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Reading List 4 of 2021

April 30, 2021
tags:

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RIP, American record producer (and Grammy winner) Ethel Gabriel (1921–2021); American comic book writer [_Wonder Woman_] Joye Hummel Kelly (1924–2021); Baltimorean-born jaguar conservationist Sharon Matola (1954–2021); British actor [“Narcissa Malfoy”] Helen McCrory (1968–2021); American statesman Walter Mondale* (1928–2021)

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*He was my first vote for U.S. President … but I was really voting for Geraldine Ferraro as VP.

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Covers the period from 3.15.21 through 4.30.21

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I own 15 of these items. I watched 8 things on Instagram/Youtube/via streaming. Baltimore County Public Library system supplied 1 of the books. Libraries outside of Baltimore County, via Inter-Library Loan, supplied the other 6 items.

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{=V= NDER·ZBUKU}

  1. Folk Costume of Eastern Europe, written & illustrated by Lilla M. Fox [1977]
  2. Folk Costumes of the World in Colour by Robert Harrold, illustrated by Phyllida Legg [1978]
  3. Peasant Costume in Europe: Book II by Kathleen Mann [1936]
  4. Rural Costume by Alma Oakes and Margot Hamilton Hill [1970]
  5. Lietuviu Tautiniai Rūbai | Lithuanian National Costume by Vida Kulikauskiene [1994]
  6. Knots and Braids in Handicraft [1941]
  7. Weaving Patterned Bands by Susan Foulkes
  8. Wzory Polskich Haftów Ludowych {Polish embroidery patterns}

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Design | Composition:

  1. Bookforms ~ The Center for Book Arts
  2. Enchanting Embroidery Designs by MiW Morita
  3. The Sea Journal: Seafarers’ Sketchbooks by Huw Lewis-Jones
  4. [Video] 19th Century Plaid by Michaela Coy

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MUSIC

  1. [SFF] Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones {England, 1976 & 1985; magic} [1986]
  2. [SFF] War for the Oaks by Emma Bull {Minneapolis, 1980s; magic & the Sidhe} [1988]
  3. Big Star Fallin’ Mama: 5 Women in Black Music by Hettie Jones
  4. Hidden Music: The Life of Fanny Mendelssohn by Gloria Kamen
  5. Hints to Singers by Lillian Nordica [1923]
  6. Wendy Carlos**: A Biography by Amanda Sewell

** Wendy Carlos is autistic. Fight me. (She also seems like a massive PITA.)

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Films:

  1. Concerto: A Beethoven Journey, written & directed by Phil Grabsky
  2. Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind, directed by Joan Tosoni and Martha Kehoe
  3. David Bowie — Ziggy Stardust [1972]

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Fiction:

  1. Chip of the Flying U by B. M. Bower [1995; reprint of 1906 first edition]
  2. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
  3. Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade {fanfic romance}
  4. Technically, You Started It by Lana Wood Johnson
  5. The Turnaway Girls by Hayley Chewlins

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~ AO3 Fanfics ~

  • Harry Potter  // read 164 works; 3,445,258 words

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TV:

  1. Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A Primetime Special
  2. The Key Moments of Prince Philip’s Funeral ((50 minutes))
  3. SEC’s Storied: UK, the 1978 NCAA Men’s Championship Team
  4. The Repair Shop, season 3

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Dream: 4.9.2021

April 9, 2021

I have a new job as a sales clerk in a store with some connection to arts & crafts. The store is located in a warren of a building; Spouse and I have taken up residence in a tiny bedsit in the building. Today, he goes outside, early, to photograph the neighborhood. I wake up just after he’s left, espy him from the window. It might have been nice to go with him, but I’m not the early riser he is.

Now, though, I have several hours before my shift at work begins, so what shall I do with it?

On second thought, it’s 6:30 a.m.-ish, and my shift begins at 9 a.m. … right? Maybe I should double-check the whiteboard with shift schedules. It’s just down a hallway or two, nothing major. I don’t even need to get dressed: my knee-length nightgown is fine. (Oops! There’s people in the halls. I do double back to grab my full-length sky-blue robe.)

I DON’T PUT ON MY EYEGLASSES.

(I also don’t grab my wallet, any bag, phone, or camera.)

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Of course I get lost. The building is a warren, and we’ve only been in it a few days.

Well, okay, I have time to explore. Surely there’s still 2 hours or so before my shift starts.

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I walk through various shops, seeing many cool things I wish I could linger with, but Time… (I have no camera, nor money, either).

I hope to see coworkers, so I could ask about work, but no, it’s all strangers. And… there’s a lot of strangers. Why are there so many people milling about this early in the day?

The storm last night knocked out power to half the building.

So, when I see clocks… their hands have stopped, but also, none of the times shown match each other. How much time has passed since I left our room?

