Welcome to the second issue of Trivia: Voices of Feminism, the issue that almost wasn't. Since its rebirth on the web in January 2005, Trivia has lost three of its collective members and gained two new ones, including myself. On behalf of the current collective, I'd like to thank MeLissa Gabriels, whose dream the renewed Trivia was, and Elissa Jones and Layla Holguin-Messner for their work on that first issue, and wish them well in future endeavors. And to Lise Weil, jayemily bandru, and Elizabeth Waller, my thanks for going to such lengths to make the new collective work and to give the renewed Trivia both stability and focus.
We hope you'll be as struck as we were by the timeliness, beauty, and daring of the writings presented here. Two of them are classics, reprinted from Trivia's previous incarnation as a print journal, and more poignantly relevant than when they were first published. Read Lee Maracle's 1992 piece on the throwaway culture, for example, and recall recently televised images of the people of New Orleans being literally left by the side of the road to die. Then, remembering that most of those who did die were African-American and that their bodies were unrecovered for days, left to drift and decay in New Orleans' putrid waters, read Mercy Morganfield's “The Beauty Shop” (2005) and see if her characters exaggerate the scope and depth of white racism.
You may find, as we did, that the pieces in this second issue have something in common: they do not engage in denial. Each author confronts our wildly deteriorating social and ecological reality, makes sense of its chaos, and pushes ahead toward what Juliana Borrero calls “The Other Shore.”
Memory, and memory loss, are constant themes in this issue. When Louky Bersianik'’s Agenesias of the Old World first appeared in Trivia in 1985, I had not yet had firsthand experience of women’s amnesia. Now that I’'ve lived long enough to see backlash do its work of erasure and distortion on the second wave of feminism, to see names like “Mary Daly,” “Judy Grahn” and “Audre Lorde” elicit blank stares from young feminists, this essay seems astonishingly prophetic: “Our memory ebbed and we lived at low tide without understanding the signals left by us on the beach, without attending to our crumbling footprints on the sand.” Exactly. It'’s no wonder that, as Juliana Borrero writes “. . . one can be a woman for centuries and not know what that means.”*
In “Forces of Nature,” Kay Hagan addresses our collective amnesia about the casualties of manmade disasters, and in “The Lost World of Columbus,” Lee Maracle suggests that amnesia was the hallmark of the culture Columbus brought with him from the Old World, i.e. our culture —a culture that tosses away whatever it doesn’'t like, be it “stone, flora, fauna or human.” But as Maracle points out, “there is no place called ‘away.’ Every inch of soil in this world is a place.” Sooner or later, those things we boot out— from our memories, our communities, our hearts —return to bite us in the ass. Surely this is among the many lessons of the flooding touched off by Hurricane Katrina —and all the dirty human secrets that washed up in those waters. It’s interesting that the new texts collected here, though submitted to us before that catastrophic event, are so full of images of inundation (granted, all of them were written after the South Asian tsunami). Could this be an instance of what Bersianik calls “a memory of the future”? Could it be that women’s memories, like our dreams, defy linear time?
In my last editorial, echoing Alice Walker, I wrote that women need to “enlist all the powers of creation . . . in our struggle to wrest this world back from those who have fashioned it in their own image of greed and fragmentation.” Who knows, possibly these massive changes brought about by water and winds will be of use to this world in ways we with our limited human intelligence can'’t yet fathom. Maybe nature is allying herself with us in this struggle even now. What seems undeniable is that lately the earth has been speaking louder than usual (see Harriet Ellenberger’s “Return of the Earth”). And when the earth speaks, we must listen. “Languages we have not yet learned come on the wind,” writes Deena Metzger in “The Power of the Earth.” May what we hear help us to wake up, and to remember. . .
Issue 2 • October 2005
Harriet Ellenberger and
The Lost Days of Columbus
Agenesias of the Old World
The Power of the Earth: Shake/Rousing
Return of Earth
Forces of Nature
The Beauty Shop
The Other Shore
Notes on Contributors