Over on our Instagram page, we’re posting a weekly installation from Clare Johnson’s Post-it Note Project, a long running daily project. Here’s her wrap-up and statement from September’s posts.
When I say these post-its are from my life “recently” I mean “about a month ago”. Giant wildfires ravaging the western half of this continent notwithstanding, a month ago looks like a gentler time, a less in-your-face-awful time than last week. Or perhaps last month’s worries have just receded in memory, obscured by the newest onslaught. In late August I was disregarding all the warnings, exercising in the lake each day despite air quality risks and my asthma. Normally healthy people were dropping like flies from the ash, getting sick, staying in, canceling plans. But it makes me so happy to swim outside, and bleak as it was out there, it also looked fascinating. If I have to be surrounded by grim foreboding environmental conditions, I suppose I might as well let myself revel in the weirdness of that bright orange greyness, whole days of what appears to be cold misty dawn but is also irrefutably 90-degree afternoon. As the fires settled down, a drab work meeting randomly rekindled my romance with Seattle Public Library. How had I lost track of how personally swoon-inducing the library is? For a month now I’ve literally felt it increase my happiness every single day. I’ve always liked any excuse for a walk, and honestly, just strolling down now and then to see what’s there or return something feels ridiculously pleasant. At 7:30pm, when I need a break from work — and they’re still open! And everything is free!! The world crushingly brutal and yet THE LIBRARY IS STILL THERE, AND IT JUST WANTS TO HELP. Still doing its job to help everybody out, no matter your finances — an established, expansive kindness wildly anachronistic in our current landscape. Two days later watching the documentary Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, I felt my world rearranged by solid evidence of Katharine Hepburn’s real life queerness. My deep early affinity, the enduring-yet-ever-denied sense of her being one of ours. Constantly crushed by the popular reality, her “devotion” to that male costar, the straight experience inevitably winning out over my more vulnerable one. Suddenly here it was — not just my hopeful imagination but credible accounts from real people — her queerness, and even his as well. The thoroughness washed over me with surprising force, opened something I’d learned to accept as closed without question. And yet the dominant narrative keeps ignoring, disbelieving, actively hiding such histories. Why is it still not ok for gay people to see ourselves? A couple days after that, reconnecting with an old friend, just for a day maybe, monumental and tiny. I don’t know why some things go so unsaid.