November 2002

November 1 2002                                                      8:55 AM 

Some of the Greg Palast piece is here. It's a pay to read piece. I don't spend enough time on Salon to pay.


I went back to bed three times yesterday. It was odd because I don't really like sleeping. I'm not that good at it. I have a hard time getting to sleep and once I'm awake, I'm awake. Which sucks if something wakes me up in the middle of the night.


But yesterday I was exhausted. I really don't have a reason to be exhausted. I'm blaming hormones. I woke up and my back was hurting. I thought that if I lay flat on it for a while it would feel better. I did. It did. But I drifted in and out of sleep and had weird dreams about the painters who are working on the apartment next door. They were working on my apartment as if I didn't live there any more. They had moved my stuff and broken things.


I got up and did the blog roll thang. Wrote my own post. Took a shower, got dressed, went back to bed.


Suzanne and Kristina called so I talked to them for a while. I felt like I had a list of things that I should do, but I just wasn't getting any rev.


By one o'clock I started to worry about not having candy. For the record, no one ever trick or treats here. I think once, years ago, three kids came by in a little group. But every year I worry about it. So I buy a bag of candy. No one comes by. The candy sits around for a month or more.


I eat it but I don't totally love candy. I love chocolate. Just chocolate. So I eat M&M's. Sometimes. I like Mounds bars. Coconut. Yep. Every year on Halloween I buy a bag of them. Eat too many the first day. Can't look at them for a while. And then eventually I eat them all. Unless someone stops by and helps.


I'm not a Halloween grrrl. But bobbi did some photos that you gotta see.


And Michael Moore will be on Oprah today. Something about that makes me laugh.


November 2 2002                                                      8:50 AM 

OK. I don't like candy that much. But I do like Mounds. It's about the coconut. And every year it's the same. I just eat em until I am so sick of them I think I'm going to puke. Next year can someone please remind me that I do not need candy for trick or treaters?


Michael on Oprah. The best part was just as the show was beginning Michael leans in to the camera and says, "I'm on Oprah." I laughed out loud. What a cutie he is!


Now with Bill Moyers was great last night. There are many great links on that site about cleaning up elections and making democracy work. Very cool. They talked a lot about the cost of political campaigns. Something I think about every day while I haul another pack of glossy ads for causes to the recycle bin. None of them are very informative and all of them seem costly. Imagine how many meals and rents for homeless people could be bought with what politicians spend on elections. Move on sent an e-mail request for funds for Mondale and a few others. I like the idea of many people giving five dollars to a campaign. I put a dollar in the hat every time Ralph passed it. But I cringe every time I'm on the bus riding through SF these days. The city is littered with posters.


Dru blogged one of those kooky tests. Guess which founding father I am...


I'm so proud.

November 3 2002                                                      8:46 AM 

Marilyn took me to a great show last night, Generous Portions. Just fantastic. They were all fat women. They were lesbian and third gender and multi racial. All colors, shapes and sizes. All speaking their truth, in poetry and song and just playing around. It was profound. Radical. Righteous.


Good gawd I love it when fat women speak out.


I did a gogglism for Tish.


tish is west yorkshire?s big fish
tish is all tru"
tish is only now reacting
tish is moaning
tish is a bit
tish is a lovely woman and jeff falls in love with her at first sight
tish is een zwart ticked schildpad met veel wit een echte tri
tish is one of those girls with big hair who sits in the back of the classroom
tish is closed nov
tish is not
tish is an underachieving "big hair girl
tish is ready to remove the protective covers from her chairs and bed
tish is bursting inside with fear and rage
tish is a enthusiastic and knowledgeable agent
tish is a communally centered collage of guided meditation
tish is tish
tish is appalled when the slang the others make up about her use of verbose intellectual references catches on across the entire nation
tish is
tish is 16 going on 40
tish is hot
tish is a member of the international association of culinary professionals
tish is the brains of the outfit
tish is a free woman and she can do as she pleases
tish is singing


And one for fat shadow.


fat shadow is in the corner
fat shadow is waiting

November 3 2002                                                      5:09 PM 

OK blogger kids.


Mike needs our good vibes.


Here's a place to light a candle.

November 4 2002                                                      8:47 AM 



I voted for Nader. If you wanna piss me off tell me people who voted for Nader are the reason we have the president select. Wrong.


I have not joined the Green Party. Yet. I don't know why. Matt Gonzalez wrote about why he joined a few years ago. He says it all. And yet. I still haven't joined.


Well I do know why. It's about fear.


I didn't want to vote for Gore because I was afraid. It felt so good to vote for Ralph. It felt like voting FOR someone. But the same situation is happening in the California governor's race. Peter Camejo is the Green candidate. I do not like Gray Davis. But...I am so afraid of Bill Simon. And if I wanted to send a message with my Nader vote I want to send a bigger message with all my votes in this election.


I swear. This shit makes my head hurt. I still haven't decided.


Happily there are votes I will make with no conflict. I will be voting NO on N. A measure brought to you by a man who puts the Draco in Draconian. YES on D. Yes on J. You may remember that I love my board of supervisors. (And I love my perma links. Thank you Dorothea!)


But what about the governor?


Dru. Talking about class. Breaks it down. Makes her case. So so good. Called out this article.

November 5 2002                                                      8:05 AM 

I still don't know what to do. But I have thought a lot about the problematic nature of third party politics. When I read about the things Camejo supports I know that I want to vote for him. But then there's the fear.


I don't know what to do.


I realize I've been putting off the decision about joining the Green party.


I went to the movies to take my mind of politics. OK. So they were not the kind of movies to watch if I really wanted to take my mind off politics. They were great.

November 6 2002                                                      9:02 AM 

I'm not sure how to spell the kind of scream I feel lingering at the base of my throat.




I still hadn't decided what to do as I walked out the door but I was leaning toward voting for Davis. I stopped to grab the mail and there was The Nation with a picture of Paul Wellstone. And the quote:


"Politics is what we dare to imagine."




I'm not even sure I agree with that. But I wish I did. And, despite the fact that I don't believe that Green party candidates (including Ralph) are going to win, I do believe that with every passing election they are gaining ground. And if the Democratic party wants those votes they ought to start making some changes.


The Green party is more representative of what I want to imagine.


So I voted for Camejo.


It was not the same as voting for Nader. I felt even more terrified. But it felt true. Then I got home from school and the race was neck n neck. What an awful feeling. Was it indulgent to vote my heart? I honestly don't know.


