Let joy be unconfined. Be still my beating heart. Two famous published lesbians from far parts are coming to a venue ten minutes walk from our place in Paekakariki. My partner, Prue Hyman, has bought our tickets.
Terry Castle and Alison Bechdel are coming to Wellington for Writers’ Week, part of the International Festival of the Arts in February/March 2014. To whoever thought to schedule them a session in our village 40 minutes up the coast, thank you. Thank you.
Terry Castle is an academic literary critic, whose most recent book, The Professor, is a collection of memoir-type essays. The longest piece, which gives the book its name, is about a relationship she had as a post-graduate student with a professor. I’ll say more about this book early next year, as it’s the choice for our book group which will meet at the end of December, and we don’t talk in public, as it were, about the chosen book before the meeting.
Alison Bechdel is famous among lesbians for her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, that ran in the feminist magazine Off Our Backs (oob) from Washington, USA, for many years and later in a collection of ten or more books. More recently, she has become widely known for her memoirs in graphic form, Fun Home: A family tragicomic and Who Is My Mother? concerning her relationship with her father and her mother respectively. There’s a five minute clip on youtube showing how she draws a page in one of her books. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cumLU3UpcGY Wow!
Through the nineteen eighties, when I was working at Broadsheet, we would pounce on each copy of oob as it arrived and pass it around at the Dykes to Watch Out For page. Then we’d get down to reading the excellent political articles in the issue. The comic strip was fun and poignant and reflected a certain kind of lesbian feminist culture back to us. There wasn’t a lot else around at the time that had us laughing and arguing with and recognising ourselves the way Dykes to Watch Out For did.
Alison Bechdel and Terry Castle in Paekakariki will be An Event. I will, no doubt, write about it.