Flight Papers

feminism and creativity, art, madness, and play

Archive for June, 2009

3. gone

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

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London whips by in a blur.

We go to Westminster Abbey, and fail to see the changing of the guard. We fly the London Eye once, the world opening up at its apogee as if offered to us by Satan on a silver platter. Camden town brings us cute clothes, Oxford—a day trip—brings me a somewhat novel desire to go to graduate school.

We sleep in our hostel, on a raver’s floor, on trains and buses. We don’t speak for a day—not for any particular reason, only because it had become tiring and unnecessary. We twine our fingers hourly, even then.

Today is our last day in London. It’s our last day together, for a small eternity, at least. We flew the Eye again, earlier, and the whole flight felt less a temptation and more an extended goodbye to my friend, who I love, and this city, which I have also come to.

We tumble through the streets and circles and alleys, still dizzy from the Eye’s height or something else. We end up in Leicester square, curled on a bench in the gardens. These are old gardens. Old buildings. Old homes.

“Let’s stay another night.”

Katie looks at me, hugs me close, closer. She speaks softly: “Come on.”

“I thought that was our, y’know.” I stop for a beat and consider. “Our goodbye.”

“No.” She runs her fingers down my face. “No. No. No.” With a timing possible only in movies and life, the phone in my purse starts to hum distantly.

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2. arrival

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

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For the first hour we were in London, I felt like little pieces of me were being dragged across the Atlantic, waiting to catch up. That was the first hour. Then my soul snapped back, and I discovered that London felt more like home than any place I’d been.

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Solidarity.

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

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Today, Ali Khamenei has ordered the killing of protesters. There are tanks rolling into Tehran right now.

Today, my aunt has decided to die.

I understand my aunt’s decision. I understand that she can’t keep fighting. I understand that the story of a survivor, a strong woman, a loved woman, beating the odds—I understand that was a fairy tale.

I will never understand the thing that makes soldiers hear an order to kill people who are speaking their hearts, and do so. I will never understand what keeps them fighting. I will never understand why those Iranian freedom fighters had to die. Why women and men asking for something as tiny as a vote had to die for it. This is a thing I cannot understand.

But they will overcome. They will win, and they will make better.

This isn’t a fairy tale. This is truth. This is inevitable. This is necessary.


There are things you—we—can do.

At the protests today in Denver, in solidarity with the protesters in Iran, a woman said that the organization, the access to information, it’s making all the difference. It’s letting Iranian activists know they aren’t alone. It’s helping them communicate and coordinate.

It is why this will succeed. It is why this is different. Information is the foundation of the revolution, she said.

Of course, that is a terrible thing, and it must be stopped. The Khamenei regime has tightened Iran’s firewalls—second only to China’s—in an attempt to prevent protest, organization, dissent, collaboration, rebuilding.

You can do something. For once, the Internet actually can actually fucking help.

I’ve set up a proxy server to run about the supreme leader’s firewalls. You can, too. You should. Here are the windows instructions. If you’re using Linux, apt-get squid and edit /etc/squid/squid.conf as the instructions say. Also add 208.116.53.210/32 and 208.116.53.211/32 to the ACLs so @austinheap can verify your server.

It’s a small thing. It can help.

Find out where there’s a protest near you.

It’s a small thing. It can help.

And maybe there’s more. More small things, that can help. More large things, that can help. More things that can keep more women, more activists, more people, from getting slaughtered.

Tell me.

An ordered list.

Monday, June 15th, 2009

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  1. I am still here.
  2. I have, however, been quite busy.
    1. …but that’s a bit of a cop-out. It may be more accurate to say that I’ve focusing on meatspace concerns, relationships, and processing. (Lesbians love processing.)
  3. But I have been writing! You lovely lot have just not been privy to it, but I’ve been convinced to remedy that. I have posted the first part of a semi-fictional travelogue. I’ll be posting short story updates Monday, Friday, and if I’m feeling impatient, anxious, or unproductive, Wednesday. Comments encouraged.
  4. Ann and I are planning a lovely radical non-monogamous heart-twining ceremony. This is 99% amazing, 1% terrifying, with those figures varying slightly depending on the day.
  5. After that, we’re going to Portland! Not permanently. Just for a bit. Just for a taste. If there’s anything we absolutely must do there, you should tell me. If you know any awesome radical Portlanders (Portlandites?), or indeed, if you are yourself a radical Portlandian, we would love to meet you and say hi while we’re out there. Which will be, incidentally, the 19th through the 24th of July.

1. undertow

Monday, June 15th, 2009

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There’s something almost pathologically beautiful about the New York subways. Why, for one thing, are the cars fitted with windows? It makes little sense, from a practical standpoint—either the trains will be in motion through dark tunnels, or they will be at a station, and their doors will open. Yet, I’m truly grateful to whoever decided they needed windows, because the twisting curves of light as our train makes its turns are hauntingly lovely. On the straightaways, if you stare out into the tubes for long enough, your eyes will start to adjust to the movement of shadows in the tunnels. You can see the disused train platforms flicker by, other passages splitting off from your own track at strange angles. People live there. Other things, too. Giant alligators and other monsters, assuredly. There are meant to be miles of tunnels—some with tracks, others not—that simply sit under the city, not used for anything anymore. Just waiting.

Katie tells me later that there’s a whole community of “sewerers”–people who go spelunking in sewers and abandoned buildings. It isn’t exactly safe, obviously, but I’m fascinated, partially by her magnificent prescience.

And then she asks me, in almost the same breath, why I am going to India by way of half the cities in the continent.

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