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Gradually, I find myself outside of our building. I’m now in an open-air mall. When I can stop someone, I ask for directions back to the store my boss owns. At first, everyone knows where I mean, but their directions don’t get me anywhere that looks familiar.

I’m worrying. Sure, I don’t want to let down my coworkers if I’m late, but also… Spouse has likely returned from his walk, and is frantic at my absence. (I left no note. Didn’t take my phone.)

Several times, I feel actual despair. This feels like a nightmare; I want to wake up!

But I don’t, so this must be real. Ugh. I keep walking. I keep asking for directions (that are useless). I keep trying to brainstorm ways to at least contact Spouse and tell him I’m okay.

I fall to my knees and sob. I have No Idea what to try next! I wish this was a nightmare … because then I could wake up!

I get to my feet, lethargically, and wander around in a daze, hopeless. But I have to persist, right? No one is going to find me here.

I have to save myself.

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I wake up.

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Holy crap, I just slept for 11 hours!

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NOTES, Preliminary:

My first thought was, ‘I’ve never dreamed about walking around without my glasses! WTF? Where did my brain get that insane idea???’

And then I recalled that, on a walk around my neighborhood, just 5 days ago, I experimented with taking off my eyeglasses (because when I’m masked, they fog up), and then wearing and not wearing wraparound sunglasses. I’m sensitive to bright light, and glare, but besides that, I tend to walk into things: eye protection is a must! So, sunglasses on, but spectacles off, did function decently. In the woods, I don’t have to read signs; watch out for cars, or stupid people without masks.

Still, navigating a human-built space, filled with HBs, {during a pandemic,} hopelessly lost, with no identification or useful tools on my person??!? Absolutely the stuff of nightmares!

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NOTES, Intermediary:

There was stuff related to sewing in various shops. Sewing is part of a cluster of interests, newly prominent in my life lately. (Part of why I’ve not been reading books much — I’ve been thinking with my hands.)

I’ve been ‘retired’ for almost 11 years: it was weird to have to wrangle all those fiddly details of coordinating schedules with other people, according to rules that oppose my circadian rhythms. (In the dream, I think Spouse was retired, but he likes getting up early. Me, I’m a night owl. I regularly go to bed at 3 a.m., or later.)

I don’t think we were in Maryland. Farther south? Southwest? It wasn’t New Mexico, but it was definitely not here. The trees were different, Mediterranean climate, maybe.  Not sure where that would be in the USA. South Carolina, Florida, the Gulf Coast? SoCal? Texas?  

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NOTES, Final:

No matter what my intentions are… I’m going to get lost.

I enjoy fumbling around, exploring what’s to hand, while lost. Up to a point.

(At other points in my life, I’ve had dreams where I realized I was catastrophically lost, and I just rolled with it, enjoying where I was at. This one was not like that.)   So, I want to keep connected? tethered? to… something. Someone. Conor? Conor and Mea, gaining distance from each other so they can follow pursuits separately, while remaining connected?

I do miss having colleagues. For me, it’s not sufficient to have HBs in my life, whom I like (as people); I want to have people to talk with, about topics that interest me. If I really like someone as a person, but our interests and skills don’t overlap, we can’t be friends. I’m a Hufflepuff — I’m pragmatic. What are we doing?                Dream-Spouse (Conor?) was photographing, exploring the outer environment. Dream-self (Mea?) was moving – exploring the inner environment, assessing conditions, learning what’s around, trying to find HBs who could understand what I was asking and actually aid me.

Maybe if I’d talked to a tree, it would’ve been better.

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What’s worked before, isn’t going to anymore? I need different methods.

What am I trying to do?

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more thoughts on red

March 28, 2021

(after coffee and food, I’ve noticed other aspects)

My moods and emotional states typically present as colorways, not individual hues. And even the hues that depict a particular emotion are still, themselves, complex: the blue of ~surprised-by-happiness~ is the blue of a summer sky; the blue of ~astonishment~ is a clear September sky; the yellow-green of ~Amelia~ is a specific shade of babyleaf green, the pink of ~Amelia~ is a specific shade of rose pink (or even camellia pink).

Even yellow contains something extra: a titch of orange, or pink, or sparkle.

None of them are ‘pure’ tones.

Red, though, as it appears on tunic embroidery, is a pure tone.

It has no neighbors to converse with, or create optical mixing with.

Also, red by itself is not a color associated with living things. Flowers, fruit, yeah, but then there’d also be leaves.

Red-and-green? Too Christmas-y. I hate Christmas.      Also, red and green are color wheel complements. For the most part, I prefer triads, or split-complements, or even a dyad that’s one color and one of its split complements: orange and blue-green; violet and yellow-green.

