Darling, welcome to the latest Queer Quantum Dispatch. So glad you could join me. We're getting heavy today, so buckle up. It's worth it, trust me. Next month we'll get a bit wilder. (Spoiler: wall-to-wall sexy comics.)
You've surely had the experience of coming back to something again and seeing it differently. Did it change? Maybe. Did you change? For sure! Like it or not, we're always changing. Some recent readings elicited a similar "second look" at nothing less than the entire society itself that I live and partake in. Herewith, three books, three perspectives on both past and present and some ideas about where we go from here.
Starting at the bottom (of a dark ugly pit)
And that pit would be the '50s. The Fifties by James R. Gaines offers a series of interlinking profiles of brave souls willing to buck the conformist trends that dominated that bleak decade. While I personally learned some new facts here and there, what caused the double-take were the connections Gaines illustrated among these amazing individuals. Not connections like they knew each other, necessarily, rather shared visions of ideology and spirit--and GRIT FOR DAYS!! Would you pair up Rachel Carson and Norbert Weiner in the same chapter? Didn't think so, but it works! And if you haven't heard of either, prepare to be amazed.
The harrowing stories of these brave souls, spiritual warriors, and guiding lights, kindled a new resolve in my heart as I gird my loins for hard times ahead. It's my hope that you will be similarly inspired. We're gonna need it.
What's Past is Prologue
In We Do This 'Til We Free Us, we shift from history to the present day. This collection of essays, interviews, and other writings show the power and beauty of Mariame Kaba's vision for us all—a vision of society that has no need of police, prisons, or military. Say what, you say? Yeah, try that one on for size: society reconfigured, from the ground up, as deeply interconnected communities focused on caring for their members. If you're like me, this'll take a while to sink in, but give it time and come back to the ideas here occasionally. See what happens, what changes in yourself, your relationships, and how you see society at large.
Okay, so we got some history, and some vision. "But what do I actually do," you ask? Well, that's where I give you the middle finger. The Middle Finger Project, that is. Yep, that's really the name of the book (and her company, btw). Here's a woman who went from being homeless in a Kmart parking lot to millionaire digital nomad over the course of about a decade. Her style, as you can imagine from the title, is "conversational." At least, I have plenty of conversations that sound like this, hope you do, too. If not, make better use of that middle finger. 😜
And yes, lots of f-bombs: FEELINGS. (See what I did there, lol!) I can't take the credit, though. That's one of the many gems you'll find in this book. Feelings are, though, the signal guiding light of the book. And she asks us to make them the guiding lights of our lives. How do you want to feel about your work, where you live, what you do with your limited time left on this earth? She advises us to put the priority on that and not, please god, not on the dubious guidance from the poisonous productivity brainwashing that goes by the outrageously deceptive name of "education."
As always, the links above take you to online sources for these books that are not the big A. Better yet, check your local library first!
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Until next time, flame on! 🔥
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