The Cable explores the present day relevance of the Feminist Archive South. In a Bristol warehouse, there’s an archive of feminist activism dating from 1960 to 2000 which takes up nearly 200 metres of shelf space. Established 40 years ago when no other institution was collecting feminist materials, Feminist […]
I have been very busy working on my Women’s Legacy Project launch. While this is essential work to continue upon the writing path I have been following and then clearing and creating over the last couple of years, I have had to neglect some things to focus on others. Life can be cruel. It gives us energy to pursue mindless passions in our youth, and once our passions turn to mindful pursuits our energy usage also has to be mindful because it too is limited.
I have to share the bare bones of a dream I had. My dreams are sometimes summaries of very complex analyses I have apparently been performing for quite some time until my brain can spit out summary images as an icon, symbol, and index rich abstract of my thoughts on a subject. I doubt I am the only one who does this, although I may be the only one who writes about it.
Walking through a library that symbolizes life. A young man in the persona of a well known news anchor found some loose floor boards that led to a hidden section of a library.
Several of us, a small group, made our way, climbed down on HVAC pipes and rigging, into an older stacks area where hidden resources were being accessed by a few dedicated researchers.
We wandered through these archives that were store houses of copies off essential documents and resources which the common library users did not access due to preservation practices. Some areas were dusty with disuse but other areas showed signs of eddies of activity. We went deeper and deeper through the dark, close archives until these archives were no longer composed of paper but took the form of ceramic ware.
A woman who worked in the upper levels of library but had access to and awareness of the lower archival areas turned out to be a poacher, married to a survivalist even though she maintained documents about and access to information about the delicate ecosystems from which her family poached.
As the dream developed it became evident that whole families lived in, or had taken refuge in, the lower, difficult to access, archives. I then found a different way back up to the main levels but it still required climbing pipes and infrastructure to exit.
On the ground level, where windows were still obscured it became evident that there was an angry crowd of men, camo-clad fundamentalist men, hurling insults and rocks at women within the building.
Then a scene change, for time, showed the archives were in a war zone and damage was evident.
The horrific end of the dream found me hurling hand grenades to defend the archives. We turned the poacher over to the authorities and then we also sent chemical-agent contaminated individuals outside to infiltrate another group, similar to the rock throwers in their fundamentalist fanaticism, but who were on the opposite side. Both of these groups wanted to destroy us and our archives.
Then I woke up.
Next post: interpretation of this dream.
One of the best things about living in the future, as I refer to the 21st Century, is access to information that has come before. And I in my feminist way, of course, am referring to the bits and pieces of daily life that get lost along the way to posterity, notoriety, and history… the daily stuff of the lives of families, women and children.
I love being able to flip through the pages of a catalog or a Ladies Publication from 100 to 150 years ago. These acts give me a sense of connectedness to the culture of my foremothers. My maternal grandmother was born in 1883. She began having children in 1910 with the birth of my Uncle Carl. The last of those children, my Aunt Alice, passed away early in September of the year at the age of 92.
How on Earth can I convey the sense of connectedness and continuity of family to my 4-year-old grand daughters when the generations in my part of the family tend toward the long side?
I can read to them from children’s literature of the time when my mother was being read to by her mother, 100 years ago. My mother was born in 1914.
This morning I surfed on over to archive.org and found A Book of Cheerful Cats. I downloaded a PDF of this delightfully illustrated tome to read to the twins when they visit. I will also print out copies to color, cut, glue, glitter and with which to generally have fun.
Somehow I find the search for images from other times and childhoods to be relaxing and rewarding. When I was little I would look through my mother’s tattered memorabilia from her childhood. I was the fifth kid of my mom’s who pawed through her stuff, and it was worse for the wear. While the tactile experience is gone, the rich content of books from those times, minus the allergy inducing dust and mildew, is out there waiting for new generations of family and rainy or snowy afternoons.