Meditations for Queer Femmes – Doze. Wake Up.

As 60 rapidly approaches, it seems like a good thing to beef up my sleep hygiene. Well, I hadn’t heard of it before and perhaps you hadn’t either, but Tex is all over it, due to her life-long intimacy with restless leg syndrome. To have squeaky clean sleep hygiene, you’re supposed to be awake for 16 hours every day, no matter the kind of night you’ve had, like if the dog had the runs and you were out with him several times or if you keep jerking awake reliving bad moments, regrets, making dire conclusions. You must still get your ass out of bed at, say 6am, if, like moi, you want to tumble back into bed at around 10pm. If you stick to this routine, says Tex, your quality of sleep will get better and better.

This morning, I had to get up to pee at 4am. That is a rum time, so it is, just a little too close to dawn, and very difficult to fall back to sleep. Back in the day, I would go out and walk if that happened, lovely, actually, and I’ve seen foxes and even once a fishercat. Not happening these days, so I got back in, doubting I’d sleep anymore, despite the kitty snuggling and purring. My mind gets going and that’s that. Instead of running after it, though, this morning I tried to stay still.

Doze. Wake up.

Flitting from thought to prayer to memory to dipping down into dream, I was a bee, a butterfly, a bat. I was a pollinator, gathering here, moving there, never staying too long anywhere. Ideas, admonishments, shame, funny memories, the cat starts to wash, there’s a breeze, I’m dreaming bits and pieces of the book I’m reading (a bully at the door, my hair wet from an ocean swim). The room is lighter now and a morning feel replaces pre-dawn anxiety. It’s 6 and I’m up, the Carolina wren is singing, singing.

Do you have nights that pass this way? Days? A whole life? My therapist says this is a legit and perfectly fine human way to live, moving from interest to interest, wide open and fascinated by the wide open world of ideas, history, places, beauty, art, work, amazement. Sometimes I believe her, and sometimes I think, “What do I have to show for myself?” I certainly was never a company man, for instance, no trappings, no legacy that looks like a legacy in this Western industrial complex of money and greed.

Just dozing and waking up, over and over. Just human, just doing what humans do best: connecting to the wide open world.

Snickerdoodles, butterscotch beloveds, how do you connect with your sweet beating hearts full of femme love? To this world where we are right now with its troubles and with its joys, so full of all and everything? How are you connecting every day to your very human femme selves and out and beyond? How are you sleeping? And how are you managing to stay awake?

With love, so much love, from right here with you.

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.”) And…as I go through graduate school and life life life, I will post as I am able, Mabel.

Published in: on September 6, 2021 at 2:47 PM  Comments (2)  
Tags: ,

Femme Friday – Raechel Anne Jolie and her memoir Rust Belt Femme

I just, just, just started it and am already captivated by Raechel’s beautiful writing and honesty. She starts off with a quote by Mykel Johnson, who I knew back in the day when we did anti-racism for white women work together and also from her wonderful contribution to Joan Nestle’s The Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader, “Butchy Femme”:

To be femme is to give honor where there has been shame.

Raechel goes on to write,

“This book about my deep love of the soil and sky that comprises Northeast Ohio is actually a book about my deep love of the soil and sky that comprises stolen Iroquois land. I am indebted to the work of indigenous activists and healers who have taught me to remember this and name it as often as I can, and more than that, to find ways to reduce the harm of the presence of white colonizers on this land. During the writing of this book, I began making monthly donations to the Committee of 500 Years of Dignity and Resistance, a grassroots 501 (c)(3) in Cleveland dedicated to maintaining indigenous culture and heritage.”

Already I’m teary and filled with love for Raechel’s work, and then I start in with the Prologue and am accompanying, with great interest and hope, the child Raechel’s forays down to the crick to find treasure and fireflies.  

Deep gratitude to Raechel for her fortitude in writing this queer femme memoir, a gift to all femmes, and for her dedication to intersectional understandings of the world, where healing grows.

P.S., I found this book at All She Wrote, a feminist bookstore in Somerville, Mass. – if you are able, I hope you also buy your copy from a local independently owned bookstore. All She Wrote is also happy to send you books, if you’d like to buy it from them:

https://www.allshewrotebooks.com/

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! 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 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.”) And…as I go through graduate school and life life life, I will post as I am able, Mabel.

