Archive for November, 2005

How to Leave a Place

Sunday, November 27th, 2005

How to Leave a Place: 26 Short memoirs by Portland Writers is out now– featuring new writing by Ann Rogers-Williams, Linda Fielder, Geraldo Valerio, Ariel Gore, Helena Carlson, Adrian Shirk, Rachael Duke, Amanda Risser, Maria Fabulosa, Krystee Sidwell, Kelli Grinich, Mira Shah, Lainie Keslin Ettinger, Amy Lee, Margaret McConnell, Fontaine Roberson, Jessica Byers, Mary Jane kelly, Linda Hefferman, Lori Maliszewski, Rachel Indigo Cerise Baum, Hope C. Hitchcock, Emily A. Phillips, Jean Braden, Lani Jo Leigh, and Frances Kiva.

It’s a collaborative project by my memoir workshop students & it’s super-cool.

From the intro:

WE ARE A COMMUNITY of writers who gather at The Attic on Hawthorne Boulevard in Portland, Oregon. We are doctors, waitresses, housewives, and punks. We grew up in San Francisco, Dublin, Quito. We’re third generation Northwesterners, or we’ve only just arrived. We complain about the rain, but we don’t seem to mind it that much. We drink a lot of coffee and beer. We make zines, collages, music, sugar cookies. We’ve been telling stories, in one way or another, for as long as we can remember. Collectively, we are brilliant. We follow the sentence to the end, always wondering what will come next. We write, rewrite, edit, and occasionally just start over. We bank on chance, and skate on by. We drink wine to gain courage; smoke with satisfaction when the story’s been read. We are a community of writers who gather at the Attic on Hawthorne Boulevard in Portland, Oregon…

5 reason I love my family of origin. . .

Saturday, November 26th, 2005

Because they get on your career-case about why you are not moving to Haiti to open a free clinic.

Because instead of sending a “happy holidays” card they send long transcripts of bizarre nightmares that include horrors like waking up in a tract house in Pasadena that smells of old lady perfume.

Because my 87-year-old grandma always has a perfect pedicure and a cute boyfriend.

Because my mother, knowing there are an awful lot of Republicans sitting around the table, insists on playing “Kill the Infidels” at Thanksgiving dinner.

Because they praise me and think I’m really smart when I know what day it is.

Rad Dad!

Tuesday, November 8th, 2005

Reason to celebrate: Issue #2 of the best new zine of 2005 is coming out this week!

A friend brought me a copy of issue #1 of Rad Dad a few months ago & I’ve been meaning to spread the word. THIS ZINE ROCKS. It’s the radical, anarchist, feminist zine by and for rad fathers we’ve been waiting for. Today I finally got ’round to emailing Tomas, the Rad Dad himself, and he wrote back with the good news! Issue #2 coming your way!

And he’s looking for submissions for #3!

tom_moniz (at)
1636 Fairview St.
Berkeley, CA

Here’s Papifesto – an introduction to rad dad #1

This is long overdue, and I fight the urge to just not do it at all. Sometimes I feel that maybe the new fathers should be the one to start this. Or that I, having been a father now for fourteen years starting when I was twenty-one, am too old, too complacent. Well, perhaps this will get me off my ass. I’m thirty-five, a father of three and ready to get this party started. Here’s one of my stories: as a young father I realized very quickly how isolated I felt on the playgrounds of San Francisco, how little community there was for us. Now playgrounds have long been revolutionary breeding grounds for women and other caregivers, to sit and talk, to bond, to laugh, to find support, to pass on information and education; I can’t tell you how many times I have found peace of mind hearing someone tell me that what my daughter has was just like what hers had and that if I do this or that things would be ok. Sometimes empathy is the most revolutionary thing. But I was a guy, and I was welcomed and am grateful for that, but I still felt on the outside, not really part of that oh so tight inner circle. Damn my cock! Although I know cocks don’t always make men and men don’t always have cocks, but that’s an essay for another time.

Where were the men; there weren’t that many that seemed to hang around playgrounds, but by looking around at all the kids there certainly were a
lot of men doing a little somethin, somethin . . . but again — where were they?

It was around this time that someone, again on the playground, showed me a copy of Hip Mama. Wow! Immediately, I wanted one for dads. Now the problem with me is that I tend to think that others will do it better than me, that if I’ve thought of it then at least twenty others have probably done it already. So I did nothing, but waited for it to fall in my lap.

It never did, and I went on to father two more children with a wonderful partner, to begin a teaching career, to discover anarchist theory that helped me challenge myself and my politics and values, to reconnect with chicanismo and with my own father locked up in la pinta for most of my teenaged years; I struggled to incorporate feminism, environmentalism, and activism into my life and my parenting, to explore unskooling and discipline, to watch as other men became fathers. At some point, I finally picked up the pen to take my writing more seriously, to trust my voice and my experiences, to write for myself in other zines and journals. But during all that time, I never ever discovered that magazine for dads. Until now.

But this project seems daunting. I fear people will think I’m being narcissistic: like who does he think he is callin himself a rad dad; I also worry that there is too much to say, too may important issues about race, about class, about patriarchy to address and that this can only be a failure, so why say anything at all. And well all of this might be true. But fuck it; here it is, read it to your kids (I did), your friends, give it to the men in your life as well as the women; forget gender and just give it to everybody. I give you rad dad as a proto-type hoping that it will lead to that community I still long to be a part of, those circles where us fathers can chew on parenting that isn’t based in sexist, out
dated gender biases, and yet that can be honest and open though about those same pressures and images we face daily. I hope this continues with me and other fathers. Because I know there are so many fuckin cool dads trying to parent in these dangerous times in loving, meaningful, authentic, and ultimately revolutionary ways. This is for you.