Jo Marches On (Jury Duty Reading)

I got through jury duty by rereading Little Women, the 1869 YA tome that, like much of the best literature for young ladies, cloaks its subversions in pretty bows, scapegraces, and misbegotten crushes. Jo March, the literary alias of author Louisa May Alcott, was the bluntest, most boyish, and most fiercely independent of the book’s four New England sisters. As a young girl growing up within miles of their fictional home (Concord, the very heart of New England’s transcendental movement), I identified with Jo powerfully, especially with her dreams of becoming a writer and with her unwillingness to cowtow to the constraints of prescribed femininity. Goddess knows I never bought the ending in which she gave up her literary dreams to marry a plain, moralizing German nearly twice her age.

“I”ll never marry!” I’d declare upon snapping the second volume shut, and though I was reading her tale 100 years later, grownups still tsk-tsked. “You’ll grow out of that attitude once you meet the right boy.” Well, I never met the right boy nor the right girl, and it gave me great satisfaction to learn Louisa never did, either. Instead, she trumpeted statements like: “I’d rather be a free spinster and paddle my own canoe!”

Was it because she harbored secret same-sex longings? Because, as many of her biographers argue, she longed for the real-life Laurie who loved her sister best? I prefer to think Louisa May Alcott was like me: Someone for whom gender was a disease if allowed to dictate who she could be and how, not just who, she could love. I am a feminine woman who will never play femme, a butch who likes to wear long dresses and lipstick, a domestic daddy long legs who loves motherly men and stand-up bois best. And even a century after Alcott strode this earth, my love and literature can’t find a home in this oddly literal world.

I’m approaching the last age Louisa ever reached, but still I pray to her teenaged Jo to guide me through my own book, my own life. Maybe genius isn’t burning, but it’s desire all the same.

Capricorn’s Mighty Check

New moon in Capricorn tonight, abutting a solar eclipse no less. Capricorn is a cardinal sign–a leader, a head goat, a captain of industry–and I should know, being a bossy Cappy if ever there were one. When we experience a solar eclipse with the sun, Mercury, Saturn, Pluto, the South Node, and a new moon in this sign, we experience a tumbling of hierarchies and any institutions that have worn out their welcome. You don’t need to think on what needs to be released on a night like this. Everything that isn’t your calling will be up in ashes before you remember its name. Scary, sure. But also: fabulous. PS I’m doing new year/new moon Ruby Intuition readings this and next Sunday and still have some free slots. Message me to set up your in-person or video-chat session.

A Tourist in My Own Town

Central Perky

One of the many, many things I love about NYC is that when one neighborhood proves wearying (Williamsburg houses far too many of my exes), you can dip into a whole new world just by traveling a few miles. This holiday season I have been a tourist in my own city and have found real December magic, even when the adventures have left something to be desired.

Last Sunday I traveled to an unusually demure Midtown to ogle the big-hearted precision of the Alvin Ailey dancers at the New York City Center. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy