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The River Diaries

Friday, October 27, 2000

Dear Lepa,

How you light up my days! You have been whirling through Europe. I love the word “Balcanitas.” And there you were taking on the swirl of feelings that talking about complex lesbian desire and its relationship to gender always seems to generate. I am in your pocket those moments. We will talk more about this all sometime — but the wonder of it all is the variety of sexual joy — a good underpinning for all the battles against violence against women. My latest thought is that I am a fem who stands for entry — I want to be entered — by ideas, by longings, by convictions, by lovers’ hands: I want my rooms filled with the thrust of justice seekers, poets, artists, performers, woman wanderers and builders. I sit with my legs spread for this communal access.

Now before you think I have gone over the fem edge, I will tell you what brought all this up. A lesbian writer friend of mine, Lisa Davis (who has a wonderful novel coming out very soon entitled Under the Mink) and I hosted a book party for Donna Allegra and her new collection of stories, Witness to the League of Blond HipHop Dancers, — I will give you her book — at my apartment, the old home of the archives, and over a hundred people came — mostly lesbians but Donna’s family and some male friends and some children also — many many women, black and white, old and young, pouring out into the hall. My apartment — from here on known as 13A — was so happy. She was filled from wall to wall, touched by bodies and minds on every surface. Women made announcements about their work — Julie, the independent film maker asking us to spread the word about her film Live Nude Girls Unite! ( a wonderful moving and important work), a woman who asked for others interested in forming a lesbian writers’ group, political calls for action to protest Israel’s policies in the Middle East, other books on the way — women calling out their creations, on and on. At the end of the night, I was exhausted but longed for one thing — to dance a slow dance in the arms of Maryanne, a wonderfully large strong woman, and so when there were only a few women left and the apartment was quieting down, I reached out for her. She held me, wiped the sweat from my brow, my fingers automatically finding the loops of her waistband and against her, I rested. Later when Di called, I told her of all the wonders, including how desire had ended the night — and most wonderful of wonders, she understood it all.

Welcome home, dear Lepa.


© 2000 Joan Nestle

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