Thursday, June 14, 2012

The First Newsletter of the Lesbian Herstory Archives, June, 1975, Part 2

[1979 c. Mabel Hampton, Joan Nestle, Deborah Edel and Judith Schwartz, holding on in the early Archives, #13A

[In the first room of LHA with Fred, 1977]

[Back to Newsletter No. 1, June 1975]

One of the projects of the Archives Collective will be a large map
of the United States on which we will represent the Lesbian netowrk
by marking the small towns and villages where Lesbians are
establishing themselves on farms and in communes. We would
also like to maintain a mailing list of rural Lesbians. This project
 is an effort to keep all of us in touch with each other and to provide records
of our lives. Please send names and addresses to
Julia Stanley
Dowelltown, TN

Lesbian History Exploration was held in Los Angeles, May 2-4,
1975. Pamela Oline from the Archives attended and conducted
a workshop on the activities and holdings of the Lesbian Herstory Archives.


The list of research projects [this was my special love, to project our thinking into new territories of inquiry and inspiring a grassroots lesbian archival sense]
that follows contains suggestions for needed collections that seem important to us. We are presenting it here not only for members of the Archives, but for anyone interested in the systematic discovery and preservation of our herstory. Many of the items in the list are general categories that might be further broken down or combined according to the interest of the individual and her resources and time. In no way is the list definitive, nor is it meant to dictate areas of research. It is just a list of possibilities that suggest themselves at this time. If you are interested in working on a project, or if you have already started on a project, whether it is listed here or not, please contact us so that we will know who is working on what and can pass the world on to other women. In this way, we can help each other with the task of discovery and recovery.

1. DIARIES, past and present; 2. POETRY, including contacting Lesbian poets and requesting their mss., letters, clipping Lesbian poem whereever they appear; 3. TAPES, of our lives, friends, meetings, oral herstories, conferences (confidences will respected if so indicated); 4. PHOTOGRAPHS, personal and news, pictures of us together and ourselves; 5.FILMS, home-made, Hollywood, prints, bibliography; 6. BIBLIOGRAPHIES, areas of interest to Lesbians, psychology, literature, poetry, hersotry, sociology, etc.; 7. GRAPHICS, posters, ads, prints, buttons, shirts, logos; 8. NEWSPAPERS, articles, or pick one newspaper and clip all articles related to Lesbians, review coverage; 9.ORGANIZATIONS, Lesbian Feminist Liberation, Daughters of Bilitis, Gay Academic Union, activities, archives; 10.LEADERS, follow one person's career, interviews, tapes, films; 11. TELEVISION, record shows, review programs with Lesbian content; 12.BIOGRAPHIES, collect those already in existence, begin books about Lesbians who aren't usually written about;13. AUTOBIOGRAPHIES, we should all begin to record our lives, in writing or on tape; 14.PAINTERS, collect artwork by Lesbians, contact them to record their lives;15. ARCHITECTURE, contact Lesbian architects for interviews, collect photos, designs, descriptions of Lesbian homes and surroundings; 16. LESBIAN MEDIA, collect our journals and newsletters, trace their development and progress; 17.PRESSES, collect lists of publications of presses, trace their development and growth; 18.AUTHORS, past and present, collect their books, mss., record their lives; 19. POLITICIANS, keep scrapbooks on their lives and careers, e.g., Elaine Noble; 20. ATHELETES, SPORTS, keep track of Lesbian athletes, the sports they participate in; 21. DOCTORS, LAWYERS, TEACHERS, FARMERS, DENTISTS, WAITRESSES, PROSTITUTES, record our work life; 22. THE COMING OUT PROCESS, a shared experience; 23.SPECIAL TOPICS, Lesbians who have been expelled from school, fired from the military or other places of work; 24. THEMATIC RESEARCH, tracing the development of an idea or life-style; 25. LESBIAN LANGUAGE, do we have one, will we develop one?

