(sometimes withershins, widershins or widderschynnes) means to take a course opposite that of the sun, going counterclock-wise, lefthandwise, or to circle an object, by always keeping it on the left. It also means "in a direction opposite to the usual," which is how I choose to take it in using it as the title of this blog. We're all in the same world finding our own way.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Twilight: An Addiction, or Why I Will Never Read That Series

So I've been reading this book, Crack Wars by Avital Ronell that Tony --

Nanotext? Professor Prichard? The lines of formality have been so blurred that I don't really know how to refer to him anymore. I mean, I'm working on a collaborative novel with him and a bunch of other people, and as such have been to his house and met his wife and daughter but am still going to be in a classroom setting with him as the "authority" figure next quarter in Parasites. Quite frankly I see him more as a friend and mentor than as a teacher. But I'm getting off topic.

that Tony gave me to read a little over a month back. It's been slow going, mostly because I've only opened it sporadically when I wasn't running back and forth from one activity to another or studying for my actual classes. It's all about literature and addiction, and addiction as a parasitic entity. A drug, or rather something you can be addicted to, does not necessitate the use of chemicals, it is more complex than a chemical reaction, but can be anything that sustains the interplay between want, need, choice, freedom: drawing toward but never quite crossing the line in that suicidal euphoric rush of death.

But today I woke up, sat down and really started to get into it.

That is until I came across an annotation posing the question, "Who are we when we write? drug dealers? pharmacists? output's quality depends on your skill." This of course made me laugh as I thought of the author of the Twilight series, Stephanie Meyer. For her blatantly terrible books with their anti-feminist images (stalker vampire, possessive werewolf, weakling heroine) to seduce so many readers, many of whom are educated, respectable feminists, she can't be a writer. All the good authors are terribly difficult to read at times and yet are still considered undeniably good despite and because of any criticism they may receive. Meyer on the other hand is merely addictive.

I went to a panel the other week where her works were described as a relationship. You become involved with the books much in the same way you became involved with that stupid 15-year-old boy/girl who broke your heart back in middle school. But such a relationship isn't really a relationship. It's an addiction. There is an interplay (my I like using that word) of power dynamics in which you seek to appease and acquire that which you want.

So in a sense, she's a drug dealer, peddling to the masses of capitalist America. She isn't wholly to blame, her agent and her publishing company and the movies all play a big role in that as well, but as a writer, she's nothing more than a pusher for her romanticized, impossible, idealized, fantasy world. I cannot support that. There is so much more richness to be found in the reality I perceive around me, I don't want to waste my time. If I'm going for escapism, I'm going to take a little more fun without such unhealthy undertones. Give me fairy tales where at least you can learn from the darkness you encounter.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sleep deprivation and poetry

Morning is a special time for me. It's my chance to reflect and warm up to the day. I've always been an early riser, a morning person if you will, so there is a certain quiet in the wee hours while everyone else is still asleep that brings me a kind of peace and solitude and oneness with the world. If I'm awake, I like taking (after)midnight walks for this reason. Often during such walks inspiration strikes and I am compelled to write. Last night I was so inspired.

Longing after hours

The silence of the morning
as a retreat is a probation
upon the noise of the day
once the waning night is satiated.
Raindrops follow gently,
whispering their ardent androgyny
to those who would bear to hear it.
He who falls is not lost but instead
in coils encased buds bloom with orphic allusions.

Such scruff and tumble warmth
warrants the spiced scent of desire awakened.
Bread crumb trails to Hansel lead
before the burgeoning avians of respect,
dignity leave the path a purity still.
Untouched, unpossessed are these sunrise meadows.
The sky is a reflection
of the light below
in these post-coital hours.

Nothing stirs
but the unrequited
and the committed in conclusive embrace.
The quiet holds sway here.
Its power goes unbroken
before the bolden light of dawn.
It demands: Nothing external exists.
Nothing external survives
in sound
before it is smothered,
dampened by the lonely seconds interred
after midnight has taken its respite.

This is the time of the worm
before even the early bird breaks into song.
The wind.
The rain.
The trees.
The travelers passing through.
Moments last minutes last lifetimes
as memories suffuse that embracing shadow
with the warmth of a freshly emptied bed
after grey-eyed Eos follows through with her threats.

Day is approaching,
alarms are ready to prod
and jolt
and persist
in a frenzied push towards consciousness.
Coffee awaits the brewer’s cup,
a seduction of chemical alkaloids
all too willing, all too easy.
But the horizon is as yet unbroken,
unbloodied by the first pricks of Helios’ bright glare.
And it is quiet in the morning, silence to end the night.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The difference between being gay and *being* gay

Being gay is either something you’re born with or it’s a choice. It came up in the movies we watched repeatedly as a way of both reinforcing that separatist view, that in order to create a safe place for a gay identity, you must first establish that to be gay is something separate, something different from the normal in order to gain special protections and rights.

