28 September 2007

Postcards from Ocean Grove

i.

I have taken a break from the ocean;
the south wind has become humid, annoying.
Yesterday afternoon Bush flew overhead in a herd of gray helicopters.
Most sunbathers ignored him. All the surfers gave him the finger.
A big white man in an Ocean Grove baseball cap said: Look! That's the closest you'll ever get to the president.
Thank god for that, I told him.

ii.

This cafe is almost empty. Most everyone else is sitting outside. It is too muggy for me.
I slept poorly last night; images of Burn's The War blistered my dreams. I could see the distorted, pale, pale orange of the harvest moon.
I want to see someone less familiar than my child and my mother; someone I could scream at: Turn away! Turn away! The tide is coming in!

iii.

I used to have a friend of sharp blue stone. Now she taunts me with righteousness and questions my motive. There was no motive. It was just me, being too particular about what I needed from her friendship; what I would have needed had our honesty survived.

iv.

The waitress has asked me what I'm doing. Writing, I tell her, I'm a writer.
Wow, she says. A simple wow; a wow that floats away, disappearing through the doors of the kitchen. She brings me a fresh cup of coffee and I feel cared for. But it's time to go back and be the birthday woman. I smile at the thought.

24 September 2007

Virtual Postcards

We're keen on postcards and multiple methods of communication at Woman-Stirred. We have to be to maintain our friendships and collaboration across distances. And yet email is still the most reliable and regular means of contact. I looked back over our daily emails from last summer, drawing on rich words and phrases to imagine a new dialogue between women.

The result was Postcard Stream, a visual, voice, and textual poem. The textual elements grew as a collage out of our email conversations. Are there two women or more? Might they be lovers or friends, or both and more? How does geography overlay and inspire emotion? You decide.

I'm thrilled that Postcard Stream is included in the latest issue of Womb Poetry. This issue, a summer/autumnal equinox offering, went live yesterday. Please check out all the contributors, and to view the Woman-Stirred Postcard Stream click on my name: "Nicki Hastie".

Postcards ... the first of many ...
This is just one example of the way Woman-Stirred expands my imagination. It's true those original emails covered some amazing subjects. If you're wondering what those conversations really were, you'll just have to use your imagination.

20 September 2007

Gwyn Kirk on Woman-Stirred Radio


Please join Merry Gangemi and her guest, Gwyn Kirk, this Thursday, September 20 at 5pm (EDT), on Woman-Stirred Radio.

Kirk holds a PhD in political sociology from the London School of Economics. She is a scholar-activist concerned with gender, racial and environmental justice. Kirk has taught courses in women’s studies, environmental studies, political science, and sociology at U.S. universities and colleges, and publishes a textbook/anthology, Women’s Lives: Multicultural Perspectives (McGraw-Hill), co-edited with Dr. Margo Okazawa-Rey.

Kirk writes extensively on ecofeminism, militarism, and peace organizing. A current project is Women for Genuine Security. She is a founding member of the East Asia-US-Puerto Rico Women's Network Against Militarism, which links scholars and activists who deal with the effects of U.S. military bases, budgets, and operations on local communities.

Her current research and writing focuses on organizing efforts to promote cleanup and healing from contamination caused by military operations and war.

New on Woman-Stirred Radio! Commentaries with British writer Nicki Hastie, lesbian pundit and writer Julie R. Enszer, and bi-writer Jan Steckel.

19 September 2007

What's in a Name? by Wendy Curry


Wendy Curry, president of BiNet USA, grew up in coastal Maine during the 70s and 80s. At the time, she knew she was different, but she didn’t know how. Since discovering her sexuality in college like so many queer young people, she’s been dedicated to bisexual visibility and community building. A software engineer by trade, she splits her free time between queer activism, dog rescue, organic gardening, and her family, which consists of her partner of 25 years and their three dogs. Her column on Celebrating Bisexuality appeared earlier this week in her Live Journal blog and on BiNet USA.

