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[personal profile] homosocial
From that ask me anything and I'll blog about it thing:
"What is the most transforming book you've read, when did you read it and why was it transforming?"

Ooh. That's a hard question, for several reasons. First of all, I have a hard time as seeing myself as ever having transformed. I have changed a lot since my youth (in oh so many ways) but I think of it as happening slowly, over long periods of time. In other words, it's my earth sign identity shining through. Secondly, I have a hard time immediately distinguishing between "meaningful" and "transformative" when it comes to books. My first though was Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, but after contemplating that answer I realized that the book didn't transform me so much as soothe and comfort and answer some part of me on a very deep level. It has meant a lot to me.

My second answer falls into a different category--it probably wasn't transformative, but was definitely INformative, as far as my interests and personality go. That book is "Panda Bear's Paintbox," which I read so much as a child that the front and back covers finally fell off and the last page of the book had to be held on with tape. My parents and I replaced it a few years ago--it is out of print, but we found it on ebay. In the book, a little panda bear decides to paint a picture and slowly but surely goes through each color in his little paintbox, learning that red + yellow = orange and so on, until his picture is done. In the end, he gets in the bath and watches all the color swirl down the drain. This book, when combined with my undying love for my artistically inclined Grandmother, was what made 5 year old me want to be an artist. Informative, yes. Transformative? Arguable. But I think not.

So. My answer. I am going to go with Mary Daly. Quintessence. Without that book, I'd never have stumbled into radical feminism or, oddly enough, into queerness. And clearly my ideas about queerness and sexuality and women are not necessarily what Mary Daly wanted when she wrote any of her books. But her fire completely galvanized me. Her language excited me. When I finished that book, my first thoughts were that a different world is possible, and that world can hold My People. Now, "My People" as a concept--potentially problematic, especially when you're coming at it from Daly's view. But in practice, each of us can have our people, our ideal world. I think Quintessence clicked on a part of me that has had me thinking about the possibilities for success and failure and, simply, difference in my academic life as well as my personal world.

I do feel like I just need to say (after stating that Mary Daly transformed me) that I am really clear on the shortcomings of her work. And also if anyone wants to borrow that book so that they can understand the ways that she doesn't fall short, I will loan you my (signed. i am ridiculous.) copy.

What a fun question.

Date: 2008-03-15 08:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tgstonebutch.livejournal.com
ok, I know you are not acquiring more items, but I may have a copy of Panda Bear's Paintbox that I was planning to donate somewhere. Do you want it if I can locate it?

Date: 2008-03-15 04:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gypsyecks.livejournal.com
I want it! If you can find it.

yay :)

m

Date: 2008-03-17 07:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] product-junkie.livejournal.com
“Today the Frankenstein phenomenon is omnipresent not only in religious myth, but in its offspring, phallocratic technology. The insane desire for power, the madness of boundary violation, is the mark of necrophiliacs who sense the lack of soul/spirit/life-loving principle with themselves and therefore try to invade and kill off all spirit, substituting conglomerates of corpses. This necrophillic invasion/elimination takes a variety of forms. Transsexualism is an example of male surgical siring which invades the female world with substitutes...

In transsexualism, males put on 'female' bodies (which are in fact pseudofemale). In a real sense they are separated from their original mothers by the rituals of the counseling process, which usually result in 'discovering' that the mother of the transsexual-to-be is at fault for his 'gender identity crisis.' These 'patients' are reborn from males... The rebirthing male supermothers include psychiatrists, surgeons, hormone therapists, and other cooperating professionals. The surgeons and hormone therapists of the transsexual kingdom, in their effort to give birth, can be said to produce feminine persons. They cannot produce women."

Date: 2008-03-18 12:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gypsyecks.livejournal.com
is that from gyn/ecology? or quintessence?

she and janice raymond win for worst trans politics in a feminist book for every year they publish, and some years that they don't.

seriously.

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