Monday, February 27, 2017

An Outlaw Gender of Books

I'm lucky enough to work at a school that believes very strongly in bringing in speakers and performers from outside for our students. This creates incredible opportunities for not just our students, but for those of us on the faculty, as well. We get to suggest friends and heroes as speakers and sometimes they say yes.
That is how I got to spend almost 48 hours solid hanging out with one of my all-time heroes, Kate Bornstein

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Kate's book, Gender Outlaw
is like a kind of bible to me. No. More important even than that. A person that I love dearly once said that, for academics (and maybe others), there is a constellation of books--usually about 4 or 5--that form a kind of narrative compass, a way of guiding oneself through the world.
For me, Gender Outlaw is one of the brightest stars in that constellation.
They say to never meet your heroes, and I guess that bad things have happened enough to earn that wisdom, but I have to tell you in this case? It couldn't have been less true. Kate was everything you'd expect of a buddhist shaman of genderqueerness and then some. Kate changed lives at this school and, at a time when my inspiration was running very low, got me back on my feet. Even some of the worst weather our state could throw at us didn't dampen Kate's spirits and the rest of us had no choice but to follow that lead. Kate's message of compassion, even in the space of disagreeing, is incredibly timely. The new book Kate is working on can't come fast enough.
So, at the risk of setting you up for failure--DO meet your heroes.
I also had the chance to attend the Southwest Pop Culture Association to read a paper. I had a meeting with a rep from Palgrave/McMillan while I was there. He was hoping that my paper was a part of a larger project but, unfortunately, it really isn't. It might be, but that's not how it started. He was lovely but I managed to be spazzy, have a nosebleed, have a piece of food come flying out of my mouth mid-sentence, AND arrive late. It was a disaster on all levels. Still, though, Univ. of Mississippi press contacted me, too, and we're starting to talk about ways to make my dissertation into a book, which would be awesome. Very very early days on that, though. I'll keep you updated.
Albuquerque was lovely, though. Gorgeous town.
And I got some suggestions from one of the panel for some new stuff to read: YA  books featuring non-binary gendered characters!
Jeff Garvin's novel, Symptoms of Being Human
and also Anne-Marie McLemore's When The Moon Was Ours
Always happy to have new stuff to read!
I've been slowly working my way through Anne Rice's work, too. I only ever made it as far as The Vampire Armand my first time through some (jesus, has it really been) almost 20 years ago. I've taken a small break, but I'm all the way through Lasher. Taltos is, of course, next. I'm trying to get all the way caught up. Some of it is guilt, to be honest--she's every bit as foundational to horror as Stephen King but I always turned my nose up at her. Admittedly, the books aren't magnificent, but she has some very interesting stuff going on. The Talamasca is very interesting to me in particular.
The book continues apace. About 24K words into it. Not going quickly, but steadily.
As always, thank you for your continued support. Talk to you next month!

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