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Both red-orange (vermillion) and red-violet hold specific and sacred meanings to me. Vermillion in particular appears in many of my artworks across a variety of media: tapestry, embroidery, other fiber; watercolor painting; poetry.

It can represent both fire and earth. And even water, because there’s a Vermillion River in Indiana and Illinois — and I have a relationship with it.

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Maybe Conor manifests more in groups because when I’m/we’re alone, gender is irrelevant? Gender is a human-social construct, right? How would gender matter at all when I’m human-alone? It doesn’t. And… I’m human-alone most of the time.

Even when I’m not entirely alone, though, with just one other person, especially if I trust them, gender is also… immaterial. Me and Stan and birds and trees, c. 1970-72? Gender never came up. Spouse and me, hiking, or photographing flowers, or talking? Nope.

Once I got my father-in-law to understand I wasn’t his daughter-in-law, I felt released from the constrictions of gender expectations as practiced in central KY. (My inner feminist was still annoyed by how he interacted with other people according to his own central KY gender expectations, but…)

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I remember being 16 and feeling nurturing toward younger relatives, an inclination which in my family of origin would usually be characterized as “maternal” (even though my own mother was nothing like it), and knowing that what I was feeling had nothing to do with feeling parental. Because I had zero interest in ever being a parent.    I felt tenderness and concern and protectiveness, … none of which I’d felt from my own parents.              An adjective for an aunt’s feeling might’ve worked, had I known such a word, but only in the abstract.                 ‘Avuncular’ would have been laughably unsuitable.         It wasn’t even friendship, exactly, because I didn’t always feel tender towards my friends. And I definitely never noticed them evincing tenderness towards me.

Tenderness seemed like it was reserved for kin relationships. (From what I’d read.) My father could express it to babies, but no one else, so I didn’t recall ever feeling it directly from him. I wasn’t convinced my mother was capable of it.       Stan, with an older cousin in their own babyhood; child Stan, with his favorite brother (who died young) — I’d heard stories from long before I was born.

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Red is tough. Tough-minded. Brawn. Red is… anti-tenderness.

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I can’t be a man without tenderness. (I can’t be a person without tenderness.) For me, tenderness is a fundamental quality, integral to a high-quality life.

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//A storm’s moved in, wind and water lashing at the windows. I hope my rocks on the balcony are okay.//

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I want to know. But then, too, I don’t. Because what are the odds tenderness is allowed? Was ever allowed? (I presume) Infinitesimal.

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In waking life, I could never have had the phone conversation with D that I had in my dream.

I don’t know how to be a brother.

D has been cruel to me for years, going back to high school.

I don’t think I want to be a brother.

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Back to wanting impossible things.

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2 Dreams: 3.28.2021

March 28, 2021

//13w from DD,A//

=1=

I’m at a Greek restaurant with Spouse. Sunday night? It’s very busy, anyway.

Waiter arrives with our food: a platter with a huge fish. Waiter fusses with the fish such that we see fish eyeballs. Spouse shudders with distaste, and I’m feeling a bit queasy myself, although I conceal that. Waiter says something to Spouse, ignoring me.

Waiter leaves. We start eating. Immediately Spouse finds a stray fingernail in the fish, puts his fork down. Says to me that (since he’s been working at Z medical school) he knows avoiding this vector is imperative.

I’d be fine with going home at this point: first dinner at a new place didn’t pan out; maybe we try again a different day or night? Maybe we don’t. But this dinner wasn’t good. Right?

Spouse leaves. But I’m still there, when Waiter returns.

Waiter is dismayed that Spouse was disappointed about the fish. Waiter promises a second entrée, sure to please. After a very long time (an hour?), Waiter reappears … with a small plate of fried chicken. I try a piece, which is dry and tasteless. Again, willing to go home, yet somehow Waiter is promising a third entrée, so I remain. There are raucous family parties unfolding all around me, I’m not even hungry! I have other things to do!*

Another hour goes by. Waiter returns with … another huge fish on a platter.

(I’m ready to swear off fish for life.)

Waiter says, “And you’ll have to try our cheesecake!”

I resolve to bring the cheesecake home. Now being lactose-intolerant, I won’t even be able to eat it! And I would have liked to eat it … just not tonight.

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[Second dream is entangled with the first.]

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I’m at a Greek restaurant. It’s an early weekend afternoon, and there’s a lull in customers. Which is good, because my sister is with me, and we’re having a heated argument.

My sister has recently (re)married, to an older man with a long Slavic surname, and she somehow needs me to sign off on some document, now, today. I want to read it first, figure out for myself why I’m obligated to do anything, but my sister keeps screeching at me so I can’t hear myself think. She gets my mother on the phone, and my mother screeches more.

Meanwhile, I’m skimming a copy of the document, on my phone, and … every 3rd word has a typo. Did someone type it out with their toes? How could something so error-riddled possibly be a legal document?!?

