story telling

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nia.pike's picture

Some sexist Christmas cheer

Well, Thanksgiving is over, time to bring out the Christmas tree, snowflake lights, and the Christmas music Pandora station. Even of you don't celebrate, I'm sure you get swept up in this time of the year. The moment Thanksgiving is over, the Christmas music comes out. The usual "Jingle Bells" and "Silent Night" that we hear every year. Among these annual favorites are a few that caught my eye - ones that enforce the media's view on women. For example "All I Want for Christmas is You" by Mariah Carrey, a contemporary song embedded with the message that all women need is a man and their Christmas (life in general) will be perfect. Or how about "It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas" which continues to reinforce gendered stereotypes in children's toys - "A pair of hop along boots and a pistol that shoots, Is the wish of Barney and Ben. Dolls that will talk and will go for a walk, Is the hope of Janice and Jen.” Or "Baby it's Cold Outside" in which the traditionally male part of the song pressures the traditionally female part of the song into staying for the night even when she has said "I really can’t stay, I’ve must go away, my mother will worry” yet the man persists “I simply must go / but Baby, it’s cold outside. The answer is no / but baby, it’s cold outside” She says the first part of each of those sentences, she says no, but he pressures her to stay. Songs like this one normalize the problematic male behavior, which contributes to and perpetuates rape culture in our society.

Nan's picture

Doubletake / The Garden 5

I felt the presence of something numinous in the garden as I opened the door and stepped out.

There was a rustle in the brush of something just disappearing on the periphery. 

And then I saw the deer, a female, quiet, unafraid. 

She slowly walked out of the garden and behind the house.

There was a rustle in the foliage right under my feet where I had noticed only dead leaves, golden and brown and still damp from the night's rain. 

A rabbit in its Fall coat, blending with the foliage, skittered off.

And then I saw her, not too far away and not too near, so wondrous on her four paws and her tawny fur –-

a lioness right there in my garden! 

But I saw right away that one of her eyes was bloodied and bruised. 

And standing right next to her was a small boy, unknown to me, repeatedly hitting her in the eye with a club.

I became suddenly anxious, my mood shifted. 

And I worried that the lioness would tire of her own patience and turn on the child and attack him. 

But the lioness refused to use her power against the child.

And I stood in awe trying to decide what to do. 


What would you do?

Nan's picture

Night Beech

Night Beech





Elephant foot.

Webbed arc.

Wet bark.


Winged dark.


Lymph pulse.


Black heart.





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Nan's picture

Half the Sky

Hey everybody, I don't really know if this has any place in this Ecological Imaginings class, but maybe if we can imagine the preservation of women to be a form of ecology, not unlike the preservation of all plant life, animal life.

I just wanted to call everyone's attention to this excellent documentary currently being shown on PBS on Mon & Tues nights at 9:00 PM.  I imagine you guys have lots of time to watch films, yeah!  But this is an amazing series.

"Half the Sky" about gender based violence.

Here's the link to the first & second segment:

Nan's picture

The Garden 3

               It has rained and the garden is very wet. There are no crows.  The only sound is a damp thickness of  cricket sound, thick as an invisible soup through which my ears have to wade.  As I become accustomed and tuned in to them, I hear they are not just an undifferentiated "them", but a symphonic multitude, a chorus of legions of crickets under blade and under leaf, under bush, and under tree.  I will search and perhaps find none. I have searched before.  Their communication ( I believe that we can make that assumption) has a comforting effect on my nervous system.  Theirs is a soft blanketing sound, an unobtrusive  blend with the soft swish of leaves in a soundless breeze. We hear  the air’s effects.  The effect of its movement on surrounding things.  Everything is connected.  Everything has an affect on something, or someone else.

               I have heard myself claim to myself that if a garden sound is not beautiful, in the sense to which I have become accustomed by small song birds, then I would prefer it to be unobtrusive.  That is to say banished.

              Do I prefer unobtrusive people? Unobtrusive plants?

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Nan's picture

Gary Snyderesque / Womvichorate Mode

Gary Snyderesque:

Hanks of dark clouds.  One glowing eye.  The full moon.  Spits of rock. Braided ribbons froth over the break water.  Storm weeps on the land. Falling, stamping its foot on the beach.  Footprint of the sky. Crash and thunder of waves, rising and swinging, seeking the soft underbreath of the waiting world.

We will never be the same. The seals give birth. Tails lift. Red bulging, writhing. Balloon of wriggling bloody seal birth. Seal pup hungers its way out, biting its placenta.  Cannibalistic. Sea gulls squawk. Greedy midwives peck and pull the afterbirth in sharp beaks. Tear it to bite-sized pieces.  Invocation to the ancient Gods, this shrine of becoming.

Based on this new piece in the Womvichorate Mode: (indebted to, departing from Snyder & some rheomode perhaps).      

(verb) To womvichorate:  (roots) woman, women, womb, belly, (vide),see, speak chorus, core, coeur, heart, orate. 

speaking as I, woman. 

vide/ seeing, eye-centering

wom/ body-centering, woman, women, womb

cor/heart-centering, emotion-centering

chor/ invoking communal speech

orate/ speech

chorate/ speaking together, centering in the body

womvi/ woman/women sight, woman/women seeing

Nan's picture

The Garden 2


     Who Is The Intruder In This Garden?


Nan's picture

The Garden

Musical Ecology:  Sonic Preference or Prejudice?

There is a chortle out the early morning window that draws me outside. Any creature laughing, or even approaching a giggle or a chortle, has my ear.  The robin with its eager uneven step, deliberate always, allows us to think it has a jovial disposition because of its call, its cocky head, its ruddy-breasted hope.

Against an ostinato of crickets, their thick insistence blanketing the morning, one crow sounds as angry as the robin is jovial, that is to say probably not at all.  Still its raucous dark persistence from that branch grates on my attuned ear.  My ear is well-tuned to a well-tempered scale not a crow’s ill-tempered screech of simplistic percussive rhythms.

The tuning system of the well-tempered scale, like all tuning systems, is a system that is arbitrarily devised based on the choices of a particular culture.  What sounds harmonious to my ear, the particular pattern of whole steps and half steps, the chromatic increments that sound pleasing are what I have been taught to find pleasing.  “You have to be carefully taught.”  (Of course that song from “South Pacific” is about being taught racism.)

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