A Letter from M
I was on my way to say goodbye when I heard you had left this world. It’s hard to adequately describe what your departure means for us.
I’ve comforted myself with thoughts of those you may meet on your journey. I imagine Leijia, her breathy-raspy voice greeting you with a “hey babe” and softening your landing with a cup of coffee and a cigarette as she did for everyone she did jail support for; I Imagine you meeting Clark, our heroes of making other-worlds real together at last in the summerlands, I imagine Leyla, who’s love could make its recipient feel like the most special being on earth, as could yours.
You held the expanse of the world we want in the tiniest interpersonal interaction and never let it go. You believed so deeply in people and the power of your belief was like a mirror into a self uncontended with. A challenge to be the person you saw with the necessary attributes to, as you might say, undo empire.
You had just begun talking about collective life again, cautiously, because past experiences had made you take a hard turn away from them. I wasn’t sure you would come back around, but of course you did, because no matter what, you had endless capacity to soften to magic and possibility.
You mediated a conversation between M and me at the height of a crisis and the way you held the mini-drama of our relationship up to the the blinding light of the world we want and never let us lose sight of it made me acutely aware of how deadly serious you were about that world and about your belief in us. You held us to its standard, because fuck this tattered wreck we call a world.
May we all have friends who hold us to the standards of those worlds brought into being by this insistence that came to Jess with such unbelievable ease. May we all find ways to approximate this colossal and beautiful task for each other.
The idea of another world that is produced through will and passion might seem like fantasy, a space of privilege, divorced from reality, but within it and within Jess’ care, all that was real was welcomed. Practicing this spiritual and affective severing is a crucial ingredient of making ourselves capable of inhabiting revolutionary horizons.
What is vital about the creation of an other-world simply for the sake of it, is the full willingness to exit this one. These spaces of exodus make the attachments we have to this world more tenuous and our attachments to each other and our potential becomings richer. Maybe similar to how new forms of life develop in a contested autonomous zone, its inhabitants’ becomings not predicated on what they seek to exit and further severing the threads that hold us hostage.
The affective or spiritual exodus requires tending to as much as the material, Jess understood and was our greatest champion of this. I hope the hundreds of us that learned from her, who saw the seriousness of her proposal, who felt immersed in a world of a decidedly different quality and thought about never going back, can continue to tend to these other-worlds that are, in their slowness and failure, celebration and ceremony part of giving ourselves the space to dispense with this world that requires unraveling through revolution and also beauty.
Photo courtesy of Alicia Brown