Why am I implicated in any of it?

My sister continues haranguing me, while I barely listen. Finally she flings off some remark about how I always make her cry, before she stomps off.

My corner of the restaurant is (blessedly) quiet again, but I know that won’t last.

I call up my brother D. I ask if it’s a good time to talk. He says it is. I say, “well, actually, I’m going to need to talk to you, in depth, later this evening; will that timing work for you?” He says Yes. We end the call.

I sit back, take a breath. I’d really rather talk to my brother now, but that won’t work. Spouse is due here any minute.

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Spouse arrives. The waiter, the fish. The fingernail. Spouse leaves.

My father arrives, sits to my right on a bench. He rests his head on my shoulder (very unlike him). He’s passive and quiet (unheard of).

I’m puzzling over what to do about the thing with my sister.

Waiter returns, with plate of chicken. Shows it to my father for his approval. I didn’t want chicken! My father isn’t going to eat — he’s just drinking coffee.

My father leaves.

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I’m back on my phone, reading my sister’s document. Still confused. I reach into my left pocket, pull out a phone that must be my sister’s? Notice the battery is low, so I’ll turn it off. Except that, trying to figure out how to turn it off somehow calls my sister? And she’s yelling, again, about she didn’t want to deal with me, now, dammit. I turn it off, mid-screech. Her ire will keep.

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Waiter returns with the huge platter of fish, offer of cheesecake. Turns to the (new) male relative sitting beside me, for his approval.

Why am I still here?

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[[There was more about the document with my sister, but I don’t recall the details.]]

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NOTES:

Normally, I’d get myself turned inside out trying to figure out ‘why Sister? why Brother? why Father?’

As I woke up, however, I was also thinking about a creative project I’ve been working on for weeks. I believe the project, the dreams, and an ongoing issue are all interconnected.

Masculinity is the ongoing issue. The waiter addressing Spouse, my father, other male relative, while ignoring me each time? Toxic masculinity. The Patriarchy Hurts Men Too! (I am a man, sometimes.) I’m not less valid as a man just because I’m a man < 100% of the time.

I did spend long, long years, though, thinking my masculine persona was ‘stuck’ in adolescence. Which then seemed to require the (larger-by-proportion) ungendered persona to ‘take the lead’ in … well, everything.

I, Mea, didn’t even realize I was repressing Conor myself. I assumed he was quieter, possibly an introvert. Now I’m not so sure: he seems to feel most himself in small groups, rather than while alone.

  • Age 5-6: Stan, Conor, D, etc.; Stan, workshop, Conor, older male cousins.
  • Ages 11-14ish: my father, D, team, Conor, N (Mea & sister).
  • Age 12: DW, TO, AAK, BMcH?, Conor, (Mea & MW).
  • Age 16: JM, Mea? Conor. N?
  • Age 18: JM, Conor, the other M, (Mea).  

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The project: I’ve been studying national costumes for Baltic and Slavic cultures.

Years ago, I had an inkle loom. Every time I looked into trying to figure out how to use it, I got overwhelmed with how ‘fiddly’ it all seemed. Eventually, I gave it to a friend who already knew how to use it. But I’ve remained fascinated by inkle bands, as well as bands woven with cards, tablets. And sashes woven in such a way are … often part of Baltic and Slavic national costumes! Also Viking reenactments! (Which, per Instagram, I now know is a Big Thing.)

In Lithuanian, Polish, Ukrainian, Slovak, etc., costumes, there are often white linen tops, with red embroidery (sometimes cross stitch style) in various locations on the sleeves: wrists, forearm, shoulder.

White linen, scarlet threads: Very striking visually. I even like the drama of it.

Worn by men and women.

But… I don’t like red.

In small doses, red is fine. One color in a complicated plaid; a blue-and-white striped shirt with one red stripe. But in general, I don’t wear red.

Even away from garments, when I make color wheels, I tend to begin with red-orange, and have to go back and add red in. When I buy colored pencils or paints, I forget to buy red. I just never think of it. I have a … dis-affinity for it?

I do think of red as a masculine color. But also… kind of violent, I guess. Ares. A god I don’t like at all.

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Could this mean that, if I could change my relationship to the color red, other things in my life could change too?

Well, it happened with yellow. In , 2013.

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When I visualize a Baltic/Slavic-ish outfit, but with some other color in place of the red, it does not work. At all. Something is missing.

I hate that it’s true, but… it’s true.

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Where do I go from here?

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Reading List 3 of 2021

March 4, 2021

I haven’t been reading much (besides fanfic) for weeks now. Maybe I’m depressed, maybe everything just hurts.

