Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Fundraiser for Womencrafts

This space, this beautiful, truly welcoming and affirming and loving space, so wisely guided by Michelle who holds the history both in love and in understanding of where we can move forward with more accountability, is such an incredibly important part of our queer community.

The building, where the shop occupies the first floor and Michelle and her sweetie occupy the second, is up for sale. If you are able, if you have ever been in the store and felt the love, please donate whatever you can. Every little bit will help keep Womencrafts thriving there on Commercial Street in Provincetown, always at the center of organizing, protesting, celebrating, spreading queer joy.

I’ve sat on the steps there so many times, I’ve given readings there, bought books, met friends, had conversations about the things that matter, and so so so so much more. I love this place. I love Michelle. So many women- and lesbian-owned businesses in Provincetown have disappeared. Let’s rally round so that Womencrafts stays open and healthy for decades to come!

https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-womencrafts

I’m a typewriter whompin’, card catalogue lovin’ white girl from back in the day, and I yearn for a time before the covers of trade paperbacks were all squidgy, so you can imagine that I don’t actually understand what a pingback is. I do know that it can in some way be part of spreading the love, and since that’s what I’m all about at The Total Femme… every Wednesday, I pay homage to the laughter and inspiration to be had elsewhere online. If you have a favorite, let me know and I’ll post it! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three or four times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday, Femme Friday on Friday, and (new for spring 22!) the occasional Sometimes On A. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) And…as I go through life life life, I will post as I am able, Mabel.

Published in: on July 6, 2022 at 7:32 PM  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Femme Friday – Literary Femmes: Graciela from the short story “Glamour” by Anna-Marie McLemore

            In California, 1923, Graciela Morena wants to be a movie star so badly that she uses color glamour to make herself appear white and she changes her name to Grace Moran. When she runs into a boy from her past, Sawyer, she begins to re-examine and recast her dreams.

            “In the midst of oppression,” writes Anna-Marie McLemore in their Author’s Notes, “seeing the magical even through the tragic, the unjust, the heartbreaking, is a way of survival, for people, for communities, for cultures. Our spirits depend on not overlooking that which might be dismissed or ignored.”

Deep gratitude to Anna-Marie for dreaming Graciela into the Great Femme Universe. Thank you for giving me permission to honor her here as a femme, although she might not have had that language for herself. Her love and understanding of Sawyer, a transboy (also not the language he would have had) is tender and filled with such gorgeous possibility. The love Graciela begins to center on herself is a gift and inspiration to all femmes everywhere. Thank you for giving us this glimpse of a magical femme past, inspiring our present and our future.

            “So there’s nothing you want?” she asked

            He came toward her, so slowly he did not limp. “I didn’t say that.”

            He slid his hand onto the back of her neck and kissed her. He tasted like the honey and first-harvest apricots they’d eaten after dinner. Amber sugar. Fireweed. It made her bite his lower lip just hard enough that the sound he made could have been either pain or him asking her to do it again.

            For a second, that taste faded away, leaving behind the bitter tang of brick wine. For a second they were back on that brocade fainting couch, and she was flinching under the feeling that one more kiss would break down the girl she’d given everything to be.

            But this was not some borrowed green room. This was the night air threading through her family’s almond trees. She was not laced into some costume corset, a petticoat rough against her legs. She wore a dress made by her mother, the skirt smooth as poured cream.

            This was not some set where she had to stuff herself into a girl called Grace Moran.

            There was as much room for Sawyer and Graciela as the whole shimmering sky.

                                                –Anna-Marie McLemore, “Glamour”

The Radical Element: 12 Stories of Daredevils, Debutantes and Other Dauntless Girls, edited by Jessica Spotswood, Candlewick Press, 2018

P.S. We are so lucky, because Anna-Marie has written so many gorgeous books! Go forth and read her novels: The Weight of Feathers, Blanca & Roja, Dark and Deepest Red, Lake Lore, The Mirror Season, Wild Beauty, Miss Meteor, Self-Made Boys, and When the Moon Was Ours. Order them from Womencrafts!

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femmelife! If you’ve written a femme story or poem or song, oh, please let me post it!

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three or four times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday, Femme Friday on Friday, and (new for spring 22!) the occasional Sometimes On A. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) And…as I go through life life life, I will post as I am able, Mabel.

Meditations for Queer Femmes – Lesbian Bed Death

Remember the cartoon from the 90s where two lesbians are fucking so hard that the bed breaks, and the title is “Lesbian Bed Death”? Was it by Jennifer Camper? Fish? We couldn’t quite track it down, but I thought it would be a cute title for a recent reading and discussion of lesbian smut at Womencrafts in Provincetown. How wonderful that this mostly tongue-in-cheek idea turned into something sublime: an evening of sharing lesbian stories.

There were 10 of us sitting in a circle in this store, holy lesbian ground, ages ranging from 40 on up. We began by opening up discussion on LBD – is it a thing? Do we still need to talk about it? We heard from one of the older dykes about discussions and workshops held at the Michigan Womyn’s Festival; we talked about varying levels of hormones and energy and the effects on our libidos; about the ins and outs of dating these online days; we touched on the long history of butch/femme and other topics of lesbian sexuality. Then I read one of my stories and we talked some more.

