Dangerous Compassions



Hello, reader.  How are you doing?  My housemate was telling me a story in the kitchen.  We were cooking our last dinner together before they left our community.

When someone’s telling me a story, I like to interrupt them.  I say–wait, wait.  Can I guess what’s going to happen?

It’s a bad habit.  May be left over from being a teacher.

critical thinking

Composition teachers are really not having a glamorous job.  Just about nobody wants to take that class, but it’s required.  So students take it.  I taught composition for six years, at a university and community colleges.

But that’s a good class because composition includes critical thinking, which is sacred, right?  Critical thinking is one of our powerful tools in the search for truth.  Also it’s a powerful tool in the demo project of destroying capitalism.  Critical thinking helps us question everything–advertising and other manipulation, politician lies, harmful systems that serve the rich at the expense of the rest of us.

Critical thinking is a way of thinking besides passively taking in what we hear as truth.  Here are some parts of it.

  • examining motives
  • understanding that what sounds good might not actually be good
  • figuring out what’s just
  • getting familiar with common logical fallacies so as not to be duped by them
  • staying on our toes as we listen to new information, like active listening
  • being intentional about learning
  • what we do with what we learn

Sorting, manipulating, and storing the info in our minds is a huge thing.  In regular life, we talk about what we do in the physical world.  But how we handle information internally, decide what we believe, and choose what to share are hidden processes, less discussed.


There’s what we do in the outer world–all our experiences.  Then there’s the inner life–all our thoughts, feelings, reactions, and how we integrate them with what we already know.

Trying to predict what will happen next is a nice piece of intelligence.  Feels like mental weight lifting.  And being wrong is one of my favorite ways to learn.

I’m slow moving, but fast thinking.  My mind is racing along like a hedgehog cartoon creature on speed.  I can’t stop that.  Predicting is something I can’t turn off.  So it’s fun to share about it, with a friend I’m talking to.

Wow, I said more about that than I intended.  Thanks for coming along for the ride.


This is my rendition of a trans sci-fi story that my now ex-housemate told me in the kitchen, as we made stuffed bell peppers, roasted potatoes, and red lentil dal.

The beginning is my poor synopsis of the actual story.  Then we will go into my ecstatic invented part.


Once upon a time, there was a lady who was given a uterus.  She had been born with different equipment.  She was given a uterus because someone else was carrying the new messiah–I think that new Mary got into a car crash, or otherwise, she died.  But the God-fetus was still kickin’.

So evil(?) scientists sewed the holy uterus into the trans lady, as the first uterus transplant.  But there was a problem.  The uterus-receiver wasn’t open to being pregnant.  This was non-consent, and she wanted an abortion.

This was dangerous because the powers that be were invested in the new messiah.  So they imprisoned the fetus-carrier, treating her as a baby machine.  Yuck.  She was about eight months pregnant.

my part

One day it was breakfast time.  The lady was home in her home-prison, spreading delicious raspberry jam on her toast, daydreaming about her confined day.

Then she had a strange feeling.  Rainbows started to shoot out of her abdomen.  They were like the rainbow fragments that can shine out of prisms.  She was surprised and dropped her butter knife.

Then she was lifted into the sky.  She raised up through the roof, above the treetops, up through the clouds, and found herself in a high place, with the rainbow-portions still shooting out of her abdomen.

There was a deity that arrived who looked like an octopus.  The deity looked at our girl with complete love.


By that time she was so high up–they were in space.  Stars could be seen, but the stars turned into birds.  They were stars and birds at the same time–twinkling, flying, preening, shining, and singing.

The lady looked back to earth.  It looked like earth looks from space–like those pictures of the whole world as blue and green marble with cloud-swirls.  Earth was singing too.

She realized–the earth is a mouth.  Had earth been a mouth all along?

Nothing bothered her anymore.  The song was so beautiful, as sung by the earth and the birds and now everything.  In fact, everything was the song.

The song got louder, and she realized that the earth-mouth was open.  The earth-mouth swallowed the octopus deity, the bird-stars, the moon, the lady, the rainbows, and itself.

the end

That’s how the story ends.  It was a loud, ecstatic ending.  Somehow I doubted that’s how the published story actually ended.

But the octopus goddess seemed vivid to me, mostly purple.  And the bird-stars.  I felt like it had all happened before, and I was half-remembering it.  Like when I make art and feel like it already exists–I’m just pulling it from the other side.

“Is that how the story ended?” I asked my housemate friend.

“No–I wish,” my housemate said.

“Ok, well–how did it really end?” I asked.

My housemate friend explained that the lady had other translady friends who she met with to talk.  And they figured out how to do the abortion together.  They performed the abortion themselves.

I told my housemate friend how that reminded me of 1960s feminist sci-fi of empowerment.  Girl gangs who do what culture doesn’t do.  So it’s a nice harkening back, in a more pertinent trans way.  An echo or rhyming of this modern story with an older one.

menstrual extraction

Then I told my housemate friend how when I was a kid in high school, my first zine–not the very first issue, but the first zine I ever made–had a part about menstrual extraction.  My housemate friend had not heard of it.

“It’s where you get some tubing and when it’s almost time that you would get your period, you suction out all the uterus contents.  So it’s kind of like having an abortion every month?” I hazarded.  “It was something they did in groups like that, I think.  The same crowd that would have their own speculums and DIY the health of those parts.”

“Hell yeah,” my housemate friend said.

I never had my own speculum, and I don’t think I’ve seen my own cervix.  But that’s kind of me.  For years I’ve had that wish of being an herbal abortionist, with Ming as my street medic nurse sidekick.

questions for discussion

Are you the kind of person who would have your own speculum?

Do you like the ending I made of the story?

What was your first zine like?

Is your mind also like a cartoon hedgehog on speed?

Are you always predicting?

How do you take in, sort, save, and share information?

Are you intentional about it, or is your mind a messy closet stuffed with random shit getting lost and found and lost?

How do you decide what you believe?

the actual story

The actual story is called No Comment.  It’s by Ayse Devrim, and the book is called Meanwhile, Elsewhere.  I’m not much of a fiction reader, but I might need to find this book.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

4 replies on “story”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *