(what follows was written, and then abandoned before posting nearly two weeks ago… my timing is all off. i’m truly and forever disoriented.)
well it has taken much longer than i thought to get settled back into my routine here in LA. since returning from Montreal it has been a delightful, if extremely lethargic stretch of reading, making my living space livable again, and stealing mid-week vacation time away with extra-special loved ones.
and now of course Montreal seems like a lifetime ago.
what remains is:
— spending some really lovely time with Tristine, eating, drinking wine, walking the fiercely windy streets of downtown Montreal, and exchanging many stories. not only was it (in all my fanatical glory) so cool to hang with someone who was friends with anais nin, Tristine is so warm, such an open and generous person, and an exciting writer to boot. i am grateful we got to spend so much time together there, and delighted we live so close to each other.
— only two people came to our panel on Anais. i’m not sure if this is due to the fact that not many people are interested in her anymore, or if we were competing with other panels with sexier titles (though i hardly think one can get sexier than Anais Nin ;))… Whatever the reason, i was delighted by the talks my fellow panelists gave. in fact, they were the best two papers i heard all weekend. hands down.
— the reaffirmation, after several conversations and panel discussions, that there is indeed still such a rift in feminism between the Second and Third waves. i came of age as a feminist on Second Wave literature. and i have a tender spot for it. my sex-positive, racial justice, madly queer attitudes might seem incongruous with my love for Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, and Simone de Beauvoir (and Anais Nin!), but inside me, they happily and productively coexist to make my political alchemy work. it seems like we’re made to choose sides even within feminist circles: even my students (a group of phenomenally evolved young avant-garde artists) have been having a frustrated time negotiating early feminist attitudes that might seem a bit essentialist now, and the more raucous gender-bendy sexually-permissive queer stance (not in all circles, but many…) of our time.
— i attempted to infiltrate the Montreal dyke club scene for a night and was wildly unsuccessful. while there were many fly women and gender-bending hotties at “Le Drugstore” in the gayborhood officially called “Le Village,” i was surprised (and disappointed!) to notice that no one seemed to be checking anyone else out, giving anyone a knowing, flirty up-and-down, or venturing outside of the little clique they came along with. i thought at first the unfriendliness was normal (however unfortunate) for Montreal lesbos, but then i realized that it might have had to do with the sprawling layout of the place. it wasn’t, i suppose, a space conducive to picking someone up. i would have gladly slept through the first few panel session the following morning if the night had yielded more amusing activities than passing out in a hotel room i was sharing with two strangers at the pathetically early hour of 2am.
that’s pretty much it. no big network-y things happened. i didn’t hand out one business card, and returned home feeling completely depleted.