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Julie's blog

A Tribute to Mary Daly by jade Deforest

"Mary Daly died this morning," the voice on the phone said. All the air seemed to leave the room, my lungs, as I struggled to take this in. I had known she wasn't well, had known for some time that her health was deteriorating and that this time was coming. Even so, how can any of us really be prepared for a loss this great, this enormous?

There are countless tributes to Mary, on the internet, in newspapers and other publications, extolling her genius, her absolute brilliance. We all know her contributions to womyn, her relentless and fierce unmasking of patriarchy and the insidious role it has played and continues to play in the lives of all womyn, of all female beings. She took enormous, incalculable risks for womyn. We all know this.

I want to write about a more personal Mary Daly, one I came to know when planning a reunion of feminists in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the summer of 2007.

Her intense love of animals, which grew even greater as she aged. She talked of a television program she saw, watching a small group of deer drinking at a pond, ever-watchful, ever-fearful of what might be lurking in the woods, at the edge of the pond. "They looked so vulnerable," she said. "I can relate to that now because I can't move quickly, I don't see as well, I am at their mercy . . ."

Her long conversations with our cat, Tori, who had an uncanny sense of when it was Mary on the phone. They talked to each other, Mary in her cat language, Tori in hers, elaborate conversations that only they understood. Often Mary would call and say, "I don't want to talk to you, I want to talk to Tori." I never had to call that cat to the phone; she was already there, waiting to talk to her new best friend.

Mary talked about a photograph on her wall, a wolf, and wondered what it would be like to actually be (italicized) that wolf, to feel her fur, feel the ground beneath her paws, see with wolf eyes. "You can do it, you can be that now," I told her. "Of course I can," she replied. "I forget that I can do that. Shape-shifters, we once were. I still am, you know. I might just show up at your house, a bird or a snake or a giraffe." "I think the giraffe would be a dead give-away," I said. "Well yeah, especially in the desert. Maybe a coyote."

Mary was eager to write another book, wanted help with the title. "Once I have the title, I have the book," she said. Writing was her life, made her feel vibrant, young, able to do anything and everything, able to feel less vulnerable . . .

Sitting in the warm New Mexico sun we watched an old woman being pushed in a wheelchair. "Not me," she said. "I don't want to be like that." "Would you rather die first?" I asked her. "I don't want to die, I'm afraid." "What are you afraid of?" I asked.

"I'm afraid no one will remember me," she said. I hope, Mary, that you can see the tears, feel the great loss we are all feeling, and know that we will never, never forget you.

And in that, there is great joy.

Remembering Judy Free Spirit

Judy Freespirit, longtime friend of Sinister Wisdom, architect of the fat liberation movement and all-around lesbian feminist activist, died in SF on September 10, 2010, from natural causes. She was 74.

Visit her memorial website Remembering Judy Freespirit

Digital Archive of Sinister Wisdom 1976-2000

Agreement with Reveal Media

As you may know printed materials—books, magazines, journals, et cetera—are quickly being digitized by a variety of institutions including libraries and Google. To date, back issues of Sinister Wisdom have not been available electronically to scholars, researchers, and students. While we recognize that there are many issues with digitization, we also don't want Sinister Wisdom and its thirty-five years of lesbian imagination to be lost to future readers. As a result, Sinister Wisdom has entered into an agreement with Reveal Media to digitize back issues from 1976 through 2001.

This was not an easy decision. Reveal Media is not a woman-owned or lesbian-owned company and is in fact a for profit entity. Nevertheless, Reveal Media has an exciting project to digitize issues of magazines and journals from the Women’s Liberation Movement to make them available to research libraries and scholars. We feel that Sinister Wisdom is an important part of the collection and we are pleased to join a number of other feminist and lesbian publications that are a part of the project.