Meditations for Queer Femmes – Think Again

The other day I drove down a street I don’t usually travel, and as I went over a bridge built over a culvert, I passed a middle-aged white man, rather sunburned in the face, who was holding two signs, one in each hand so you could see them coming and going. They said:

THINK THIS BRIDGE IS SAFE? THINK AGAIN!!

When I first thought about writing a post inspired by this guy, I was thinking about how my life can feel rather directionless or without rudder and how interesting it is that there are people like the bridge guy who seem to have a very, very clear idea about what to do with their time, intellect, physical and mental energy. A singleness of purpose, which, while kind of appealing to someone like me who’s always questioning if I’m doing the next right thing, can easily turn into an unhealthy and even frightening obsession. (That same week, for example – not like you really need an example these days — I’d driven through a nearby town center where a Trump-sign waving older white guy was screaming, “WOMAN!!!” at a passing driver, for some reason that made sense to him, I suppose.)

When I first started thinking about this post, I wanted to ask you, fearless queer femme sisters, about the touchpoints in your own lives, the things you keep coming back to, the places where you meet yourself over and over again and know who you are. For me, part of the answer I think is about the lens through which I view the world, my interest in what makes community, what role art has in healing, what is justice, history, family. Being curious, trying to be fair and kind. Refocusing on the complex and joyful rather than the negative and simple. I wanted to ask you what your passions are and how you keep them from overwhelming you, from becoming the only thing you focus on. I can get very caught up in my head and way too interested in what is wrong with everything, for example. I have to then further catch myself and gently redirect.

Along with my curiosity about passions and anchors and joy – and truly, I would love to hear from you! — I’ve also found myself thinking a lot about that bridge. The one we think is safe but isn’t. There’s something really wrong with the foundation, I expect, and it could give out at any moment. Maybe right when you’re driving across, thinking only of heading over to the farm to pick up your flower share and will you get more zinnias or go for the sweet-smelling carnations? And maybe you’ll be hurt and maybe you won’t, but things will be shaken up and in the aftermath a safer bridge might be built, or maybe something even more wonderful, like the stream being allowed to run free and wild.

Tex’s mom had a stroke when she and her husband and Tex were on vacation together. She recovered almost fully, and made it home safe and well. Today, though, she’s back in the hospital for something else that may or may not be related, and Tex and I have our healing candle burning again and are discussing whether or not Tex might need to make another out-of-town trip.

We’re thinking again about what we thought we knew. I was just listening to a Pema Chodron talk where she says you can meet the inevitability of impermanence, of dying and death, with curiosity and even joy, because this is the way things are. She says it way better, of course, but I’m mulling it over. I’m remembering my father dying, how engaged he was. He knew we were there, but he was busy. I don’t think he was scared, it didn’t seem like it; it was more like he was very occupied with something very important. I’ve had deep, painful regrets about not staying with him that night, but right now I’m thinking that it’s ok. He would have wanted us to take care of ourselves rather than stay overnight in that facility where there were no beds for us or even comfortable chairs (I was still undergoing cancer treatment, my mother was mentally not well, and Tex was exhausted with caregiving). I know he knew we loved him. Maybe I can let go of some of my guilt.

Maybe I can think again about something I thought was really solid but isn’t.

And maybe you can, as well, dear, dear complicated and beautiful beloveds.

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.”) And…as I go through graduate school and life life life, I will post as I am able, Mabel.

Published in: on August 16, 2021 at 4:33 PM  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Femme Friday – Jessamyn Stanley

Author, Yoga Teacher, Entrepreneur, Advocate, and Queer Femme, Jessamyn Stanley speaks about yoga as being so much more than figuring out how to go all pretzelly. “What yoga can offer us is the structure, the clarity, the patience, and the openness to acceptance. . . .” she says in an interview in The Advocate (July/August 2021 p. 28). “Through that, we can heal tremendous pain in our society.”

Take a look at Jessamyn’s website where you can find information about her teaching, her two books, Every Body Yoga and Yoke: My Yoga of Self-Acceptance, her classes, events, podcasts, and advocacy for cannabis justice.

