Sunday, October 11, 2020

A Week of Womanist/Feminist Challenges and Triumphs

What a week it's been!  But I say that every week, do I not?  Let me capture some moments:

--It was a day of upheaval at work on Friday.  Two people were laid off, our director of Admissions, with whom I had worked closely and the one non-director worker (who had been full-time, then was furloughed, then came back as part-time) in Financial Aid.  It was also the last day on our campus for all of the Admissions Team.  Starting on Monday, they will work at the Ft. Lauderdale campus.

--We had a debate with vice presidential candidates, a debate which was better than the presidential debate, but many of us will most remember that fly on Mike Pence's head.  I will remember Kamala Harris saying variations of this phrase, "Mr. Vice President, I'm speaking."  It made me want to assemble a directory of womanist separatist communes--or maybe start such a commune.  And you might think it's abnormal for a woman happily married to a man to feel that way, but I am fairly sure it isn't.

--When I create my ideal womanist/feminist separatist commune, will I allow men?  Perhaps.  I'm using separatist fairly generally--I want to separate from many things in our patriarchal culture.  But that's a subject for another day.

--It's been a week of good news when it comes to recognizing women.  The Nobel Prizes went to women:  for Chemistry, for Physics, for Literature.  The MacArthur Fellows were announced, and I was so happy to see Tressie McMillan Cottom, N. K. Jemisin, and Jacqueline Woodson on the list.  You can "meet" all the Fellows here.

--I've also been happy to see attention given to Maggie Smith's new book Keep Moving (see NPR radio interview here and Slate article here).  I keep expecting to feel jealous, but I don't.  On the contrary, I'm happy to see a poet like her succeed.  I am also not jealous of Louise Gluck, our newest Nobel Laureate.  Both women have been more focused than I have of late.  Both women write poetry I love--so I'm happy to see them get success.  And even if Maggie Smith is getting publicity for her newest book, which is not a poetry book, I'm happy.  I like to see the many ways we could succeed as writers.  I like the reminder that all is not lost.

--It's been a week of sorting through piles of paper both at work and at home.  Our internet and Outlook went out at work on Friday, shortly after the reduction in force.  I did filing, and all the jobs I could do without a computer.  I decided to tackle the piles of paper that build up.  I take lots of notes on paper, and I save those pages in piles, thinking, let's see in a month or two if these notes are important.  But I often don't get back to that sorting.  At home, I've been reassembling the antique desk, which means taking a last look at piles of paper that have been in a box since the great flooring project of 2018.  I wish I was better at this.

--I've had a few Zoom calls with groups of people that are important to me.  They're better than nothing, but they do make me miss the times when we could be together face to face.

I do wonder what the coming week will bring.  Each week, I wonder that, but as the election draws closer, I feel a bit more fear.  And hope.

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