Even when Davis pulled out ahead I felt this tension that I've been feeling all week. As the night went on and the news got worse and worse nationally I really began to sink.    


When I was watching the movie about Kissinger I remembered how I felt about politics then. Politics was evil, corrupt and dangerous. Mind you I was one of those kids who thrilled when Kennedy said ask not what your country can do for you. I ran for, and was, president of my class. I wanted to be in it.


But by the time I was getting out of high school everything had changed. I ran off into everything alternative and ignored politics. Voting for Jimmy Carter felt OK. By the time we got to the eighties and Reagan and Bush I was completely gone.


And then there was Clinton. So much hope.


When I was watching the movie I thought about our current situation. And the fear that I have on a daily basis. The media and the White House are going to paint this as a sweeping victory. It was not. It was a bloody battle. All of these races were close. There is still no mandate. But they are going to act as if there is.


When I listen to Ralph and Media politics sounds like righteous activity. What we dare to imagine. We're going to need to be daring. We're going to need to be imaginative. We're going to need to call up all our energy and faith.


Right now. Today. I need to cry.

November 7 2002                                                      8:41 AM 

Lets see. What could make me feel worse on a day when I'm already feeling pretty terrible about an election in which a third of the registered voters (to say nothing about people who are eligible but never get it together to register) turn out to vote and the already kidnapped seat of political power gains a posse?


Oh. Lets see...


Oprah does a show on obesity. Why, you might ask, did I watch it? I know the other day people were asking me why I watched a movie about Pinoche followed by a movie about Kissinger. I'm just crazy like that. I feel this need to understand.


So Oprah thinks I live behind a wall because I haven't addressed my pain.


She had women on the show who eat a lot. One woman stopped at a fast food place and ordered three sandwiches and ate them all.


I'd rather eat the phone book.


Clearly the women on the show had problems with eating. Each one of them talked about how much they ate. I understand that some women have that problem. And, for them, Oprah's combination of self help and diet and exercise is a path to something that makes them feel better.


But theirs is not the only experience.


And I just couldn't help but wonder if the one woman had some damage to her satiety signal. She talked about feeling full but eating any way and not stopping until she felt unwell. There may be psychological issues but I think there may well be physical ones as well. So, all the "dealing with her pain" in the world will be done with no insight into how her physical body may be not working to help her understand her own hunger. And while she's "dealing with her pain" she'll feel like no one understands how hard it is. And they won't.   


There was a woman who left a comment over at Big Fat Blog the other day. She had a brain tumor removed and with it a small section of her brain. There was damage to the pituitary and hypothalamus and she has gained weight. She is not fat positive. She resents her situation. I understand that.


Because Oprah says that fat people are living a walking death. Yes. That is what she said. And all we gotta do is get with the program. So all the fat people who don't eat four sandwiches at fast food restaurants live in a world where people think they lie about how much they eat. And all the people with endocrine problems have no public voice. And all the thin people who eat piles of crap don't have anyone who worries about their health.


And me. I'm just livin behind a wall with my pain.




Actually. I'm not feeling that bad. I mean it's all too crazy. The world I live in. I think I'm going to call up Tom and see if I can work on his campaign. And I'm going to write a letter to Oprah. And I'm going to keep on keeping on.


Pattie and Carl show today

November 8 2002                                                      10:19 AM 

I was feeling very lucky that I didn't have to go out the door yesterday. It was wicked. At one point in the afternoon a light flickered across my computer screen and a few minutes later I heard the boom of thunder. It startled me. We just don't have thunder around here that often. The electricity blinked off once. The doors and windows were rattling. But basically I was snug.


I got some great comments yesterday. April talked about why she didn't vote. I understand. Despite the fact that I feel strongly about people voting I don't think anyone should vote when they feel that there is no one to vote for.


The Democratic party needs to wake up. I am almost encouraged by the idea of Nancy Pelosi. I still have the dilemma of whether that will make the Democratic party radical enough for me. And I still worry that the Green party will not be strong enough politically even if a Green candidate wins.


For people who are trying to live with some kind of integrity these decisions are never as easy as "you're either with us or against us." I've read a lot of people who did vote ragging on people who didn't. And I am frustrated by how many people don't vote. But I also read people say that they voted and then felt icky. I voted and felt like, despite the fact that I voted my heart, I might have fucked up. It's very fucking hard.


Yesterday Caroline said something about seeing something on Oprah and then rushed to say that she doesn't actually watch Oprah. It made me laugh. Oprah comes on at a time of day when I have had it with CNN and MSNBC. Sometimes I turn on the radio or play music but, very often, Oprah has things on that are compelling.


And look, she got a lot of people reading books.


She is hopeless in terms of the fat stuff. She believes her own experience to be the truth for all fat bodies. But I've said before that I see what she's done as a project. And I give her her propers for coming up with a project and working on it.


I actually do think that people eat for comfort sometimes. I just don't think that's a pathology. I also think people eat in frantic compulsive gulps in the same manner I've watched people suck cocaine into their already way too wound up bodies, or drink three twenty more drinks than their liver can tolerate, or smoke fifty cigarettes in a row. And there may be something going on there. But so?


Let me clear. I have eaten in frantic compulsive gulps, sucked cocaine into my already way too wound up body, drank three twenty more drinks than my  liver could tolerate, and smoked fifty cigarettes in a row. And there were things going on. And so? I don't do things like that very often anymore. But I don't think I was bad when I did. I was living my life. Telling the truth as fast as I could figure it out.


See there are thin people who are going to eat four sandwiches at a fast food restaurant today and they won't end up on Oprah.


And, although I do not like fast food, I understand that people do and I understand that there are class issues around who can afford what, and pleasure in all its many forms is a good thing.


That last line sounded a bit too Martha Stewart. I just don't think we need to hang out in shame and blame.  

November 9 2002                                                      10:09 AM 

Christine (Not to be confused with Kristina) sent me this link. I swear I laughed out loud.


I keep thinking about Kell's positing about Oprah and what she gets out of the fat = a living death thang. Does race factor into it?




It's the kind of thing I worry about being too quick to agree with, despite the fact that I suspect it's true. Hence my continued thinking. But I will say that, on the a fore mentioned Caroline show the people who were embarrassed to admit that they watched Oprah (ever) mentioned something about her gaining too much credibility with the left and then the powers that be might be upset with her. (I'm paraphrasing wildly.) And another of them said something like, oh it would be easy to discredit her, they'd just say she was fat.