{Yesterday was lovely, and the best day I’d had in ~8 months; today, along with the persistent fever blister that makes opening my mouth painful, I have a migraine.}

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Covers the period from 2.24.21 through 3.4.21

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I/we own 6 of these items. I watched 6 items on Youtube/via streaming.

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{Women}

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MUSIC

  1. Out of the Vinyl Deeps: Ellen Willis on Rock Music, edited by Nona Willis Aronowitz
  2. Sonic Alchemy: Visionary Music Producers… by David N. Howard [2004]
  3. U2: Stories for Boys by Dave Thomas [1985]

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SFF with musicians:

  1. After Long Silence by Sheri S. Tepper {planet Jubal} [1988]
  2. Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey {planet Pern} [1983]

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Films:

  1. Soul, directed by Pete Docter
  2. Classic Albums: Elton John — Goodbye Yellow Brick Road [1973]
  3. Classic Albums: Paul Simon — Graceland [1986]

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~ AO3 Fanfics ~

  • Harry Potter  // read 42 works; 1,375,732 words

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TV & Films:

  1. An Afternoon with Prince Harry* & James Corden
  2. Pretend It’s a City [Fran Lebowitz], directed by Martin Scorsese
  3. Burrow, directed & written by Madeline Sharafian
  4. Emma., directed by Autumn de Wilde

*I’ve been a huge fan of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (since late 2017), but Prince Harry is cool, too. Plus, I dig clever redheads.

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a fragment and a dream | gender: 2.23.2021

February 23, 2021

{My sleep schedule has been wonkier than usual for 2 weeks. Yesterday I woke up at 0030 (just past midnight), went to bed at 1800 (6 p.m.); this morning, woke up with these dreams in mind at 0346.}

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My father died. I was moping around my parents’ house, along with other sad people, which included my beloved aunt (who died in 2018).

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I was getting married.

My mother had found a store that lent out wedding dresses, and had gone by herself to pick one out for me: pure white satin, full-length, long-sleeves, lace everywhere, a long line of pearl buttons down the back.

It was hideous, something I would never choose.

I donned the dress, leaving the back gaping open with all the buttons undone — only so I could find out from my mother where to go to exchange it! But there was suddenly a whole crowd of people, and it took a few minutes to thread my way to my mother. Who, catching sight of me, immediately began cooing about how lovely I looked, was dabbing at her eyes. My aunt joined in. (Infuriating.) I yelled at my mother to stop talking about the awful dress! I hated it! Had she, I asked, “deliberately picked another terrible dress to make everything worse?!?” My mother goggled at me, quiet for once. In my towering rage, I noticed none of the shocked, and dismayed reactions of the people in the crowd.

I got the barest of directions from someone to the store, and stomped off, the back of the dress still open and flapping.

At the mall, eventually found the store. The one saleslady was particularly unhelpful, insisting there were no changing rooms available, and few dresses still remaining. Sure enough, there was a wall of hangers, with only 5 or 6 dresses, in multiple sizes.                           I was drawn to an intriguing dress that was my size! It was covered in big loops of rope? cord? in an off-white shade close to oatmeal. Cocktail length. It looked like an art student’s experimental garment.                          

I had been alone in the space, but now, just as I needed to change clothes, 3 women came in to look. That’s when I realized this rope dress was strapless, but I was wearing a matching bra-and-panty set (in mauve?!), and didn’t have a slip. The saleslady was, of course, nowhere near. Oh well. I shimmied out of the other dress, and into the rope dress.

I appraised myself in a full-length mirror. Inside and out, I felt like an art experiment myself. I was meeting this new challenge on my own terms, with something I picked out from what was available, feeling fun and confident, excited, … ready.

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NOTES:

~ Fragment ~ Circa age 8, I dreamed my Aunt Pauline died. I didn’t even like her, but she was my grandmother’s favorite sister, so I didn’t want her to die. I worried for weeks that the dream was a prediction. It wasn’t: Pauline lived another 14 years.

I last saw my parents 13 years ago. I don’t know if they are still alive.

As I better grasp my gender(s), I feel extremely conflicted about being anyone’s son. Especially my parents, since both of them were not just products of Toxic Masculinity, but they perpetuated it.

I guess the best I can say is… as an unliked, overlooked child, sometimes… I miss my dad.

I miss seeing the joy he took in his 2 acknowledged sons.

(I decidedly don’t miss the frustrations and annoyance he frequently expressed about the male cousin I probably most resemble. Same for Uncle Ron.)

Wouldn’t it be ironic if my father’s issues with the cousin and Uncle Ron were because they were autistic? Because I’m 90% convinced my father is also autistic. (As was his best-beloved brother, among others.)

However, I see no evidence my own brothers are autistic.

Once again, What I Am is unacceptable. So we can just ignore you, or belittle you, or push you away.

Wow, that got heavy.

