- My wife, Hanna.
- Our cats, Geraldine and Teazle.
- Our families and friends.
- The internet that lets us all stay connected.
- Work I enjoy and
- Colleagues I am proud to work with.
- Robust health insurance and
- Obamacare (babysteps everyone, babysteps!).
- Writing and reading fan fiction,
- My fellow writers at #firstthedraft,
- And the people who encourage me to continue my history work outside of academe.
- Starting to feel that Boston is home.
- Bootstrap compost,
- Maple syrup pie,
- Kona coffee from the Drowsy Parrot,
- And Stillman’s Farm summer and winter CSA.
As followers of this blog are aware, on Friday, September 14, Hanna and I became lawfully wedded wives. It was a glorious late-summer morning and in the weeks to come I’ll be posting photos from the wedding itself and our honeymoon on Cape Cod (equally felicitous weather-wise).
But before all of that, I wanted to share with you the words which our three friends who attended shared with us. We asked each of them, in advance, to bring a short passage of prose or a poem which they would be willing to share by way of opening and closing the ceremony. We did not know in advance what they had chosen, but instead let their words inflect the day unanticipated.
Here, in the order which they read them, are the words they shared.
This Marriage, Ode 2667
May these vows and this marriage be blessed.
May it be sweet milk,
this marriage, like wine and halvah.
May this marriage offer fruit and shade,
like the date palm.
May this marriage be full of laughter,
your every day a day in paradise.
May this marriage be a sign of compassion
a seal of happiness here and hereafter.
May this marriage have a fair face and a good name
an open as welcome,
as the moon in the clear blue sky.
I am out of words to describe how spirit mingles
in this marriage.
~L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea
All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.
ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW about how to live and what to do
and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not
at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the
sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life – learn some and think some
and draw and paint and sing and dance and play
and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic,
hold hands, and stick together.
~Robert Fulghum, All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
*Update: due to privacy concerns voiced by attendees, I’ve removed the identifiable images from this post; I apologize to those whose personal online image policies I unthinkingly violated.
So I’m in the middle of reading a review copy of Hanna Rosin’s The End of Men and the Rise of Women, which … with a title like that, you really can’t expect much, right? And your suspicions would be confirmed. But one of the truly annoying things she’s doing is profiling hetero relationships in which everyone is miserable.
And portraying all men as dunderheaded two-year-olds.
I HATE IT WHEN JOURNALISTS DO THIS.
You’d think, reading books like this (or, ahem, The Secret Lives of Wives) that not a single happy experience was being had in the world of hetero relations since, oh, I don’t know, V-J Day. Or possibly since women got the vote. Or maybe around the time Mary Wollstonecraft penned Vindication.
So, more or less in self-defense — or, more to the point, in defense of the many awesome non-abusive, humanly-flawed-yet-engaged-with-life men I know and love — I’ve compiled a list of men in our cohort (the “end of men” cohort, in which dudes are apparently, “obsolete”) by way of giving them all a massive shout-out for general awesomeness and, well, disproving Rosin’s hysterical claims that the world is rapidly devolving into a dystopic “matriarchy” (I swear, if she makes this claim one more time in the pages of The End I may emit a tiny shriek of despair).
Aiden is a passionate social justice activist working at the Durham County Library.
Brian, my brother, a middle school art teacher, free-lance illustrator, and graduate student, married to my sister-in-law Renee, a landscape painter.
Brian, my boss’s boyfriend, who’s the IT guy for a school, is training to be a voice actor, and moonlights as a musician.
Collin, my friend Diana’s boyfriend and all-around awesome person who works in digital archives management (and in his spare time does things like cook gourmet meals, build letterpresses, and send us cute pictures of bunnies).
Dan, a former Library Assistant at the MHS was just promoted to Assistant Reference Librarian; he enjoys cycling and soccer in his free time.
Drew has spent the last ten years working in computer programming and web design.
Eric, my friend Molly’s husband, just finished his PhD while parenting full-time and is looking for professional work (also while parenting an infant and six-year-old) alongside his wife.
Erik, Hanna’s best friend from High School, became a father earlier this year; he bartends while his wife works as an accountant for the state.
Henry works in IT and in his spare time enjoys hiking and traveling with his librarian wife.
Jeremy, my former colleague at the MHS, moved on to a position at LibraryThing and handles user communications and outreach, as well as spear-heading their project cataloging famous peoples’ historical libraries.
After completing his library science degree, Jim is working as a documentary editor and considering renewing his dedication of music.
