There has been so much bullshit news lately, of the sort that reminds me that people like me (women, LGBTQ people) are not safe, that some people I love very much are even less safe than I am (POC, trans women, TWOC, LGBTQ POC, more outwardly GNC folks...), and honestly I'm having a hard time focusing on anything else. I'm working on a long piece about queerness and safety (or lack thereof) and violence and sorrow and joy and politics and love, but it’s going to take me a while to finish it because there’s a lot to it and it’s all very heavy and I keep having to take breaks for my own mental health. I really don't want to be thinking about all this (all this being the Pulse shooting, and the Stanford case, and Amber Heard, and Christina Grimmie, and the fucking election, and how broken the world seems right now). It's fucking summer, and I'd rather be thinking about the things that make me happy/that I'm interested in right now: sundresses and iced coffee, my son and my new house, wandering and exploring, making jewelry and art journaling, photobooth pictures, beer, stick and poke tattoos, tarot, books and zines and music, kissing girls (and not in a way that's like this is a political statement or I could get killed for doing this, but in the way that's like man girls are beautiful and rad and it's fun to smooch 'em). I'd rather be thinking about the writing projects I'm working on. Hell, at this point, I'd even rather be thinking about my own personal nostalgic sorrows. But my thoughts keep returning to all the bullshit, despite my best efforts. I cried through my eyeliner three times yesterday; after the third time I said "fuck it" and didn't bother to reapply it.
The purpose of this post, though, is to help me--and maybe you--focus on the good stuff. I know we all feel like giant wounds right now, but despairing won't do us any good. We have to try and find whatever bits of joy we can to help us stay strong. So here are some things that might help:
1. These three pieces have been the most healing for me to read in the wake of the Pulse shooting. They're still hard reads, as anything about this will be, but they offer a bit of hope and healing as well: Biphobia and the Pulse Massacre / Surviving On Small Joys / My Sweet, Wounded Queers: Keep Kissing In Public.
2. There's a lot of news on my writing/spoken word/zine front: the biggest being that What We Talk About When We Talk About Punk is now available for preorder (I'll make a separate post about that). But other stuff is happening, too, like: two more tracks from my upcoming spoken word album are streaming on Bandcamp, I have a piece in issue #2 of Grub zine, I'll be performing at the 8th Annual Dan Jam here in Racine, I'm working on issue #23 of Reckless Chants (you can preorder it here), and the first-ever Kenosha Zine Fest is happening August 13th--registration is free, and there are still hella spots available, so go sign up! And, there's some other stuff I'm working on that I will announce details of once they're solidified: I'm working on putting together the first-ever event for the new Racine/Kenosha chapter of The Poetry Brothel, I'm planning an LGBTQ poetry event with proceeds going to local LGBTQ organizations, I'm planning on teaching a course about poetry and memoir, I may be putting together a physical oracle deck based on the major arcana of the punk rock tarot, and I'm working on a top-secret zine project (that's not really top secret, I'm just not announcing details until it's done). Whew, I'm busy.
3. A short list of things I've been digging on in the past few months, because you might dig on them, too:
Green Girl by Kate Zambreno, The Birdwisher by Anna Joy Springer, You Must Always Have a Secret Plan zine, Pray, Pray, Pray: Poems I Wrote to Prince in the Middle of the Night by E. Kristin Anderson, Girl-King by Brittany Cavallaro, Beyond the Pale Motel by Francesca Lia Block, King Kong Theory by Virginie Despentes, Zazen by Vanessa Veselka, Under the Big Black Sun by John Doe (and a bunch of other people), volume two of the Ladybox (particularly 51 Poems About Nothing At All by Meliza Bañales, The Garden Inside Her by Isobel O'Hare, and Stag by Emily O'Neill), Life is Wonderful, People Are Terrific by Meliza Bañales, Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich, Girls On Fire by Robin Wasserman, The Book of Repulsive Women: Five Increasing / Rhythms by Carrie Lorig, So Sad Today by Melissa Broder, The Creative Tarot by Jessa Crispin, The Wander Society by Keri Smith / + the poetry of Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Ross Gay, James Baldwin, Lucille Clifton, Audre Lorde, Fatimah Asghar, and Misha Brandon Speck.
Bellows - Blue Breath, Beyoncé - Lemonade, Bob Dylan, Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial, Cockeye - Gold Star EP, Dakota Floyd - Localities, Daymé Arocena, Esperanza Spalding - Emily's D+Evolution (particularly the cover of "I Want It Now" that's included in the deluxe edition), G.L.O.S.S. - Trans Day of Revenge (I mean honestly that EP is fucking saving me right now), John Doe - The Westerner, L.A. Witch - Drive Your Car, Lizzo - Big Grrrl Small World, Lulu and the Lampshades - "Cups," Mischief Brew, The Need, Pepper Proud - "Love You, Love A Riddle," Prince, Red Dons - Dead Hand of Tradition, Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2, Screaming Females - Rose Mountain, Sheer Mag, Swanning - Drawing Down the Moon, Tacocat - "Men Explain Things to Me," Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, Witchy Poo, Worriers - Imaginary Life / + a whole bunch of old school L.A. punk, most especially The Flesh Eaters.
slam poetry (especially SC Says, Crystal Valentine, Elizabeth Acevedo, Fatimah Asghar, and Megan Falley and Olivia Gatwood's "Speak Like a Girl" stuff), the YouTube videos of Jeffrey Marsh, deep topography, the art of Jana Brike, J. Braeger, and Chad Tuura, Kill Your Darlings (film), Patti Smith (I'm putting her in the "other" category because I've been inspired by both her writing and music a lot in recent months), and stick and poke tattoos.
Speaking of Patti Smith and stick and poke tattoos...I gave myself a new stick and poke today:
It's an homage to the tattoo Vali Myers gave Patti Smith.
Yes, the world hurts and we're hurting. So lets try to hold on to the good things, and hold onto each other.