Deep gratitude to Jessamyn for her queer femme healing energy and how generously she shares her love and her wisdom.  

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! 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 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.”) And…as I go through graduate school and life life life, I will post as I am able, Mabel.

Published in: on August 13, 2021 at 4:07 PM  Leave a Comment  

Pingy Dingy Wednesday – Honor the Earth

My first introduction to Winona LaDuke was through her amazing novel, Last Standing Woman, which you should read immediately. She is also a radical, creative, heart-driven organizer and earth healer:

Winona LaDuke is a rural development economist and author working on issues of Indigenous Economics, Food and Energy Policy. She co-founded Honor the Earth with the Indigo Girls, as a platform to raise awareness of and money for indigenous struggles for environmental justice. Globally and nationally, Winona is known as a leader in the issues of cultural-based sustainable development strategies, renewable energy, and sustainable food systems. She is one of the leaders in the work of protecting Indigenous plants and heritage foods from patenting and genetic engineering. (from the Meet the Team at Honor the Earth)

MISSION STATEMENT – Honor the Earth

Our mission is to create awareness and support for Native environmental issues and to develop needed financial and political resources for the survival of sustainable Native communities. Honor the Earth develops these resources by using music, the arts, the media, and Indigenous wisdom to ask people to recognize our joint dependency on the Earth and be a voice for those not heard.

As a unique national Native initiative, Honor the Earth works to a) raise public awareness and b) raise and direct funds to grassroots Native environmental groups. We are the only Native organization that provides both financial support and organizing support to Native environmental initiatives. This model is based on strategic analysis of what is needed to forge change in Indian country, and it is based deep in our communities, histories, and long-term struggles to protect the earth.

Honor the Earth and Winona, you get one pingy dingy! Thank you for your inspiring and tireless and gorgeous work.  

https://www.honorearth.org/

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.

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.”) And…as I go through graduate school and life life life, I will post as I am able, Mabel.

Meditations for Queer Femmes – Sorted

I spent some time recently sitting on the living room floor, surrounded by piles and file, blissfully sorting. I was finally willing and able to show a little love to my recipe collection and give it a little better order. I have recipes scribbled on bits of paper, torn from newspapers and magazines, printed from blogs, and received from friends and family on index cards. Some of them I’ve never tried and turns out I’m no longer interested, some are old friends I’d forgotten about, some look delectable and I can’t wait to try them out (now that I’ve unearthed them and know where they are!). I came across menus, mine as well as a few written in Owen’s childhood hand; a note from Tex telling Seth to “help himself to pumpkin bread” before doing chores, reminding me how much Owen and I used to cook together, and how much Seth loved that pumpkin bread! (Neither son lives with us anymore: Seth is 25 and Owen, 22).

So much love and thought went into feeding the family all those years, all of us contributing in one way or another, all of us making room for each other’s likes and dislikes, passions, requests, willingness to experiment. I found little clutches of recipes we took with us on summer vacation and cooked at my parents’ house in Missoula, including the following lovely recipe for French lavender lemonade (which came on an invitation to a friend’s wedding, many, many years ago).

Ask Tex, ask anyone, I absolutely have a problem with stacks of paper. I’m a packrat and I hold on to things and I think I might need them again some day even though I know perfectly well that what is actually almost probably going to happen is they’ll disappear and I’ll forget about them. Had I tossed all my recipes, which I did sometimes think about doing when the prospect of sorting through them felt too daunting, that would have been fine – I wouldn’t have known or missed what I couldn’t remember. But I do love to cook, and I knew there would be useful stuff in there, and eventually the time and space came around to where I could spread everything out and take a look.

I’ve loved a good sorting project since I was a kid (back then it was usually my comic book collection that got organized), and this one really was meaningful. Along with the above, I found recipes sent to me by Tex’s mom when we first started dating, exuding a sweet, old-fashioned “take care of my baby” vibe: “Tex loves this salad!” My aunt hand copied her mom’s recipes and sent them to me on index cards. There were lots of recipes I made up, too, like “Hippie Cauliflower Soup” and “Lamb Stew Tex Thought Was Really Good.” I sorted through were decades of nourishment.