What most excites us about the project is that, as a part of the agreement, Sinister Wisdom will receive an electronic file of all issues of Sinister Wisdom digitized under the agreement. We plan to put these back issues online at our own website, (www.SinisterWisdom.org), to make them widely available to readers. This will probably take a number of years (though secretly we are hoping that it might happen in time for our 40th anniversary in 2016.) In the interim, Reveal Media will sell subscriptions to libraries and other institutions of the full collection. When they reach a particular threshold, they will also make the collection freely available.

An important part ofSinister Wisdom’s contract with Reveal Media is that individual authors can opt out of having their work available in the collection. If you wrote for Sinister Wisdom during these years and you do not want your contribution to be available in the archive, please email Julie R. Enszer at JulieREnszer@gmail.com or write to her at Sinister Wisdom, 2333 McIntosh Road, Dover, FL 33527. In your letter please indicate that you are writing to “opt out” of the digitization project and clearly list the articles you wrote and your name. Your material will be suppressed from the digitization project. Your timely response to this is greatly appreciated.

In the meantime, we will keep you up to date on the project and let you know how it develops.

Frances Ann Day (June 30, 1942 - September 24, 2010)

The Lesbian community suffered a tremendous loss with the passing of Frances Ann Day. Our beloved Fran had the courage to end her suffering after a fourteen-month illness.

For the past six years, she edited the Lesbian periodical, Sinister Wisdom. Fran once said, "My work in the field of Women's Herstory is dedicated to my dream of Dignity and Freedom in the world for all Lesbians and Women." She was an educator, an activist and a writer covering all aspects of Lesbian life. She believed strongly in multi-cultural diversity and advocated for animal rights.

Fran's passion for writing began in Denver, where she was a member of the Big Mama Rag collective. She wrote and published three extensively researched resources for teachers of children and young adults: Multicultural Voices in Contemporary Literature, Latina and Latino Voices in Literature, and Lesbian and Gay Voices. She also was part of the Woman-to-Woman Lesbian bookstore collective in Denver for many years.

Fran was born in Nebraska and grew up on a farm there. She loved all animals but cats and cows were her great love. As a child one of her jobs was to do the daily milking. She went to college in Lincoln, Nebraska and became an elementary school teacher. She moved to Denver in mid-1960 and came out as a lesbian in mid-1970 and met her partner, Roxanna Fiamma, while both browsed the shelves at Woman to Woman in 1981. They soon became lovers and partners and remained together until Fran's death.

Fran and Roxanna spent a year in San Francisco in 1982-83 and immersed themselves in the Lesbian community in the Bay Area. They started a Lesbian Separatist group called SEPS (Separatists Enraged, Proud and Strong). They returned to Denver and continued their teaching jobs until both retired in 1993.

In 1994, they moved to their home and land in Sebastopol, California where they became part of the Lesbian community. Fran continued her writing and activism. She compiled over thirty-five issues of SEPConnection; and taught Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults at Sonoma State University. Fran was a long-time member of OLOC (Old Lesbians Organizing for Change), and enjoyed participating in their conferences and other activities.

Frances and Roxanna adored dancing together and enjoyed their wonderful land.

Fran will be dearly missed. Her last message to us all: "Please take good care of each other. And thank you for your love and support."

Roxanna also thanks the Lesbian and Women's Communities world-wide for your loving support in this time of deep grief.

Donations in Fran's name can be made to your favorite Lesbian and/or animal rights organization.


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"Empowerment comes from ideas."

Gloria Anzaldúa

“And the metaphorical lenses we choose are crucial, having the power to magnify, create better focus, and correct our vision.”
― Charlene Carruthers

"Your silence will not protect you."

Audre Lorde

“It’s revolutionary to connect with love”
— Tourmaline

“The problem with the use of language of Revolution without praxis is that it promises to change everything while keeping everything the same. “
— Leila Raven

"Live your lives, honorably and with dignity."

Andrea Dworkin

“Gender is the poetry each of us makes out of the language we are taught.”
― Leslie Feinberg