Current Obsession: #HRDCVR and #passionatlas

I recently ordered HRDCVR, a hard bound magazine created by journalists Danyel Smith and her husband and partner Elliott Wilson. I have yet to make my way through the entire magazine, but it is one-of-a-kind, indeed. HRDCVR reminds me of what journalism can and ought to be. All of the edges, contours, and weight of human experience cannot be encapsulated in an object, publication, or thing. Yet it is possible to create something that touches upon seemingly disparate interactions and observations and ties them together to show how similar and different we are to one another. Not a simple task, but HRDCVR certainly rises to the occasion. This publication forced me to think about my writing and creative practices. Last year was great, despite the circuitous and unnerving path of emotions and feelings around my professional, academic, and personal work. So, receiving HRDCVR was refreshing and motivating.

My only criticism is that it is only published once (limited edition). But this is also a larger critique and systemic issue within the ecosystem(s) of mainstream versus alternative, niche media. I love print, but it is SO DAMN difficult to pull something off like this. Having worked on print publications (from academic to general interest), it is not easy. You put your heart, soul, and many sleepless nights just to get things right and you never know how it’s going to reach people or if people will even care. But I’m ecstatic that Smith and Wilson created this gift for everyone (really, everyone / #newevery1) and put a wonderful and talented team of people to create this publication. It inspires me to act and continue doing what I do.

What follows are a few shots of Issue No. 1089 of 2000, which I will certainly value for years (and not sell on eBay) and my answers to their #passionatlas prompts. Enjoy!

hrdcities
Photo of HRDCVR (Issue No. 1089 of 2000) by author
ovarian
Photo of HRDCVR (Issue No. 1089 of 2000) by author
hrdcvr
Photo of HRDCVR (Issue No. 1089 of 2000) by author

My answers to the HRDCVR #passionatlas prompts:

I don’t regret: being with any of my exes and lovers. Intimacy takes practice. It doesn’t come easily to anyone and we aren’t born knowing what intimacy is or can be. It is an abstract idea. The dictionary definition of intimacy is, “a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group.” But this is something we learn to do over time by being vulnerable, making mistakes, being hurt, and hurting another. Intimacy isn’t just about sex. It’s about a closeness with another human being. Despite the slow demise or sudden break of intimacy, I (still) don’t regret being with my exes and lovers. Even if I don’t have the fondest memories of (some of the) people I’ve been with, those individuals have brought experience, knowledge, and light to steer me in the right direction.

Now, I want: to be better at shushing the harsh and, sometimes, abusive, inner critic. I am ready to be the person I’m meant to be. I’ve had a few decades to practice and timing is different for everyone. It’s hard to flip losses and failure into something positive, but I’ve learned over the years that “failure is feedback.” Even the most seemingly confident person has a hard time loving themselves from time to time.

I will die for: my mother and if I had a child or children…I would die for them too. I’m certain.

If I weren’t doing [this job/thing/gig/life choice], I would be: If I weren’t doing clinical research; I would be writing, editing, teaching, and curating (full time).

Why are you still alive? Through a figurative lens, my parents are the reason why I’m still alive. Everything I learned from them were modes of survival throughout the different stages and aspects of my life. In a literal reading of the question, I am still alive because of the fast thinking doctor and staff (in 2010) that hooked me up to a ventilator and kept me alive when my respiratory system shut down during surgery. I woke up on the ventilator (not a good thing) and human touch stabilized my already fragile heart from going into complete shock and possible failure (again). I will never forget that nurse.

When my attitude is “kiss my ass,” it’s because: I see through someone’s bullshit. I can see it in someone’s face, the way they smile, tell a story, or rush through listening to me or another person. It’s all in the little gestures and the attention someone gives me or another person. I can feel when a person doesn’t give a shit or possesses very little to no compassion. When a person is not present, but expects me to be present for them and there is no reciprocity. Plain and simple.

Best text I ever received: Even though I’m not religious, I received this quote from a person I deeply admire. “It’s not the strongest or the swiftest that win the race, it’s the one that endures.” I received the text when I needed some encouragement and it was much needed at the time that she sent it.

Very specifically, the most beautiful place I’ve ever stood is: In the US, the time I stood over the Grand Canyon. Abroad, it was the second time I was in the Philippines. I stood on the land where my Mom grew up – a province in the Philippines about 6 hours east of the city of Manila. My Mom’s hometown is called Infanta.

The thing that will save me is: love, compassion, and liberation (specifically, intellectual, emotional, and physical liberation).

What precisely does “forgiveness” involve for you? Letting go of the ego. It’s tough. There are people I haven’t forgiven in my life. I thought that I did. But when I think of them, I still feel disdain for their actions. I have forgiven others and I think it’s in large part due to the fact that they have apologized or decided to communicate with me directly. They wanted to grow alongside me and for that, I can’t help but be forgiving.

What proves love? Or, What does love prove? Love is proven through patience and compassion. I guess in the most recent iteration of a romantic-type of relationship I had, I know (now) what I had with this person wasn’t love. I believe I ‘proved’ to a certain degree that I loved this person and I think it was due to my desire to try and I did this by listening as carefully as possible to this person’s needs. I didn’t listen to my own needs however, which was my fault and I take the onus for that one. I had to love myself enough to know what I could and could not give and receive. Yet it took time to realize that. Reciprocity proves love. Love proves that connection and deep intimacy can exist. But it is imperative that the other person has the capacity to both give and receive.

Being [insert ethnicity/spirituality/ gender ID/nationality/personality type] in [insert place of residence, or state of being] is: Being a queer Pinay in a conservative family is not easy.

Last song to which you dance wildly, all the way through: Salt and Pepa’s Push It at my dear friends’ wedding reception!