My cream puffs, my succulent and savory beloveds, how do you feed yourself, your family, your friends, body or soul? It doesn’t have to be food. Perhaps it’s letters or cards or sweaters you knit or art you make, conversations tendered, hugs on tap. It’s endless, the care we give each other, and I know you have your own special something and somethings. Settle in for a moment today in the knowledge and appreciation of your good and generous heart.

You feed the world, you heal the world.

Femme Love Heal World.

————————————–

French Lavender Lemonade

This refreshing rosy-colored lemonade is perfumed with just a hint of the sweetness and floral scent of French lavender.

Lavender Infusion:

2 ½ cups water

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

¼ cup fresh French lavender leaves, coarsely chopped

To make the lavender insusion, combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring the water to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the lavender and remove from the heat. Cover and let the infusion cool to room temperature. Strain and discard the lavender.

Lemonade:

2 ½ cups water

1 cup strained freshly squeezed lemon juice

Granulated sugar, to taste

Ice cubes

6-8 sprigs of fresh lavender, for garnish

Pour the infusion into a glass pitcher and add the water and lemon juice. Stir well, adding additional sugar is desired. Refrigerate until chilled. Just before serving, stir the lemonade again and fill the pitcher with ice. Pour into chilled glasses and garnish each serving with a sprig of lavender. Serves 6-8.

–1995 Rosalind Creasy and Carole Saville, from Herbs: A Country Garden Cookbook.

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.”) And…as I go through graduate school and life life life, I will post as I am able, Mabel.

Published in: on August 9, 2021 at 9:19 AM  Leave a Comment  
Tags:

Meditations for Queer Femmes – Where Am I In All This?

The pandemic took me in a lot of ways, but one of them was not cleaning out, sorting through, getting rid of accumulated stuff in the house. In fact, I probably brought home a few things that you chucked out onto the curb. A tasteful bag that says I LOVE IRELAND for example (I gave it to my son, Owen – he was ecstatic! — so maybe it doesn’t count?), as well as a couple of lovely old-fashioned soup bowls that we use almost every day (while you now have lots of space in your cupboard for your modern matching set).

This very morning, I walked by another clutch of temptation, the dregs of someone’s yard sale arranged attractively on the lawn. I stopped to browse, that old urge to rescue and find a fun use for surfacing most dreadfully. But I walked on by! Calmer thoughts prevailed, I am happy to say. I walked on by, bringing to mind how many things I have squirreled away in my own house, waiting to be discovered, rescued, found fun uses for. Even set out on the curb! Or otherwise redistributed. Is my zine collection from the 90s still ok up there under the eaves of the attic? Wouldn’t it be fun to flip through Rachel Pepper’s zine, Cunt? Or one of my old favorites, Office Supply Junkie? Ah, those were heady days! And given I haven’t crawled back there to look at them in, oh, 15 years at least, perhaps they could be moved on to a more appropriate and useful location? If the meeses haven’t gnawed them up for nesting material, that is. I could go up there now to find out! (Maybe later.)

No matter if you cleaned your abode down to the nubbin or if you’re still up to your eyeballs, you have your stuff around you, queer femme phoenixes, and it might have something to tell you. As we transition into whatever comes next (today is the Solstice, after all), what can you divest yourself of? What might you like to see again? What makes you sad, or happy, or deeply relaxed? Might you let one go, repair another, put the last on your alter or give to your friend who needs it because she’s going through a hard time?

We are always changing, ever moving, loving, living, breathing works of human beauty and wonder. I know however, that the space where I live is not always a reflection of that change, that movement, and I can feel very stuck, energy-wise. Today, darling ones, look around, really look. Breathe. Feel all parts of yourselves, inside and out. Ask yourself: Where am I in all this?

Proceed with all love and queer femme blessings.

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.”) And…as I go through graduate school and life life life, I will post as I am able, Mabel.

Published in: on June 21, 2021 at 11:13 AM  Leave a Comment  
Tags:

Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – 70’s Flashback

Yesterday whilst working in the kitchen, I threw on my Three Dog Night Greatest Hits CD and Tex came in as I was grooving to “Shambala.” For two seconds, she thought it was cute, but then it gave her a hot flash – too much Top 40 on construction sites in her past – and I had to turn it off.