We smiled at each other as we talked and listened, and we laughed a lot. It was intimate, cozy and oh so dyke-y. There were shortbread cookies in the shape of pussies and as we were winding up, I blew bubbles of protection over everyone (given to me by a Radical Faerie at the Radical Faerie Heart Circle last year).

The evening started out on a slightly tentative note, but as we warmed to each other, it was as if we were all remembering and trusting again what it’s like to experience this kind of connection. It was the willingness to be open to the energy in the room, to trust and to be honest about our pasts, our questions, our sexualities, even if just for a couple of hours, that made the event so special. For all our different histories, we made room for each other. I was facilitating and also reading, but this did not feel like a work gig for me, it felt like home.

Today sweet femme sisters, remember what it feels like to have respectful and loving queer conversation. To feel held and honored by other queers – not because you’re just like them, but because your story adds to their stories and together we make queer history. Remember what it feels like to reconnect to your queer soul in the company of other queer souls.

May your lives be graced with this precious respite.

Every Monday, I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes, in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was fabulous, and from whom I inherited her Meditations for Women.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”)

 

 

Femme Friday – Ali Sands

I came across Ali Sands’ I Know Who You Are, But What Am I? A Partner’s Perspective on Transgender Love when I was browsing in Womencrafts in Provincetown last week. When I read on the back that this is Ali’s “memoir of finding her way through a labyrinth of changing identity from married heterosexual woman to lesbian lover to queer femme” I knew I had to have it!

Deep gratitude to Ali for her extreme generosity in sharing her story of loving her sweetheart through many changes, and for finding, reveling in and staying true to her own queer femme spirit.

(In this excerpt, from June 23, 2007, a young woman has just approached Ali, asking her about her sexuality, wondering if she’s straight now that she’s with a heterosexual trans man.)

            “Do you base your sexual identity on who you are dating?” I gently inquired. She pondered my question.

            “Well,” she said, “I guess not, but I thought I was a lesbian. Now it turns out I’m seeing a guy and I don’t even know what to tell all my friends and family anymore. My lesbian friends think I’m a sellout for seeing this trans guy, but I have really strong feelings for him and I’m just so confused!” she stated honestly. “You see” she continued “when we first got together he thought he was a lesbian too. Now that he has come out as transgender I don’t know what to think.” The pain was so evident in her young face and I felt immediately inadequate to be handing out trans-lover advice even at this stage in the process.

            “Well,” I began, “I can tell you this much about myself. As far as sexual identity goes I identify as queer. Part of this comes from being with Rhys over the last four and a half years. I am not queer because I am with Rhys and he is transgender, I am queer because I feel I could be in love with any individual, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.”

            WHOA. Did that statement of confidence just come out of my confused head? Perhaps I’ll be okay after all. What’s really beautiful is that each time I’m given an opportunity to explain or defend my relationship with Rhys, it brings about a clarity for myself that I didn’t previously have. This young woman desperately wanted me to give her a magic answer to her own questions of sexual identity, yet I knew that giving her any such thing would be a lie. In this situation I deferred to my role as the parent of my two adult children. I tried to convey to her the confidence that her answers are only for her to find.

–I Know Who You Are, But What Am I? A Partner’s Perspective on Transgender Love by Ali Sands, Transgress Press, Oakland, CA, 2016.

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story!

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”)

 

 

Femme Friday – Femme Klatsch with, moi! The Total Femme

Femme Klatsch is where queer femmes chat with one another on all themes femme. Sweet femme sisters – chime in!

 What does femme mean to you?

Who are your femme role models?

How did you find your femme?

and today’s question:

What sustains your femme?

One of the things that sustains my femme and that opens up big queer space for me to be my most sincere and truthful femme self, is the inspiration of other queers who are really-oh, truly-oh themselves, in all their queer glory. It really, really helps if they have a good sense of humor, too. For example, Tex and I recently attended the yearly fundraiser, ClimACTS, for Theater Offensive. The memory of founder and executive artistic director Abe Rybeck in a truly tremendous neon outfit, waving and blowing kisses as he was carried onto stage by two scantily clad fellas while another hunky number in ass-less pants serenaded him with Italian opera will sustain me unto my dying day.

Queer story sustains my femme. Whether it’s in a book, like Juliet Takes a Breath by Gaby Rivera, or observed, like watching Michelle, the current owner of Womencrafts in Provincetown both honor the history of the store as well as honor the political complexity of today’s queer world, or told to me directly, like the stories I hear from the QSA members or from other femmes — I need queer story almost as much as I need to breathe.

Coalition building and intersectionalty sustain my femme. My straight colleagues and friends model how I can be a better ally, show me how to recognize my privilege and wear it with a sense of humor and responsibility. The National Day of Mourning is a holy day for me. My femme is sustained when I brainstorm and discuss with other queers about strengthening our organizing by asking hard questions about race or disability, for example. My femme is sustained when I hear from a straight colleague with new information about our ongoing struggle to get our town to deal with its Native American town symbol. Attending Creating Change sustained the fuck out of my femme.

My femme is sustained by the love of my butch.

My femme is sustained when my new femme friend and I machinate to take over the world.

My femme is sustained by this blog, and by hearing from you.

Deep gratitude to all of you in all of your queer and fabulous variety!

 Every Friday, The Total Femme showcases a queer femme goddess. Suggestions welcome!