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ISSUE NO. #20
 

The two sensations that make me feel most alive are bittersweet pangs of nostalgia and the electric fizzle of walking into the unknown. The rituals of the holidays mixed with the fresh page of the new year manage to give me both, and somehow pull me in opposite enough directions that I snap into a very present NOW.

The other day I went to my friend’s house to pick up a desk chair she was giving to me. “Your chairs are uncomfortable for working,” she had recently informed me. I hadn’t realized, because a lot of things in my life were uncomfortable, and my chairs, which I have had for years, had not been where my attention fell. 

So I’m writing to you now, with my ass reasonably cushioned, at an ergonomic angle to my keyboard, and I do feel an improvement. It made me realize that the reason I hadn’t ever done this before was because previously my “desk” was my dining room table, and my dining room table was the center of my heart and my life. And only now, 10 months into the pandemic, was I able to see that it had ceased to be my dining room table a long time ago, and I owed it to myself to finally treat it as such.

Also that day as I was pulling out of my friend’s driveway, her housemate pulled up alongside me and we discussed the possibility of making latkes outside this weekend. If we work out the logistics, it could be a way of both preserving the nostalgic holiday ritual and walking into the unknown. Just talking about it made me notice too, that the dining room table feeling was that: a feeling.

As winter has led me to turn inward and reflect, I’m starting to see that many of the pieces I need to build a better 2021 for myself are all here, they just need reimagining, rearranging. That’s also a process we’re going through at Autostraddle, and while we do that, we’re taking a break from this newsletter. So thank you, so very much for tuning in, we’ve loved writing to you like this. Please enjoy these hits — we picked warm, joyful ones just for you!

With snap, crackle and pop,
Kamala

Bangers
A collage of Audre Lorde with Pat Parker, laughing together at a joke, alongside an image of the author and her friend, both smiling wide at the camera.

Year of Our (Audre) Lorde: November’s Sister Love by Jehan

As Jehan writes, we have never more needed the reminders in Sister Love: The Letters of Audre Lorde and Pat Parker 1974-1989. Lorde and Parker’s letter exchanges demonstrate the love that can be shared by two Black lesbian poets, at a distance, over time and Jehan pulls out the parts of their conversations that are as relevant now as they were when the letters were written.

The Drop: SassyBlack Makes Space for Black Women to Feel and Get Funky by Shelli Nicole & Dani Janae

The Drop is Shelli and Dani’s hot new series on queer Black pop culture. In their first post, they discuss SassyBlack’s EP Stuck and what it means to listen to Black artists as Black women. “I’ll use Solange When I Get Home as an example. I’ve used that album as a healing tool and then feel like ‘How can I thank her? How can I hold her? Is she resting after doing this labor for me?’ And that’s how I feel with this EP and SassyBlack.”

Queer Latina Tiffany Cabán Is Running For NYC Council, Bringing Hope To 2021 by Christian Becerra

For so many of us, we don’t expect to see our struggles and the things we hold dear spoken about universally and treated as fact — especially not in politics. Christian Becerra interviews Tiffany Cabán and talks about the hope she feels when Cabán discusses her progressive platform and what her identity brings to her work.

Home Alone for the Holigays: Watch “A Diva’s Christmas Carol” With Shelli by Shelli Nicole


Nobody can invite you in from the cold with the warmth that Shelli radiates, even if she’s moving through her own dark time. Her latest series, Home Alone For The Holigays, is the antidote to the holiday blues, and invites you to tune into a Friday night movie live-Tweet with a member of the AS team — the next ones are on Dec 11th and 18th. In this first installment, Shelli shares her holiday style board, her solo holiday schedule and a festive cocktail made with lavender syrup from a neighbor.
While We're Here

🎄Foolish Child #85: Happiest Season by Dickens

A character says "Want to watch Happiest Season with me?" and the other person asks "Happy who now?"

💎 You Need A Copy of Black Futures by Kimberly Drew & Jenna Wortham

Because you, too, deserve to bask in this expansively curated view on Blackness, just like Carmen. Drew and Wortham offer us a kaleidoscopic collection of essays, images, memes, recipes, conversations and more to feed the imagination.

A split photo. On the left a peek of Carmen's face behind the book's cover which has the title, Black Futures, in a silvery prismatic block print on a black cover. On the left, the back of the book which reads "an archive of collective memory and exuberant testimony/a luminous map to navigate an opaque and disorienting present/an infinite geography of possible futues"

🎁 Order Autostraddle Merch by Dec 11

Pick out your gay gifts by Friday to get them in time for the holidays!
A shot of shits, masks, a sweatshirt, stickers, pins and a poetry magnet kit you can buy from Autostraddle. The copy reads "Get your gay apparel while it's hot. Shop the Autostraddle Store."
Note To Self
Stay sharp, stay cozy,
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