So everyone can get to know our contributors a bit better, we’ve decided to run a series called “Meet a Contributor”. Each Contributor will be interviewed by the others in turn.
[Description: Black-and-white, low-angle photograph of a smiling white woman with shoulder-length, light brown hair. She wears a tank top with a long-sleeved print shirt over it, and a necklace that depicts Kali. Her arms are crossed.]
Greetings, FWD readers and commenters! I am Annaham; I am a feminist in my 20s with several disabilities, most notably fibromyalgia (it seems to be the one I write the most about, anyway). I have a BA in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of California, Davis; currently, I am getting my Masters’ in the same discipline at another fairly large public university in California. My focus is feminist disability theory, and I have a particular interest in disability narratives — particularly autobiography and representations/narratives in nontraditional formats — and how they intersect with feminist theory, as well as gender, race, class and sexuality. My other interests, academic and not, include cults and New Religious Movements, the body, visual art, cinema, popular music and performance art. In my spare time, I like to listen to music, read entirely too much, draw cartoons, occasionally blog, and watch ridiculous reality television.
Meloukhia: You are frequently in San Francisco! Where is your favourite place to eat there, and why? (Further to that: Do you have a favourite overall vs, say, a favourite cheap eatery, favourite fancypants restaurant, etc.?) Since I am both a vegetarian and pretty frugal, I highly recommend Ananda Fuara, a vegetarian and vegan eatery which is near the Civic Center in the city. I don’t go there for the ambiance, of course, but the food is incredible and many of their menu items are under $10. The waitstaff will also go out of their way to check ingredients if you, like me, have severe food allergy concerns. As far as fancier places go, I quite enjoy E & O Trading Company for a full meal, and Cako Bakery for the greatest cupcakes in Northern California.
Lauredhel: Annaham, you like shiny things. Would you dress head to toe in sequins, or glitter? Please show your work. Glitter would probably flake everywhere and make a huge mess, so I’m going to have to go with sequins. Were this sequined Rodarte for Target dress offered in full-length form, I would absolutely rock it (although I might have to get one if I can find it anywhere, just on principle, because it’s SEQUINED and features a ribcage).
Chally: What’s your favourite quote or saying? This changes frequently, but right now, my favorite quote is from extremely hippie-ish author SARK: “You are enough. You have enough. You do enough.” This statement is something of which I need to remind myself regularly–even if it is rather simplistic and definitely does not apply to everything (or everyone!) at all times.
Anna: If you had to go far far away from civilization and the internets for a hundred years, what five books would you bring with you, and why? Afterwards you get to come back and find out what you missed! Holy hell on toast, what a difficult choice! I have a huge list of books that I would consider “favorites,” so I’m just going to pick five from the list: Outlaw Culture by bell hooks (because reading it makes me happy to be alive, quite frankly); Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault (mostly so I could read it again and again…and again until I could understand all or most of it) ; Verses by Ani DiFranco (this collection of some of her lyrics is nothing short of exhilarating–and beautifully designed); Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (I know, it’s such a hipster/NPR liberal-cliche book to pick, but the guy really has major talent); and, finally, The Rejected Body by Susan Wendell (I cannot recommend this book highly enough — it helped me tremendously in claiming a disbled identity, and is kind of like philosophy, feminist theory and a disability manifesto all wrapped into one, with amazing results).
Thank Cthulhu that I’d get to come back from this hypothetical deserted island, because I have a feeling that after a while, I would get so bored and/or lonely that I’d start acting out meticulously-planned, one-woman versions of each episode of Lost to stave off said boredom and loneliness.
Amandaw: I want to hear more about Winston. How old is he? How did you get him? What is his favorite treat? What sort of silly doggy things does he do? Winston is 10, though he looks (and acts) like a puppy and is quite regularly mistaken for one. He was originally my family’s dog (along with our other Yorkie, Frank, who died in 2007), but after I moved into a place that allowed pets, he pretty much became my responsibility (not that I mind)! He loves cheddar cheese most of all, but will eat almost whatever you put in front of him, so long as it’s people-food. He also does many silly doggy things, but my personal favorites have to be his extremely loud snoring, and his propensity to squeeze himself next to my butt or under my feet as I sleep, or climb onto my shoulder and perch there while I’m sitting on the couch. Many of these things can be annoying if they don’t come at the right time, but I can’t stay mad at this face for long:
[Description: The photograph is of a small, large-eared Yorkshire Terrier’s face and upper body in front of a couch; the dog has the traditional Yorkie coloration of varying shades of blond and light silver/grey.]
Kaninchenzero: What-all are you studying and what about it interests you? As I mentioned in my introduction, I am currently pursuing my MA in Women’s and Gender Studies, with a focus on feminist disability theory. There are many, many things about the topic and the field at large that interest me, but most of all, I am interested in it because it has helped me make sense of a lot of things about my life, and I believe — like bell hooks — that social justice and theory, if made accessible and relevant to a wide variety of people, can be life-changing.
OuyangDan: You may answer in poem, prose, photo, interpretive dance or any other medium that you feel appropros: How did you get into cartooning? Is it a creative outlet for you? Just something you goofed around with one day and enjoyed? Hilariously enough, I was going to draw a cartoon in order to answer this question, but since I’ve already got multiple images in this post, I ultimately decided against it. It is a creative outlet for me; mostly, I use it to gather my thoughts and represent my everyday experiences in what is hopefully a funny and/or interesting manner. I’ve been cartooning on-and-off since around age 10, and it’s been an excellent medium to stick with, since one may not have to practice it every single day in order to say what one wants to say (unlike, say, life drawing, which is a type of drawing that I have always been spectacularly terrible at doing). This is not to say that I am against self-improvement or self-discipline when it comes to art — quite the opposite! — but since I have chronic pain that tends to flare up, it is nice to have a creative pursuit that is somewhat “forgiving” in terms of how much time and energy I can put into it without exhausting myself. Sometimes, I wish I could devote more time to drawing “realistically,” but life happens, and I already have so much that I want to put into my cartoons that I would never get any done, were I to devote untold hours to learning to draw “well” or “realistically.”