So, we’ve got the launch night and poetry evening tomorrow. I’m quite nervous.
I don’t know if we’ve made enough of a noise to attract a genuinely sympathetic crowd and I’m not quite sure what we stand for yet (if anything).
Part of me is unsure about letting straight white men talk about art (which I suspect will be the majority of the poetry tomorrow, though I really hope I’m proved wrong), since there are hundreds of places where they can do that. I mainly want to showcase work by women and queers, but I don’t want to alienate the art or leftist scenes here or reduce anybody. This is a very small city and working with men isn’t inherently unhelpful, there’s a lot of value in it. Just… I still feel lonely. Wrestling with male egos is…. boring and tiring. But I’m being mean… emerging male artists need help too and they have things that need to be said too.
I just wonder if some of the guys realise that I want to hear them talk about their bodies, their family relationships, masculinity, semen. I want to peal back the bravado and hear men talk openly about rejection, or rage, or fatherhood – ‘men’s issues’ if you will. But at the same time I want the spaces I make for WOM to be respected as places where women’s voices are valued. Where we are listened to. Where we can all work together to build a better world.
I don’t want to alienate anybody, but there are things to do (like fighting for the decriminalization of sex work, shared parenting leave, straight civil partnerships, statutory sex and relationship education, free healthcare, a living wage…).
So I’m nervous. I’m nervous that straight white guys will come down and accuse us of not being inclusive enough of their voices (even though we are). I’m nervous that my poetry about motherhood and fertility will be off-putting. That male egos will be hurt. I am nervous that male egos will be hurt.
Which makes me tired and nervous. And politically uneasy. I wish I had more of a feminist/queer community here to help me.