About Me (which led to the most amazing dialogue in the world) (see comments)


I made a new bio! I tried, really, really hard, to be plain and direct and clear, but instead what came out is this.

My name is Carrot Quinn, and I call the Pacific Northwest home, most of the time. I have a community that supports me, a bioregion that feels familiar, and yet often I wander, despondent, searching for a world that no longer exists, but that I seem to remember- in some visceral, intuitive way. I ride freight trains thousands of miles, looking. I sleep in clumps of trees on dead-end roads, hoping the answer will come to me in my dreams. I hitch-hike home alone when the weather turns foul, and search the faces of the strangers in whose trucks I ride, waiting for an answer to come. I’m homeless in the way that we’re all homeless, in that we’re all colonizers without a sense of place, crawling all over each other for the last bit of decent earth and good clean air, unable to remember where it is we came from or what used to matter. I live life on the edge of poverty, but only in that white, able-bodied, north american way, which means that in reality, I have access to more resources than almost anyone else on the face of the planet. And which also means that I am, by definition, often sheltered from the real story, the real history, of any stretch of road I walk- despite my efforts to hack it all open with an ice-pick, in whatever way I know how. And you, dear reader, you read this blog because you like a good story. And I invite you to think of me, although not so different from you, as a sort of satellite- your roving hobo journalist with an ice-pick over my shoulder- collecting field notes on this, the great eveningtime of western civilization, and assembling them here for you- so that the view from my small, queer window might be of some comfort to us both.

Also, there are several story threads that have consistently woven their way through this travel document since I began it, in June of 2008- a trip east, via freight train, in September, and my return to the west-coast, via hitch-hiking, in late November. The rest of the entries consist of train and travel stories from that murky time pre-blog, and also tales from the present-tense that have nothing to do with traveling.

Thanks for reading and leave me comments, and I’ll tweak this thing as necessary, to make it clearer/more about what you’d like to know.


contact me k r o t t e n ( a t ) g m a i l ( d o t ) c o m

32 thoughts on “About Me (which led to the most amazing dialogue in the world) (see comments)

  1. I like your new bio, though the old one was good too. You do lead an interesting life, and you are quite good at sharing it.

    Merry Christmas, and I wish you a new year filled with joy and lots of interesting adventures.

  2. I am new here and I’m infatuated, not because I’m bored – Lordisa knows I keep myself busy- but because I’m starving. Your personal revolution, your experiences and views are nourishing me. YOur personal revolution is the most revolutionary I know.

    I admit, I was a bit confused about the timeline. First in Portland and then suddenly on the I5 North in L.A. I get it now. You are reminiscing in the Portland snow.

    Thank you for your writing.

    My friends are still coming down to L.A. in Jan. in their camper. If you are coming this way, I think they can offer you a ride. Their website is sidestreetreny.com

    Blessings to you! As you find your way, you help others find theirs!

  3. “Refuse to work.”

    Although I love your writing and your stories, I must tell you that this is spoken like a true privileged person.

    Some people have to work. Have people depending on them, families, sick parents, sick children. I don’t know anyone who lives in a cottage of graham crackers. I know people who live in trailers and crumbling shacks, not by romantic choice, by poverty- real poverty, not the kind you choose for adventure or to feel rebellious. The kind that fucks you up early and leaves you feeling dirty and gross and tired and ugly.

    I agree that people all over the world suffer so, but there are people here who do not at all live in a fairy tale and are suffering greatly too. These people cannot just jump on trains and write about it. They break their backs in the factory every day.

    You shouldn’t appropriate words like “homeless.” Wanderer, awesome. Hobo, interesting. Homeless? Real homeless people are afraid of winter, because they freeze to death in it and starve in it.

    I’m sorry If I am wrong, but I have met so many train hopping, self-proclaimed “homeless” and they all come from privilege. Then they all talk down to other people like everyone else but them is sad and stupid and trapped. The levity…

  4. Davka-

    I am fairly aware of my privilege, and I thought I addressed that here-

    “I live life on the edge of poverty, but only in that white, able-bodied, north american way, which means that in reality, I have access to more resources than almost anyone else on the face of the planet.”

    And I don’t use the word “homeless” to describe myself, except in this way-

    “I’m homeless in the way that we’re all homeless, in that we’re all colonizers without a sense of place”

    And I know that many, many people cannot just “chose” not to work, and that I can only run around having adventures because I’m one of the most privileged people on the face of the planet, but I also have a pretty good idea of who reads my blog (and, indeed, who reads blogs at all- they are, it turns out, incredibly inaccessible, and are generally read by people of a very narrow demographic- aka middle-to-upper class white people with boring office jobs.) and I wrote this bio speaking to that audience- people who can and want to live more simply than they do, and who often “chose” to work as much as they do, because they can’t imagine any other life.

