i want to add some new blogs to my daily reading! i like to read blogs written by people i know (well or vaguely) through zines, which means, if you are reading this because you have read my zines, & you happen to have a blog you update occasionally, give me the address! i also like to read other kinds of blogs, like nostalgia blogs about the pop culture of my childhood & adolescence, & stuff relating to pop culture & feminism. & i like to read about cooking, crafts, sewing, etc. just tell me a few of your favorite blogs & i will go look at them.
man, i really hate the word “blog”.
i feel like i am still finding my sea legs in writing here, even though i’ve been doing it for a few months now. i am still struggling to find my focus, especially because i am constantly distracted by more private writing endeavors. such a strange mix of people read this thing, i never really understand “who i’m writing for,” you know? when i’m writing about kathleen hanna, for example, i don’t know how much context to provide. there are people reading who are probably thinking, “kathleen who?” even with a provided biography & there are others who are like, “dude, i know all about kathleen hanna, i don’t need all this tedious background!”
i guess i’ll just write what i want to write.
i can’t believe it’s march already. the weather is vaguely sunny & the temperature is supposed to hit 55 over the weekend! the farmer’s market opens again in six weeks, & i’ll be able to buy fresh basil by the handful, the most delicious bacon in the world, fresh flowers, chocolate zucchini bread baked by a nice farmer lady, herbal tinctures of dubious effectiveness, whole fresh chickens for roasting, chocolate cheesecake, & so forth. i have learned quite a bit about cooking, & especially about seasonal eating & vegetables (though i am still a total neophyte compared to most people–i think i ate maybe two servings of vegetables per year before i started dating jared), so i am more excited about the farmer’s market this year than i usually am.
i will also get to observe a whole new winter crop of babies & froth with jealousy because i don’t have a baby. even though i admit that right now i like the idea of having a baby a lot more than i’d probably like the reality of sleep deprivation & diaper laundering. i am slowly easing into baby fever with the hope that it will peak right around the time that jared is done with grad school & gets on board with the idea. thus far, the fever does not involve actually hanging out with kids. so really, i’m being extremely unrealistic.
on the off chance that anyone from lawrence is actually reading this & silently thinking, “this ciara person sounds interesting & i’d like to discuss books with her,” i am willing to set aside my pride & admit that i wish i was in a book club. i say “set aside my pride” not because book clubs aren’t awesome but because they conceptually have a whiff of bored housewife/complaining about one’s partner/suburbia to them. but i won’t let that stand in my way. i used to be in this anarcha-feminist book club in boston. it was a weird & somewhat terrible experience. there’s not a lot of explicitly anarcha-feminist literature out there in the published world, so we kind of had to reach to find things to read. we read against love, by laura kipnis, an excellent book, but not especially anarchist or even feminist in a direct & straightforward way. i had everyone read wise children, by angela carter, so we could talk about things like aging & beauty standards & bawdy old dames casting off one’s expectations of aging femininity. it’s like “the golden girls,” with an extra heaping helping of shakespearean intrigue, vaudeville, & consensual incest. but no one really got that except for me.
the things i didn’t like about the anarcha-feminist book club were that a) no one ever really had any insights or even opinions about the books we read, aside from, “i liked it,” or, “i didn’t like it.” when i would ask why people felt this or that way, they mostly looked blank or said something prosaic like, “it was hard to read about all the violence” (in reference to the bandit queen of india). not exactly the stuff thrilling conversation is made of. also, b) there was one woman in the group who was like an anarcha-feminist version of the kind of lady who goes to her book club meetings, gets soused, commandeers the conversation to complain about her partner & suburbia & being a bored college student (the urban 20-year-old version of the bored housewife), & cannot handle polite social cues. in her case, she talked a lot about non-monogamy & the struggles of balancing multiple boyfriends & how her boyfriends invisibilized her queer identity. that’s great, but also irrelevant, boring, & tedious, & somehow she managed to relate every book we read back to these themes. it was like every book club meeting was an outpost of a women’s studies 101 class where She Tells Everyone How It Is. & there is a reason i took precisely one women’s studies class in college.
what is it about being in your early twenties & thinking everything you have to say is utterly compelling, even though it’s actually banal & trite? i was at a social event not long ago where a little crowd of twentysomethings were discussing their middle names & how they are spelled. at another event, a twentysomething dude tried to keep the conversation afloat by asking everyone about jobs they used to have before they started doing what they do now. these glorified ice breakers are always just an entry point for someone to say, “my middle name is leigh! like lee, but spelled l-e-i-g-h! isn’t that weird?” (answer: no. also, shut up.) or, “i used to drive a forklift. i know, can you believe it? me, engaged in whatever genteel desk-bound pursuit i am currently engaged in, i drove a forklift one summer! my working-class credibility file is expanding as we speak!” (response: me too. who cares? shut up.)
i was discussing this phenomenon with someone ten years older than me, who wisely pointed out that sometimes people really are just banal & trite & they never grow out of it. she said that she’s been to parties full of forty-year-olds where someone will start talking about middle names or summer jobs they had in college, & she has the same reaction: shut up, who cares, oh my god. so maybe it’s not an age thing. but it feels so much more apparent to me now that i am a little older. i can’t sit here & pretend that i was never that eager-to-please early twentysomething who’d concoct a conversation starter out of something that might amuse a second grader for fifteen minutes, just because maybe i had a little story i wanted to share. i find that kind of behavior so gauche now, the person i used to be is pretty much completely unrecognizable. but hey. i’m writing about this on a blog, so in some ways, our basest pleas for attention all come full circle.