AS you may have guessed from the dirth of images posted, Danifesto is in love with the written word. So when the opportunity to attend Writing Outside the Margins came up, I was very excited to check it out!
The most surprising event of the day was that I came away without any additions to my grossly overstocked personal library. There was a time that I hungrily snatched up any queer lit I could get my hands on and read voraciously about this magical world that I wanted to inhabit so desperately. Now I actually am living in a dynamic queer community, the need to read about it has subsided somewhat and I've come to the realization that not all queer lit is created equal!
I was most interested to see the headliner John Cameron Mitchell, whose work on the musical/movie Hedwig and the Angry Inch I've always admired. JCM was everything I had hoped for-insightful, witty and articulate. However he didn't leave me as breathless as Michelle Tea who read delightfully from her latest work. She was quirky, funny and I utterly fell for her charms. I also really liked the characters Zoe Whittall set in Toronto and was surprised how devastated I was at the sudden end of her story. And finally the spoken word of Kinnie Star had me grinning from ear to ear! It was quite the awesome day despite the sudden spontaneous shower!
Given my overwhelming love for these queer women writers, I have to wonder why none of the men affected me in quite the same way. After all, shouldn't I be able to relate more to them? Perhaps the sound of a women's voice reading is more pleasing, my mother always having been the one to read to me as a child. Or perhaps the women I had an affinity for were merely better writers! At any rate, I had an amazing time and big love to Xtra and the Church-Wellesley BIA for sponsoring such a worthy event!
Two days later, still riding on a "lit high," my friend Ron and I attended an amazing screening of the documentary "An Independent Mind." This movie was about the issue of free speech, a more layered issue than I originally had thought. The panel discussion following really got me thinking. Is this freedom absolute? Are all opinions protected? When we say that all expression is good, it begs the question; when does expression cause harm? (incitement to violence, propaganda, national security leaks, child pornography) Is it necessary to show the evidential harms? Or can limits be preventative? Does censorship of expression ever deliver what is promised?
What I wanted to ask (and didn't get a chance and therefore will do so here) were two things:
1) When the government uses the media as a tool of power in order to manipulate its population in a certain desired direction, how do we solve the problem of planted reporters in press conferences? Or on press "fact-finding" junkets?
2) How has the conglomeration of media hurt our access to a diversity of voices and what can we do to foster small independent media sources?
Toronto is such a fabulous place for a reader such as myself! Due to company from overseas I was unable to take part in Word on the Street but I do have plans to attend the International Festival of Authors AND check out the annual Trinity College Booksale! Until that time, I'm enjoying my weekly book club that meets at MCC to discuss A New Earth! Happy reading everyone!