I think it’s probably a strange time to write this as I have sunk into a mini quarantine depression, but perhaps this is also the best time to write it. For me, 2020 began with overconfidence, hit the middle with a summer full of rebellion, and ended in existential questioning and self doubt.
To write my this I poured over my private journal from the year, and noted 30 of the most choice insights from a year unlike any other I have experienced.
I’m having a hard time remembering that billions of people exist in the world.
It’s the first official week of COVID winter, and I’m having a little trouble getting started today. I decided I would start a traditional blog again… if only to give myself some direction and maybe share a bit of camaraderie with everyone else riding out the pandemic in their apartments.
Today started with me waking up (a bit) hungover for the weekly zoom family call (my partner Carp, my grandparents, parents, brother and his partner. It’s my favorite tradition that has come out of the year of the 2020 pandemic. …
I never finished the pierogies that day.
The day started off to a rough start, with what some would argue was far too much to drink before noon. What can I say, I got caught watching the news and kept pouring myself fingerfulls of whiskey. I also opened a packet of country peppered gravy, and used it as a sauce over frozen ravioli for lunch. Sometimes you just have to make do with what you have, don’t you? I drink and smoke and eat shit with my cats. You don’t understand? Don’t even bother, I’m sorry.
My customers would just have to wait until dinner for their hot potato pies, they were not going to be ready by lunch. I ran a hand through my short, spiky hair and rubbed a little bacon grease through it to give it some volume for the day. I looked at myself in the kitchen sink mirror, admiring my hook nose the bulky silver studs adorning either nostril. …
“Living on burned land — the trick is to keep ahead of the burn.”
Most days at work at the restaurant I dream of being self sufficient, I dream of being a boulder; never pushed around. Can you imagine why an immortal being from ancient Siberia is unable to stand up for herself at all times? Me neither. I dream of being a cult leader if I’m speaking honestly, but instead I am merely a solitary witch with a cat who suckles her toes. Yes, suckles. She’s a strange cat, that one.
After the dinner rush I wash my hands, and prepare to start mopping the dining area. I make my own soap mixture infused with tea tree oil to polish up the floor. Most of the clean up is from borscht stains, and I find a strange pleasure in taking a wet mop to the red stains on the vinyl flooring.Sometimes if I haven’t caught the stain in time, it will have fused to the floor. It’s on those days that I have to get on my hands and knees, and take a knife to peel the beet soup off the floor. …
“I was adrift deep in the ocean of life before the fires started. Just as Prometheus taught humans how to make fire, and tortured for eternity for it, the new Americans have been taught how to make revolution, and are lighting the fields and forests up.”
There’s nothing like reading a shitty book to inspire you to write a novel. If this bland eggwhite was able to get published, who’s to say my name is not in the hat? I reflected on the inane lines from the book I had recently finished reading with my morning coffee- a pseudo “spec-fic” book which claimed to be reflecting on the uptick in forest fires that had started taking place around Southern Oregon and Northern California. I grunted as I sanded the moss off of the smooth bone white stilts that my house sat upon. Why the fuck don’t I write a book? …
2020 is the year that the Left seriously starts talking about getting guns, and the Right is wielding their own weapons openly in the streets in self declared “militias”. 2020 is the year 45 starts declaring liberal hubs like Portland and NYC “anarchist autonomous zones” and the year that the phrase “defund the police” is seriously discussed on NPR. It’s the year the sky is orange with fire on the west coast, and drowning in hurricanes on the east coast while everyone is forced to stay inside due to the global pandemic of COVID-19. …
Adrienne maree brown describes herself and her work in many ways, and the beauty of this book is how she weaves the different parts of herself together within it all. Her love for sci-fi, her work as an activist and movement builder for justice, her magic and witchcraft, her love of the world all make appearances throughout the book.
Emergent Strategy is a compilations of lessons from her work in movement building, as well as lessons from others and how biomimicry (mirroring the natural world for solutions) is imperative in these movements:
“Cell may not know civilization is possible. They don’t amass as many units as they can sign up to be the same. No- they grow until they split, complexify. Then they interact and intersect and discover their purpose- I am a lung cell! I am a tongue cell! — and they serve it. And they die. And what emerges from these cycles are complex organisms, systems, movements, societies.” …
Karla Cornejo Villavicencio’s new book The Undocumented Americans is not the story publishers have been begging her to write for years. It’s the story that she wants to tell, about her own family’s struggles with documentation in America, and the countless others stories that overlap yet are intricately different and all together human. Cornejo Villavicencio writes:
“I am not a journalist. Journalists are not allowed to get involved the way I have gotten involved. Journalist, to the best of my knowledge, do not try to change the outcome of their stories as crudely as I do. I send water. I fight immigration lawyers. I raise money. …
Chicago based abolitionist organizer Charlene A. Carruthers shares her experiences of movement building with BYP100 as well as experiences practicing transformative justice in Unapologetic.
Throughout the book Carruthers reflects on her place in the movement as a Black lesbian leftist:
“There are few places in US politics for people like me. I am a leftist and I am not white or a man… I believe capitalism should be dismantled in favor of an economy that is people- and planet-centered… I believe that Democrat and Republican Party politics impede this.”
Learning from History
Carruthers does not shy away from reality, and calls democratic politics out as she sees…
Mikki Kendall coined the hashtag #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen, which she expands on in her new book, “Hood Feminism”. The book challenges mainstream (white) feminism which tends to focus on white and privileged women. In the book Kendall views feminism through a Black perspective with each chapter of the book broken up into a different intersectional focus: hunger, housing, gun violence, respectability politics, pretty privilege, education systems, etc.
This is a book all white feminists should read, as it reminds mainstream feminism to sit back, and look around at everything it is missing (namely, listening to women from marginalized perspectives). …