Thursday, June 11, 2015

Atlanta, 2015

It's been a long time since I've been in Atlanta.  Probably more importantly, I'm in Atlanta experiencing the Society for Disability Studies this year, an impressive organization and conference.  And even more important than me attending this conference is the fact that the SDS was the last conference I attended in 2014-2015.  Right after last year's conference, my brilliant Duke oncologist discovered I had a brain tumor was growing, and my life kicked into gear in another way in summer 2014.

A series of things happened in summer of 2014.  I worked with colleagues and friends:

  • They helped me put together the material for me moving toward my professor in Women's and Gender Studies. (It worked!  Hurray for heart-friends-heart for making me become Professor Alison Piepmeier!)
  • They helped me to create a semester of WGS that I couldn't even participate in until the very, very end of the semester.
  • They were kind and generous when they interviewed me for various things, from my article about myself in the City Paper to my interviews with the lovely English Department at the College of Charleston.

I feel certain that there are important things to have left on that list.  I know that I've said this before, but it's worth saying again.

And here I am, June 2015, hanging out in a beautiful, quiet, unnecessary hotel room, wondering what this really means, what this really is.  I was gone last week interviewing Emily Perl Kingsley at her own home--invited to stay at her very own home!  But of course that was different.  This hotel room is…calm.  Alone.  Thoughtful.  Able to stay away for virtually everything.

Latte.  Caffeine and deliciousness.  Good morning!
What does this mean?  Last year Rosemarie, one of the women whose scholarship I adore, talked all the way from the hotel to the airport.  We talked about seizures, about how able I am to embrace Down syndrome but am so…torn? shameful?…when it comes to my own seizures.  I was hiding it.  I wasn't talking about it.  Rosemarie suggested we think about the ways in which our own hidden fears can emerge.  

I'm thinking about that as I attend this conference.  I'm thinking that I'm open to the fact that I have a brain tumor, that I recently had very serious surgery, that I'm taking serious chemo, and that I'm in a world of  seizure meds (all working very, very well, so hurray for that).  This year I'm considering writing an article about what it means to be a person that has a world of challenges.  I'm facing it with my daughter (rest assured, she's surrounded by 20 people who are seriously ready to be on call 24 hours a day).  

I arrived here yesterday afternoon.  I had some ideal food in downtown.

He was generous and let me take his picture.

Beautiful hot dog.  I asked him to do it
his way, so he covered it with special slaw
and some sort of Asian ketchup. That thing
was gooooood.

Hello, Society for Disability Studies.  Hello, travel, thinking new ways.  Hello, possible ways of writing multiple things, with the focus on my book (I love it--I want to write it--I love it).

Let's see what happens.

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