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// Late last year, I changed how I thought/felt about something significant. My and Spouse’s wedding anniversary ‘celebrates’ an unbelievably stressful day that my mother orchestrated to disenfranchise me at every turn, then spent years crowing — to me! — about how much ‘everyone’ enjoyed themselves.  

Was there some other day, or even time period, that contained important elements that I could celebrate instead?

Yes! My weekend in New York!

7 weeks before our wedding, Spouse and I had been engaged 4-5 weeks. That Friday evening, as a blizzard approached Chicago, I flew out to Rochester and stayed the weekend in his apartment. He showed me the places he loved: the Eastman House, his Great Lake, Rochester, his neighborhood. He was funny and sweet and thoughtful and tender. The whole weekend was about him trying to make me happy. And I was.

That was the Real Beginning of our marriage. //

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~ Dream, sort of  ~

A design problem I’ve been noodling around with for at least 2 years has recently suggested I could address it with colorways of hand-dyed yarn. Except that I donated my extensive stash 5 years or so ago; currently, my tiny stash is filled with bright, happy, saturated colors, … when, instead, this project requires moody, muted, rainy or wintery colors. (Seasonally appropriate now, but it wasn’t when the project started.)

So I’ve ordered yarn, and have to wait to see if I picked aptly. Like all my design projects (whom tend to have metaphysical implications), it’s not just the individual elements, it’s whether they form friendships and alliances. I won’t know that until I have them all to hand.  

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I’ve been writing continuously for 2.5 hours, and have only just realized… there’s a whole lot more complexity and depth that my Unconscious wants (conscious) me to address than the 2 dreams I had this morning.

Earlier I wrote, “As I better grasp my gender(s)…”. That phrasing is problematic. I have one gender, and it’s male. That one gender, though, constitutes ~23% of my self (in my current understanding). The other 77% does not have a gender.

If I say, “my gender(s)”, I’m prioritizing the category of gender over its lack, even though, proportionally, the gender is a minority element.          But how could I identify the category of ungendered + gendered, without mentioning gender itself?

Plus, MEA the ungendered part, as the majority, has been rather overbearing for years to CB, the minority male part. CB has been trying to express publicly since … 1973?

I have years and years of poems of struggling to grasp my attractions to masculinity, without recognizing that CB was at the root, trying to be heard.

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Spouse is an excellent example of being a man in a way that I appreciate. But… Spouse was 29 when I met him. From everything he’s said, I see no evidence that his child & adolescent self were Paraiko. And the transition of a Paraiko child & adolescent male self to adulthood is where we got stuck. Growing up, there were zero examples of adult masculinity I wanted to emulate. (Those I knew had either always been Anti-Paraiko, or had lost what they had.) It was imperative I retain Paraiko.

My cousin Homer, who was younger, seemed to also have at least a bit of Paraiko, so I thought he could be a template. I knew on some level that socially, I was developmentally delayed; I wasn’t in a big hurry to be an adult in any case. So, I’d follow his lead (as I tended to anyway), and see how or if a transition could successfully occur.

Then 1985 happened.

Ultimately, 1985 Homer was the most alarming elements of my mother, brother, sister plus he crossed lines they never would have. Vicious and hateful those 3 might be, but they hadn’t been physically dangerous. I’d never been attacked before.                             My mother was emotionally terrorizing me, but, for the most part, in a type of low-key, saying horrible things way, such as, “you’re an unlikable abomination and disgrace to our family name”.                         Thing is, I knew my mother was awful — I didn’t respect or like her.  

Homer’s emotional terrorism landed entirely differently.

My entire worldview was destroyed.

I had to cut off my favorite person: not just My Favorite Person in the World (bad enough), but … The One Person in our Family That I Like and Understand and WANT TO BE AROUND.

The one person in our family that I trust.

How can you live without trust? Poorly. Dangerously. Traumatizingly.               Eventually I/we developed a distinct worldview, unlike that of everyone else we knew. Our top value is Friendship.       ‘Family’ is a concept that no longer resonates for us.                   The only kinship term we enjoy using is COUSIN.

We still yearn uselessly after something that never was.

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Could my dream signify that something is changing?

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Reading List 2 of 2021

February 17, 2021

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RIP, American jazz pianist Chick Corea (1941–2021); American folk singer, songwriter, guitarist Anne Feeney (1951–2021); Bosnian-born guitarist and accordionist Flory Jagoda [Ladino language, Sephardic music] (1923–2021); American songwriter Jim Weatherly (1943–2021)

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Covers the period from 2.4.21 through 2.17.21

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I own 11 of these items. I watched 15 items on Youtube/via streaming.