Ahh huhh.


So I guess if you're a woman and Black AND fat ... I mean it's three strikes. Still, for some reason, I wanna give her the credit that I believe she is due.


There's an interesting post on Alas in which he talks about his economic theory. I hope he won't mind that I'm going to use it to say something about fat hatred. What other people think does matter. In his example of Debbie Allen not being seen as someone who can afford to shop in certain shops, race is the thing that causes the reaction. Well. Racism.


And I'm here to tell you fat girls in department stores...may not get respect.


I do think that people who lose weight get into this morally superior thing. It makes it hard to want to give them the credit that they deserve for taking on a project and completing it. Because that project gives them a body that grants them a new level of access.


Still. I don't want to take their feeling of struggle and success away from them. I just want them to imagine that my relationship with my body is different from their relationship with their body and not in good/bad way.




So. Watching Oprah is problematic. Watching television is problematic. And yet...last night, on Now, Lewis Lapham said he is optimistic.


And I needed to hear that.

now, tonight, I feel a part of many people. the moon and I are being towed by the meticulous windows and plugs and streetlamps all around the world, towed in from the sea, to sleep in warm and nod off in gold light. towed by these large wheeled come and getcha where ever ya are fans, by these all-wheel offroad golden hearts that bring ya in from where ever you are and put a blanket over ya and give ya a warm drink       - Rickie Lee Jones

November 10 2002                                                      9:14 AM 

I have to read In Cold Blood for school. Which kinda bugs me since I have a stack of other books I'd rather be reading. I read it back in the day and again a few years ago in a class I took on literary journalism. It is a great piece of writing.


Susan has these funny little smiley faces in her comments. Every time I leave her a comment I spend soooo much time trying to pick the right one. Really. I am such a goof. I was reminded about Rickie Lee Jones on line journal in her comments. Hence my new epigraph. I love me some Rickie Lee.


When my goddaughter was a little girl, oh so many years ago, I bought her a doll. It was way too expensive and I worried that I was gifting her a love for dubious commercial values with the doll. But good gawd the doll and her stuff was so cool. I was obsessed about making sure she had ALL the stuff. I think I was into it long after she was. There was a point where it was more like I was buying presents for Samantha than her. Even now I see a new thing for the doll and I get all mooky and want to buy it. My god daughter, by the way, is in college.


My rational about the doll was (oh. actually I had many rationals about the doll.) that it was a way for her to learn about history. And yet  I wondered how the company would ever make dolls of color and describe their American Girl experience. But they have tried. Every year, about this time, I get a catalog from them and the lust to buy gets kicked up.


I still think the doll was a good idea. But it is a thing to worry about. I mean I spent the money on the doll but her parents spent the money on food and rent. Consumerism puts such a burden on parents.


But we know I like to play with dolls.


OK. Let's see. I've written about murder, smiley faces and dolls. It's Sunday morning. I'm rambling.


Oh yeah. Big Fat Blog has a Cafe Press store now.

November 11 2002                                                      8:52 AM 

When I got home from the Sunday swim I felt the need to nap. Not a big deal. I slept a while and then got up and played on the computer. At 6:30 I was so tired I thought I might go to bed. I really couldn't keep my eyes open. So...another nap. Then at 11:00, when I went to bed, there was no way I was going to sleep. Even when I went to sleep I didn't stay asleep for long. I woke up about five times.


And one of those times I sat on the edge of the bed and all I could think was that it was crazy that I couldn't sleep. Crazy isn't the word. It felt like I couldn't do it right. I sat there trying to understand why I was so tired in the day and now I couldn't sleep. I kept thinking I don't know. I don't know.


Part of what was keeping me awake was all the stuff I had to think about.









So there I was sitting on the side of the bed thinking about it all and saying I don't know. I don't know. And suddenly I just started to laugh.


I mean it would be great if I'd had some kind of vision or epiphany. But no. Just an acute awareness of powerlessness and uncertainty. And it felt bad...but it also made me laugh.


So. I'm a little groggy today. I should probably not try to make sense of anything.

November 12 2002                                                      9:11 AM 

It seems to me that the word partisan gets used a bit too much lately. It's become an expletive. It's used to describe a politic that isn't in lock step with the current (cough) administration. And every time I hear it used that way I feel like it's just one more way to silence dissent.


The theory is that having two parties represented puts in checks and balances. Despite the fact that I haven't seen much difference in the two parties I am aware that now those checks and balances (no matter how limited) are all but gone. And even people who are radically right should be worried about this.


But the sound bite methodology of political rhetoric morphs language. Is it partisan to be committed to the ideals of the party to which you belong? Yep. And is that unfair?








It just seems to me that when a member of the congress, or the senate doesn't agree with the (cough) administration they are accused of being partisan.


I, often, can not tolerate opinions that are not the same as mine. Sometimes I really need agreement. Especially when I'm very scared or angry. But I know I need to listen to the other opinion. And in a political system that purports to be democratic opposing opinions are argued as a way to keep everybody thinking. And actions are taken after a vote. A vote that reflects the thinking and a sense of majority. Do I really now live in a country where majority means Republican? Or do I live in one where democracy has been stolen?


I have no partisan loyalty. I wish I did. For me, the Green party feels like the boy you really want but know things won't work with. And the Democrats...well. We'll see.

November 13 2002                                                      9:16 AM 

I spaced out a friends birthday the other day. I knew it was coming up but on the day I just spaced out. Got lost in my inner blah blah blah. When I realized that I had forgotten I begged forgiveness and she understood.


The thing that sucks is that it was one of my very best friends. One of the people who makes me feel better about the world. I so admire the way she lives her life. I admire her relationships, the way she operates in her work, her curiosity and grace and dignity. The ways in which she struggles with adversity. The way she creates beauty.


She's always in my heart and I wish I woulda snapped out of my self and remembered to call her and tell her how grateful I am to have her in my life. Which is really what I mean when I say Happy Birthday. I mean thank you for being. And thank you for being my friend.


Today is Kristina's birthday. I feel all of the above about her as well. I feel so lucky to have the friends that I have.


I whine about feeling alone. A lot. And I do feel alone. A lot. But I do snap out of it every once in a while and remember that I am so rich in friends. It doesn't always help to know this. But even when I am suffering in the deepest, darkest part of aloneness, I try to remember them.