[Rota Silverstrini-Pardo, poet andf artist, doing her archives work, first home of LHA, 1978]

26. STUDY PROGRAMS, curricula, teachers, students, etc; 27. FEMINISM, personal experience, organizations, relation to our lives; 28. HEROS, the brave women we are; 29. MOTHERS, experiences, court cases, litigations; 30. COMMUNES, experiences, geographical distribution, ideologies; 31. LOVE, our experiences of it, our definitions; 32. IDEOLOGY, part of our self-defining process; 32. ECONOMICS, in relation to the larger society, our own self-help system; 34. ENTERPRISES, bookstores, restaurants, jewelers, potters; 35. AESTHETICS, Lesbian sensibility, criticism; 36.HANDCRAFTS, what we make for ourselves; 37.RELIGION, where we are in the old, creating our own, what do we need or want; 38. BARS AND BARTENDERS, where are our bars, recording the lives of the women who work in them; 39. CONFERENCES, posters, tape the proceedings, interview the speakers, film the events; 40. SONGS, SONGWRITERS, collect our songs, preserve the lives of the women who write them; 41.FOLKLORE, tales and legends of our lives, our deeds; 42.THIRD WORLD LESBIANS, herstories, autobiographies, writings; 43. EUROPE, establishing stronger bonds with our sisters, ccould be broken down into countries; 44. PRISONERS, experiences, lives, legah histories; 45. ARMED FORCES, experinces, lives, careeres, purges; 46. CULTURAL HERSTORY, where we've been, what we've done, what we wish to create for ourselves; 47. DRAMA, PLAYWRIGHTS, ACTRESSES, our experience in the theater through the years; 48. THERAPY, THERAPISTS, directions; 49. WITCHES, WITCHCRAFT, the old religion; 50. FBI HARASSMENT, the Susan saxe Case; 51.CLASS ANALYSIS, social classes and Lesians; 52. FASHIONS, what we wear, what we's like to wear; 53. ARTIFACTS; 54.TRANSLATIONS, articles, chapters, books from English into Spanish, French,  Italian, Dutch, German, Russian and from these languages into English; 55. EDITIONS, collecting all editions of our works, e.g. The Well of Loneliness, Nightwood, etc.; 56. PAST COMMUNITIES, the Bloomsbury Group, the Charmed Circle, Renee Vivien, Colette, Romaine Brooks, discover more

[An early group of volunteers who took these stated dreams and made them real, 1980 c. in #13A--Judith, Mabel, Joan,Deb, Jan,Beth, Beth, Morgan, Irare, Linda, Sam]



One of our members, Pamela Oline, has already taped interviews with three women, discussing their lives, their work, their ideas. We would also like to ask Lesbians to tape record their lives, whatever they would like to have preserved about themselves, casettes, or reels are fine. We have both types of tape recorders, so we can make them available to those who wish to use the Archives. When you have the time and the impulse sit down and tell us something about yourself and send it to us. It's important!

Our thanks and appreciation to the many women who have supported us, encouraged us, sent us their manuscripts, allowed us to interview them, the women whose lives are important to all of us, and to Beth Hodges, Elsa Gidlow, Chocolate Waters, J.R. Roberts, our journals and our newsletters!

[The End of Our First Newsletter and the Begining of the Rest of Our Lives] 

The present home of LHA on 14th street in Brooklyn, NY

From that little room in my old apartment on 92nd street, now plentitude


I chose to type the newsletter word by word rather then scan it is because with each letter, I relived those times, I could see Julia working away on that electric typewriter she loved so much, I could see Sahli's delicate graceful body moving through the room, I could hear Pamela's caring voice, Deb finding ever more room for the collection when it seemed impossible, I could see us all with our different histories and most of all I could dream again of changing history. My language would be different today, my sense of what a Lesbian is not so fixed, I have a set of different questions, for a different time, but at 72 I reach out to these early years. Good on you, I say. good on us, and now others are shaping LHA with their dreams and talents. New generations of women are living in the Brooklyn home, articulating their questions for the future. If you can, visit LHA, see how that long list of suggested research projects has turned into three flours on site and many more off, of materials, of lives waiting for you. Be moved to become a part of the story or just enjoy ourself. And if you are so moved, donate whatever you can to keep the collection vital.
 1974, Sahli, Julia and Deb loading the earliest parts of the collection in Pigpen, Deb's beloved car, to take it from Tennessee to its home in #13A. Joan is doing the archival work of taking the picture.