My dear friend Joseph is a plant breeder who’s just sent his first book to press and completed the first round of paperwork to begin nation-wide trials for an ornamental corn hybrid. He’s also thinking about fostering rescue kittens when he finishes the process of buying a house.
Josh, Hanna’s acupuncturist, also teaches yoga and meditation while his fiancee works in a hospital.
Patrick, husband of Bethany, is completing a PhD in Philosophy and Mathematics, after extensive graduate work in both the US and UK.
Nate currently works at CostCo while pursuing documentary film-making; his wife teaches English and is completing her first YA novel.
I’m sure I’ve left someone out, so … feel free to fill in the gaps in comments! Please. And I promise a more coherent review of Rosin’s work once I’ve actually had the patience to finish it.
Yesterday, Diana sent us this photograph of Geraldine on Diana’s carry-on suitcase. Gerry did reconnaissance as soon as Diana and Collin arrived, decided that was going to be her bed of choice for the weekend, and spent 90% of her time there while we were home (the other 10% was begging for tuna, per usual). The cat-shaped dent in the suitcase top suggested she spent 100% of her time napping there when we were out on the town.
|photo by Diana Wakimoto (June 2012)|
Hope everyone has a brilliant weekend, and see you next week for more fun with The Act of Marriage, actual wedding thoughts and plans, and more.
After Friday, it rained almost continuously the whole weekend Diana and Collin were here. On Monday, before they left for the airport, we took refuge at the Boston Public Library (between Pavement Coffeehouse and Berkeley Perk Cafe).
|center courtyard in the rain, from the 3rd floor gallery|
|an installation featuring bees|
|one for the ghoulish sensibilities|
|I love the gender ambiguity of these figures|
|and these panels featuring labyrinths|
There were a lot of prints incorporating maps, architectural elements, and text. We also noticed a theme of arctic exploration. The photograph below is of an interactive piece featuring the upturned hull of a boat to which visitors are invited to tie slips of paper articulating wishes and dreams (our favorite: “I dream of Cthulhu” and also “I want a pig.” There were also a wonderfully wide variety of languages represented.
|ship of wishes and dreams|
|in the third floor gallery, there were lots of birds|
|including these haunting owls|
We had a lovely weekend with friends Diana and Collin, and were very sorry to see them go yesterday afternoon (if only someone would invent reliable teleportation!). It was, in fact, a lovely weekend despite nearly continuous rain and a trip to the emergency room on Saturday (to verify a strained muscle was, in fact, strained and not something worse — it isn’t, whew). We had lots of coffee and tea and good food, good conversation, and vacation-type movies (Fast Five, and the Doctor Who Christmas special!). I’m letting myself take the rest of the week off from blogging-blogging, but here are a few photographs from our Boston perambulations.
|sailboats on Jamaica Pond|
Our one nice day (weather-wise) was Friday, and Diana, Collin, and I took a long walk up to Jamaica Plain and had lunch at Centre Street Cafe while Hanna was in Newport, RI, for a meeting.
|judgy cat is judgy|
All things considered, Geraldine was accepting of the two interlopers — it helped that Auntie Diana brought her favorite dried fish flakes all the way from California! She was very distressed keeping track of four people instead of just two for four whole days and crashed last night (she didn’t even get me up to feed her at 3am!)
|I spy with my little eye …|
On Sunday, we took the bus over to Harvard Square to meet up with friends Minerva and Nancy for lunch, and between coffee at Crema Cafe and meeting up with the rest of the gang, we hung out in the Harvard Co-op (where else to spend a rainy morning but in a book shop?!). I was so excited to see Swallows and Amazons on the Staff Recommends shelf — someone raised their kid right!
|Steampunk sighting FTW!|
… And my favorite sighting of the day goes to this man from Cambridge Historical Tours, who was waiting for a tour group at the Harvard Square T stop and checking his smartphone. He was totally rocking the coat, hat, and goggles.
On Thursday, I’ll post some pictures from our visit to the Boston Public Library’s current exhibition on print-making! Hope y’all are having a good week thus far.
Our good friend Diana is coming into town today with her paramour, so I’m giving myself permission not to keep up with blog posts and whatnot over the weekend and into next week. Look for a resumption of activities the week of June 11 (can you believe we’re already heading toward mid June??). In the meantime, I give you pictures of flowers!
|flowering tree on the Charles River esplanade|
|a gift from Minerva (photograph by Hanna)|
Have a lovely first week of June, and see you back here in ten days.
In the wee hours of the morning, my friend Molly — after long hours of labor — gave birth to her second child, whom she, her husband Eric, and son Noah have given the name Simon.
