Where We Are

In thinking about how to describe where we all are now, I asked Dana and Laura for a word for something that “changes form and then comes back stronger”.

They first suggested compost, but it struck me as slightly too gunky and eaten by worms (though good and important…compost your food waste if you can, y’all!).

I then asked about diversion or maybe something related to water….maybe tributaries?

Looking at the wikipedia page for tributary, I see that distributaries are streams that branch off and flows away from a main stream channel. We have all drifted, some just a bit from where we were; others quite far away.

As I read further I see that in Australia, the term anabranch refers to a distributary that diverts from the main course of the river….but then later rejoins. This is the word I like the most today. It is clunky, but it feels closest to what I think I am hoping for. I wish that even as we are scattered now, we will bring everything we learn and see back from our diverted, composting path back to enrich our work and fun times together.

Here are some of the things we have picked up along our winding (diverting? composting?) tributary/distributary paths:

How ‘Tikim’ Shaped Filipino Food Writing—and How It Was Resurrected (article) This is a long read about a highly-celebrated but collosally hard to find essay collection about Filipino cuisine. I was riveted from start to finish and desperately want this book now.

Yes We Cannibal (group) – new friends in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

The Mushroom At The End of the World (book) by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing
This book was so deliciously good that it inspired us to make some major changes to a project we’d been working on. More details coming in the new year!

Breath, The New Science of a Lost Art (book) by James Nestor
By understanding the miraculous and underdiscussed functions of the nose, you can improve your health, or in some cases, heal yourself with your own body. Empowering and timely, as we think about keeping our respiratory systems healthy during Covid. The nose can trigger different hormones to flood into our bodies, can lower our blood pressure and even help store memories. Long story short: Breathe through your nose. It’s much better for you.

Care Work, Dreaming Disability Justice (book) by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
I learned about Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha through a plenary at the 2020 Allied Media Conference. As a mother, woman, friend, lover, steward of the earth care work is at the core of what I do, so something with a title as literal as Care Work piqued my interest. This book dives deep, critically thinking about what care is exactly. What does care require of us? Care is slow. Care is witnessing others lives and not fixing or changing anything. Mutual aid is great, but let’s not romanticize it. In studying the disability justice movement, there are lessons and tools to be harvested by anyone looking to build radical and resilient communities.

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