There's a thread on line right now. It began with a woman talking about the games men play. And Dorothea picked it up.


I thought about picking it up. But I have the same problem I had the last time there was a discussion about sexism on the blogs. It talks about a blogger who I don't read. I've been to his site a few times. I didn't feel the connection. I have been offended by his site a few times. But, ya know, I just don't read him. No big deal. I usually end up reading him because another blogger, who I do read, links to him.


So I didn't feel like I could jump in.


But reading Dorothea I did feel like I needed to jump in long enough to say one thing.




You know.


Just yes.


The other day I was listening to a man talk about a visit to New York. He was saying that everyone was telling him that since Giuliani is gone crime is up. He said something about gangs of young black men running around in Times Square. All I could think of was the Central Park Jogger case.


Why do I bring it up now?


Racism. Sexism. The whole list of isms.


There's a young man in my class. He's a good writer. But he writes about women in that "playful" way. He's gotten feedback from women in class about the negative effect some of his languages has had on us. I know he hears it. And I know he's thought about it. But he still has the reflex. The easy joke about a woman as an object of desire.


In part, I think he thinks he makes himself the fool in some of these jokes. Like his longing for a certain type of woman makes him the fool and he just can't help it. But the things he writes hit the bodies of the women in the room. I feel it. Some of them laugh. I always wonder how I can say something about how the writing makes me feel with out sounding puritanical, or humourless.


I don't know how the a fore mentioned thread is going to play out. But I wanted to come out strong and clear about the big yes I felt when I was reading Dorothea. I want to thank her for mentioning fat jokes in her rant. And I want to say yes to Elaine as well.


But mostly, I really hope that the men who blog take a minute to think/feel before they react. I want men to feel safe to say whatever they want to say, even if some of those things are hurtful. But I also hope that men who really care about thinking will ask them selves why they laugh at some of the stuff they laugh at. Not in "oh I've been a bad boy way". In a deep, open hearted way.




And thank you.

November 14 2002                                                      9:06 AM 

One of my teachers said something interesting about the relationship between readers and writers. He talked about the reader bringing things to the writing from where they are at and how that can be problematic. It made me think about how I was sure that Joni Mitchell wrote all her lyrics about my life. Still do sometimes.


It is true. The writer and the reader meet at an intersection of meaning and exchange notes.


And in the blog world that is, theoretically, the place where conversation begins. So if women talk about the jokes that men make on their blogs, the embedded sexism, or lookism, and the way it feels to see it, read it...a conversation, theoretically, might begin.


But it's not going to happen if men don't think about the ways in which they are privileged by the institution of sexism.


I'm deeply committed to thinking about the ways in which I'm privileged by my skin color. I'm committed to watching for the ways in which I contribute to racism. I feel uncomfortable in conversations about racism and I think I should feel that way. Racism should make us all feel very uncomfortable.


And talking about sexism should make men feel uncomfortable. So why would a man willingly enter into a conversation that might make him uncomfortable?


Can you imagine the curve of my eyebrow right now?


Yes. We bring stuff into our reading of other people. And people who write books or in magazines may not ever know what the reader brings. But in the blog world we are, some of us, theoretically, jumping into the fray.


In The Book that I am not working right now ( but I will over the holidays. really. I will. ) I am reaching toward readers. I am asking them to think with me. And sometimes it seems like too much to ask.


Ah well. We'll see.


Pattie and Carl are talking about sex toys today. Yes. Sex. Toys. And that may be a whole other conversation.

November 15 2002                                                      9:28 AM 

If you haven't heard the Pattie and Carl show you don't know the format. They usually open with an interview, or reading to set up their theme and then in the latter part of the show they chat about the theme. Yesterday's interview was with a young woman who sells sex toys. In the second part of the show Pattie talked about how she was surprised how she felt during the interview. She had to fight the taboo against talking about sex.


While I was listening I was thinking about the my last two posts. I was thinking about the intersection where sexuality and desire and longing become shadowed by the politics of male power. I was trying to figure out how to parse the topic without sounding like a women's studies 101 prof. I wanted to try and keep writing about what I was thinking and feeling but I worried about it getting too theoretical and losing heart. I was reaching out for some kind of ... something. I dunno. Something like recognition. Reconciliation.




And there were people who reached back. George reached back with a comment and a post. A very clear direct affirmation for which I was grateful. Dru reached back in her open hearted active brain way. Wrote an amazing, detailed, thoughtful, heart felt response. And wrote it with a baby at her breast. April wrote a response to Dorothea's post. The one that got me going. April's post brought out an angle of the nature of play and gender. And Ray left a comment that opened up a conversation.


And then Ray wrote a poem.


I read the poem toward the end of my morning blog roll. As I read it I started to cry. Thick tears. Not sad tears. Tears of deep relief.


When I went to bed last night I felt like I understood how Pattie felt. Because in the conversation that broke out in my comments we were talking about sexism. Not in a big political theory kinda way but in a people trying to talk about how it makes us feel kind of way. It felt like breaking a taboo. I was worried about misunderstanding.


Because when we talk about the intersection where sexuality, identity, representation, and power collide it gets very personal and very individual and very tender.


There are may parts to this conversation. And I'm having trouble seeing the keyboard through my tears. Dru did a great job of detailing.


When I stop crying I'm going to feel clean. Like something dark has been washed from my heart.  


And there's still more work to do.

November 16 2002                                                      10:05 AM 

I got my hair cut yesterday. I go this place a block from my apartment. The two men who own and operate it are both named Tom. Hence the name ... Tom's Beautiful Hair. It's a small place and I was here when they first moved in, so I've been getting my hair cut there for about ten years. I only get my hair cut once a year, but I see them on the street, or at the grocery store. It's a pretty sweet feeling.


When you get your hair cut you stare at yourself in the mirror for an hour. Women get early training in how to look in the mirror and go down a check list of beauty failures. But I was fortified by Ray's poem and the conversation in my comments and around the blog. So I just chatted with Tom and Tom and enjoyed being fussed over.


I came home and saw Mike's comment and started crying again. But, ya know, these were all tears of relief and heart healing.


Last night Kristina and Joe took me out for a lovely dinner. It was great to chat it up with them.


