Shivering in Nashville

It was 33 degrees F at 1 am on a Friday in Nashville and I was in my largely comfortable hotel-room bed, but my weirdly feet weirdly cold and I was trying to get warm under the covers. OMG, I thought, I might have the novel coronavirus! I looked into my throat in the bathroom, tested my cough. Nothing unusual. I walked to the sliding glass doors and stared at the illuminated McDonald’s sign across the street. I was thinking about how we never allow our cities to be dark at night anymore and how that would be so so so lovely. I was thinking about how cold the sliding glass door felt on the tip of my nose and then I realized: Oh! It’s def freezing outside or near it. Let’s check the heat. But the heat was not set. The room was being blasted with cold air. Oh, I thought, that explains why my feet and body feel shivery. Twenty minutes later, the room is warm, and I have a few late-night feelings. That philosophical pillow of the mind before one drifts off.

What humans want to do is write, and make art, and play with each other, to make shelter together, to sing, to have sex, to walk beaches and woods. Humans want to create things together. We gather in what we call cities to be close to each other, to share ideas. Hyper-capitalism (NOT market economies) gets in the way of all of these things. We need to design better ways to trade and share and collaborate.

Late night feelings — catalyzed by very, very cold toes and anxiety. Sigh.

ECOPOESIS: April 24-25, San Francisco with Joanna Zylinska!

We are gearing up for the April 24-25 ECOPOESIS Symposium/Workshop in San Francisco at California College of the Arts. Joanna Zylinska is joining us from London, where she is on the faculty at Goldsmiths, University of London, as a theorist and artist. Her book, The End of Man: A Feminist Counterapocalypse will serve as our thought starting point and guide. This is accompanied by Zylinska’s short film Exit Man.

Prior to that I will be presenting the project on a panel at the International Journal of Feminist Politics at Vanderbilt University, March 6 -7. Here are some words about what the ECOPOESIS thinks about —

ECOPOESIS is a conversation that began as a conversation between myself, Adam Marcus, and Chris Falliers — we are all colleagues at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. 

We believe in the power of gathering – to create a collective context and vocabulary, to see paths forward for humans and nonhumans alike.

We believe that apocalyptic visions for the future bolster instantiated racism, misogyny, and hypercapitalism with all its cruel tentacles. 

We believe the future is feminist and we have imbued this platform with qualities that reflect feminist discourse in the ecologies.

And so we designed ECOPOESIS as a platform for gathering to share the feelings and thoughts that climate change sparks in each of us, to learn to message these feelings, towards greater solidarity with humans and nonhumans alike. We believe that if we can design this unsustainable world, we can design a better one. 

The best part, aside from the shared made messaging, is the “hearth” and “community” we build during those hours: Gathering over homemade vegetarian meals, conversations buzzing, new thoughts, new colleagues, new paths forward. Despair is visible in all discussions of ecologies in the 21st century but there is also hope.

Eco-Thoughts: Chris Merrill

I write the Eco-Thoughts column for The Believer magazine and this is one of the true delights of my life at present. My editor, Hayden Bennett, is a gem and it is so fun and fascinating to talk to smart, kind, focused humans about ecologies and their take on life on Earth.

January 2020 finds me in conversation with Christopher Merrill. Check it out and send me some comments!

Awake/Asleep: Thoughts for January 25, 2020 Craft Talk

Looking forward to my craft/let’s-get-writing-with-more-power-and-accuracy talk at Moxie Road gig in Mill Valley, California, on January 25. (Link at the end of the post.)

Awake vs asleep: I am talking about a few ideas around writing craft; for instance, one of my observations over the years is how my writing students and clients want to tell me a story but they don’t know what the story is about. What does that mean? All stories are the story of thought and the story of action in different proportions, in different modes of covert and overt. Just having a story to tell is not enough. You need to know why you are telling it. Otherwise, you might as well just go the local cafe or bar and hold court.

My children in Iowa City when I was a graduate student in the MFA program. Yes, I had two young children, ran a magazine, taught undergraduates, and took a full load of graduate writing courses. I am very proud of each of these accomplishments, with the mother part being number one.

Moxie Road productions: January 25, 2020 — come see me!