“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 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 except me to ramble on about in these here digital pages:
My pronouns are she, her, they, or their. 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 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.
I read, I read, I read.
I sleep, and (mostly) wake again, dreaming sentences all my own.