2017 Fall Reading List

I’m literally sitting writing this reading list in a Hugo Boss jacket that’s a bit too large for my small feminine frame. I found it barely worn in freshly dry cleaned in a “giveaway” box in my neighborhood. Everyone in the neighborhood leaves books, clothes and appliances out to share and trade. Some neighbors are a bit more well off than others. It’s not uncommon to find a wealthy student’s small collection of hand-me-downs that are clean, expensive and barely a year old. I almost like men’s jackets more than I like books, but as the season begins to change, and Fall makes chills the air crisp and chill, I can enjoy both at the same time. No need to choose.

These books are a combination of favorites, like my friend China Martens epic zine anthology, Future Generation and the enthralling Womanist literary effort, Hope is in the Holler: A Womanist Theory and a collection of books I’ve compiled while preparing for my feminist lectures and writing workshops like “Masculinity Studies & Feminist Theory: New Directions.” I rummage through libraries and independent books stores like Red Emma’s Books to find just what I need for my never ending literary pursuits.

The fall season is perfect for learning new things and growing our minds and perspectives, especially since school is now in session.

Future Generation: The Zine-Book for Subculture Parents, Kids, Friends & Others
By China Martens

One Dimensional Woman
By Nina Power

Role Models
By John Waters

Listen Up: Voices From the Next Generation
By: Barbara Findlen

The Concept and Measurement of Violence Against Women and Men
By: Sylvia Walby, Jude Towers, Susan Balderston, Brian Francis

Eros and Ethics: Reading Jacques Lacan’s Seminar VII
By: Marc De Kesel

A Brighter Coming Day: A Frances Ellen Watkins Reader
Edited By: Frances Smith Foster

Listen Little Man
By: Wilhelm Reich

New Black Man
By: Mark Anthony Neal

Masculinity Studies & Feminist Theory: New Directions
By: Judith Kegan Gardiner

Sex, Drag, and Male Roles: Investigating Gender as Performance
By: Diane Torr and Stephen J. Bottoms

Hope in the Holler: A Womanist Theology
By: A. Elaine Brown Crawford

The Violence of Care: Rape Victims, Forensic Nurses, and Sexual Assault Intervention
By: Sameena Mulla

Sister Outsider
By: Audre Lorde

On the Pill: A Social History of Oral Contraceptives, 1950-1970
By Elizabeth Siegel Watkins

High Lonesome: New & Selected Stories, 1966–2006
By Joyce Carol Oates

Shotgun Seamstress Zine Collection: Six Zine by and for Black Punks
By: Osa Atoe

Freedom Challenge: African American Homeschoolers
By: Grace Llewellyn

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Braving the Days: Stand Back

The question is: is there a separation between life and the liver? Lately, life has been happening to me. Every day has brought an acute opportunity for me to take a path of action or caution. Caution would allow me to withdraw from opportunities to interact with invitations, opportunities to travel and moments to bond and break bread. I have the choice to write or to sleep. I have the choice to touch or to sit alone, I have the choice to relate with my family or to never call.

Specifically, in the arts there are two phases of one’s career:

The season where you pursue and the season where you are pursued.

These seasons after the first inception become interchangeable. Many times a new or emerging artists much must pursue opportunities to create their art before they are offered opportunities to create, simply because the initial pursuit affords an artist the ability to be seen, thus attracting the result unsolicited offers.

Maybe I am in a phase where I have chosen a formidable aloofness out of a fierce attempt to maintain privacy in a culture and governmental structure that find public behavior and interaction to be a new, usable and profitable way of interacting.

This is all okay. I don’t mind receiving opportunities. In fact, I quite appreciate them, but there is this light amount of flailing I experience. A quiet flailing. A flailing I find to be natural as a human being who took much of her life to pursue and now finds it appropriate to stand back.

If I do not stand back, and take stock of my position in the balance of the experience of “pursuing or being pursued,” I can never truly understand who I am as an artist. One who drives forward without reflection will not likely find themselves in a position to be pursued.

____________________________________

It’s been 12 days and I am returning to this piece to complete it.
I feel the same way I did two weeks ago.

