Saturday, June 16, 2012

Jumpstart the World

Finished reading Catherine Ryan Hyde's Jumpstart the World yesterday, and really enjoyed it. I keep trying to come up with just the right words about what it made me think and feel, but nothing so far feels adequate. So, in the mean time, I wanted to share some of my favorite passages:

Hyde, Catherine Ryan. Jumpstart the World. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010.

(53) Just be as close to yourself as you can possibly bring yourself to be.

(59) I sat alone at a corner table and watched the melee of moving bodies and listened to the racket of voices. And watched the “Us” folks at the usual table. And marveled at the way everybody left us alone. Not like they accepted us exactly. More like, now that they’d labeled us, we didn’t need to exist in their world. If we didn’t do anything special to jump up onto their radar screens, I guess they really didn’t think about us at all.

(74) They weren’t just simple pictures whose only job is to look nice. They had something to say. They were each a sort of document of some kind of injustice. Usually people do all this shouting about injustice. But Molly’s photos just froze the injustice, and then it was right there in front of you. And you couldn’t look away anymore. They just presented you with the injustice and then left you to do the rest of the work on your own. You either cared or you didn’t. But you couldn’t ever pretend again.

(134) Then again, that weird voice over my head said to me, Maybe it’s just the truth. Maybe it doesn’t require any forgetting.

(143) He sighed. “I guess I mean we all pretty much agree on certain things. Equality and stuff like that. But whenever it turns up missing, people just let it
slide. That’s why there’s such a thing as activism. Sometimes you have to jumpstart the world just to get it to be what even the world admits it should be.”



Monday, June 04, 2012

Summer Reading

So glad I have a little more time and energy to read now that it's summer. I've been REALLY happy with what I've read so far, and look forward to all the books yet to come!

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
I've been a HUGE Levithan fan since I came across Boy Meets Boy years ago, but just recently read this 2011 novel. It reads more like a book of poetry than a novel, and though I haven't always been drawn to poetry, I really enjoyed this book. This narrative approach was similar to the alphabiography in James Howe's Totally Joe, however, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Besides, I love words, and so Levithan's use of "dictionary" entries to tell this story quickly captivated me. It's a book I know I can read over and over again, letting the words and the stories they tell echo in various ways through different contexts in my life.

It's Our Prom (So Deal With It) by Julie Anne Peters
Julie Anne Peters is another novelist whose YA fiction I've enjoyed over the years, though perhaps not as consistently as David Levithan. Never having attended either my junior or senior proms, It's Our Prom was an interesting read. I don't think I ever seriously considered attending my own proms (or even the annual Capital Queer Prom) for many of the reasons Peters presents. While I'm still not convinced that prom is for me, the story successfully conveyed a nostalgia that resonated with me.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Spurred by the hype accompanying the recent film release, I took advantage of the opportunity to borrow a copy of this book. I can see why so many are drawn to Katniss' character and despite the horror behind the premise of the hunger games, become eager to witness the contest. The queer in me isn't quite sure what to make of use/exploitation of a relationship between Katniss and Petta. On one hand, all the favors (literally) that they gain from their romance (and kissing!) strikes me as reflective of heterosexual privilege in our society. On the other, being privy to Katniss' thoughts calls to mind passing and a critique of heterosexism. I'm intrigued by how things will play out in the second book of the trilogy...

On Celebrating an Anniversary

I say I'm on summer vacation, but that's a lie. What I mean is that instead of working TWO jobs, I work one--the one often less valued by others because it is in the food service industry, and I'm highly educated.

On one hand, I understand why to some it seems ridiculous for me to work a job that pays on hourly wage less than $20.00 given all the time and money I've spent on my education. But, that's also because I've always viewed education as a means to learning--for knowledge's sake, rather than as a way to advance in my career and get rich. I wanted to know things, not necessarily because they had any direct and explicit use-value (though I do enjoy that kind of learning and knowledge, too), but because it was interesting to understand how things work, to see the processes all around me, both those trying to become established, and those long-ago entrenched as "normal," "tradition," and "common."

But I'm starting to stray away from what I meant to be the focus of this post, which was my 10-year anniversary at the aforementioned food service job that I celebrated this past May. And, I have to say, it's an anniversary I'm quite proud to have celebrated. So here's to me, my fellow co-workers (we call each other "partners") both past and present, and to all the customers over the years, and the pieces of life we've shared over the years!

Summer!

It's been ages since I last blogged, but today marks my first day of summer "break" and once again I'm hoping I'll get into the swing of posting. I miss writing. These days, I hardly ever write for myself, but instead I compose reports, emails, and other correspondence meant to inform, educate, and share resources. I'm thankful to have a job, but it isn't work that nurishes my soul and feeds my dreams...

Just celebrated a friend's birthday this past weekend with a group outing to Harris Crab House. Someone asked about his bucket list and what he might cross off of it this upcoming year. He's already gone through a lot of change this past year--we all have, but then again, isn't this the case for us all, always? In any case, he didn't really have an answer, but promised to give it some thought.

I think we should all give it some thought...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Little Frida's Coffee Shop

I don't know what year Little Frida's closed, but in the late '90s it was one of my havens. I would make the trek from Irvine to West Hollywood just so I could sit in Frida's, have a cup of coffee, and write in my journal in a place where I felt I wasn't alone.



I wonder where the queer youth hang out now?

Los Angeles Dyke March

Coming into my queerness in southern California was filled with so many wonderful experiences...

Corcoran Gallery of Art

I don't think I prefer any one medium of art over another--they each give a different type of energy to their subjects. And, even within a medium, there are many differnces to each work.


Though I saw both these exhibits on the same visit to the Corcoran Gallery of Art, they gave me a distinct experience.

I need to remember to visit the Corcoran's website more frequently and keep an eye on current and coming exhibits.