I joked on Mastodon recently that I've spent the year building up my shadow CV. Taking more risks has meant racking up a not-insignificant number of rejections. While it never feels good to hear 'no', I do think that it's a sign that I'm pushing into new terrain in ways that are meaningful and challenging. A sign that growth is happening, albeit in nonlinear ways, like mycelium testing out new pathways—advancing, retreating, connecting, determining the areas of greatest promise.
It feels like a season of breathing. Inhaling new learning as I take classes on botany and mycology. Exhaling as I teach others in my class at CUNY Graduate Center. Inhaling possibility. Exhaling disappointment. Breathing in, breathing out, letting that rhythm continue, knowing that I breathe in the exhalations of plants, that I breathe out and support their growth as well.
In our April discussion session, guest leaders Kendra Sullivan, Carrie Smith, and Kathleen Fitzpatrick focused on activist and coalitional administration at several levels of the university. Building on the ecological metaphors, we talked about weeds—plants growing where they’re not supposed to grow, where they’re unwelcome. The plants that push through disturbed soil most readily, along with the fungi that support their growth. Perhaps weedy growth is a way to rethink possibility—emerging through the cracks, growing opportunistically when the moment presents itself.
I don’t know whether it’s a theory of change that supports lasting transformation—after all, weeds grow quickly but they often fade quickly as well. But maybe the interstitial moments of fleeting possibility are where some of us can best thrive. A healthy ecology needs them all, the sturdy trees and the ephemeral grasses, the decomposers and the seeds of new life.
In thinking about these rhythms, I've decided I’m going to pause the Inkcap zoom discussions for a bit. I started them in 2021, during a moment of so much uncertainty and a deep craving for connection. We're in a different moment, now, and I want to take a beat and reflect on what shapes this community might take on as our collective context shifts. That dormancy doesn’t mean nothing is happening, though. In addition to these newsletters, here's a bit of what's going on behind the scenes and ways to stay connected:
A small group of us has put forward a proposal for the Triangle SCI institute that, whether it is successful or not, may open up some new directions for Inkcap. Stay tuned!
We're continuing our Friday cowriting sessions, weekly from 2-4pm Eastern; if you're interested in participating, let me know.
NYC friends: In partnership with the New York Mycological Society, I'm leading an in-person reading group on Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing's The Mushroom at the End of the World on Saturday, May 20. More details here.
I've been teaching, and the class has been amazing thanks to the incredible and engaged students. If you're interested, browse the course website for Power, Precarity, and Care in DH, including the syllabus and student reflections.
Finally, my next book, The Presence of Absence: Meditations on the Unsayable in Writing will be coming out before long from punctum books. I'll share when it's available!
If you have ideas you'd like to explore in the context of Inkcap—whether a project possibility, or a discussion you'd like to host, or something else—please let me know! I'd love to hear from you.
With wishes for springtime warmth and growth,