[Image description: two snails, one with a striped shell, meeting with their antennae almost touching.]

Recently I’ve been blessed with some really good conversations. Maybe it’s summer, maybe it’s being on tour and being exposed to such different kinds of people, pushing my own envelope and meeting new ideas, but I feel like every day is an adventure and every hour I’m learning something new. I’ve met more people since publishing my novel than I think I met in the ten years before that and in all this meeting and connecting, a deep lesson I keep relearning is how to really see a person in front of me.

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Not a Princess

Each year I realise that I’m less and less tolerant of a certain scene of people who talk a great deal about solidarity and struggle, but who – while simultaneously burning themselves out for the great flag or the revolution or some other abstract concept – consistently fail to show up for the oppressed folks standing right next to them in their shadow. It’s not very interesting apparently to do actual work for actual people. What’s the point when there’s less credit to be earned, less fame to be gained and less guilt to be assuaged? Particularly if your identity is based on that performance and credit and guilt. And even more so if you’ve also been benefiting from our exploitation.

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Words Words Words

Gay or queer? Prostitute or sex worker? Transgender or trans?

Language teachers know this: first we build the concept, then we teach the word. Show the students a carrot then teach them to say ‘carrot’. Mime stretching then teach the word ‘stretch’. But what if language works the other way too? What if the words we use limit and define the way we think and behave? What if our vocabulary changes the way our brain works – and sometimes it’s the word that comes first and not the concept? Continue reading