Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness and Liberation

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9780896086050: Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness and Liberation


The Mountain
1. Place
Clearcut: Explaining the Distance
Losing Home
Clearcut: Brutes and Bumper Stickers
Clearcut: End of the Line
Clearcut: Casino
2. Bodies
Freaks and Queers
Reading Across the Grain
Stones in My Heart, Stones in My Pockets

An Excerpt from Exile and Pride By Eli Clare

Draft Version: Please do not quote


I: A Metaphor

The mountain as metaphor looms large in the lives of marginalized people, people whose bones get crushed in the grind of capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy. How many of us have struggled up the mountain, measured ourselves against the mountain, failed on the mountain, lived in the shadow of the mountain, hit our heads on glass ceilings, tried to climb the class ladder, lost the fight against assimilation, struggled our way toward that phantom called normality?

We hear from the summit that the world is the best from up there. Hear that we are lazy, stupid, weak, ugly, that we live at the bottom precisely because we are those things. We decide to climb that mountain, or make a pact that our children will climb it. The climbing turns out to be unimaginably difficult. We are afraid; every time we look ahead we can find nothing remotely familiar or comfortable. We lose the trail. Our wheelchairs get stuck. We speak the wrong languages with the wrong accents, wear the wrong clothes, carry our bodies the wrong ways, ask the wrong questions, love the wrong people. And it's goddamn lonely up there on the mountain. We decide to stop climbing and build a new house right where we are. Or we decide to climb back down to the people we love where the food, the clothes, the dirt, the sidewalk, the steaming asphalt under our feet, our crutches all feel right. Or we find the path again, decide to continue climbing only to have the very people who told us how wonderful life is at the summit booby trap the trail. They burn the bridge over the impassable canyon. They redraw our topo maps so that we end up walking in circles. They send their goons-those working-class and poor people they employ as their official brutes-to push us over the edge. Maybe we get to the summit but p

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At long last, an essay on the politics and poetics of queer disability. Eli Clare, a poet with cerebral palsy, movingly describes her attempt to climb Mount Adams--not, she points out, as a "supercrip," like the boy without hands who bats .486 on his Little League team, but just as an impaired person who loves to hike: a story about ableism rather than disability. Avoiding easy answers and journalistic sunshine, she recounts the story of the fight for disabled access, touching on the history of the freak show. She tracks the origins of her own tenacity and self-knowledge to her rural Oregon upbringing and the conflicting personality of her father--who sexually abused her, but also taught her how to frame a house, how to use a chainsaw. "I think of the words crip, queer, freak, redneck," Clare remarks. "None of these are easy words. They mark the jagged edge between self-hatred and pride, the chasm between how the dominant culture views marginalized peoples and how we view ourselves, the razor between finding home, finding our bodies, and living in exile, living on the metaphoric mountain." --Regina Marler

About the Author:

Poet, essayist and activist, Eli Clare lives in Vermont where he spends time both writing and rabble-rousing. He has walked across the United States for peace, helped organize the first-ever Queerness and Disability Conference, and speaks widely about disability, queer identities, and social justice. The award-winning author of two books, Clare's writings have appeared in scores of periodicals and anthologies.

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Clare, Eli
Published by South End Press (1999)
ISBN 10: 0896086054 ISBN 13: 9780896086050
New Paperback Quantity Available: 3
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)

Book Description South End Press, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110896086054

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