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You are here. And that is enough.

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TRUE STORIES TOLD BY SOME OF THE BAY’S BEST WRITERS!

WELCOME TO HOLI-DAZE!

DECEMBER 14 AT MATTER.

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Oh hi.

In lieu of everything I’m scared of — nuclear war, the internet, so many men, conservatives, my ever-wrinkling knees and face, my parents’ sadness, never being close to my brother’s son, dying alone, anyone who doesn’t cry once a week due to general existential malaise . . .

I am trying instead to be excited. I have been talking about being a “country mouse” for a year . . . years longer in my mind. I lived in Brooklyn for five years and now Oakland for four — my life has been a lot of cement, squalor, screaming tire wheels, exhaust, roommates, the urine-y wafts of public transportation, and the general compulsion to do something every night because there’s always something fun to do.

City life is invigorating, smelly, intense, noisy — a bus-stop lives outside my door and the squealing air breaks are busy squealing as I type this — and I’d like for a little while to simply not be
. . . intense.

I’ve rented a house in Guerneville — it’s about an hour and a half away by the Russian River; it’s an incredible community, a mashup of gay bears, hunters and pseudo military folk, and crunchy yuppies who alternate their time between the redwoods and wine country.

It’s a little red house sitting quietly in a shadowy grove of trees. I haven’t been there yet; I’ve just poured through the photographs about 100 times squinting my eyes at all the rooms that looks like someone’s Gran decorated.

But within those four walls I’m hunting too. Solitude. A resting heart rate. I’d like to drink less and sleep more. I’m going to try and finish a play I’ve been working on for years. I’ll bring my guitar, and my art supplies, and my giant Norton Anthology of Poetry which I haven’t poured through since grad school ten years ago.

These things are literally dusty.

There is so much that’s been lost in the hustle, in what I call City Life, but perhaps what has been lost is my own ability to create space.

And so, off I go today to Country Life — to air, to space — back to my own mind. This section of Walt Whitman’s poem felt prescient to me today as I finish packing …

“The question, O me! so sad, recurring — What good amid these, O me, O life?

Answer.
That you are here — that life exists and identity,

That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

Without space, there is no time to contribute anything. I hope you have space. In your mind. In your room. At your desk. In your heart. I hope that you let yourself breath once in a while — in and out, in and out — and know that this is enough, at least for a moment.

With love + rage,
Katie Tandy
Co-founder | Creative Director

Due Process Is Needed For Sexual Harassment Accusations — But For Whom?

By Ijeoma Oluo

I ended the call with USA Today and just sat frozen in my chair for a few minutes. Did this really just happen? Was I seriously just asked by the third largest paper in the nation to write their “feminazi” narrative to counter their “reasoned and compassionate” editorial?

Was I just asked to be one of the excuses for why this whole “me too” moment needed to be shut down? Was I just asked to be their strawman?

‘I Thought I Was Lazy’: The Invisible Day-To-Day Struggle For Autistic Women

By Reese Piper

New research is shedding more light on how EF affects autistic people, especially those socialized as girls. It’s presumed that autistic girls adapt better in life since many display stronger social skills. But a five-year study published this year in Autism Research unveiled a different layer — autistic girls are struggling in their ability to function in daily life, perhaps even more than their male counterparts.

“Our results indicate relative weaknesses for females compared to males diagnosed with ASD on executive function and daily living skills,” the report noted.

In other words, autistic girls might seem better at communicating, but that’s not bleeding into their ability to function at home.

How White Journalists Keep Getting Punked By Nazis

By Katherine Cross

It’s a fact that some Nazis have good manners and like binge-watching Netflix or eating with chopsticks. The problem is that the media lingers on those facts with an almost pornographic languidness, until they overwhelm every other fact about the person in a story that’s already too personal to begin with.

White nationalism and its related forms of right-wing radicalization are a social, structural problem, wired into systems so vast that any narrow focus on one man, by definition, misses what’s most important.

So why the fixation? We can only be blunt here: white, middle class journalists appear to be at once frightened and fascinated by the apparent niceness of some Nazis and white nationalists.

For Many Freelance Writers, Food Stamps Are The Only Way To Get By

By Emily Zak

Erica Langston went on food stamps after finishing a yearlong teaching fellowship in spring 2014. Twenty hours a week working at a ranch — and 15 hours writing — couldn’t pay the bills for the full-time grad student. Langston, a freelance journalist who was previously a fellow at Audubon and Mother Jones, says she couldn’t have focused on writing without government assistance.

“That upsets a lot of people,” she tells me. “The ability for me to step back and say, ‘I’m going to focus on writing. I’m going to continue to pursue writing.’ I don’t know that I would have been able to do that without food stamps.”

Save Your Apologies: Here’s What Women Need From Men Right Now

By Julie DiCaro

Women are the keepers of the misdeeds.

It’s the women, not the men, who catalog and remember which men to avoid, which men to run from, which men never, ever to be alone with. If you want to know if a Hollywood actor, pro athlete, or politician has a history of sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, or harassment, ask a woman. We are the archivists of the wrongs.

Women don’t need your insipid apologies, faux shock, and awe at things you’ve known about for years, or explanations that you understand so much better now because you have a daughter. If you, man who has been a creep in the past or has stood by and laughed while his friends were creeps, really want to help change the world, here’s what we need from you…

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