Out on a dike

Out on a dike phr. [mid 19-C] (US) going out in one's best clothes. [DIKED DOWN] I'm out as a dyke, occasionally out with a dyke. What I do when I'm out on a dike can become your business once I write about it here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Five Things Feminism Has Done For Me

Julie, of Julie R. Enszer fame, has tagged me for this meme. I've never been handed a meme before. Thanks Julie! If it's your first meme it seems obligatory to reveal this. This is my first. That's a piece of history, don't you think? Ok - Julie didn't actually tag me on this very day; it's taken me a couple of days to get round to this post. But seeing as it's One Day in History day, and I'm about to take part in the biggest blog in history a little later on, I may as well attempt to give 17 October 2006 as much historical significance as I can.

So - Five Things Feminism Has Done For Me:

  1. Given me a "home", in that it gave me a place to access and read about lesbians and to realise I could be who I knew I was, even though lesbian reading material didn't seem readily accessible when and where I was growing up. Feminism gave me the "Sexual Politics" shelf in the local public library, full of feminist tomes from the 1960s and 1970s, and some if not all of them had the L-word inside. Feminists had done enough by the mid-1980s that even John Menzies in Hereford sold Spare Rib magazine.

  2. Enabled me to connect with wonderful women and wonderful minds across the globe. In thought and word and deed, my life is richer and stronger.

  3. Encouraged me to be a lover and critiquer of life. Thanks to feminism I am able to question the world and the words I hear, and to recognise when I am being fed bullshit. Feminism has also helped me to recognise when bullshit is being spoken in the name of feminism.

  4. Taught me that my life experiences and my energy can make a difference, that the personal is always political and my voice is worth hearing. I write now, as a feminist, because I had feminist teachers and friends who helped me to believe in myself.

  5. Given me the strength to present myself in the way that feels comfortable for me - for example, the way I dress, the way I wear my hair - irrespective of convention and gendered expectations. Not so as to be deliberately challenging, but if anyone wants to challenge me, at least I know I can face the challenge and come out the other side with my integrity intact.
Without feminism, I wouldn't be Out on a dike.

I would like to invite my Woman-Stirred friend, Merry Gangemi of Quiddities, Lou McGill over at Being and Nothingness, who has always had far more being in her than nothingness, and Eloise who sees into and beyond The Tyranny of Toast and Tea, to continue this meme.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Up Close and Personal

That's better, isn't it! I couldn't take too much more of myself with long hair, so it's about time I wrote something new and knocked the wig off the top spot.

In fact, I need to present my scalp to you, just to prove it's still there.

Well, if you're interested in my musings and how my mind ticks occasionally, here's something else you might want to read. I tell you, celebrating the eleventh anniversary of your relationship (as Andrea and I did on 8th October) really gets you thinking.

Thank goodness we're not the marrying kind, or we might have felt inclined to exchange gifts on a steel theme. Maybe we could do with a new kitchen sink, but it wouldn't have been top of my list. I am a bit disappointed now, however, to discover that I missed out on a pair of roller skates. Damn! If I was more aware of these anniversary metals/alloys, I could have dropped appropriate hints.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Part-time Model

How do you like me with long hair?

Look - clean hands!

I only seem to dress up for charity. We had a Macmillan Coffee Morning at work last Friday and the opportunity to have your photo taken in a range of wigs/hats was part of the deal if prepared to part with some cash.

What a smile!

Don't forget to look out your denims as tomorrow is Jeans for Genes day.

Labels: ,

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Stories of Origins

I just wanted to say that the memory project is continuing, but I've been going a little further back than usual recently as part of a discussion with my Woman-Stirred colleagues. So I'm going to reproduce here what I had to say over there on the origins of a writer.


I don't know what light my early poems and drawings might shed on the woman and poet I am now, but I know I'm very glad that I've kept them. The Woman-Stirred women have been discussing our earlier lives this week, and wondering why we choose to share certain stories and images with each other. Are we simply looking to build connection, and sharing whatever aims to do that best? Or are we deliberately constructing a particular image, a preferred image for all the others to see?

I wanted to be a writer as young as age seven, probably a lot earlier. In fact, my publishing ambitions may have their origins in a lecture Miss Lambert gave my first year infant class when I was still a small four-year old. A lecture? To four year olds? It had that effect on me, certainly. It was a stern and solemn lecture. In other words, a telling off. She told the class that we should all be ashamed of ourselves, for not one of us would be appearing in the school magazine that year.

This was an important lesson. It may have been my first real and personal understanding of injustice. I knew I had worked very hard in my first term, and this news hit me hard. I remember feeling hot and bothered and almost incapable of keeping still as I sat on the floor with legs crossed, struggling to remain silent. Perhaps it was not our efforts but our age that was against us?

In that moment, as Miss Lambert made me feel shame, I was determined never to find myself in this position again, not if I could help it. I never again wanted to have that feeling of underachievement. And that placed a whole new burden on me for the rest of my schooldays. I would work harder and harder, until my work was acknowledged. Except working harder and harder soon became the norm everyone expected from me.

This is a long preamble to a couple of poems I wrote as a seven or eight year old. I don't know what these poems have to tell the world now. Cartoons are good, perhaps. They fire the imagination; just don't watch too many. Be sure to maintain a balance and keep an eye on the natural world also. I don't know. Perhaps these poems say: never underestimate a child.

Tom and Jerry

Tom and Jerry
Were having a tug of war with a berry.
Jerry went ouch,
And Tom went eugh.
It splattered on the floor,
And Tom's bottom became sore.
Tom ran after Jerry,
Jerry hid in a bottle of sherry.
Tom drank the sherry,
And there was Jerry.
Jerry ran across the lawn,
And landed in a prawn.
Tom ate the prawn,
His tail felt like it had been sawn.
He spat Jerry out,
And Jerry looked about.
Tom turned red
And went to bed.


Birds are singing,
Birds are swinging.
They build a nest
Away in the West.
The babys are squeaking and cheaping,
I can hear a bird weeping.
We have got twenty three budgirigars,
In budgirigars there is two r's.

© Nicki Hastie the Younger, 1976/1977

Perhaps I should be grateful to Miss Lambert. Did her words actually fire my desire and passion to write? Just look at those red teacher ticks I was getting for my drawings by age seven!

Labels: ,