Meditations for Queer Femmes – Library Cleanse

Just this morning, I had occasion to head to one of our many bookshelves to pull out my copy of Mary McCarthy’s collection of essays, On the Contrary: Articles of Belief, 1946-1961. Holding it, flipping through, stopping to read what she has to say about the orgasm, politics, character, and modern fiction* – exactly what I’m thinking about these days as I work on my own novel — made me realize how much I was longing to just sit and read it, cover to cover. And yet, stacked in the other room are about 40 library books, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, ones I checked out all along this summer, keeping me company as I rest and recover from chemo treatments. They are my security blanket, and many if not most are equally as yummy as my very own McCarthy.


I’ve been thinking a lot during this healing process about turning inward. Making use of my own resources and the wisdom I’ve accumulated, lo these 57 years of my life. It seems to be a time to do this, rather than a time for expansive searching for anything new and kicky. For example, as grateful as I am to the western medical system for its expertise with chemo and other anti-cancer drugs, I know that I would be a lot less able to weather the deleterious side effects without my knowledge of non-western methods of healing (the title of a class I took as a sophomore in college). I am also indebted to my years’ long study of Buddhism and to a more recent connection to Al-Anon, both spiritual programs bolstering and connecting me to my own innate spiritual leanings. All of this knowledge is supporting my current healing and spiritual work.

As I was fondling my McCarthy this morning, the words, “Library Cleanse” came to mind. Although the new topics, novels, and poetry I found at the library would bring me joy, although the library is practically my second home and fills me with vigor, the books I’ve collected over the years and have squirreled away to read later are calling to me. I found them, or perhaps they found me (I believe in book magic) for a reason and this morning I realized that “later” is now.

Wise, intuitive, industrious, magical femme sisters, what are you surrounded by that may deserve a second look? Do you have collections of various and sundry? Do you keep adding to the collection but not appreciating or using the already-collected? Is your collection gathering dust? Do you even remember what you have?

Our souls call out for peace, intellectual succor, emotional healing, sensual satisfaction. It is humbling and gladsome to know that when the soul calls, we are equipped to answer. Right here, right now, once we stop reachingreachingreaching, we have what we need.

Surrounded by love. Surrounded by resource.

Fully realized femme eminence.

*What do I mean by a ‘novel’? A prose book of a certain thickness that tells a story of real life. No one could disagree with that, and yet many will disagree with much that I am going to say before I am through so I shall try to be more specific. The word ‘prose’ and ‘real’ are crucial to my conception of the novel. The distinctive mark of the novel is its concern with the actual world, the world of fact, of the verifiable, of figures, even, and statistics. from Mary McCarthy’s essay, “The Fact in Fiction”

Every Monday, I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was fabulous, kind, and wise 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.”)