Here are some other things that happened at Nolose
I got a big blast of fierce fat beauty and drank deeply from what Lilli Lewis
called the well – all of that hot, hard work – writing, thinking, talking, organizing, singing, hustling, sewing, crying, tap-dancing – that so many people have been doing was right there for the taking. And, I did, I took plenty.
As I was talking about in comments with beatgoddess
a few posts back, many who read my lj gave me a lot of precise, tender-hearted, utterly convincing and much appreciated praise about my physical self and what I wearing. I do know my beauty (even if I doubt my quotient of coolness -- an essay in itself someday), but a fat woman can never have too much of that. fattest
said, "You look stunning this morning," at breakfast. Breakfast! lovelikeyeast
tucked a twenty in my neckline when she bought my book – hey, a five dollar tip! Then I immediately got two more!! There was so much sweetness about shyness of all kinds, so many chances there for the taking for anyone who wanted to stretch a little. And it looked to me as if folks who knew each other through lj were particularly willing and able to have conversations and make connections across lines of age, gender, life experience, sexual proclivities and personal style. fattest
has long been one of my models on how to do that.
Tensions that arose around some of those differences reminded me about how much fat people need each other, and how much work some folks (like the Nolose board) have been doing right at those points of tension to build contact and offer their gifts as widely and respectfully as possible, with emotional presence and openness, mind and balance. I think of beccawrites
in that, because I've seen her the most in action (and because I've developed such deep affection for her watching her live, work, play, think and feel -- she's amazing) but know that others have been working enormously hard from their vantage points, too.
I very much loved spending time with old friends and others I didn't know, loved seeing the faces of those I didn't get a chance to really talk with. The amazing Mo and Susan brought me a big red umbrella that they won at the Nolose raffle two years ago, all the way from California, and a great pair of stretchy little pants. I especially appreciated the transfolks bringing their radiance and perspectives. And being around fat people who talk openly about their pleasures and struggles always reminds me of the stunning work of early fat liberation activists like the Fat Underground
(that's a link to the fat liberation archives on Largesse
), and the gifts that radical lesbians gave me in the early eighties when I was trying for the first time to find my own core strength. Nomy Lamm
gave a thrilling keynote speech that took on a lot a taboo subjects in a smart, refreshing way. Then she whipped up her accordion and did a room rocking rendition of "Fat-Bottomed Girls" (yep, the old Queen song), followed by a totally amazing and world spinning rock star version of "Free Bird." (You know the one – "and the birds they can not chaa aa aaa aaa ange.") She and others are organizing Phat Camp
for teenage girls – check it out.
Taboos were being broken all over the places. beccawrites
facilitated a very well-attended discussion of ableism in the fat community that respectfully, productively went places I'd felt that some fat activists – but not all -- had been avoiding for years. And it can and will go further -- some of ericaceous
's good questions about strategies and next steps will start to get answered, for instance -- but it made an opening for the conversation to be more deep and broad I think.
I was so happy dancing on the dance floor and to Creamy Goodness, and also in the pool.
Folks from Toronto -- Pretty Porky N Pissed Off
(that's a link to a great article about them by charlottecooper
) and KingSize Kings
-- did some amazing drag, culminating in a tap dance in skin tight, white outfits with bands of shiny stuff to -- as I learned only after I came home (because what do I know about pop culture? just what I learn on ABC, the only TV channel I get) – an Eminem song. I didn't have to get the irony, because the whole thing was already so amazing and entertaining.
I read as part of the closing panel, which was an honor and a gift. It was a combination of writers of very different styles. Being given that time with all of those gorgeous, radical, proud and getting-there fat queers in front of me, a chance to offer my work in such company – nothing in the world beats that.
Plus, I'm now a Chubster
. Chub chub chub chub…