Ferron: On Ageing, Our Generation, and Active Compassion (Part Two)
To make something beautiful every day is an act of gratitude.
When I asked you for suggestions on long-lived lesbians to interview, Ferron’s name came up early and often. Here’s part two of an interview done from her home in Michigan. (For part one, go to http://www.curvemag.com/Curve-Magazine/Web-Articles-2014/Ferrons-Music-Is-The-Soundtrack-To-Many-Lesbian-Lives/).
Ferron: The repetition of events, the passion of young people remind me of when we were young and how we thought we were going to change it all, and all we did is just a little tiny chip. We chipped away at it.
LLL: Can you talk about what changes our generation made?
Ferron: I sound so la-la when I talk like this, but everything is moving in a direction towards the whole, and everything that divides us has to come together. When we were fighting for equality between men and women, and the right to equal pay, and against racism, reverse racism, all that stuff, it moved everything to the point of asking: what is a man? What is a woman? Now, it’s almost passé, but it seems like the last 10 years have been challenging that definition. The change is not only through gay marriage, whatever that’s all about, but also, for example, when I’m talking to my friends and they say “he,” I have to ask now: is she a he or is he a he? It’s embarrassing, but I ask.
What I decided [to act on] was compassion. I went to work with people who were addicted and were homeless, mentally ill and so on. I see it all as a symptom of a sick culture. I learned that being inside there, and trying to work inside there, made me sick. So then I was useless, and I had to figure out a different way to do my compassion, it’s just a moment-to-moment thing.
For the gratitude, I think that to make something beautiful every day is an act of gratitude. So that’s what I do: I make something beautiful every day.
LLL: What are you making today?
Ferron: Today I got all the parts to make bird feeders. I make yogurt and bread, quilts and frames. I call the quilts wall art, and now I can make the frames for them. I’m trying to open a little web page, but it takes time because every time I make something I end up giving it away!
LLL’s conversation with Ferron will continue in the next column. Meanwhile, send suggestions and comments to: email@example.com