“If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.”
--Audre Lorde

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alycia's blog

Against the Grain Interview

I was recently interviewed on KPFA (Pacifica) Radio's program Against the Grain. C.S. and I mostly discussed topics surrounding the chapter I wrote, "Meta-Radicalism: The Alternative Press by and for Activist Librarians" for the book Libraries and the Reading Public in Twentieth-Century America, Edited by Christine Pawley and Louise S. Robbins. I'm hoping that I represented the issues involved well, but I'm always challenged by interviews--there are so many ways to represent ideas in conversation(s).

The interview will be broadcast Tuesday November 5 at noon Pacific Time if you'd like to listen.
Against the Grain on Pacifica Radio airs on KPFA 94.1 FM in the San Francisco Bay Area, and on KFCF 88.1 FM in Fresno and California's Central Valley.

It also broadcasts worldwide via kpfa.org.

The audio will be archived afterward, in on-demand and downloadable forms, at againstthegrain.org.

October 28, 2013

  • This American Life episode 470: Show Me The Way

    Piers Anthony is 77 years old now. But really, he was just an angry kid who'd muddled through like everyone else, which surprised Andy. In the author's notes from his book Fractal Mode, book two of his Mode series, he writes, "One thing you who had secure or happy childhoods should understand about those of us who did not, we who control our feelings, who avoid conflicts at all costs or seem to seek them, who are hypersensitive, self-critical, compulsive, workaholic, and above all survivors, we're not that way from perversity. And we cannot just relax and let it go. We've learned to cope in ways you never had to."

October 23, 2013

  • No time to keep up. Raced through Pastoralia by Saunders on the train, trying to get back into Williams for the thesis.

Janice Radway talks Zines @ Columbia Book History Colloquium

The Book History Colloquium at Columbia presents:

JANICE RADWAY, Walter Dill Scott Professor of Communications, Northwestern University
Girls, Zines, and their Afterlives: On the Significance of Multiple Networks and Itineraries of Dissent

Thursday, October 24 6pm
523 Butler Library Columbia University Morningside Campus, 535 West 114th Street

Preceded by a tour of the Barnard Zine Library at 5pm (meet in the lobby of the Barnard Library, Lehman Hall, Barnard campus, 3009 Broadway)

Dissident and non-conforming girls and young women developed an interest in what are now called “girl zines” through a number of different routes, with a range of different interests, and at different moments over the course of the last twenty years. This social, material and temporal variability raises interesting and important questions about whether “girl zines” should be thought of as a unitary phenomenon and, correlatively, whether the girl zine explosion should be thought of as an event, a social movement, a conversation, a political intervention, or something else. Drawing on oral history interviews with former girl zine producers as well as with zine librarians, archivists, and commentators, this presentation will raise questions about the recent history of feminism and its relationship to other “new social movements” at a time of significant economic, political, and technological change in the 1980s, 90s, and into the 21st century.

Janice Radway is the author of Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy and Popular Literature, and A Feeling for Books: The Book- of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste, and Middle Class Desire. In addition, Radway co-edited American Studies: An Anthology and Print in Motion: The Expansion of Publishing and Reading in the United States, 1880-1945, which is Volume IV of A History of the Book in America. She has served as the editor of American Quarterly, the official journal of the American Studies Association.

Co-sponsored with the Barnard Zine Library, Barnard College
For more information on the Book History Colloquium at Columbia, see http://library.columbia.edu/locations/rbml/exhibitions/2013-2014.html

October 9, 2013

Dear world,
Get this: I read hardly anything today. Instead I wrote. Thesis completion, here we come.

Also: is this a thing? That we do one or the other and not both? (reading vs. writing?) Do I need another column for my writing log on this here site? Will this site just digress into an endless widening of columns? Only time will tell!

