd come to terms with the abuse also it would be there for us. Instead, I'm haunted by something my sister said after my visit to my father, sobbing in that room against my mother, against everyone so present in all my emotion even with all of them there -- for the first time, really. My sister said, "I feel like he's a little bird who needs to be protected."

Protected from me, I guess.

But anyway, one of the things my friend mentioned was that she was drugged by her father there was something like a gasp coming out of my mouth or really like I was sucking the air in frozen then tears, gasping, sobbing because my father drugged me too, somehow it's almost harder to say that than he raped me molested me sexually abused me. More mystery, almost, everything shrouded in an extra layer of fog or white light shooting out of my head just leave me here please, anywhere but what's down there.

And yes, the way memories shift and break and bend and voices become enormous and I’m just a tiny broken toy with the hinges rusted, which is already the way abuse memories are stored but exponentially more so. Like I have memories of my father chopping my head off and I can sit here and know that I'm alive today and so no, my
father didn't chop my head off, but still it feels like a memory, lying on that bar in the basement, my father with a knife. Or, strangled in the burlap sack the only way I could get out a butterfly into the chimney maybe if there's no fire.

Later, my friend mentioned something about taking mushrooms for the first time, how the panicking reminded her of being drugged and raped, the emotional experience and that's when I felt that prickly sensation like my skin would expand, mouth open I'd stopped breathing jaw locked. Because I had a similar experience the first time I did
mushrooms, I mean almost every time I did mushrooms like I'd look in the mirror and that wasn't me, something had happened like my face had changed shape I even called
myself on the telephone.

So many of us had to go through such monstrous experiences in order to get where we are now, and even in the horror of remembering it's incredible and affirming to hear from someone experiencing similar types of abuse, I mean it makes it okay to talk about, to think that I won't break open and burst from speaking, that actually speaking is maybe what helps me not to break or if I'm broken to maybe feel some chance of putting it all together, not back together because I don't know if it ever was, just together.

(ATTENTION SURVIVORS: I've been accused of having "False Memory Syndrome" in the comments -- do not read the comments if not prepared to be triggered, I haven't yet figured out how to respond -- whether I should allow a comment like that, what exactly to say -- moderated comments? -- if possible, please comment with your thoughts, I think I will delete that comment for now and repost it later, but of course the same person may post again... no, I will leave it for now, and think about how to respond -- of course, "False Memory Syndrome" is a bullshit lie created by perpetrators to silence survivors, but I might want to say more... I don't know, I wasn't expecting this, but I guess one should expect anything when putting incredibly vulnerable, raw, personal material out in a public forum. Okay, I've made a decision -- I'm worried about traumatizing other survivors, so I'm going to remove the comment for now and maybe repost it later with my own comments)

(New addition: a new response from the original anonymous, asking me to justify/prove my experiences -- no thanks, I've done enough of that -- I've deleted that comment as well, and all comments will now be moderated)
.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Okay, I'm already crashing... but that's okay, at least I can go back to bed



.

Here comes the high, enjoy the high...




Okay, I just did the interview -- it was so much fun! I love being interviewed by smart people, and Sonali Kolhatkar’s Uprising is one of the best programs on the air. The interview will air tomorrow morning somewhere in the program from 8-9 a.m. in LA (90.7 FM) and Santa Barbara (98.7 FM), streaming on www.kpfk.org. Then it will be archived on the KPFK site, as well as at www.uprisingradio.org.

Notes on an interview, before the interview

Okay, so I wake up two hours earlier than I was supposed to, which was two hours earlier than I would want to, lying in bed thinking oh, this is how I could feel, so much worse, it could always be so much worse. My mind racing and I can't stop it, thinking about the tour and is this what will happen on the tour when I have to get up too early, yes, unfortunately. Trying trying trying so hard to get back to some kind of calm place but instead I'm thinking of all the errands that maybe I can do since I'll be up early, even though as soon as the interview is over what I'll really need to do is to get back in bed, unless I'm wired and then I'll still need to get back in bed.

In this space, I could go outside and just being there would make me feel like falling, people could kick me or whatever and I would try not to get up. That means the best thing is not to go outside. But then my brain finally starts to calm, and in that soft space between calm and sleep until I realize that maybe it's time to get up but this is better, outside my window everything looks white -- this is San Francisco, so I mean the sky (my voice software wants to write "this guy," but no I mean this guy knows best guy knows this guy know know the sky know the sky know this guy knows this guy know the sky now the sky note the sky note that sky know this guy know this guy -- oh well, just an illustration -- usually I would train it and leave that invisible, if only more guys were likes skies). But anyway, everything looks white until I open the blinds and I realize it's grey and that feels fine too.