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{Women}

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MUSIC

  1. Bug Music: How Insects Gave Us Rhythm and Noise by David Rothenberg
  2. Decomposition: A Music Manifesto by Andrew Durkin
  3. Feminine Endings: Music, Gender, and Sexuality by Susan McClary [1991]
  4. Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture by Alice Echols
  5. House Rules by Eric Reese {origins of house music: 1970s Chicago}
  6. Improvisation: Music from the Inside Out by Mildred Portney Chase [1988]
  7. Multi-Track Recording for Musicians by Brent Hurtig [1988]
  8. Never a Dull Moment: 1971 The Year that Rock Exploded by David Hepworth
  9. Sounds of the Orchestra by Antony Hopkins [1993]
  10. Switched-On Bach* by Roshanak Khesti
  11. [SFF] Song for the Basilisk by Patricia McKillip {AU Venezia, 16th c., magic & bards} [1999]

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*1968 analog synthesizer album by Wendy Carlos

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Films ~ Music:

  1. Classic Albums: Steely Dan — Aja [1977]
  2. Classic Albums: U2 — The Joshua Tree [1987], produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno
  3. Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound, directed by Midge Costin, written by Bobette Buster
  4. Sonic Magic: The Wonder & Science of Sound, directed & written by Jerry Thompson

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~ AO3 Fanfics ~

  • Harry Potter  // read 109 works; 2,898,295 words

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Films & TV:

  1. Burrow, directed & written by Madeline Sharafian
  2. The Dig, directed by Simon Stone, written by Moira Buffini
  3. Eddie the Eagle, directed by Dexter Fletcher
  4. Fiddler on the Roof**, directed by Norman Jewison [1971]
  5. Lamp Life, directed & written by Valerie LaPointe
  6. Miss Austen Regrets, directed by Jeremy Lovering, written by Gwyneth Hughes
  7. The Personal History of David Copperfield***, directed by Armando Iannucci
  8. Everything and Nothing, directed & written by Nic Stacey
  9. Pop! The Science of Bubbles, presented by Dr. Helen Czerski
  10. Alan Cumming Breaks Down His Most Iconic Characters | GQ
  11. Blown Away, season 2, episodes 7–10

**Spouse was curious, having never seen it; I recalled bits from seeing it on TV as a kid. We lasted 45% (82 minutes).

***Spouse liked the trailer; neither of us had read the book. I lasted 65% (77 minutes); Spouse finished it, but said it wasn’t worth it.

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Mea-without-Trees

January 27, 2021

1.27.21 is Day 59 of Staying Mostly Inside. The last time I left our apartment was 17 days ago. I was outside for 11 minutes.

The pandemic has exposed underpinnings for surviving my everyday life (UfSMEL) that I never consciously realized were doing anything of the sort.

My Favorite People are, overwhelmingly, TREES.

Trees, rocks, rivers. The Sandias. The Great Lakes. Chesapeake Bay.

But, every day, just in our neighborhood, trees.

Before the pandemic, I interacted with trees … every day? Definitely multiple times per week, every week, every month, all year long.

I don’t have rock-friends in this neighborhood, yet, but I have rock neighbors and we’re on good terms. The nearest stream is over by Hylochiel, my catalpa-friend, a walk of ~15 minutes. My home river needs a drive back to Sparks, 20 minutes or so, for the trail at Garzota Road; or a drive of 30ish minutes to the state park.

I have lots of tree-friends around the public library, which I had been in the practice of visiting every week or so, since summer 2010. (2 of those tree-friends died unexpectedly in late 2019.) (Which was even more devastating than just missing them because they were my only nearby birch-friends. The first tree-friend I ever had was a birch; birches are part of my name. Losing these 2 birch-friends changed my identity on a fundamental level, and I haven’t been able to recover.)

Before the pandemic, I didn’t keep track of how often I took walks, although they likely were around once a week. Visiting Hylochiel: if I was in good health and the weather wasn’t problematic, probably every 3-6 weeks. I visited my home river at least once a month. A few times a year, Spouse would take me to the state park (I don’t like the drive).

Any day trip or weekend trip we took, there were trees.

If I made the long drive with Spouse to visit his dad, there was a particular tree we would go visit too: a 300-year old osage orange.

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I haven’t had a tree as a houseplant since 2012.

But when I did have trees as houseplants [1991–2012], they weren’t big enough, old enough, independent of me enough that they fulfilled my daily need for trees. After all, I can barely keep myself fed and watered and cared for every day; I need my friends to be managing all that stuff themselves.

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Visits back to Chicagoland to see my family of origin? Lots and lots of tree-friends. The DuPage River. Lake Michigan.

SLC was hard because I’d been so miserable there. And my one tree-friend in 1985 was at the front door, so visiting with them wasn’t much of an escape.

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Before the pandemic, no matter how shitty and terrible my life got, there was still, always, Mea-with-Trees.

With the pandemic, I’m someone, something… else.

I mope, I sleep way too much. I barely eat.

