“The soul selects her own society,” wrote poet Emily Dickenson, “Then – Shuts the door. To her divine majority – present no more.”
This summer, Dickenson’s dauntless defence of shutting our door continues to suggest an alternative view of strength in solitude, at a time when European governments are urging us to get back to normal.
At The Demented Goddess, we’ve never been big fans of normal. Of course, greater activity will grant enormous financial and emotional relief. And our queer readers have missed the visibility and networks of support at LGBTQI Pride celebrations. The Demented Goddess team is yearning for our summer festivals, bursting with inclusive love and gender exploration. I know I will miss performing drag cabaret and partying at festivals that have been downsized or cancelled. Many of those in the process of transitioning or coming out, are desperate to be out with our sparky communities that are vital to our well-being, despite the get-togethers online.
However, the pandemic has also brought greater quietude and focus for artists and thinkers. We’ve determined our autonomy under almost impossible pressures. We’ve grown in our ability to listen, to attend, to support one another.
So, for our Summer Issue, we are celebrating those unlikely pleasures discovered on the margins of everyday habits and opinions. We’ve collected a few of the most interesting sounds and points of view from writers, musicians, artists and performers to find those textures that unfold when we pay more attention.
Cowbells and gongs meet reverberating foghorns, as we talk to Anna Friedberg, Rhyannon Styles and Jennifer Lucy Allan. The new album from Penelope Trappes, a regal work of choral enchantment, reveals the apprehensions of moving into a new stage of life. Author Pragya Agarwal discusses the hard-fought pleasures of mothering. Visionary multi-media artist Joan Pope offers new portals for moving through time. Sickbed poses from our favourite pussy terrorist performance artist, Liad Hussain Kantorowicz, remind us how beauty is still necessary for those of us managing chronic health conditions and Long Covid. And the new DJ mix from Caoimhe Lavelle is a sensuous, shimmering coil of songs that reward fertile minds and bodies hungry for movement. Here’s to the continuing unfolding of unlikely pleasures!
Love on ya,
Main picture: from ‘Becoming One With Nature’, by Joan Pope