October 8, 2013

  • Started Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer's Resistance, which I hope to think is helping already.
  • Such great advice by way of Joan Didion talking about her own writing process:
    "When I’m working on a book, I constantly retype my own sentences. Every day I go back to page one and just retype what I have. It gets me into a rhythm. Once I get over maybe a hundred pages, I won’t go back to page one, but I might go back to page fifty-five, or twenty, even. But then every once in a while I feel the need to go to page one again and start rewriting. At the end of the day, I mark up the pages I’ve done—pages or page—all the way back to page one. I mark them up so that I can retype them in the morning. It gets me past that blank terror." From "The Art of Nonfiction No. 1" interview in the Paris Review.

October 7, 2013

  • Finished Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instructors today; highly recommended.

October 3, 2013

  • Reading more of Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instructors, which I am enjoying so much that I think I will recommend it to every librarian I know. This part made me want to shake the book in my lap on the train and email Maria to thank her for how much she gets it: "And now I am going to be assertive enough to talk to you, the reader, about loneliness. This is not something that people want to talk about, but this profession can be lonely and alienating and isolating for people who think differently, people who aren't valued and represented by the dominant culture."

October 2, 2013

  • Started Maria Accardi's Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instructors this morning on the train and it is ah-mazing. I really admire the way that Accardi is able to meld scholarly and autobiographical writing, and how she talks about her decisions as she does so: "I have felt extremely insecure over my writing style in this chapter, which is a definite departure from the more scholarly tone I adopt in later chapters. But I persist in writing this way nonetheless, because my instincts, my gut, my intuition tells me that what I have to say--and the way I'm saying it--has value" (16).
    This is a book I'm really excited to keep reading--as a model for my own writing projects and as a tool for instruction.

October 1, 2013

  • Almost done but not quite with The Last Unicorn, which really feels much closer to a fairy tale than anything else I've read in quite some time.

September 27, 2013

  • On my way, walking as fast as I'm able, almost late to a meeting, I found The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle on a Brooklyn stoop and have been reading it on the train since. The writing style is really great when you yourself are worried that your own writing could become too academic or lackluster--as a reminder of alternatives.
  • Also a great deal of other things, as models and suggestions. From Eichhorn to Williams to Evocative Objects and Lipstick Traces to drafts.

September 25, 2013

  • Yesterday I read Rebecca Solnit's "Diary" from the London Review of Books. If my thesis could be written in any way like Solnit writes, I'd be damn happy. But being absorbed into this piece was confusing--I kept forgetting which era I am in, which I identify with, which I prefer. Just in one anecdotal sense, as a teenager, I would have had a totally different life if I'd had access to friends without having to speak to whoever answered on the phone at their house first. Not sure if all that comes with the newness of new technology makes it better or vise versa, and happy that Solnit includes rumination on corporate strangleholds and the management takeover of our own personal lives and concentrations (or lack thereof). Although I am normally suspicious of work that shrieks "we're losing our ability to concentrate!", here it felt right, not like shrieking at all. More like when Lynda Barry talks about looking each other in the eye.

Libraries and the Reading Public

I feel very lucky to be able to say that my work has now been published as one chapter in the book: Libraries and the Reading Public in Twentieth-Century America, Edited by Christine Pawley and Louise S. Robbins.

Thank you to all the folks who were a part in making this happen, especially anyone who has talked with me about the writing process or who helped me think over and wrestle with writing and research and scholarly communications at large.

It does feel very different/permanent/tangible to see the words I picked transformed into a codex. That doesn't mean I don't still want to change them, make them better, keep editing. But it does somehow feel bigger, to hold something in hand and to have it be part of something larger.

The chapter is licensed CC-BY-SA, and you can read a pre-print version here.

September 10, 2013

  • Happy Official Domesticity Day.
  • Haven't logged in for quite some time here, neglecting even the reading log, working on work and the thesis.
  • Reading the MALS honorable mention thesis awarded "The Fist is Still Raised: The Vernacular Invisibility of Political Art" by Hadassah M. Damien

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