A Personal Statement February 28, 2013Posted by FCM in books!, feminisms, health, meta, politics, WTF?.
Tags: dave thomas, field of dreams, radfem 2013, radfem hub, reformism, university sponsored feminism
please bother me for the password so you can read my super sikkrit thoughts. j/k. (this is not a password protected post. read on.)
i have experienced a blogging crisis recently. is this a first-world problem? oh dear. actually, its a speech problem, a silencing problem. women around the world experience this, and i experience it too. this is why i am a radical feminist, afterall. because i share class: female with 3.5 billion women globally who are rountinely, systematically and very easily silenced, by men, and by male technology, and you know, rape, and threats of rape. when we do get a word in edgewise, its precariously positioned indeed. we are no-platformed globally, and we speak from atop the head of a pin, standing on one foot, juggling knives. the lucky ones have a getaway-car waiting at the base of the mountain. sometimes the driver has been shot. me, i have a bicycle.
a bicycle? the head of a pin? is this supposed to be symbolic or something? no — its just words, meant to convey an image, a feeling and above all, an un-obscured message. the message might be a feeling, of course. did it work?
but its not symbolic — i dont do symbolism. i dont have time, and i was never good at it anyway. i tried, when i was young and first thought i wanted to write — a play, as i recall. with symbolism! hester prynne’s illegitimate (foreign, irritating, secret, precious) daughter was named pearl — get it? and as i was getting my characters in order, i realized okay, this is going to be a hell of a lot of work. this is going to take so much research, and there are some things that i — as a 16-year old (and girl) — simply could not know. like, i wanted one of my characters to be an adult man from new york city (i think?) how was i supposed to write that? that project went nowhere, once i realized that. i had written some notes in a small, extremely cheaply made journal covered in black chinese polyester silk. i never used the journal for anything after that. what a waste.
oh, and i just remembered! my very first big writing project was going to be a book! i started it when i was 10, over summer vacation. the only line i recall: a wave of excitement splashed over her body as she…did something. i know she — a high school aged girl — was going to a dance at school, so she was either entering the school or the gym. at 3:00 in the afternoon. because thats what time the dances were, when i was in 4th grade. somehow i knew i was being naive though, and that high-school dances worked differently, but how? i never finished the book. i remember sitting at the table in the air conditioning in a wet bathing suit, typing on an old typewriter with a couple missing keys that poked into my fingers. like, really bad. it was almost useless as a typewriter. my sister and our friend made “tea cakes” for us to eat, in our wet bathing suits in the air conditioning — “cakes” which consisted of the inner parts of whitebread slices balled up in our hands, which we drank with…something. maybe tea, but probably not. iced tea maybe. the swirls in the “tea cakes” (bread-balls) that looked kinda like cinnamon were actually dirty-hand dirt.
i had thought exclusively positive things about all of this — it was fun! — until one of the mothers asked us what “tea cakes” were, and then what the swirls were. she also asked me what i was writing, and when i replied that i was writing a book, she seemed skeptical! it hadnt occurred to me to be embarrassed about literally every single thing i was doing there at that table, eating dirty hand-balled whitebread, typing words that would never be a book ever, because there is no possible way. then, im sure i went swimming. in a dirty lake. with fish. in case anyone was wondering.
anyway, what was i saying? oh, symbolism. i dont do it. what i do is write things, for people to read, and then i converse with them about it. generally speaking, i speak literally (not metaphorically) and i invoke feeling, as well as convey information. in every post i write, i include an insight, because otherwise i bore myself to death and see very little point. these insights come from different places and i dont take credit for most of them — i just work here. i show up to work here. luckily, i am frequently inspired.
as a part of this writing-thing, i sustain direct and indirect hits, because for whatever reason, people are actually reading what i am saying. they are paying attention to it and responding to it in various ways. i *dont* like attention, but i do like writing things, for people to read, and then discussing it with them. so i keep doing it. sometimes i think about ending it so that i dont have to deal with the shitty parts of it anymore, and the shitty part is really fucking shitty. like, i feel like i am eating some amount of shit every fucking day, or most days. it feels toxic and alienating.
what i started doing when i feel toxic and alienated — because when i get like this i feel like i have nothing else to read, even though thats not exactly true, but thats how it feels when there is so (relatively) little radical work out there and i just want to feel inspired again, and i am feeling quite alone and frustrated by this point, and the thought of picking up a 30-year old book isnt doing it for me, and i dont want to have to search for anything, wahhhh, poor me — i read my own archives. okay? i do. i read the posts and i read the comments — seriously, i highly highly recommend the comments. it takes about an hour to read 2 or 3 posts and the conversations that follow, and every time i do this, i think — this is some of the best if not THE BEST writing on the internet. or something. you literally cannot get this anywhere else. okay? i think this about the posts, and i think this about the comments. its not the writing as much as the ideas of course, but damn those are some nice words, strung together in a coherent way, intended to make sense to other people. which is different than being a “good writer” not incidentally. get it?
and i used to do this with the HUB too. every time we were under attack or experiencing some crisis or sustaining repeated blows, from within and without, sometimes at the same time, i would pry one hand out of my hair and go a-browsing. in its early days, i would browse HUB’s front page — it went on forever, and had so much fresh content, it was glorious — and i would think “this is really good work. i am really happy about this. excellent.” or something. and you know what else i would think about? as much as i hate to admit it to all you amazing women who might be able to go entire minutes without an old white man popping into your head, i (would and do) think about dave thomas, the creator of the wendy’s hamburger franchise.
okay? i think about dave freaking thomas and his freaking fast-food restaurants. because i once saw a biography about him, and he spake into the camera thusly:
every time i feel down, and like this cant possibly succeed (he was competing with the biggies mcdonalds and burger king, dont forget) i go into one of my restaurants, and i have a burger and a frosty and i think “this is really good food.” and that makes me feel better, and i start to believe this might actually work.
thats a paraphrase, and its rather like “if i build it, they will come” — but with pickles and onions. get it? if i build it, they will come. another dumb 80s reference that has stuck with me all this time, for some reason. the young ‘uns can google it.
so look. deep down, im just a hick who remembers stuff, and i find inspiration where i find it. i involuntarily recall this interview of dave thomas i accidentally saw once, when im feeling down about radical feminist blogging, or when the biggies are about to crush me. because the biggies are about to crush me, always, and therefore, i sustain blow after blow, from within and without, i end up thinking about hamburgers a lot. not all the time, but more than i normally would, for sure. i am thinking about them right now. and now you are too.
so, is there an actual point to be located anywhere in this post? yes. did it come through? you tell me. i feel like hammered shit right now, and im thinking about crusty, greasy hamburgers i cant even eat. because of food allergies, mind you. my appetite is completely fine.