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🍂 Recourse: The Anthropocene Reviewed and Turtles All The Way Down

🍂 Recourse: The Anthropocene Reviewed and Turtles All The Way Down
By Autumn Wright • Issue #1 • View online
This month’s Exploits cover story is a new essay about (my experience with) John Green’s writing in the podcast The Anthropocene Reviewed and the novel Turtles All The Way Down.

RECOURSE: The Anthropocene Reviewed and Turtles All the Way Down
The Unspoken Inspiration
As much as I wanted to mention it in some way, I could not find the space to acknowledge how influential Lulu Miller’s 2020 book Why Fish Don’t Exist was to my writing this. Miller’s book is part biography of the ichthyologist David Starr Jordan (famous for taxonomizing thousands of the fish we know today and for being the founding president of Stanford), part memoir of her own life (her writing, her learning queerness, her suicidal ideation). Miller interrogates the Sisyphean struggle of David’s life and tries to find solace in it the way Aza might the Pettibon and the way I might TAR. Though these comparisons don’t really do it justice. She relates his struggle to her own ongoing existential fight with suicide. Of course, you might assume a queer woman living in the 21st century would struggle to relate to the life of a conservative zealot from a century ago. And you’d be right, but you have no idea how much so. The book goes places you could not expect and concludes with an unspoken deconstruction of heteronormativity that has been set up for 170 pages without even mentioning the word. It’s great. (And she does answer the eponymous question.) But reading the brief glimpses into her mind were particularly powerful for me, because I had never seen someone else describe living with ideation like that. And she finds a way out. Why Fish Don’t Exist was the first book I read this year. I devoured it in less that 24 hours. A few weeks later, I wrote this.
Obsidian
There is some more writing of mine in this issue of Exploits. I wrote a few words about “Obsidian,” the Adventure Time: Distant Lands episode about Bubbline. Having just finished my first chronological re-watch of the entire series, writing about the girls was a bit emotional. When Distant Lands is over I may compile my reviews of each episode and my other writing about Adventure Time at Unwinnable into something.
Did You Know
The yearbook quote I mentioned is a bit of a white lie, since someone in my high school’s yearbook club actually lost the form with my quote on it and so I got the generic placeholder underneath my portrait. Which is just so awful as you might imagine, having my yearbook ruined. Now what will I show my 2.5 KIDS when I recount the GOOD OLD DAYS of my twinkish boyhood and free breathable air?!
This was the quote, though:
“The great thing about imagining learning as cartography, instead of imaginary hurdles that you have to jump over, is that you see a bit of coastline, and that makes you want to see more.”
I still think that’s true insomuch as it already describe my own approach to learning, a personal philosophy for education. Both because of and despite all the standardized tests I was put through as a “gifted kid,” I had many great teachers. College only expanded my opportunities for a wide, general education. That’s how I came to write the way I do. Now I am learning how to continue that on my own, and revisiting Green’s TED Talk was a reminder to value and contribute to the writerly communities I am fortunate enough to be a part of.
P.S.
Almost all my writing is compensated to some extent, but these letters do take time and effort to create. If you enjoy this and want to support my work, consider supporting me on Ko-fi.
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Autumn Wright

Autumn Wright is a Florida based essayist and critic writing about games and culture. Subscribe to Autumn Leaves to get notified via email when they publish new writing. Each update also includes additional writing about their writing and research process.

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