What's in a Name?

As bi groups around the globe prepare to recognize the 9th annual Celebrate Bisexuality Day (Sept 23rd), I'm trying to learn to let go.

As the event continues to take on traction, there's a morphing of the name in some circles. Some groups call their event a "bi pride" event or they celebrate "Bisexuality Day". This drives me insane.

Why? Shouldn't I be proud that this is growing, regardless of the name? Sure. Absolutely. If you had told me 10 years ago this would be still going on, I'd have thanked you for being so overly optimistic.

Perhaps it's because 3 of us spent 6+ months brainstorming on a name, a date, and a theme. The name is not just a name to me - it was our gift to our community.

So, here's my last attempt (this year) to define what went into making this celebration and why it's named as it is.

In Early 1999, three BiNet USA national coordinators: Michael Page (originator of the bi pride flag and original owner of the Bi Cafe), Gigi Raven Wilbur (first weekly bi-themed radio-show hostess, out of Texas of all places), and I started brainstorming on bi day.

In the 90's, much of the bisexual activism involved one of three actions:
1) "We're here too" at "gay" events; trying to prove we were an important part of the GLBT family
2) Countering the belief that bisexuality is just a phase. Because so few people identified as bisexual in the previous decades, we'd prop up the one or two people we could find who had identified as bi for a decade or two and say "see? it is possible to be bi for life!"
3) Fighting our biggest obstacle - invisibility. Because most people at the time see other's sexuality based on their current partner or whom they see you eyeballing, few bisexuals were/are recognized as such, but misidentified as straight or gay

The common theme in the above actions is a kind of defensiveness. we ARE here; we ARE queer; gosh darn it!

Many of us felt like we were on this endless treadmill, fighting the same battles every day. We'd see colleagues drifting away, burnt from years of the same battle with little "real" progress.

If you really study civil rights/diversity acceptance, you'll see that people start to respect people once they respect themselves. As long as we were in this endless begging for inclusion, we weren't addressing the respect issue.

So those two themes - wanting to respect ourselves and wanting to celebrate the previous year's battles - were the dual driving forces behind CBD.

We wanted to celebrate our fabulousness and remind our peers to celebrate THEIR fabulousness. On this one day, who cares if the less enlightened can't see us or if the national GLBT groups/media weren't including us? Who cares if some ignorant lesbians see us merely as disease carriers?

The day was not an about education day. It was not a coming out day, it's not about glbt partnerships building or proving ourselves to anyone else.

It's not a "pride" day, though many of us our proud. it's not about usurping a gay event and making a smaller one for ourselves. It's a truly unique day, just for us.

What we asked people to do was find some time on this day to celebrate who they are. That could be lighting a candle, saying a prayer, buying a bi pride flag, getting together with other bisexuals for brunch, having incredible sex, march somewhere, whatever they desired.

We picked September because it was Freddie Mercury's birthday month (though not his actual birthday because it didn't fall on a weekend day that first year). We finally went with the 23rd as it was one of our birthdays.

And we sent out a bunch of emails. the rest, as they say, is history. Michael's, Gigi's, and my gift to the community was the seed. However you all chose to grow that seed is up to you.

Happy CBD

Wendy Curry, September 2007

12 September 2007

Diana Souhami is Woman-Stirred


Please join Merry Gangemi this Thursday, September 13th, at 5pm (EDT), for an interview with British author, Diana Souhami.

Souhami is the author of Coconut Chaos (London: Orion, 2007), Selkirk's Island (the 2001 U.K. Whitbread Biography Award), The Trials of Radclyffe Hall (short listed for the James Tait Black Prize for Biography and the U.S. Lamda Literary Award), Mrs. Keppel and Her Daughter (Lamda Literary Award and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year), Wild Girls, Gertrude and Alice, Greta and Cecil, and Gluck: Her Biography.

Coconut Chaos "connects the famous mutiny on the Bounty in the Pacific Ocean in 1789 to the plight of the islanders of Pitcairn now.

