2017-03-05

sovay: (Lord Peter Wimsey: passion)
Three things make a very tired post.

1. My poem "And All the Brothers Too" has been accepted by Polu Texni. It was written for [livejournal.com profile] nineweaving in June, on a coastal train between New London and New Haven and in [livejournal.com profile] ladymondegreen's office at work; it involves family history, ghosts, WWII submarines, and Twelfth Night.

2. I missed the first forty-five minutes of this morning's Rise Up! rally for trans and queer students, but I made it just in time for the march from Boston Common to Post Office Square. I met up with [livejournal.com profile] schreibergasse at the beginning and ran into [livejournal.com profile] dpolicar at the end; in between I discovered [personal profile] skygiants and [personal profile] genarti and was very kindly donated a cough drop by [personal profile] shati, who was carrying the excellent sign "High School Sucks Enough Without Transphobia." There were some very good signs at this rally; because we were in the middle of the march, I didn't even see some of the best until the crowd had filled up Post Office Square and become a rally again. The banner at the head of the march was lettered in a beautiful green-and-black calligraphy and vivid red block capitals on pale gold:

from Standing Rock to Stonewall . . .
UNITE & RESIST
Againt Racism, Police Brutality, Gentrification, Islamophobia, Rape Culture & War!


with three clenched fists of different colors in solidarity encouraging the reader to "Fight Back." There were people wearing pride flags and trans flags. There were pussy hats in the original hot pink, but also in bisexual, asexual, agender, trans, and genderqueer colors. I saw at least one navy-blue baseball cap with gold lettering that I assumed belonged to a sports team until I got close enough to read "Make America Gay Again." There were several multi-person signs, including one carried by teachers supporting trans students and a "Black Trans Lives Matter" bearing six of the seven women's names I had heard on Thursday. (The speeches I had missed included a remembrance of all of them, with ASL interpretation.) I liked the four-striped trans flag with a different affirmation on each stripe—"You're Beautiful, You're Needed, You're Loved, You Matter"—and the politics of "Let's Help Trump Transition . . . Out of the White House" and "Keep Bathrooms Safe—Ban Trump." Some expressions of protest and support were personal: "We Are Human," "Sisters Not Cis-Ters," "Here to Fight for My Trans Daughter's Rights." Some were just good sense: "I Stand with Trans Youth Because I Am Not a Sentient Loaf of Ignorant White Bread, Donald." I think the spirit of the event was perhaps best expressed by the blue-haired person whose sign read "Too Mad for Just One Sign" on one side and "Free Gay Hugs" on the other, although the silky-haired Irish setter wearing "I Can Pee Anywhere, Why Can't Trans People?" had a point. I had neither a sign nor a camera, but at least this time I had a voice for the chants, which tended to roll back through the march so that we were always slightly out of synch with somebody, but the rippling wavelike cheers were pretty neat. There was an open megaphone again in Post Office Square; the trans teenager who introduced himself for the very first time as "Andy" got a roaring applause, as did the trans woman who was celebrating her birthday by marching. There were a number of non-binary students talking about progress or difficulty at their schools—more of the former than the latter, which was really nice to hear. The school administrator who got up to speak in support of her trans students also got a well-deserved hand. I don't know the numbers of the crowd; anyone who has an estimate should please point me in its direction. More than the impromptu march of late February, fewer by far than the numbers of the women's march. I keep wanting to see that turnout again for causes that people may think are less universal, that are no less essential. I have hopes for the March for Science. I still want thousands on thousands of people in a city to believe that trans kids and black lives are worth taking to the streets for.

It was blastingly cold. I left the house worried that T-shirt, overshirt, sweater, and coat was winter-layer overkill and came aboveground at Downtown Crossing confident that I had made the right decision. For this reason I am somehow not surprised that I spent more time outdoors today than I had in weeks, having lunch with Schreibergasse at Mamaleh's (I may be on a personal mission to introduce all of my friends to this restaurant) and then running an errand for my mother at the Prudential Barnes & Noble (which we overshot on the Green Line by three stops and had to walk back to along Huntington Avenue, with a shortcut past the winter-drained pool of the Christian Science Center) and then working my way out to Lexington by bus (including a horrifying interlude in the upper busway of Harvard Square, which for some unforeseen reason—the cold or a problem with the ventilation—had turned into an acrid tunnel of smog as the shuttle buses between Harvard and Alewife rattled constantly through; people had pulled their shirts over their faces to breathe and were coughing anyway) and back again. I got home and shared a smoked salmon collar with two enthralled little cats. [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel has half rights to the bagels, which survived being toted all over Boston and disentegrating their original paper bag. I didn't get more than three hours of sleep again, but the rally was worth it.

3. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] moon_custafer mentioning it, I read Eleanor Farjeon's The Silver Curlew (1953) last night and it gave me the weirdest déjà vu. Normally I recognize books when I read them again, even after decades; I remember their language as well as elements of plot or character. Nothing about Farjeon's prose was familiar to me. I had no memory of any of the songs. I guessed the identity of a mysterious character almost at once, but I am good at that sort of thing—mythically significant names, pattern-recognition, years of Diana Wynne Jones. I can't even use the ending of the story as a gauge, since it depended on a fairytale which I came in knowing and a nursery rhyme whose turn I could see coming. But exactly one character-based bit of business was hauntingly familar and scratched at the back of my brain every time it went by and I can't tell now whether I read The Silver Curlew so long ago that somehow nothing else about it went into memory—which would be a near-first for me—or if it's shared with another story by Farjeon or some other author or what on earth, but it made for one of the strangest reading experiences I have had in some time. In any case, I recommend the book. It's the third of hers I've read after Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard (1921) and its sequel Martin Pippin in the Daisy Field (1937); it reminded me a little of Elizabeth Goudge and a little of Greer Gilman. I found out after finishing it that it began life as a Christmas play for children and I'd love to read the original script for comparison, but I can see it in the story's mix of silly comedy and shimmering numinous. It has a clever, prickly heroine and a couple of characters who end up more real than when they started. One strand of it is exactly the sort of thing I would have imprinted on very hard if I'd read it at its intended age, which is part of the reason I keep thinking I must not have. Since I read it as an adult, however, I am afraid the character in question mentally cast himself as Edward Petherbridge and whoever actually played him will have to live up to that.

Charlee Loon, who caught the flounders Mother Codling liked for her dinner, lived in a little shack on the sea-shore. It was black and smelt of tar and salt and seaweed, and when I say Charlee lived in it I only mean that it was his shack, but he himself was seldom inside it. He was oftener to be found in his boat, mooning on the sea when it was calm and tossing when it was stormy. Sometimes he caught things and sometimes he didn't. Sometimes he went out to fish without his nets, and sometimes he forgot where he had set his lobster-pots. But other times he came back with his nets full of slippery silvery herrings or flat white flounders. When he had beached his boat, he usually forgot that he had a shack to sleep in, and lay on his face on the shingle looking for amber, or on his back on the sand staring at the stars. If anybody came along for fish, they could help themselves. It was all one to Charlee. But as like as not, even if there was fish in the boat, they would find him sliding the herring one after another back into the sea, or laying out the flounders in rows on the wet sand, where the next incoming wave would curl over and foam them away. You never knew with Charlee, any more than you knew what his age was. Sometimes he looked one thing, sometimes another; and people were as likely to ask, "Seen old Charlee lately?" as to say, "Saw young Charlee this maarnin', pipin' to them puffins."
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