I have hope now because: I see optimism and support from my mother, friends, collaborators, students, peers, nieces and nephews, activists, inspired and motivated artists, cultural producers, writers, theorists, scholars…anyone that believes in change and progress for humanity.

What one thing should we have asked, that we haven’t? What was one of the most difficult things you had to give up to be where you are now?

And can you answer? Yes. I gave up the “American dream” with one of the loves of my life because, in the end, they weren’t the person I was meant to be with and even though it was painful and a long process to let go, I wouldn’t be where I am today and I’m proud of where I am and how far I’ve come since then.

Why blogging frequently doesn’t work for me?

fulmar

From the time I woke up to reaching the tail end of my work day and crossing things off my to-do list, I felt compelled to write a post about the frequency I post to my blog. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, “Why the hell should I care how often you post? It’s YOUR blog.” True. But as a budding writer and theorist, writing becomes your life. It’s almost a religious experience. If I miss a day or a week of it, I feel incredibly guilty and in need of some major penance for committing the cardinal sin of not writing  (I was born and raised Catholic so pardon the reference). This past weekend, I was talking to one of my brilliant mentors, crystal am nelson, and she reminded me of my “real” work. From our conversation, I gleaned much of the writing where I crave engagement is the writing I’m doing for grad school and the organizations I work closely with. It’s also the research I’m working on to make certain that I’m sharing authentic information and well thought out writing with the public. This past year, I’ve taken a hit for not blogging consistently. It’s a HARD a$$ job to produce quality content. I’m telling you…it’s challenging. Try it.

I will say this, it’s been a joy reading through critical theory (at the moment, my desk has texts from Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Michel Foucault, Deleuze & Guattari, Vito Campanelli and Brian Massumi) for my lit review this summer and learning so much for new and old friends. I’m trying to find ways to make these texts accessible to the public. Trust me, I’m working on that part, in particular. I feel compelled to document EVERY single thing I learn and start to think, “I don’t need to share…not just yet.” I want you to read quality writing (or about my feelings and emotions around my studies and writings which may or may not be equally compelling BUT I’m trying to foster a relationship with you, dear reader).

So yeah…

The compulsion to share ourselves runs rampant in our digital culture but not so much in real life (IRL). Imagine if everyone shared and liked the way we do online but in real life. Oh boy! That would be pretty wild. The world has changed and there was a point, back in 2011, I blogged everyday so I could become more visible to the public and a create a potential audience. I wanted to experiment with the notion of content creation. In retrospect, it was a great exercise which reminded me that the new is never going to be new enough. Quality writing and thoughtful content actually takes time. But we are led to believe we don’t have enough of it. Similar to the prey of the fulmar chick, the orange sticky oil actually hit my feathers at some point. I was drowning in information. Even through all my current research, I’m realizing how much I don’t know BUT that it’s okay. So after all this rambling, how did I clean my feathers and get some fulmar chick vomit-resistant steel?

  1. I started to realize and remind myself, I only have one brain, two arms, two legs, one heart, and one life.
  2. Accepting I’m not going to understand everything I read and that’s OK.
  3. Sharing my struggles will reach the people they are supposed to reach. I will make the proper connections and create fruitful work with the “right” people.
  4. It’s OK to write pages of crap to work through theory and my own biases…there’s bound to be a gem in there somewhere.

For anyone interested in what I learned specifically from my grad school experience, you can view my virtual notebook here.

Okay, okay…so you want some real news, eh? Fine. This also explains why I don’t blog on a regular basis.

  • The Style Issue for Asterisk SF has gone to press! I had the pleasure of writing about styling firm Retrofit Republic and Bay Area artist Mia Christopher
  • As a part of the Free Form Film Festival team and new site launch, which is JUST around the corner, I’m excited to announce I will be working on the FFFF Extended channel, which will include writing, essays, and critical discussion on new media artworks and experimental film making (forthcoming!!)
  • Recently joined the contributor team over at The Civic Beat founded by phenomenal artist, designer, writer, and culture critic, An Xiao (she JUST spoke at TedGlobal 2013 – So exciting!!) and working on a piece about academic memes and fair wages for academics (forthcoming!!)
  • I will be co-presenting with Hyperallergic writer, Ben Valentine, and net artist Ian Aleksander Adams, at ZERO1 in August!!! The working title for our panel discussion, “The Art and Culture Critic: Examining the Expanding Role of the Writer in Arts and Technology” We are INCREDIBLY excited about this opportunity.

There are other things going on but not anything I can post and make public (yet). So please stay tuned and engage. Ask questions, make comments, and feel free to collaborate if you feel moved. I would love to hear from you. I know what you’re thinking now…”Do you sleep?” The answer: Yes. I’m just better at dodging bullets, putting out fires, and I write EVERYTHING down. 😉 Til next time. Be well.

All the best,

Dorothy

Asterisk San Francisco’s IDEA Issue

Asterisk San Francisco's IDEA Issue

Artist features include Scott Kildall and Kristin Neidlinger

Sneak Peek at the Asterisk SF Music Issue

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The Music Issue features | David Molina (Art) | Dan Dion (Art) | Michael Musika (Literature) | Afterlife (Style) | Vacation SF (Style) | Old School Cafe (Dine) | Urban Bedrooms (Design | Home)| Foggy Notion (Design | Home) | The She’s (Music) | Emily Jane White (Music) | Divisadero (Community) | Pinball Museum (Beyond SF) | Bakesale Betties (Beyond SF) | Rose Gold (Feature) | Vinyl Peddlers (Feature)| Om Records (Feature) | Karaoke Masters (Feature) | BART Musicians (Feature) | Radio Habana (Nightlife) | Nightlife Photos | Bells (Music) | Judgement Day (Music) | Silver Swans (Music)