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a(Gender): A Bodily Commonplace Book

(a)Gender: A Bodily Commonplace Book

[in progress]


Paul Preciado, from Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era

'There is nothing to discover in nature; there is no hidden secret. [...] There is nothing to discover in sex or sexual identity; there is no inside. The truth about sex is not a disclosure...'


Ursula Le Guin, from The Left Hand of Darkness (Estraven and Genly)

"Blue—all blue— Towers in the depths—"


"In the crevasse. All blue—full of light."

Travis Alabanza, from 'The Sea'

'Sometimes I stand by the edge of where the ocean meets the beach, and look out into the sea, that looks out over my gender, that pours over my body, and makes me feel like nothing.'

Mary Oliver, from 'The Dipper'

I do not even remember

your name, great river,

but since that hour I have lived


in the joy of the body as full and clear

as falling water; the pleasures of the mind

like a dark bird diving in and out, tasting and singing

Ursula Le Guin, from The Tombs of Atuan

Stillness spread out from him, like rings from a stone dropped in water. His silence became not absence of speech, but a thing in itself, like the silence of the desert.


Barry Lopez, from River Notes

Once I concentrated very hard on moving soundlessly down the beach. I anticipated individual grains of sand losing their grip and tumbling into depressions, and I moved at that moment so my footfalls were masked. I imagined myself in between these steps as silent as stone stairs, but poised, like the heron hunting. In this way I eventually became unknown even to myself (looking somewhere out to sea for a flight of terns to pass). I could then examine myself as though I were an empty abalone shell, held up in my own hands, held up to the wind to see what sort of noise I would make.

Mary Oliver, from 'Sleeping in the Forest'

All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.

All photos (C) Rufus Elliot

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