At least 28 years ago my friend Rosanne gave me a shirt that, while huge on me, I loved. I think I was supposed to wear it with leggings (which were “in” 28 years ago, along with big hair) or maybe she meant to wear it when I was pregnant.
The front of the shirt has dozens of women’s names on it in an inverted triangle, with I’m in good company in lilac in the middle of the names. The bottom of the triangle (the tip) reads “Me!”
The back of the shirt has an image of a man who resembles the Fallout Shelter guy fishing and the caption reads, “Good Catch!” which I assumed was the name of the company that made the shirt.
I wore the shirt with pride for many years, until it started getting ragged at the neckline and holes showed up in spots, then I wore it as a night shirt.
At some point I figured out that many, if not all, of the women named on the shirt fell somewhere in the LGBTQ+ community and I wondered if I was telling a lie by wearing it, or could even be accused of appropriation. Nevertheless, I still loved it and wore it with pride.
I heard a quote by George R. R. Martin this morning that got me thinking about a certain person I know who never reads.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one.”
I wonder if people who don’t read have less empathy for people who are not a part of their circle then people who read a lot. It seems reasonable to think that if you are exposed to others, even with only words you develop more empathy with people you don’t know, people who are not like you.
I know for a fact that after reading Five Smooth Stones I became a different person. I’d not known anything about the civil rights movement other than what family members had to say.