But I love Three Dog Night, just because I do, and also because it reminds me of my dad, who would often come home from his job as a university professor with the latest record recommended by his students. Cream, Jimmy Cliff, Three Dog Night. He would dutifully listen to them, and then I would inherit. Also, it was fun singing “Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog” in 5th grade chorus.

Three Dog Night, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for being part of my childhood soundtrack. Hit it, boys!!

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, love, and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.

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.”) And…as I go through graduate school, I will post as I am able, Mabel.

Meditations for Queer Femmes — First Hugs

Over the winter, I was outside with a friend’s 3-year old and for one brief moment I held her mittened hand as she jumped off a low wall. It was so automatic for both of us – she reached out, I reached out, we grabbed on and down she hopped.

That was it, though, for physical human contact outside of my (admittedly very cozy and yummy and cuddly) spouse, Tex.

And today, young people! A 4-month old baby! TREASURES!

Young friends are in town visiting family, darling folks whose wedding we attended and one of whom I’ve known since he was 4-years old. They made time to come hang out in our backyard this morning. Lucky us, we get to be family, too. The gift made so much more moving by the isolation suffered, the devastation witnessed, the overwhelm and dismay.

My first hugs in over a year. The incredible pleasure of holding that baby, letting her enthusiastically remove my mask (all adults are vaccinated – we decided it would be ok). Walking around with her, showing her Grandmother Rhododendron, who is blooming. Feeling her solid, wiggly, joyous little body in my arms.

I knew I missed hugs – it was so horrible and hard at the beginning of the pandemic – but I’d gotten used to the lack. Now I’m just weeping, from relief, I guess. From the loving touch of people who make up my people pack. Who have been in my history and will be in my future and who right here and now gathered me close and squeezed.

Buds and branches, blooms and biscuits, how I long to hold you and be held! Today, let’s celebrate the exquisite physicality of loving hugs and touches between humans who haven’t been able to express their human nature like this for over a year. Blessings on us as we slowly start to gather each other into our arms again.

Hugs to you, dear femme sisters. Hugs! Hugs! Hugs!

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.”) And…as I go through graduate school and life life life, I will post as I am able, Mabel.

Published in: on May 24, 2021 at 10:47 AM  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Pingy-Dingy Wednesday – Marine Biologist Ana Pêgo and Plasticus Maritimus

As part of my writing program reading, my advisor asks me to include some works in translation, so much fun! I just finished a middle grade nonfiction book, Plasticus Maritimus: An Invasive Species by Ana Pêgo, Bernardo P. Carvalho, and Isabel Minhós Martins, translated from the Portuguese by Jane Springer.

If I’d read this book as a child, I expect I would be a full time anti-plastic activist at this point, Pêgo is that good at conveying the mind-boggling scope of this dire problem as well as steering the reader towards ways both individuals and communities can work to combat it. It would be so easy to despair or live in denial, both of which I’ve certainly done, but this book helps me remember that even a little bit helps, not only with the bigger problem, but with the problem of one’s own feelings of misery. “One positive thing about the time we’re living in,” Pêgo writes, “is that we have a good understanding of the problems that need to be solved. This is a big advantage over other periods in history when there was less communication worldwide and when science was much less advanced. Today, if we care about the planet and about everyone who lives here, we can have a better understanding of what’s going on. Scientists study the problems and gather information and in many cases have already come up with solutions – and this is an enormous advantage. But things are not always resolved, are they? . . . This is why it is very important for us to take an active role. Being an activist means precisely this. If there’s a problem that we’re troubled by, and we can see that this problem has serious consequences, then we need to recognize it and get down to work to change the situation” (9).

Ana Pêgo and Plasticus Maritimus, you get one pingy-dingy! Thank you for your hard work and your heart work in educating, communicating, studying, building community, and inviting each of us not to lose hope. You have newly inspired me to pay more attention to the plastic in my life and what I can do to bring my lifestyle back into a better alignment with my values.

https://www.facebook.com/plasticusmaritimus/

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, love, and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.

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 and pandemic prevent 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 graduate school, I will post as I am able, Mabel.