I barely even dream.

I have days like today, yesterday, where nothing feels real, nor seems like it matters.

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Reading List 1 of 2020-21

January 25, 2021

RIP, Black American astrophysicist and aeronautical engineer George R. Carruthers (1939–2020); Jewish American film director Joan Micklin Silver (1935–2020); and British film director Michael Apted (1941–2021)

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Covers the period from 12.28.20 through 1.25.21

I/we own 22 of these items. I watched 9 items on Youtube/via streaming.

{Women}

MUSIC

  1. Alfred’s Pocket Dictionary of Music, compiled & edited by Sandy Feldstein [1995]*
  2. The Art of Percussion Playing by Garwood Whaley, et al.
  3. The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic by Jessica Hopper
  4. Habits of a Successful Middle School Musician by Scott Rush
  5. Psychology of Music by Carl E. Seashore [1967 (1938)]
  6. [Film] Hired Gun, directed & co-written by Fran Strine

*Despite being an amateur in musical history, even I could have named >5 women composers, especially for a book that lists >400 men composers. WTF?!?

_American Songwriter_ back issues:

  1. Jul/Aug 1992 ~ John Denver
  2. May/Jun 2000 ~ Brad Paisley
  3. May/Jun 2015 ~ The Blues
  4. Mar/Apr 2016 ~ Lucinda Williams

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BANWCOTREB

British fantasy fiction:

  1. Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones [bought & first read in SLC, 1985]
  2. The Pinhoe Egg by Diana Wynne Jones

~ AO3 Fanfics ~

  • Harry Potter  // read 84 works; 2,471,981 words

Celtic & British:

  1. Ballgowns: British Glamour since 1950 by Oriole Cullen & Sonnet Stanfill, photographs by David Hughes
  2. Elizabeth Blackadder [Scottish painter, b. 1931] by Philip Long
  3. I Never Knew That About Wales by Christopher Winn
  4. Travels in an Old Tongue [Cymraeg] by Pamela Petro
  5. Welsh Quilts by Jen Jones

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Miscellaneous:

  1. Poetic Remedies for Troubled Times: from Ask Baba Yaga by Taisia Kitaiskaia
  2. [SFF] Finna by Nino Cipri

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Films & TV:

  1. Ant-Man and the Wasp, directed by Peyton Reed
  2. Burrow, written & directed by Madeline Sharafian
  3. Emma., directed by Autumn de Wilde
  4. Harry Potters 1, 2, 3
  5. Mulan, directed by Niki Caro, cinematographer Mandy Walker
  6. Tron: Legacy, directed by Joseph Kosinski
  7. The Undefeated presents Hamilton | In-Depth
  8. Nettles for Textiles by Dylan Howitt
  9. Blown Away, episodes 1-6 of season 2
  10. Bridgerton, episodes 1–5, created by Chris Van Dusen

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gusto 9 h

January 24, 2021

Look, pretending I don’t feel certain, specific things, or shaming myself for feeling them, doesn’t fix anything.

When I think of my childhood, I think of trees.

{True, but irrelevant right now.}

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When I think of my childhood…

When I think about being happy in my childhood, I’m spending time with Homer, and/or I’m enthusing about Homer.  (Also, trees.) (Lake Michigan.) (Trees again.)

I’m orienting myself to the Southwest, because that’s where he is. I’m wondering what he’s doing. I’m thinking about how awesome he is.

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That’s it.

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As a kid, if I enthused to other people about science or art or books I read or anything else, I was told to shut up and go away. But if I enthused about Homer, it was allowable. Presumably because he was a boy, and Boys Matter.

Also, probably, he was knowable and interesting to them.

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When Words of Affirmation are one of your love languages, enthusing about other people => oxytocin. The more I enthused, the better I felt.         The alternative was my more-usual misery and alienation.   

When I enthused, I felt connected to somebody.

When I enthused, I could hope that someday someone would enthuse about me. (Nope.)

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My other love languages are Quality Time, with dialect of Heartfelt Conversation; and Touch.

With most of the human people I loved, in all the time I knew them, we had ZERO Heartfelt Conversations.

Quality Time? People evaded me like I was radioactive.

Touch. {I don’t have the spoons.}

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Enthusing about was the only chance I had to get some of my own emotional needs met. To assert agency. And to be connected to somebody.

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Up until, oh, late last year, I was shaming myself for needing to enthuse about Homer. Because I shouldn’t. Because we’re not good for each other. Because I have no right. Because Reasons.

Here’s the thing.

Feelings just are. They’re not morally Good or morally Bad. They just exist.

If someone grievously hurt me enough that I cut them off, but I still miss them, and yes, okay, I still love them, so the fuck what? If thinking about them makes me happy? (And sad.)

Then I should feel those things.

I am Feeling All the Things.

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