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  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    This year I’m
    doing something
    different than my
    usual tradition of
    pithy punch list of
    lessons learned to
    wrap this series of
    entries up.
    I’m writing
    this last entry
    exactly two weeks
    after we got home
    from the burn, b ...
    Readmore...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Monday morning I
    woke up early and
    decided that I
    wanted to do one
    more personal ritual
    before we had to
    break down and pack
    up our yurt and load
    the truck and leave.
    So I took my handpan
    and one of our
    little chairs and
    walked ou ...
    Readmore...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Sunday is always a
    tough day at the
    burn because we have
    to strike
    camp—it’s
    tough physically of
    course but
    it’s also
    tough emotionally
    because it feels
    like the setting and
    the vibe we worked
    so hard to put toge ...
    Readmore...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Saturday was my only
    day with nothing
    pre-planned and
    nothing I had
    committed to do. The
    burn was almost over
    and I was starting
    to feel nibbles of
    FOMO (Fear Of
    Missing Out) so I
    was determined to go
    see some more art
    (especially ...
    Readmore...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Because I had
    actually gotten
    enough sleep, I woke
    up reasonably early
    on Friday morning.
    Josh was still
    asleep, but I wanted
    to take advantage of
    the relative
    coolness of the
    morning and go do
    something. So I
    decided to take my h ...
    Readmore...

Parentheticals

A blog in which Our Heroine records, reflects and wrestles with meaning. With lots of asides.

Burning Man 2017 - Radical Ritual - ticketI’m trying something new this year, and pushing to get my Burning Man reflections and wrap-up blog posts done in the first few days after I get home, instead of weeks later. I didn’t keep a journal at the burn like I usually do (because reasons, none of which are particularly compelling), so I am feeling some sense of urgency to try to remember and set down as much as I can while I still have a little dust left around me. Not letting it sit and stew for a few weeks may mean that the lessons and themes from this year’s burn are still a little unclear, but perhaps doing this write up will help to clarify them.

As usual though, you are welcome to click here if you want to just skip to the end of all this detail and read the list of lessons and takeaways, and click here if all you want to do is look at the pretty pictures with captions. And if you are unfamiliar with Burning Man in general, you can go read some of my initial entries from 2011 in which I do lots of ‘splainin’, or click here to go to the official Burning Man web site which has more info and content and things to look at than you can possibly imagine. (But don’t get lost, come back here eventually!) 

It was another busy overwhelming summer for me and especially for Josh, so as soon as The Game Academy summer camp finally ended in early August we spent a few weeks frantically prepping and packing All The Things (as Josh commented, we bring the equivalent of a small apartment out to the desert with us every year, because we are glampers and unrepentant just-in-casers). Once again Josh decided to go up early to playa (he left Tuesday with Anji) in order to help build camp, and I stayed behind to get the kids started with Back-to-School and finish the last few pre-burn to-dos. Luckily we didn’t have any major burn projects to work on this year (Josh had to do some fixes to the water bar; I made another scallop coat and put together a little Pink Heart gifting ritual, which I’ll get to in a bit) so it was really “just” getting all our stuff together and loaded (which is harder than it sounds because as I said above, it’s a LOT of stuff).


Not that I always make excuses for not blogging as a way to start a blog entry (ok, fine, so maybe I do), but I haven’t had much time or spoons for blogging this past month or so, because I’ve been so busy going to various community events. Over President’s Day weekend our family went to DunDraCon (a gaming con with lots of roleplaying games that we’ve been going to pretty consistently since 2009), and then the week after that I went to Pantasia (a handpan gathering that I went to for the first time last year). Then a couple weeks after that I went out to Stinson Beach for a writing retreat and then to FOGcon (a writer’s con that I’ve also been going to since its inception in 2010, with the exception of last year during my chemo treatments). Going to three different big events which correspond to three different identities for me (and which represent three different communities I belong to) has gotten me thinking about how being a member of multiple communities has been a constant refrain in my life. And since this is my solipsistic playground, it made me want to write a blog post about it. So here are some thoughts about being multi-communal (is that even a word? It is now.)

Without going into too much analysis of what makes a community (a group of people organized around similar interest and/or activity) or what counts as community involvement (going to events, participating together in activities, talking about said activities, getting to know people in some amount of depth even outside the shared activities), I’ll say that I participate in and feel like a member of the following communities:

  • SFF writers/readers
  • Burners (and specifically my Pink Heart “PHamily”
  • Handpan players
  • Dickens Faire participants (and specifically Paddy West)
  • Rodef Sholom congregants (and these days, specifically the Chevra Kadisha and the Board of Directors)
  • Dixie District parents

(There are other events I regularly participate in; in addition to regular friends and family events and holidays, there are gaming cons, Maker Faire, Edwardian Ball—this one is kind of a mashup of the Faire and Burner communities for me—book group, etc. There are also groups I am loosely a member of: high school/college alumnae, Appleberry/Marinwood neighborhood, Marin School parents, etc, but these aren’t quite at the level of community for me yet. I feel fondness for the people who participate in those activities or are members of those same groups, but I don’t feel like they are “family” in the same way as I feel the others are. And yes, “family” is a whole other round of definition that I’m going to dodge here.)


Spoonless in San Rafael

Posted by: julia

Danger: Spoon ShortageI’ve been thinking a lot about Spoon Theory lately, which made me realize I’d never talked about it here on Parentheticals. For those who don’t know, Spoon Theory is a metaphor used by the disability community to explain what it feels like to have a limited amount of energy available for basic tasks of daily living and how it is more difficult to replace or regenerate that energy if one is dealing with a disability or chronic illness than it would be for others. (A “spoon” in this metaphorical sense just refers to “a unit of energy”, not an actual eating implement.) People use this metaphor to express various ideas about having energy, running out of energy, safeguarding one’s energy, spending one’s energy, etc. So one might say, for example, “I wish I could go out to that event tonight, but I am all out of spoons.” Or, “It took almost all my spoons just to shower and get dressed today.” Or, “I used all my spoons up yesterday and I don’t have enough back to do that today.”

When I was going through the active phase of my cancer treatments, with all the chemotherapy and surgeries, I was definitely much more spoon-deprived than I was used to being. Of course it made sense that all the difficult physical demands of killing cancer cells and re-sculpting my body would take a lot of spoons, and it was not surprising that I found I needed to hoard my spoons and spend them only (or at least mostly) on self-care and recovery activities (however broadly or personally defined those activities may have been in my specific case).

But then I got better, and after a while the physical demands eased and I found my spoons didn’t run out so fast. I found I could go back to spending my spoons on activities and projects besides self-care and daily living, like I had been used to doing. So of course, I did. And I’m happy to report that physically, my stamina and spoon supply seems to be nearly back to normal. (If I had to estimate, I’d say I’m at about 85-90%.)


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