If you love reading, writing, the earth and all its inhabitants, you may feel right at home here. If you have a sense of justice and compassion, a desire to help and be of service, but you’re introverted or intimidated and don’t quite know what form of activism is for you, then join the club. If you–like me–are starting over and reimagining your life, you may find the courage to begin again as I contemplate that very thing for myself.
You may, or you equally may not. Who am I to say?
I am no self-help guru, renowned author, or experienced activist. And despite the Internet’s insistence that this ‘About’ page should describe my ‘value proposition,’ and how this blog is going to help or provide you with answers, I should tell you now that what you will mostly find here are questions and contemplations.
My mission is to cultivate compassion, creativity, curiosity, and the courage to begin again. But that isn’t to say I am an expert or authority on any of those things. I seek to cultivate those things within my self and my own life. This blog is as much for me as it is for you. You may find some answers as I “live the questions,” or you may not. Perhaps I will learn something from you instead.
“I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke
“Everyone in Portland is living a minimum of three lives. Everyone has at least three identities. They’re a grocery store checker, an anthropologist, and a biker guy. Or they’re a poet, a drag queen and a bookstore clerk.”
– the inimitable Katherine Dunn
My name is Deborah Rose.
I no longer live in Portland, but I’m living lots of lives and identities in this small, single body.
Born and raised in Ireland, a country that was colonized under the British Empire, I now—through a combination of random personal circumstance and a historically racist immigration system that privileges white Europeans like me—live on colonized land in the Willamette Valley, Oregon: the Kalapuya’s native and traditional homeland.
I grew up despising imperialism only to find myself living on stolen land, a white immigrant that is afforded more respect and acceptance than so many citizens and natives of this complex and wounded country. I love my home, and do my best to nurture and preserve the small woodland I live on with my husband, but I acknowledge that I dwell on indigenous land, and that my pale skin has allowed me to walk and move through the world with mostly unfettered freedom.
At the same time, from a young age I never felt particularly “Irish” and have always been skeptical of patriotism and blind love of nation. “As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman my country is the whole world.” At seventeen, I fell in love with Virginia Woolf, and these words have meant so many evolving things to me—from the fact that women are not yet equal citizens, to the fact that the mountains and the sea know no human borders. We are all connected and responsible for taking care of the world we live in.
I don’t think I’ll ever stop exploring and interrogating my place within the world and the different spaces and identities I inhabit on this weird and wonderful, and increasingly precarious, planet. As new selves emerge, others fall away or are deliberately discarded. I’ve no idea where or who I’ll be later today or tomorrow, but here’s a bit more “about” me and some of the things you might expect me to ramble on about in these here digital pages:
My pronouns are she/her (or sí/í in Irish should that conversation ever arise).
I am a writer, a gardener, and a (backslidden) woodworker. I have a degree in English & Anthropology, a Masters in Women & Gender Studies, have been all over the world and back again, and I still know nothing, not really.
I am vegan for the animals, the planet, social justice and consistent anti-oppression, and for my own personal wellbeing. Becoming vegan has changed every aspect of my life (overwhelmingly for the better), and you will certainly see me exploring those topics from time to time, be it in the form of a book review or a personal essay.
I take pictures, I write letters, I cook. I clean the chicken coop, fill the hummingbird feeders, tell my secrets to the bees, love on the kitties and laugh with the ducks. I embroider and knit and stoke the fire.
I’m ambivalent, I’m anxious, I loafe. I don’t know that these are bad things.
I am also thoughtful, compassionate, and kind. I want the best for me and better for you, whoever you are.
I read, I read, I read.
I sleep, and (mostly) wake again, dreaming sentences all my own.