You can meet the ongoing family of women working with the Archives and make a donation at LHA's website,

Our Banner in the 1980s, NYC

My Gift for All Our Bodies of Gender Difference, LGBTQ, 2012, Looking Back to A Beginning, LHA, 1975

LHA, Gay Pride March, NYC, 1980s

1970s with Mabel Hampton, young and old

Here is my 2012 celebration of Gay Pride Day, the Lesbian Pride March, the Trans Rights March, The Sex Workers Rally here in Melbourne, the march of those considered too different for a growing right wing world, for all the LGBTQ people and for feminists of all kinds who see the strength of our coalitions: images of the Lesbian Herstory Archives banners marching down the streets of New York through the years. I see my old friends, like Mabel Hampton and Sonny Wainright, both who now live in our memories, in these images, and  I see a younger me, marching bare breasted down Fifth Avenue after Mayor Guiliano or was it Koch threatened to arrest any woman who took off her shirt. Several in our contingent challenged his edict. Only the bodies of our comrades pressing so close made us feel safe enough to do this, kept the police at bay. This is always what we can do for our endangered bodies.
The March through Brookyn,The Opening of the New Building, 1992, with Paula Grant and Judith Schwartz and Polly Thistlewait and a cast of hundreds, photo by Saskia Scheffer

Celebrating 38 years of Creating a Home for Lesbian Culture with Deb and Max, 2000s, Photograph by Saskia Scheffer, LHA

I am in the process, as I have said, of going through my papers, going through the documents of my time and I found my copy of the first newsletter the archives ever did, dated June 1975. It sits on my desk now, its so simple typed pages marked by the passage of time but I remember the act of imagination that created it. In honor of all who imagine what has not existed before in the hopes of expanding our concepts of human dignity, here it is, as simple as we first did it, without pictures on flat white paper, only words and ideas and challenges to the accepted limits of what was considered history.

Lesbian Herstory Archives
P.O.Box 1258* New York, New York 10001 [no longer our address]

                              June 1975

Dear Sisters:

   We are a group of women who met initally at the first conference of the Gay Academic Union in the Fall of 1973. Some of us formed a C-R group, and, as we grew closer to each other, we began to focus on our need to collect and preserve our own voices, the voices of our Lesbian community. As our contribution to our community, we decided to undertake the collecting, preserving and making available to our sisters all the prints of our existence. We undertook the Archives, not as a short-term project, but as a commitment to rediscovering our past, controlling our present, and speaking to our future [you who are reading this now]. We seek to preserve for the future all the expressions of our identity--written, spoken, drawn, filmed, photographed, recorded.

   We are just in the beginning stages. A lot of material is coming in and we are in the process of sorting and cataloguing it. This is our first newsletter. We hope that the Archives will serve as a center for all women who want to get a sense of their Lesbian history, through tangible expressions of the lives we have lived. Our collection is small but growing [now housed in a three storey building in Brooklyn, thank you all] and we will do our best to insure that it is never misused. For us, there is excitment and joy in sharing the records of our lives and our Archives will be as living as the material we can collect and you can send us [still the case]. We want to encompass the happenings of the whole Lesbian community, and for this we need your help.

[here I am adding some of our first images of LHA] 1975, in #13A

Future newsletters will contain listings of our holdings as the cataloging and sorting and collecting progrsses, and suggested topics for research as we beomce aware of them.

    Enclosed you will find a more formal statement of our structure and purposes.
FOR THE ARCHIVES: Sahli Cavallaro   Deborah Edel   Joan Nestle   Pamela Oline   Julia Stanley
SAHLI CAVALLARO  is a founding member of the Women's Caucus in the Gay Academic Union, was briefly affliated with Identity House as a peer counselor, and is a graduate student in psychology and a poet. She is currently interested in exploring ways of creating an intellectual and agrarian Amazon lifestyle on the periphery of "the system" with other Lesbians.

DEBORAH EDEL  us a Lesbian/Feminist working toward a community of women. More traditionally, she functions as an Educational Psychologist working with children who have a learnig problem.

JOAN NESTLE is a lecturer in English, SEEK Program, Queens College, CUNY. A Lesbian activist who is old enough to remember the darkness of weekend bars and young wnough to joyously believe in the liberation of our future, she is a cherisher and wishful creator of Lesbian literature.

PAMELA OLINE has been involved in the Lesbian-Feminist movement in New York since 1970. She is a member of the Feminist Therapy Referral Collective and Identity House, a counseling service for Gay People. (One of the important functions of Identity House is to provide peer counseling for the Lesbian community.)

JULIA STANELY is an ex-member of academia, although she is still a sometimes controversial linguist collecting and analyzing evidence of sexism in English. An independent scholar, she is now living in the country (Tennessee), trying to work out a Lesbian lifestyle at the periphery of patriarchal society.