Its conceptual core is how a small chance thing, the taking of a coconut by Fletcher Christian from William Bligh's stores on the ship, had dramatic ramifications that continue today. The analogy is with chaos theory in science: how a small variation in conditions can result in dynamic transformations elsewhere. This story moves from a simple, random event to its complex connections.

The vivid narrative includes mutiny, travel, biography, incest, homosexuality, murder and rape, science and technology, fantasy and selective history.

Sea voyages, most of them extraordinary, drive the narrative forward, the author's own journey to Pitcairn where Fletcher Christian hid to escape punishment; Bligh's navigation to Timor in violent weather, without maps, in a small boat, with scant supplies and starving men; the voyage to England with mutineers in chains and their shipwreck...

This is not a "one thing after another" book, it is a continuum where things interrelate, a metaphorical voyage that leads to the chaos of Pitcairn's unlawfulness today."

6 September 2007

Look Who's Reading Poetry 4

Jan Steckel couldn't join us at Tea & Poetry this time, but there are other chances to enjoy Jan's brilliantly skilled performances. If you want to know where Jan is reading next, check out her events page at www.jansteckel.com.

And why wait? Because Jan Steckel was filmed reading at the All Poets Welcome Reading Series at the Gallery Cafe, San Francisco in November 2006. John Rhodes made the recording, and he opens this particular film with a couple of poems of his own. Keep watching for Jan. She's a star and brings every poem vividly to life.

Access the poetry podcast at John's Mystic Babylon Open Mike site.

5 September 2007

Look Who's Reading Poetry 3

Merry Gangemi made these readings in Vermont possible, and provided the perfect platform for three of us to be together in person for the very first time this August. Merry will say it's down to the organising committee of the local AFSC, but Julie, Jan, and I know better. Merry makes Tea & Poetry possible, and many other things besides.

Take pleasure in poetry. Say hooray for Vermont. Enjoy Merry Gangemi.

4 September 2007

Look Who's Reading Poetry 2

Julie R. Enszer has a great mind. It's always a treat to share in such fine observations and perceptions through her essays, reviews, and poetry. I had the fun of deciding how up close and personal to get with Julie through the camera lens when she read a selection of her poems at Tea and Poetry last month.

If you have the chance, make sure to get hold of one of Julie's famous poetry postcards. The latest is "At Birth" (shown on film).

3 September 2007

Look Who's Reading Poetry 1

It's about time we had some spoken word material at Woman-Stirred. Not to mention moving pictures. So let me start with myself.

Tea & Poetry provided the best opportunity to bring out the video camera: my very first time reading these poems in the USA, in the company of friends, fellow poets, and poetry lovers.



It was a pleasure and an honour to share the stage with Julie R. Enszer and Merry Gangemi on Saturday 18 August at Perennial Pleasures in East Hardwick, Vermont. So watch out for more Woman-Stirred poets in performance - coming soon.

Author Profile: Morgan Hunt

One of the things that inspires all of us at Woman-Stirred is women who pursue their dream of writing. Morgan Hunt is one of those women. Morgan is an active member of the Yahoo discussion group, Lesbian-Writers, which is how we in Woman-Stirred met her. In 2001, she was treated for breast cancer and one of her resolutions after that was to feed her passion for mysteries and writing. This year her first book, Sticky Fingers, was released and it is the first installment in a projected three part series known as Tess Camillo Mysteries. None of us have yet dipped into our copies of Sticky Fingers, but we’re all looking forward to this luscious lesbian mystery series and we salute Morgan Hunt for her achievements as an author and as a woman who stirs our collective imaginations!

You can read more about Morgan Hunt at her website, www.morganhuntbooks.com, and at these two websites which feature great interviews with Morgan:

http://www.readerviews.com/InterviewHuntMorgan.html
http://www.justout.com/feature_story_03.aspx

We encourage you to go buy the book and let us know here what you think about it.