In "Mean Little Deaf Queer", I think Galloway puts it very succinctly when she states that it’s a matter of us and “them.” She’s mostly relating to her experience as being disabled/handicapped, but there are direct parallels between that simple statement and the ideology that being queer is something you’re born with or a choice. Like the little deaf queer that she was Galloway chose neither to be gay nor to be deaf. What she did choose was to live with those conditions on her life and push through them.

Queerness is not something people choose. I don’t know of any straight person who would choose to live their life as a gay/lesbian/bi/trans person if they weren’t. But if being queer is something that is innate, that you are born with it, then to go back to Gayle Rubin’s constructivist views, how you choose to live that life, how you express that sexuality or gender identity is a product of your upbringing.

In an upbringing that believes that being queer is somehow wrong, to be gay or rather I should say to live a gay lifestyle then must become a choice. Who you are constructed to be and what you are as a result of that does not allow for a gay identity so to have a gay identity is to choose not to be what you were born to in favor of being what you were born. To become what you were born and accept that is a choice.

So, is being gay something you’re born with or is it a choice? It depends on what you mean by being gay. It is at this junction that the religious institution and the queer community often reach an impasse because they both mean very different things and have very different views on this matter.

They equate being gay to living a gay lifestyle and accepting yourself as gay. These are not the same thing. Identity is a personal matter, and to call a thing an identity when a person does not identify as such is an assumption that devalues the identity of that person.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Matter of Priorities

I'm running out of energy, worrying about stretching myself too thin.
It's not a matter of stress, but a matter of time. I'm everywhere at once, going nowhere fast.
I know I can keep this up at least for now, but I need a break. Thanksgiving weekend sound good to anyone?

Activities keep me busy, but I can't focus on any of them the way I really want to. I feel like my writing for nanoNaNoWriMo is fair to middling at best; the only class I pay full attention in is Chinese (which I hate) because I know I'll fail if I don't; I'm too tired to be as enthusiastic as I'd like in everything else and the only time I see friends are either when I'm studying, eating, in class, or working on one of these projects with them.

It's a matter of priorities and balancing my time. And I'm doing decent so far, but it's draining me. I need something to pull me in, to keep me focussed and to give me reason to want to keep up with this juggling act. I guess that's the question I'm really starting to ask myself. Why am I still going?

I'm far more prone to bouts of irritability and don't feel like my normal, positive self. I know that's not who I am or who I want to be, but I don't really know how to get back to that place without somehow failing in areas that really mean a lot to me. Involvement is what I do, I can't help it, how do I make this worth my while?

That said, somehow I'm happy.
Yeah, tired and stressed and desperately in need of more days in the week, but happy. I love being this busy even if I'm slowly going insane. Call it a bad habit from my days as a student journalist.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's time to get writing

As part of a NaNoWriMo group project organized by and with people I had class with last quarter, I'm claiming a write-in weekend. After breakfast on Saturday I am barricading myself in my room until Sunday afternoon (dinner excepting and Nerf Wars that night to blow off steam). I will not be answering my phone. I will be inactive on Facebook. I probably won't even shower (which is fine since I won't be going anywhere).

If I ignore you or tell you no, I can't come out and play, I'm sorry, but you've now been warned. If you care to see what's taking up my time, I will direct you to the finished product at the end of the month.

Hope you all can understand, I love you and will catch you on the Sunday side of things.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We All Have Issue

We all have issues, causes, ideals that strike a chord deep within us. They're the things we stand for, the things we believe in, and the places we want to make a difference. We are activists of our own lives.

But I wonder at our dedication. Unless something has directly affected you or a family member/friend, I wonder if our dedication to that cause can ever really compare to that of someone with that experience. Which is not to say I doubt the sincerity of activists joining a cause simply because it's a good cause, no, without people like that, there would be no cause.

Take for example cancer. I support cancer research and have actively volunteered at several Relay4Life events over the past few years, but I've never felt like it was my cause. Blood donation on the other hand, that hits a little closer to home.

I've donated blood regularly for going into the third year now. I've passed the gallon mark, but I know unless there is a change in significant legal structures and practices, I won't be able to continue to donate indefinitely. I donate blood because I believe in it. I think it helps people and so long as I'm fit and healthy enough to be eligible, I will continue with this practice.

This cause has meaning to me.

But it wouldn't have the same kind of meaning if it didn't affect me personally. So I say, we all have issues, but some take more precedence than others.