THE LESBIAN HERSTORY ARCHIVES exists to gather and preserve records of Lesbian lives and activities so that future generations of Lesbians will have ready access to material relevant to their lives. The process of gathering this material will also serve to uncover and collect our herstory denied to us previously by patriarchal historians in the interests denied to us in the interests of  the culture which they serve. The existence of these Archives will enable us to analyze and reevaluate the Lesbian experince.

WE WILL COLLECT AND PRESERVE ANY materials that are revelant to the lives and experiences of Lesbians: books, magazines, journals, newsclippings (from establishment, Feminist, or Lesbian media), bibliographies, photos, herstorical information, tapes, films, diaries, oral herstories, poetry and prose, biographies, autobiographies, notices of events, posters, graphics, and other memorabilia and obscure references to our lives.
[Growing, 1979]

THE ARCHIVES WILL BE RUN as a Lesbian collective and decisons will be made by consensus. The collective will be responsible for the staffing of the Archives and hiring as funds permit. Decisions will be made by those women who have been active participants in the on-going functioning of the Archives.

WE WILL BE GUIDED BY THE following principles:
   Under no circumstances will materials be permitted to leave the premises where the Archives are housed. [Our imaginations could only go so far]
   The permission of the Archives collective will be required for publication and/or distribution of any materials held by the Archives.
    Confidentiality--Since we are trying to collect all materials relevant to the lives and experiences of Lesbians, we feel that it is important to potential contributors that we guarantee whatever degree of confidentiality their material may require.
    In order to facilitate contact between women engaged in research, each person who wishes to use the Archives will be asked to present a brief statement outlining their reasons for wanting the use of Archives material.
IF YOU HAVE LESBIAN MATERIALS  that you would like to donate, please send them to [go to the current Lesbian Herstory Archives website]. If you have confidential material, please write to us, describing the kind of agreement you would require prior to donating your material.
*********************       *******************************   ***************


The compilers of the following list have tried to be comprehensive and accurate, but we may have missed a Lesbian journal or newsletter. For example, publications such as CRIES FROM CASSANDRA, ECHO OF SAPPHO, ONE TO ONE, PORTCULLIS AND TRES FEMMES were deleted from an earlier list because the post office returned our letters to them as 'unforwardable." Since we compiled this list for the purposes of Archives subscriptions, we would appreciate hearing from you if you know of new pulbications, changes of address or serials that have definitely stopped publishing. Any definite information will help us provide complete and accurate records of Lesbian media for the future.

Where possible, we have included the price of journals in the hopes that readers will subscribe to those journals and newsletters they can afford. We believe it is necessary to support Lesbian publications in order to promote and maintain a Lesbian information network. While not all of the publications listed here are strictly Lesbian, we have included them because they often contain news, poetry and/or articles of interest to Lesbians. [Here I have decided to list only the names and cities of the publications, not the defunct addresses, to give a sense of what had found.]

Ain't I A Woman (Iowa City, Iowa), Albatross (East Orange, NJ), ALFA Newsletter (Atlanta, GA), Amazon Quarterly (West Somerville, MA),  Aphra (NY, NY), Big Mama Rag (Denver, CO), Circle (Wellington, New Zealand), Coming Out (Albion, CA), Cowrie (NY,NY), Desperate Living, (Baltimore, MD), Dykes and Gorgons, Berkeley, CA), Dykes Unite (Genesco, NY), Focus (Boston, MA), Gay Community News (Boston, MA), Gay Liberation Press (Sydney, Australia), Gay Liberator (Detroit, MI), Journal of Homosexuality (NY,NY), Lavendar Wing (Albuquerque, NM), Lavendar Woman (Chicago, ILL), Lazette (Fanwood, NJ), Lesbian Connection (East Lansing, MI), LFC Newsletter of the Lesbian Feminist Center ( Chicago, ILL), Lesbian Tide (Los Angeles, CA), Lesbian Visions c/o The Lesbian Collective (Stanford, CA), Lesbian Voices (Cambell,CA), Long Time Coming (Montreal, Canada), Majority Report (NY,NY), Mother Jones Gazette (Knoxville, TN), NYRF Newsletter, NY,NY), New Women's Times (Rochester, NY), The Other Woman (Toronto, Canada), Pointblank Times (Houston, TX), Quest: A Feminist Quarterly (Washington, DC), Secret Storm  (Chicago,ILL), Sisters  (San Francisco, CA), So's Your Old Lady (Minneapolis,MINN), The Second Wave   (Boston, MA), Uva Ursi (Robbinston, MA), Wicce (Philadelphia, PA), Womanspirit (Wolf Creek, OR), Women in Sunlight (Rochester, NY). [I can't help but to comment on the found poetry in these dreams]