So I woke up this morning feeling pretty great and grateful. Made my Fred bread toast and tea and hit the blogs. I read someone who I read every day, often more than once. They had a comment from someone in a post that was pretty terse. I followed the link to the commenter's site and they had a huge and vitriolic post aimed at the person I read. I'm being oblique because I don't want to add to what could become a never ending circle of slams. Every once in a while someone doesn't agree with something I say, usually when I'm writing about fat stuff, and they leave a comment or send an e-mail. Sometimes I try to engage them in a conversation. We can agree to disagree. I don't play hostility very well. Anger. Yes. Frustration. Sure. But mean, aggressive, venting...not at all.


But it made me think about something Mike said in his comment. "Here, we speak generally as we find our way to specificity."


There are many really great people writing on line. Taking risks. Exploring themselves and their feelings with language. Trying to push the limits of what is possible. With comments it can get interactive. And, I guess, sometimes that means it gets stupid and ugly.


It didn't harsh my mellow or anything. I'm still feeling great and grateful. And cute. Coz of the haircut.

November 17 2002                                                      8:42 AM 

So. I was feeling all pleased and happy. I was feeling like some conversation had happened and it was good and some healing got done. Maybe just for me. But some got done. And then I was on another person's blog. Another person who I read all the time. I saw a comment there. It seems I wrote something a while back that someone took a certain way. In a way that I did not intend. But I can see how it was taken that way. I guess.


At first I thought about writing to the person to try and clear things up. Then I thought about taking a break from blogging. Then I thought about leaving my writing program and finding a convent, or ashram, or something, where I could take a vow of silence and give up on trying to use language at all. Ever.


Then I thought ... aw.....what the fuck.


Sometimes you write something and it hits the mark. Sometimes people just slide past each other.


In the afternoon I went to Willa's place and read her NaNoWriMo writing. Very, very pleasant. I want to be the character in her story. I have so much respect for all the people who are doing the NaNoWriMo thing.




I'm going swimming.

November 18 2002                                                      9:37 AM 

Swimming was good. Then we grabbed some lunch and went to a book store to listen to the poets from the program read. They were amazing.


I've been thinking about the way I do my little page project. I do that from time to time. But owing to the last few days of blog crossed conversation I've been examining my motivations and desires and abilities and on and on and on.


And the way  in which a specific thread gets picked up and woven into other people's motivations and desires and abilities and on and on and on.


While I was focused on a specific few bloggers and their specific conversations and an idea of  sexism and how it transacts with what is thought of as sexy, there were other conversations going on.


Jason wrote a post about the men and women who are/will be called upon to fight the war. I thought about this morning while reading Mike.


I'm still reading In Cold Blood. It's taking me a while because I dread picking it up. I know why we were assigned it. It is an amazing piece of writing. But it is a portrait of violence. Capote draws everyone in a way that lends insight.




There is one thing that stays with me, the fact that human beings can kill other human beings.


Maybe because I'm reading this book, maybe because 60 minutes last night seemed to say that the inspectors will fail and when they do our cowboy president will lead us into the battle. Maybe because I watch too much crap on Sunday nights. Maybe because I love language and believe in conversation and when things go wrong I feel lost. I don't know why but I had bad dreams all night.


And I sat down at the keyboard today thinking about too many things, all at once.


So. I don't always know what I'm doing here. I just keep trying to do something that reflects my chaotic, frenzied thinking and my aching, worried heart.

November 19 2002                                                      9:44 AM 

Pacifica Radio is doing a National Day of Programming to raise money to preserve their archives. Many beautiful voices.


The last few times I've been on the bus I've noticed the cameras. It's not new. I've seen cameras on buses before but these are new ones. And I'm noticing it for obvious reasons.


I got a call from Tom last night. A mutual friend of ours, Adam, died. Both of them were pivotal in my little music career.


Yes. I had a little bit of a musical career. And I got lots of support from musicians in Boulder. it was a time of my life that felt wild and fun and free.


I wanted to have a band. So I asked Tom if he'd help me work up a few tunes and I rented a hall  and I asked Adam if his band would play. Adam's band was Fat Chance and mine was Fatshadow and I called the gig two tons of fun. That was the beginning. A little bit of music on a Sunday afternoon in the mountains.


I remember a time when I was sitting next to Adam in a bar and he was running his hand through my hair. I remember the comfort and the electric sensuality of that moment.


But, ya know, time goes by. People lose touch. And then a call comes.




Martin Luther King is on the radio right now. Many beautiful voices.

November 20 2002                                                      8:36 AM 

When I was thirteen I was in love with Gary Demblowski. Yep. In love. His name & mine inside a heart on a wall.


I sat next to him in Latin. And, after school, I sat at the picnic table behind our apartment building, trying to look like I was studying,  waiting for him to run past. He usually did. And I said. "Hi."




And then my mom married Ken and we began to get ready to move to Maryland. There was a big last dance of the year. As I walked in I saw Gary talking to Kathy Garrity. Kathy was tall and blonde and had ... you know ... really big tits. And a reputation. I don't know which part of all that I felt the most competitive about. Actually I don't think I felt competitive. I was too sure I couldn't compete.


But as I walked past them Gary turned and said hi.




And said, "Hi."


I don't remember much about the dance. I think all the girls danced and the boys stood in a circle around us. When they played slow music a few intrepid young men moved onto the floor, met the girls who wore their school rings, and they would wrap arms around necks and waists and sway. Slowly.


At the end of the dance Gary, and a group of boys, followed me, and a group of girls, all the way to the street car.


And then we moved away.


That moment. When he turned. The look in his eyes. That feeling of mutuality.


Sometimes I wish we'd stayed in Pittsburgh. I imagine a life in which I wore Gary's school ring. And the prom. And the wedding. And the kids.


But you know how those stories go.

November 21 2002                                                      9:48 AM 

Paul has been dealing with trolls at Big Fat Blog. I guess it's inevitable but it pisses me off. Paul has clearly delineated guidelines for commenting.  He does the policing of the site to make sure that the blog feels like a safe place for fat positive discussion. There really aren't that many places where fat positive discussion is happening, so it's pretty important.


It's difficult to know where to draw the line. There are people who haven't done any reading about fat and heath and are bombarded by mainstream media's message of fear and they just want to talk about the problems of fat because...there are problems....aren't there?




Yeah. OK. And I know there are NO problems for thin and average sized people. None.




It becomes difficult to tolerate the good intentions of people who are only worried about your health.