There have been times when I’d take a break and return to my writing for the column and I’d feel differently. Today, I just feel like moving steadily and privately, and maybe I’ll live my life that way, forever.

 

 

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DARK MATTERS: DECAY

I like to think of my worries as such:

A decaying tree that lays in the entrance of a walking path

Where it vanishes at the edge and stings like a thorn bush stab

From the Sycamore that rests here on the brim

Between the feminine Ted Bundy and the reincarnated Hitler

If it weren’t that fucked up now…

Wait…

See…

Where the wars of Evil vs. Evil

Drop into its own pits of Tyranny

cut eyes

Mixed Media by MMM

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Braving the Days: It is of No Consequence

je

I’m sitting in Boston, holding my palms to my chest.

I pitched this column to be of the existential persuasion, which brings a slight bit of pressure for me to insinuate something deep – every month.

I tried to write this piece a couple of weeks ago, referring back to the debut essay, “Braving the days: using a few words devoid of superfluity” to pick up where I left off. Unfortunately, I realized that I cannot deliver what I promised: to follow up that essay by writing on the topic of “Giving people a loophole to demoralize you.”  I realized I didn’t want to write about that anymore because I am in an significantly better state of mind then I was in December.

I had gone through a heavy bought of holiday depression. I always go through holiday depression, but last year’s experience was different. It felt forced upon me as I have grown old enough to not internalize my sadness, but to let it go, allowing it to run its course. 2016’s holiday depression took a couple of months to run its course, moving in on me from when I returned home from an extensive tour in early November right on up until New Year’s Day. I felt helpless with this depression because I couldn’t shake it with my optimistic powers. Coupled with me dawning on my 30th year of life, I went through a “What is it all about??” phase for a little while, questioning the path I had taken in life, wondering if taking on a public career was the right decision as I was craving privacy, a quiet cabin in Aspen and the warm breath of a horse’s moist nose touching mine, breathing with me, giving me love and energy of its quiet wisdom and ancient responsibility.

I didn’t want to be Jordannah Elizabeth anymore. I had fantasies of moving to another city and changing my name and never mentioning my books, articles, travels, modeling photo shoots, Rolodex of successful musicians, publicists and artists. I fantasized about being a school teacher – and even more so, I wondered if I would be able to make friends easier and I wondered if people would treat me differently, knowing I had nothing to offer but just some simple company. I wanted people to love me for me. And it was a very scary feeling because I felt my actual life was very so far from that reality.

People say I’m “down to earth,” but where am I supposed to go? And with the power I do wield, I don’t feel it is an excuse to for me to be in any way rude or abusive to people. Being rude or abusive comes from deeper issues, not a fancy job.

On top of all that, my tour had battered my body and I came home with high blood pressure and a couple of other issues. So, the whole mortality thing was going on too, oy.

Nonetheless, I had worked through all that once New Year’s came, the weight naturally lifted off of me and I had changed my diet to essentially nothing but avocados, granola, oatmeal and almond milk for two months, so once my second’s doctor’s appointment came around, I was healthy again….

So, my deadline for this essay was January 15th and I wasn’t angry anymore. Suffice to say, I had to think about what I wanted to write about…now my deadline is 17 days late and all I have to say is that:

I went through all of that and I sit here writing, essentially the same as I was last fall. I don’t even know what all that stress and anger was for – except for my anger with Kanye West. That has waned a bit as well, and morphed into more of an understanding and even validation.

I was able to foresee his entire episode play out, right up to him taking photos with Donald Trump, sending prophetic revelations of idiocy to my editors. None of them actually wanted to admit Kanye has become a right-wing poster boy and that he is the epitome of male privilege, so maybe I’ll write my thoughts on that next month. Maybe I won’t, because next month, I’ll probably be the same person… going through some existential issue only to realize it was a waste of evaluation because we don’t change.

Our core, our purpose, our relationship with God.

It is of no consequence.

Jordannah Elizabeth is an writer, musician and educator. She’s the author of Don’t Lose Track Vol. 1: 40 Articles, Essays and Q&As.

 

 

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