The No Nostalgia Zone?
I’m in my office answering my mail, the same way I have for over twenty years. I get less mail now than I did in the 90’s, but much of it is the same. Feminists send me their art, some I like, some I don’t but I’m so glad to feel included either way. I am pretty fucking lucky that I get these constant reminders that my work has mattered, in moments, to girls in Kansas and boys in Wisconsin. Beyond looking back type articles. Beyond having my lunchbox in a traveling exhibit of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. My work has meant something to certain people in certain moments and they often take the time to tell me that and for that I am eternally grateful.
Some of the letters are upsetting because they remind me that women and girls are still being raped, harrassed,and chronically belittled. Kids are still afraid to tell their friends and family that they’re gay. Lesbian teens are still being told that “it’s just a phase they’ll grow out of” and that they’re “just pretending to be gay because it’s cool.” It makes me nuts knowing it’s been twenty years of this same thing. I’ve been privy to so many private revelations, from 20 somethings and teenagers in trouble, or ones who just want me to read their zines.And some who fucking care so much about what me and my friends did, oh so long ago, that they still want to be a part of it, or feel like they can talk to me, immediately like a friend.
Answering my mail today has put the modicum of renewed interest in all things RG into perspective for me. It’s about connection. It’s about the moment when you realize that you maybe the only person who gets that something is wrong in your classroom but you aren’t the only person in the world who gets it. I didn’t realize that till I was 19 and today I got a letter from a girl who figured it out when she was 12. And if the press stuff leads people towards these connections then I’m happy as hell.
Much love to all the people who have taken the time to write me over the past twenty years. You have gotten me through my bad times and given me the strength in to keep trying.