The truth is I haven't been taking very good care of my self lately. I'm preoccupied and tense. This almost always means I eat less. Yesterday I had Cherrios and a piece of toast, some mango and two pieces of spinach and feta pizza fairly early in the day. By the time I got out of class, at 9:00 PM, I was pretty hungry but I don't like to eat late at night.


Still, I thought I'd ask Susan to stop at Mc Donalds.


Yeah. I know.


I hate Mc Donalds. I hate them for so many reasons. But it was late, I didn't want to go out, and suddenly the idea of fast carbs, fat and salt sounded OK. But we were talking about school and I forgot to say anything about stopping and suddenly I was home. There wasn't really anything here. So, I just went to bed.


I need to put more energy into cooking. I need to manage my time a little better. I need to do blah blah blah.


The world is full of people who think they know me better than I know myself. People who wanna jump in and tell me about will power and self control. Not many of them have a clue about the real issues in my life.




It's Carl's birthday. Listen to the show. Send him a note.

November 22 2002                                                      9:51 AM 

Nailing Jello to the wall.


Thank you Kell.


Ah. It's good to laugh.


So. I click to Mike everyday. Hoping he's back. And, happily, today he was.


Blogging about the Miss World pageant in Nigeria.


The collision of two worlds Ė the beauty queens bathed in glamour and glitter and poor African Muslims observing the Ramadan fast in all its modesty Ė was enough to ensure that the explosion of violence was waiting to happen.


There are five countries who are boycotting the pageant to protest the death by stoning of women in Nigeria. And Amina Lawal puts her faith in God.


In the theater of what women and their bodies represent we praise some and stone others. And all the while money is being made. And the spokeswoman for the pageant wants us to know that the show will go on.


And on. And on.

November 23 2002                                                     10:10 AM 

Chef Paul was on CNN yesterday talking about his turduken. He said it was like your first kiss. I love Chef Paul.


The holiday stuff is already is full drone. I can't say I'm much in the mood to celebrate a group of religious fundamentalists who thought that they had a right to claim ownership of land which was  already inhabited. But I will admit that the gathering together of folks to share food has always seemed like a good thing to me.


The first time I was away from my mother's house on Thanksgiving was classic. I was in Boulder.  There were no grocery stores open. the only restaurant open was a small cafe. A friend and I wrote a bad check for omelettes. Then we wrote another bad check to see a movie. We ended the day in a bar. I talked to my mom on a pay phone. It was cool in a crazy kind of way.


But I soon became the Thanksgiving queen. I would cook for days and invite every one in town who had no where else to go. It was about the gathering up. And the sharing of resources. The romantic ideal.


And then, when I moved to New York, I spent the morning at the parade and the afternoon in a diner. Heh.


These days I'm ambivalent and reclusive. I have some invitations, but I'm thinking I'll be working on a last paper for school. And thankful for the time to do it.


But, some day, I may try that turduken thing. just coz.

November 24 2002                                                     9:16 AM 

Suzanne, Lucia & Gabe came over and brought a movie. Before we watched it we went out for lunch and a coffee.  Fun. Fun Fun.


At one point we saw a bit of the Osbournes. I think I've seen a bit of it before, but I've never really watched it. In the bit we saw Kelly licked her finger and wiped it on her mother's face. Then her mother put her fingers in her pants to (presumably) get some vaginal fluid to wipe on her daughter. A sort of body-fluid get-even thing. I guess. So the mother chased the daughter around the house in an attempt to wipe vaginal fluid on her.




What do I think? I honestly don't know. I was too ... uh ... hmmm ... stunned? ... or something.


It's Willa's Birthday. Send her a note.



November 25 2002                                                     9:07 AM 

So. You know.


Sundays are about swimming, lunch, buying some veggies. And last night I saw a play by Teresa Walsh about her spinal chord injury and recovery in Havana.


Teresa is a beautiful woman. She is also average sized. Her injury was a result of falling out of a window. Her body literally fell from the state of norm into the definition of damaged. The play is about her journey away from that definition and back to her self. Her fall happened in Harlem and once she could walk a little bit she realized that her insurance would not cover rehabilitation. But she had friends in Cuba. The story of her recovery speaks to the need for health care that goes the distance, creates community and solidarity and heals the heart and soul as well as the body.


There is a line in the play. She's just had sex for the first time since her injury. She's vulnerable and ashamed and she tries to avoid her lover. But he pushes her to talk to him about what she is feeling. She talks about her insecurities about her body and he says,


"It's your body. It's my job to understand."


Oh. Yeah. That would do it for me.


For me that line holds the sound of grace and dignity. I long for people who experience my body as part of my whole story and not as a simple pathology.


And I'm lucky. I know a few.


Today the United Nations Development Fund for Women is hosting an event in New York to commemorate November 25 as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Somewhere in America a woman is battered, usually by her intimate partner, every 15 seconds.
A woman is raped every 23 seconds in South Africa.
Every minute in the United Kingdom, police receive a call from the public for assistance for domestic violence. 81% of these are female victims attacked by male perpetrators.
47% of women in Bangladesh have been physically abused in their lifetime by an intimate partner.

November 26 2002                                                     8:54 AM 

I'm a little bit cranky.


Paul blogged about Anita Roddick's experiment with life in a fat suit.






She wonders how we (fat people) have sex.






Let me count the ways.


"Certainly I love to eat. I'm Italian and I love Italian food. I've been known to steal chocolates from my grandchildren and pretend the fairies have eaten them. I salivate in confectionary shops. But I found it impossible to imagine being that size."






"I was glad to say goodbye to the suit. If I had the choice whether to be my normal weight or 20 stone, nothing in the world would make me carry around that amount of weight."


I wonder if John Howard Griffen had ended his book with a similar sentence if anyone would have responded the way I responded to that sentence by Roddick. I read the book so long ago. I remember that I thought it was such a cool idea. Right now I'm wondering how much a person can understand about another person's life by a few days, or weeks, or months of pretend "difference". The things that shape my body and my experience have been collected over a life time in my body.


Oh wait. It's about not eating Italian food or chocolate. It's just that simple. I had pasta yesterday. Red bell pepper pasta with roasted  mushrooms, eggplant and yellow bell pepper and a lovely bit of asiago. It was good. I'll be having it again today since there were left overs.