I will stop here now and continue the contents of our first newsletter, 1975, on the next blog which will become the previous one in this new kind of space and time. Happy Pride Day!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Two Geographies of Friendships and More

Beach Cricket, Anglesea, 2012 or How Australian Am I? Photo by La Professoressa

Joan's Oath

Early in my life here, around 2002, a group of Di's old friends and my new ones on a very hot December day down in Torquey, a beach front town, spent some time coming up with my very own Oath of Loyalty to my new country, in a parody of the citizenship pledges that were being taken around the country on this  day. Lesbian to its teeth, and deeply Australian, the oath is based on a dearly loved Australian poem, "Core of My Heart,"written  by Dorothea MacKellar in 1908, just a few years after Federation. Thank you, Sarah, Sue, Alison, Seal for an oath I could live with.

I love a sunburnt country
A land of slithering snakes
Where dingos eat the babies
and crocodiles lie in wait.

I love her vast horizons
Where girls are strapping Auzzies
I love my front and back doors
And the air is full of mozzies.

I love her creepy crawlies
This land of backyard sheds
Where anything can bite you
Even goannas run up legs.

I lover her tennis open
Her beauty and her sea
Her language does amuse me
This wide brown land for me

I love that dykes are growing lemons
and beetroot comes in ones
That friends are mates and cobbers
And they're all obsessed with bums

[I love the friends she's given me,
The old ones and the new,
I love this sunburnt country
a land of burnished time
where witty friends give care in gifts of rhyme]

Photo by Paula Grant, Joan and Denver, in Hobart, NY, 1981

Another geography, another lesbian world behind me, Naomi, Deb and Paula in a deep upper New York State winter where I have my first experience with snow shoes, an experience made even more interesting by Paula's lessons in balance which I will not go into. Denver, a most wonderful friend, who came on all our adventures, her large, sure body always ready to intercede to keep us upright. 

I am in the process of getting my "papers," the documents of my life, ready for a future when I will not be here to explain the faces or the words. Perhaps a futile or a narcissistic act, but it is the tenderness of the body caught in pleasure or in struggle, the geographies, the terrains of heat and cold, both with in and without, that I offer to a future I fear for, in the name of all our bodies, either marked as deviant or unwanted, as subversive or beyond the pale, the woman's body here who found its pleasures in the sun and the freshness of winter's air, clear in the sight of women she loved. These thought rise up in me as my mind keeps playing the image of the Golden Dawn spokesman slapping a woman who disagreed with him three times full in the face on a Greek television show while all others seemed frozen. A nation watched, a world watched--the fists of intolerance in the service of frightened nation states once again beating down the unwanted and still this man walks the streets of Athens. How did we get here from play on two continents to what connects us all--our bodies so fragile and yet so dazzling in joy when embraced in caring sight. 

Here is the full text of Dorothea MacKellar's poem which has only grown in meaning for me as I have traveled over this vast old land. In the first stanza she disowns the English traditional countryside for a different kind of place.

Core of My Heart, 1908

The love of field and coppice
Of green and shaded lanes
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins--
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies...
I know but cannot love it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains
Of ragged mountain ranges
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror--
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ringbarked forests
All tragic beneath the moon
The sapphire-misted mountains
The hot gold rush of noon--
Green tangle of the brushes
Where the lianas coil
And the orchid-laden tree-ferns
Smother the crimson soil.

Core of my heart, my country--
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die--
And then the grey clouds gather
And we can bless again,
The drumming of an army,
The stready soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country,
Young land of rainbow gold--
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back three-fold--
Over thirsty paddocks
Watch, after many days
A filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as you gaze...

An opal-hearted country,
A willful, lavish land--
Ah, you who have not loved her
You cannot understand--
---the world is fair and splendid
But whensoe-er I die
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly!

Is the land different from the Nation? Can we honor country without possessing it? And the people who walked and walk this land and were not seen as people?    A land made empty by the wishes of Empire.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Collected Poems by Naomi Replansky

Naomi Replansky, 2010

A quiet moment across from Naomi, sitting in her apartment on West 94th Street, some of her watercolors on the wall behind. She is one of the friends I make pilgrimage to when I am in New York, visits that are getting rarer and so these images that I gather by phone or camera are most precious to me; they must stand beyond distance or circumstance. Here we were talking about when her collected poems would make their appearance, too long had gone by her friends felt, but Naomi was her patient self. Now the book is out, my dear friend, so your, our wait, is over.

