April 13th, 2008 | Oddments, Travels and Appearances
I’m sorry I haven’t followed up on the Daily Distress project. I haven’t heard anything from the Houghton Mifflin marketing department since I turned all the material over to them. I’ll try and get an update this week. I think they might have the piece all done–but I’ll let you know as soon as I hear anything.
I just got back from a visit to Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, where I did a presentation about my memoir Fun Home and hung out with graduate students and got a tour of the Human Sexuality Archive at the library.
This archive is apparently even more extensive than the Tretter Collection I saw at the University of Minnesota last month. It houses the papers of Firebrand Books, my first publisher. So the archivist dug out some crates of those and I got to see old typewritten letters I’d written to Nancy Bereano, the founder of Firebrand, in the ‘eighties.
But the most amazing thing I saw there was this.
It’s a page from a lesbian photo album from the 1930’s. It starts out with these rather demure shots.
Then on page three, there’s this.
Isn’t that the hottest thing you ever saw? I don’t know why I find this so stunning. The thought of anyone–lesbians in particular, but anyone really–having sex in the past is so strangely shocking. And in this case, hot. In case I haven’t mentioned it.
Oh, Firebrand Books used to be located in Ithaca, where Nancy Bereano lives. Here she is, with the aureole of white hair, next to her partner Elisabeth Nonas, at my presentation last Thursday. It was really nice to see her again–she discovered me and published my first book when I was a punk kid, so I feel a very deep connection with her. She also urged me to write a graphic novel long before the current craze, and that was the beginning of Fun Home.
Another cool thing I did at Cornell was to go birdwatching at the famous Lab of Ornithology. Susan Barnett, a blog reader, and her husband Greg took me and my girlfriend Holly on a walk through Sapsucker Woods. I forgot to take my camera. But here’s a photo Holly took earlier of a cedar waxwing on campus, getting drunk on some fermented berries.
And here, to get a tad meta, is me taking a picture of the cedar waxwing to send to my friend Phranc who had just called me on the phone.
And here’s a picture I took of Holly taking a picture of the Ithaca Farmer’s Market. We went there on Saturday. It was the most vital, throbbing farmer’s market I’ve ever seen, and it’s only April.
Okay, and the last thing is, here’s a video of me talking about Fun Home when I was at Rutgers last month. The Writers House videographer put together an extraordinarily coherent 5 minute piece from probably two hours of footage of me yammering on and on.
Here’s a link to Holly’s post about the same trip to Ithaca. We didn’t look at each other’s posts first, and ended up using some of the same photos.