It pisses me off because this is not a stupid woman. And the fact that she doesn't get how offensive some of the things she wrote were... well... I guess it's a fat thing. She doesn't understand.


Oh but there's more.


There's a new conversation about sexism going around. Beginning here  and then moves and moves again. It's occurring here and here. I was trying to stay out of it. The last time I got involved in a cross blog conversation about sexism I lost sleep worrying that I wasn't being clear. Worrying that people would feel silenced. Worrying that a truly meaningful dialogue isn't possible in a text based relationship and that feelings get hurt and that my feelings got hurt and ... maybe I just don't think that truth is simple.


Maybe I need to put on a leggy, blonde suit and then I'll understand.


But I do have something to say about being a girl. Being a girl is filled with moments of awakening. But the awakenings are different for each individual girl. As I'm sure they are different fro each individual boy. And part of that awakening is about feeling your own sexual self and feeling the electric dance of sexuality between you and boys and/or other girls. Feeling the power of all that charge. Looking for the person who will turn to you and meet you in all that sparkling power and longing. It seems like pretty precious stuff.


Not something to use.


Shit. I'm so fucking cranky.   

November 27 2002                                                     8:57 AM 

My step father has had a bad health year. Which means my mom is having a bad year. So. I'm going to North Carolina for the month of December to be with them.


This will be the longest time I've spent with them in my adult life and I'm filled with anxiety. I'm distracted and irritable.


Family relationships are complicated. I don't know how much I will write about this. But I set up a blogger blog for the trip.


Dorothea tried to help me set up MT but we discovered that my server doesn't allow CGI bin access. And I can't access my site from NC with out a long distance call. So, the blogger site seemed like a good way to go. I'll start writing there on the first.


Writing my page has become a daily touch stone. A way of thinking like a writer. A way to challenge my feelings of isolation. And I'm REALLY going to need to do that while I'm in NC.


Today I feel tired and scared and tense.


A few days ago when I was writing about Willa's birthday I thought again about how I got started doing this and the ways in which it has changed over the last year and half. Willa was the first on line journal I read. Her site was my portal. Then, sometime last year I stumbled on the blogger crowd and ... I dunno. Sometimes I feel like I'm trying too hard. I'm reaching and reaching. And it's fucked up.


I'm reaching for links. Links those little nods to other bloggers. Those introductions to others. they're about acknowledgment and generosity and ego. And I'm sick of caring about them. If you don't do the blog thing you may not get the link concept. But it has become a thing for me. An unseemly thing. A blogger told me that the way to get linked is to write something REALLY great. Well. I try. I do get linked sometimes. Dru has linked me often enough to make me blush. And I'm on some blog rolls. But I swear. Every month or so I find myself spending way too much energy on caring if certain people are reading me. And I have to shake myself and refocus.


And right now I have NO energy to worry about writing something REALLY great. I'm writing to save my heart. I'm feeling my way along. I'm trying to stay honest. I never know from one day to the next if I'll be able to do it again.


Today I feel tired and scared and tense. And this is the best I can do.

November 28 2002                                                     9:08 AM 

Suzanne told me not to, but I did. I watched Dr. Phil's show, titled my big fat attitude. And. It didn't totally suck. Don't get me wrong. Phil is a fascist and a bully. Generally I cannot bear more than a few minutes of him and I don't watch his show. But I got e-mail from some folks about last night since some NAAFA women were on. So I watched. There was a woman who let loose a bunch of  vitriolic fat hatred. Phew. It was bad. And he got in her face and told her she was being mean. That's what he does. He gets in people's face. That's why I don't watch him. He had a 400 pound women who talked about how happy she was. They showed her swimming and it was great because, there she was, exercising and loving it. He kept asking one fat woman if she could lose weight would she and she didn't want to say yes so she kept hedging. I wanted to telaport there and say, "Ask me." He did use his credibility to talk about fat as unhealthy with no one to talk about that in any really detailed way. There are people with more to say. It wasn't great. But it didn't suck. And I still won't watch him.


Frontline will be re airing their show on fat tonight.


Dorothea pointed to this response to the girlism stuff. It is pretty great. But, ya know, I just hafta say that the post that started it all hit me in a very emotional place. It may have been meant as an observation of a trend and not an endorsement. But it FELT like a woman who was distancing herself from the stereotype of the angry feminist and the tactics she described aren't going to work for all of us. So am I jealous? Uh... not so much. Is feminism dead? Uh...I don't think so. There's still a lot of work being done. Is it about gender equity? In part. Maybe. But really...I don't want the playing field to be leveled, I want it to be completely redesigned. So, the post that started it all hit my heart. And there have been some posts in response to it that have hit my heart as well. And at the end of it all what I still hear is that people with privilege don't want to hear about the experience of people with none.


I was IMing with Dru last night. Which was pretty fun. I can't type and I can't spell and I always feel like a goof in the IM thing. But we were talking about competition in relationships. I blame Capitalism. I think we get early training in scarcity and how one needs to distinguish oneself in the public space. We get handed a set of measuring sticks with which to determine our value. I'm competitive. In some really unseemly ways. I just keep trying to tell the truth and move on.


Oh. Yeah. It's Thanksgiving. If you're with your family, cooking and eating, have fun. Dru found the perfect Thanksgiving poem. Pattie and Carl are talking about buy nothing day today on their show.


Me. I might do the laundry.

November 29 2002                                                     9:04 AM 

I didn't do the laundry. I decided to wait till Monday, closer to when I leave. I guess I could even do it in the day on Tuesday. Since I'm sure I'll be completely tense. It might be good to have something to do. We'll see.


I vacuumed and scrubbed the bathroom and talked on the phone. I wrote checks for the bills. I worked on my last paper. It's due Tuesday. I listened to Steve and Sonny and pretended I was hanging out where they are having t-day and playing music.


Dru had a very cool idea to be creative on buy nothing day. Pattie and Carl interviewed a guy yesterday who talked about the idea that it's not just about not spending, it's about creating. I'm not going to have any trouble not spending. Not after I paid all those bills.  

November 29 2002                                                     8:40 PM 

When I do a second post of the day you know Iím worked up about something. And I think Iíve noted that I am a bit on edge these days, so I get worked up easier. Things that make me sad make me sadder. Things that make me mad make me madder. So with that qualification as an opener I am now going to write a response to a post by Mike. Why? Oh. I dunno. Itís Friday night in fat city and Iím just feeling mouthy. (For the record I am not offended by the use of fat in that title. I just thought Iíd use it in my own way. OK. Iíll try to stop qualifying.)

