cereus: Cereus cactus blossom (Cereus)
(this post inspired by this series of posts on my Kemetic blog)

So when we're talking about "representation" in books (and movies and...)

I think that one of the most important types of representation in books for me, personally are desert books.  Even more than trans or disabled characters, for example.

No matter where you are in the United States, the "default paradigm" for stories is very northern temperate forest-based.  Like the whole tolkein and D&D and Arthurian mythos.  And a lot of stuff is built off that mythos.

And you can't just substitute some trees for cactus and have things work either, there's a whole different set of understandings underneath.  For example, the whole idea of Light being purely benevolent and Dark being purely malevolent doesn't work here.  It doesn't map onto reality well at all.  And even the idea of any force being purely malevolent or benevolent starts to become iffy.  Also "purity" is less of a central concept because "pure" things are often not condusive to the flourishing of life and life can use all the help it can get.  Mud isn't always something to wash away, it's something to shelter.

And I think that this stuff is why I latched on to Dune so hard, despite the fact that it is "problematic" as hell and sometimes I want to yell at Frank Herbert through the page..  Because it was also the first book that gave the highest honors to the Kangaroo Rat.

And that is precious.

A (incomplete) list of "Desert Books" -

Bless Me Ultima - Rudolfo Anaya
Territory - Emma Bull
Joshua Tree - Emma Bull (actually a short story)
The Blue Sword - Robin McKinley
Dune - Frank Herbert
Song of the Magdalene - Donna Jo Napoli

And I'm coming to think that the Myst series of video games have some of this too.  It's complicated because your adventures take you across many worlds, few of them desert.  But Atrus and Ti'ana both grew up in the desert, more or less.  And a lot of the attitudes and understandings are there.

cereus: Ringtail Cat climbing tree (Default)
After using the cover art in a recent thread,...  XD

I'm reading Lesbian Nuns: Breaking Silence, it's really good!

Some reviews describe it as uninteresting or dull, but it really isn't!  It may not be about stunt flying or anything, but it's very well written.

cereus: Ringtail Cat climbing tree (Default)
part 1

Personal experiences - within and fitting in



I have been slowly writing a series of posts on how being both Trans and Disabled/Neurodivergent interact with eachother.  For me they are tangled together.

I am trans but a lot of trans-ness seems to get explained in terms of gender identity.

I don't really have this thing called "Gender Identity".

I have experiences.  My body is shaped in certain ways, I have a large-ish bosom and curves.  But I've also felt other things - sensations that make more sense coming from another form.  I mis-judge distances between hips and objects, topping in bed (in the sense many gay men use it) feels as natural as breathing.  I have dysphoria - although sometimes "dissonance" would be more accurate.  Sometimes it burns like fire, but sometimes it is merely this doubled sensation.  Which can be be neutral.  Sometimes it even leads beautiful places.  There is sweetness and thorns.  But because of that I act in ways that some people consider "unacceptable" for my assigned gender.  I also accept and love my body in many ways. I *am* my body in many ways.

I also go against how people of my assigned gender are supposed to act, people have told me that.

I don't really have this thing called "Gender Identity".

But I am not a person who can live in a vacuum without other people.    Be surrounded by them, but unconnected and isolated.  I want to talk about things with others.  I am part of that sea.  So I need words.  With my experiences, in some circles I would be considered a Trans Man (with very low dysphoria).  And so I am.  In some circles someone with these experiences would be considered an Androgyne.  Or Genderfluid.  But these are not really my words.  I am borrowing them so we can be on the same page.  And the changes are not changes in me, just what I am called.

Though others may have had some say
in building up their book of rules,
I had mine given without want,
I couldn’t build one, had no tools.My book has not, my name upon it.
It feels unlike mine in hand.
If not that I relied upon it,
I’d let it fall like grains of sand.

-Donna Williams (from Not Just Anything)
 
In this culture, there are ceremonial roles for Women/girls and Men/boys.  There are almost never ceremonial roles for in-between people.  I care deeply about Ceremony and Ritual (in some ways)  I can't not. So in ceremonial instances I have to choose - and I prefer to go with the male role it feels more comfortable . (This includes things like whether it is needed to keep your head covered, etc.)

But a lot of how I act does not necessarily have to do with sex/gender.  I have certain things I'm good at and like to do.  I love to cook, garden, knit, work with metal. My "role" has more to do with these things than what's between my legs or what I do with it.  Some of what I am is labeled feminine, some masculine.  What I wear is a lot about colors and what they invoke.  I attempt to invoke many things and gender is only one of them in a long list.  Branches and moss, fire and earth, rose petals and blood.  I do occasionally wear things to look masculine, and some "feminine" things make me feel sick and frightened because of things that happened.

I am Trans.  But the rest...

May 2017

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