Thursday, March 8, 2018

Earning My Keep, Melbourne, 2003

Many thoughts set off by Megan Marshall's Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast.  How do you begin another life in a different geography, what is the meaning of traveling and how does one earn this second chance. And so many other reflections and sadness too. My desk being put in order because two old NY friends, Morgan and Saskia, are coming for a three week visit. All my tumbled papers must be given some kind of order. One fell to the floor.

                                                                                                                 November 4, 2003
Dear Peter,*
I just wanted you to have a more formal sense of what I have been doing during my honorary fellowship in addition to my writing and research. Before I begin my list, I want to thank you and every one in the English Department, Cultural Studies and Creative Writing Programs that have so warmly welcomed me.
1. Met with students approximately once a week to discuss their work.
2. Reading with Andrea Goldsmith and Lisa Davis, "Writing Live," at the Lesbian and Gay Cultural Festival, Adelaide, November 2003.
3. Department slide show and talk, "Where Do Stories Come From: The Creation of the Lesbian Herstory Archives in New York City," March 26, 2003.
4. Involved students in a public reading, "Personal Dispatches: Writers Confront War," Builders Arms Hotel, Melbourne, march 16, 2003.
5.Held small seminar in reading a text from my book, Persistent Desire, February.
6. Spoke at premiere showing in Australia of "Hand on the Pulse: The Life and Times of Joan Nestle," by Joyce Warshow, Sydney, February; Melbourne, ACMI Cinema, March 19th; Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand, May 30-31.
7. Reading, "Beyond the Primary," Builders Arms Hotel, Melbourne, April.
8. Talk and slide show, "Images from the Margins," Victorian College of the Arts, Honors Seminar, May 14.
9. Co-facilitated Gender Workshop for the Gay and Lesbian Switchboard, May 6.
10. Met with book club reading A Fragile Union, June 4.
11.Gave an hour lecture in Prof. Stiben's Gender, Sex and Power class, University of Melbourne, October 15.
12. Keynote speaker at the 25th anniversary dinner for the Australian Lesbian and  Gay Archives, October 25
13.Wrote essay, "Wars and Thinking" to be published in the American Journal of Women's History, spring, 2004.

I hope to have the opportunity to continue my contributions to the educational community at the University next year. Happy holidays,
                                                                              Joan Nestle

* Peter is my partner's brother who is a distinguished professor in the Univ. of Melbourne's English Department. No pay is involved in being an honorary fellow but my appointment did help me win the right to stay in Australia for six months, to be with Di. I was awed by the appointment and felt very much I had to deserve my time here. The reading against war came about after Barbara Bush banned the reading of American poets Walt Whitman, Emily Dickenson, Muriel Ruckeyeser and others in a Washington D.C. literary event because she considered their work too anti-American.

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