What is 'caring'? Being hypersensitive, prickly, and aggressive or taking cognizance that some people view us in a certain way and there's very little, given the way human beings run their lives, we can or need do about it?

WellÖI guess I think I get hypersensitive, prickly and aggressive sometimes because I care. I try to make note of my own emotional responses when I communicate with people during hypersensitive, prickly and aggressive times. (See above lengthy qualification.) I am very clear that some people view me in certain ways. But I really donít want to accept that there is very little I can do about it. If I start to believe that Iíll stop writing all together.

Do we live our lives or do we live for the nebulous 'them'?

I do know that there are people who will never see me in any other way than the way they want to. I donít worry about them. But I do always hope for a window of opportunity, a moment when I can break through and have some real communication. I neither want to live for a nebulous ďthemĒ nor ignore the fact that I feel things. Sometimes unseemly and childish things. Oh well.

I do have some related, general questions hindering an understanding of the vehemence with which Halley's views were opposed.

WellÖonly speaking for myselfÖI didnít oppose Halleyís views. I think she has every right to them. I reacted to them viscerally. Iíve already written about my reactions and I thanked Shelly on Blogsisters for speaking up with another point of view. I guess itís clear that I did not love what Halley was saying, but she has every right to her views.

Is there not merit to the argument that men, being told to shut up, become indifferent to the good and bad in others who happen to be women?

Iím not sure where and when and which men were told to shut up. But, yes. People who tell me to shut up are usually people who I become indifferent to. On the other hand, there have been men and women who have said things that I find particularly egregious, and I have said shut up. Only today when the president select was on the TV Ö Oh. Wait. Thatís another post.

Is there not a price being paid by about two billion women around the globe who, through globalization, subsidize the 'freedom' of today's First World feminist? 

Yes. And, for me, part of being a First World Feminist is about recognizing my privilege and working to keep the problems of all women in the conversation. I know having a membership to Amnesty isnít enough. Writing letters to public policy makers isnít enough. I probably donít do enough.

Can the breakup of the modern Western family, now being exported worldwide, not also be partly attributed to a wholesale eschewing of 'institutional doctrines' containing good and bad attributes - but which, till a few decades ago, seemed to work, even if somewhat precariously or miraculously?

Um. Well. I love families. All kinds. My own family ďbroke upĒ early on. I live in San Francisco, where family has a bunch of different looks and feels. All good. Was the mom, dad and kids thing working? It didnít work in my life.

Are women, worldwide, better off today than they were two centuries ago? 

Somewhat. There are women here, and in your neck of the woods, who can vote now. But thereís a lot of work to do.

Are men?

I donít know.

Do gays and women not objectify themselves through a continuing call for their 'rights', another label of convenience much loved of politicians and others selling causes and -isms. Do women not inflict this on themselves when they consciously use feminism as an 'analytical perspective' or 'theoretical tool'? Do we not all detract from the reality of 'what is' by having days set aside for this, that, and every other thing? Will lighting a candle in my window on Sunday really help AIDS orphans in kwaZulu-Natal or would ten bucks dropped in the letterbox of the AIDS orphanage up the road do more good?

WellÖIím kinda into lighting candles, as you may remember. But money is good too.

In scrutinizing, analyzing, and 'academifying' the whole gender debate are we not detracting from an essential sense of mystery accompanying our interaction and mutual needs?

I would apologize for my own tendency to 'academifying' stuff. Except I just spent the last five years of my middle aged, menopausal life working myself into states of exhaustion trying to get some academic wisdom. Iím now so in debt Iíll have to die the day I graduate. But somehow, somewhere I got a kooky idea that learning was a good thing. I love mystery. I love the mystery that accompanies the interactions of people with mutual needs. But if what you mean by mystery is evoked by the flip of a skirt in an office and results in the advance of a woman in said work place then yeah, Iíd like to detract from that mystery. Maybe itís because flipping my skirts wonít work for me. Maybe Iím just jealous. Maybe. But if it did work for me I would hope I wouldnít use it.

In other words, are we not buggering about with archetypes rather than stereotypes and screwing up big time because we want something indefinable that fills a need in us?  

Archetypes. Stereotypes. Whatever. Yes. I may sometimes be guilty of wanting something indefinable to fill a need in me.

Are others lacking or are we lacking?

Yes. We are all lacking. And we are all full.


Look. Iím not sure where all this fits into the thing Halley wrote. And so I may be veering off here. But I will say that Madison Avenue has something to do with what is perceived as beautiful. Thatís not about mystery. Itís about hypnosis. I understand that there is preference in the world. And some of that is about physicality. But I also understand that it might not hurt to take a minute and think about it all.


Who, ultimately, are we? Are we men, women, or people? And who tends to denigrate any distinction between the two, be it good or bad, real or unreal? The person to whom this debate appears meaningless or those who find it worthy of commodification, promotion, export, and implementation through legislation?

Iím a people. And a woman. Oh, there is a long list of labels I attach to myself. I hope not to denigrate. But I do want to distinguish. And yeah. Some of that is about wanting to affect public policy.


I guess my idea of feminism is one that includes men. I don't think men are served by sexism.


Or maybe I'm just one of those angry women.

November 30 2002                                                     9:34 AM 

I wasn't actually angry last night. Or sad. I was a little bit of both. And neither. And I should probably give up on cross blog conversations. I'm not really part of the blog cluster and I never really have been. I was just trying to talk to one person who I admire and who, I think, was asking some questions.


I went to the post office to put my mail on hold. I spent a ridiculous amount of time packing up a months worth of the eight vitamins and two herbs I take every day. It wasn't exactly creative. I put the books I'm going to take in a pile.

I'm going to start posting on the blogger blog tomorrow and I'm not sure how to put images on blogger so I'm putting the link and think banner up today.


And it is time for

I woke up having a crazy dream about decided whether or not to live in SF. But in the dream I was younger and had never lived here and was staying with some other women. And I wasn't feeling welcome. And there was danger in living there. But I was looking at other apartments. And there were these built in beds in the walls. And then Joni Mitchell was telling me that once she got older she was never alone. And I looked into the built in bed area where she slept and it was covered with her paintings of herself. And I woke up with Joni Mitchell singing the phrase never alone, never alone to me.