Here at our house we kept Molly, Eric, Noah, the home-birth team, and as-yet-unnamed Simon in our thoughts throughout yesterday. The candle burned strong and bright from the moment I heard from Molly her labor had commenced until right about the time Simon was born.
welcome to the strange and wonderful world, simon child of molly and eric, sibling of noah. always look for the helpers – we’ll be there!
So I was going through my Google Reader feeds just now, from the last couple of days, and a lot of people seem to be talking about the possibility of male-female friendship like it’s suddenly 1989 again and we’ve decided that When Harry Met Sally is once more culturally relevant.
The question being, as always, “Can men and women be friends or does sex/sexuality inevitably get in the way?”
Here’s my thing about that question. Two things, actually. The question “Can men and women be friends?” assumes a) hetero-universality and b) that the possibility of sexual desire precludes a relationship that doesn’t involve sexual activity.
Speaking as someone who experiences the possibility of sexual attraction across genders, if I ruled out friendship sans sex with anyone who I could envision sexual intimacy with, then wow I’d be shit out of luck when it came to friendship. Because, surprise! The type of people I tend to get along with as friends are also the type of people I’d be most likely to be open to sexual intimacy with.
Obviously, it’s a moot point since I’m in a committed, monogamous relationship with Hanna. So sex with anyone else simply isn’t on the table any longer. But the same could be said of any person in a committed relationship — are you supposed to cut yourself off from friendship with any person you’d theoretically be willing to have sex with, simply because the possibility of sex and friendship don’t mix? That isn’t practical and doesn’t even make sense?
And think about what it’s saying about peoples’ ability to keep it in their pants and, you know, practice fidelity to the ground-rules of their primary relationships! That somehow the very presence of sexual attraction makes rational thought and decision-making evaporate? That you experience the possibility of sexual attraction and whist! — all prior commitments and promises out the window! Erm … really?
I get why, in our aggressively gendered, heteronormative culture it feels like “common sense” to assume homosociality and heterosexuality naturally go hand in hand. That your friendships will be primarily with people of your own gender (to whom you’re not sexually attracted in any way) and that your sexual intimacy will happen with a person or persons of another gender (the gender toward which you experience sexual attraction). But that formulae simply doesn’t work for people who are gay or swing both ways. As someone who experiences desire toward people with female bodies, I nevertheless have friends with female bodies with whom I manage not to have sex.
I’ve also managed to be naked in a locker room, in communal showers, skinny dipping, and co-sleeping with female-bodied people without engaging in sexual intimacy. Given cultural taboos, I haven’t done the same with male-bodied persons, but I’d wager the experience would be similar. That is, it’s not about the shape of the body in question or the gender identity of the person embodied, but about the context of our relationship and what we’ve mutually decided it contains. If sex isn’t part of our intimacy, we somehow (!) manage to not go there.
Granted, I’m not one of those people who experiences sex-exclusive attractions. Maybe if I only found women or men attractive, it would be easier for me to form platonic friendships with people of the gender which I wasn’t sexually interested in, and save the gender I was for flirting and sexytimes? But I can’t help feeling like the assumption that it’s an either/or (friendship OR sex) proposition hurts even the people who experience those more exclusive desires.
Thus ends my thought for the day.
|more about Diana|
On March 19th our good friend (and Hanna’s former roomie) Diana Kiyo Wakimoto became the first PhD candidate in the Queensland University of Technology and San Jose State University’s joint Gateway PhD Program to reach the point of making a final seminar presentation before revisions and submission of dissertation research. Congratulations Diana!
For many decades, the records that have been forgotten are those of the queer communities, which were not collected by institutional archives. In response to this neglect, community groups created their own archives to collect and preserve their records (Barriault, 2009a; Flinn & Stevens, 2009; Fullwood, 2009). Without the activism shown by the pioneers who created these personal collections and community archives, much of the record of the queer community organizations, movements, and individuals would have been lost. Multiple queer community archives have been created in California to combat the historical neglect and silencing of queer voices in institutional archives. My thesis focuses on the little studied area of the histories of these queer community archives in California and their relationships to institutional archives.
… As archivists continue to debate the role of the archivist as a professional, this study lends support to the scholars and practitioners who see the archivist as an activist and a non-neutral player in the construction of history and community identities. It bears repeating that without the activists and archivists within the queer communities who saved records and completed oral history projects, much of the record of the communities’ histories would have been lost. Therefore activism is important to saving records of the past and the archives profession must act to ensure a diversity of voices are found in the archives. We could learn much from the community archivists and volunteers about connecting with community members and creating archives and spaces that reflect community needs and interests.
Congratulations, Diana, and I can’t wait to read the final dissertation in full!