I have archival stories that I tell over and over because they explain my over 30 years involvement with making sure lesbians of all kinds have a collective history, have multiple and complex historical intersections with nations and  beyond. I will take you back to  the early 1980s, when I first met Naomi. On one of our Thursday work and visitors nights in the old home of LHA, on  West 92nd Street in Manhattan, two older women came into the archives-apartment, and through the bundles of women spread around the apartment, reading, sorting, planning, I made my way to them to give them a tour as we always did for newcomers who were a little shy about being in some one's home that was also a public space. I welcomed them and we began the little journey that was our equivalent of the tour of the Library of Congress. In a few minutes we came to the Poetry collection, and here one of the woman, stopped and introduced herself as a poet. "You know there is a book I have been looking for for many years--it has my first published poems which were lesbian love poems and I never got to see them in print." I held my breath.

"Do you remember the name of the book?"

"Well, it was an anthology of women's poetry published in 1939. I think the editor's name was Toomi [and now dear friends, we are back in 2012 and like the watercolors in the background of the photograph, my memory just faded, but I knew the editor's name when I started writing this. When it returns or you help me, I will finish that sentence.]

As soon as the new visitor said the editor's name my heart leaped. Lying on its side on top of other books of poetry was the very collection Naomi had never seen, "An Anthology of American Women Poets." Given to me as a gift by Deborah Edel who had found it on a throw away table in a small New England bookshop, the large blue book, we discovered, had many lesbian poets between its covers. And so my friends, I could give back to the poet her early self, the poems she had never seen in print. I felt the whole apartment go quiet as Naomi held her first published poems in her hands, wondering how such a thing could happen in such a new undertaking as the Lesbian Herstory Archives in apartment 13A. 
Part of the LHA collection in 13A, 1980s, NYC

Oh, my dear friend, so much we shared in the ensuring years, where I had the most wonderful of opportunities, to sit with a poet who was also a friend, to listen to your love for your poets. In that small apartment on 75th street where one sheet of paper with your newest poem sat quietly waiting for your next touch on the small wooden desk while we shared lintel tea and halivah in the next room. Here now in my home in another hemisphere your book sits on our living room table so all who enter see your life. And I read to them your words while they sit beside me and hear of your journey as I did so many years ago.

From "Nostalgic Memory of New York" by Naomi Replansky
When you come back to,
Come back to the city,
Do not stand and wonder
--Will it take me back?

It will take you back.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Journey of a Banner, Women in Black, Melbourne, 2012

Pushed by the increasing tensions in Palestine/Israel, the women of WIB, Melbourne spent a day, as we have always done, all the women who have worked for social change over the all these years to plan, eat, act. Alex, myself, Sue, Sandra, Marg, Geraldine, Hellen and Esme, both of whom appear below, in deep discussion of the contents of our new flyer and our banners still be to be made.
After discussing all the other issues that were consuming our hearts--like the cuts on TAFE where Alex works, ending hopes of vocational training for so many young people in need of jobs,, we moved into Marg's garage to begin the journey of our banners.
Hellen and Esme painting in our words, Sue and Marg drying one of our creations on an ancient Australian native bush.

La Professoressa stitching up the banner with the unsayable history in Israel's history books.

Today, in the beginning of the Melbourne winter, and the time for our monthly vigil, we stood in the center of Melbourne town, with our new messages of change.

A simple thing, women, many of them lesbians, some not, some Jewish, some not, meet, share a winter soup and come up with a plan. They know the forces against their dreaming are great, they know a garage and a kitchen table are seen as paltry habitats by the drone makers and the prison builders, by the wanters of pure states and the oligarchs who dig a country's wealth out of the ground and pour it into their political campaigns to silence progressive media or win for a fellow billionaire a Presidency--oh I could go on--this is what a good winter's soup and a work session in a cold garage with comrades who share a longing for another kind of Middle East, for another kind on international relations, not based on arms dealing, can do to one. Never leave this life with out such a time.
One Lebanese family paused to speak with Marg who was handing out flyers, the father with his three young daughters huddled around his legs, said, "you do not know, how deep this is for us to see. You can do this, we can't."