    Privilege is such a massive part of each interaction I have with the world, every day of my life. The fact that I’m white, the fact that I’m thin, the fact that I’m able bodied, the fact that I speak english- even the fact that I’m a woman but I present masculine (which means, believe it or not, less sexism directed my way), and I really, really, really want to talk about all of that. Maybe I’m not devoting enough of my blog to this discussion?

    These are good points. Thanks for bringing them up. And what about you, Davka? Do you talk about privilege on your blog?

  5. been reading for a while now when I saw a random craigslist post by you. just wanted to leave a comment and say thanks for the traveling blog that isn’t just about “look what I can do and get away with, i’m so cool and macho” but where you’re honestly confronting what it means for you to move through all these spaces and times. yes, i’m one of those privileged mid-class white folks s(and male-bodied) who has the time to read blogs… but it is nice to find ones such as yours willing to talk about this privilege, find out what it means, etc. (see comments above).

    Anyways thanks and I hope you keep writing!

  6. Davka,

    Of course there are people who live in real poverty in this country. What does that have to do with anything?

    Choosing a hobo lifestyle is completely unrelated to how appreciative or ignorant you are of people who need to work hard to maintain a reasonable standard of living.

    It’s about realizing that a job is not needed to maintain a reasonable standard of living (assuming you’re young, and have no dependents or major health problems).

    If I can play internet poker for 2 hours a day, living in a van, and have more material wealth and comfort than the vast majority of humans on Earth, than why not? Why not take advantage of this privilege?

    The poverty-stricken people you refer to are a small minority of the population, and an even smaller minority of the blog-reading population. So, as cold-hearted as it may seem, most blogs shouldn’t be written to appeal to that demographic.

    Most middle-class Americans keep working simply because they have different values, not because they have to. It seems that most people value a $50k car twice as much as a $25k car. They feel it’s worth twice the labor to acquire it, no matter how pointless that labor feels to them. I disagree, and thus, I don’t feel I need a job.

  7. And some more info-
    I DO work about half the year, and live off my savings for the rest, which is possible because I don’t have any medical bills/dependents/college debt (because I never went!). And no, I don’t have a trust fund.

  8. Hooked reading your blog and perspective. I do fit the white middle-upper class profile except the white collar part. 30+ years at the same workplace and it suits me fine. Thank you for blogging your adventures. You are a great writer and your photos show things I would never see. Be safe, enjoy your time and have an excellent new year.

  9. This is such an intriguing thread. The privilege to be a hobo. I do think that Carrot does illustrate her knowledge of being privileged very well. I thought that referring to colonizers as “homeless” was so brilliant that I read it to my mother.

    Not to discount what Davka said either. She is, by the way, one of the most prolific and talented writers I have ever read in my life. She lays it out like spilled blood and guts on the floor. Yes, there are those of us who have good reason to fear winter. Yes, many of us do not have the choice to live life riding trains and hacking through history. We have people who depend on us for survival. We have hunger and pain that roots us to whatever we need to do to survive. Yes I wish I had the luxury to be like Carrot too.

    But I don’t. I’m not a white guy in a $300 suit sitting in a cubicle. My father is white, and came from privilege but my mother immigrated here from the Philippines. By definition that makes me Non-white. I’m a single mom on public aid living with my single mom and going to school. I’m Terrified, every single day, that I’m going to fuck up and ruin the life of a beautiful and amazing little girl that depends on me for survival. Knowing that all it would take would be for my mom to lose her office job for us to be homeless. And not by choice.

    By the way, the people who are living in absolute poverty are not a very small segment of the population but a huge chunk of the world. This chunk is being filled with women and children more and more.

    I respect Carrot for not taking part in “normal society”. The society that allows our own women and children to be homeless. Oh, but it’s all just forgiven by volunteering at a shelter once a year. I think that Carrot takes more responsibility for her privileges than most people.

  10. This isn’t about Carrot, and what she does anymore. I am not sure the “About Me” is that terrific either once you,Carrot wander off into the sociological morass of graham cracker houses and work which —in your opinion— doesn’t mean doing anything useful. But if you feel that way, fine. This is your place to express an opinion. If I find it irratiuonal or stupid, I’ll read somebody else.

    The comments here have degenerated into a sociology class about “target audiences” and what can be forgiven by showing up to help at a shelter once a year, and who writes about privilege on their blog. Please.

    This is pretty simple.
    Carrot Quinn does what she does for her reasons and she writes about it, often evocatively and well. Seems everyone agrees they like to read it. What they do for a living or whether they like their work seems pretty irrelevant.

    I read this blog because Carrot writes well and about real things. I am often informed or amused. End of Story. You have other reasons? That’s fine.
    This is her blog. Carrot writes to please herself, amuse us, and perhaps pass on a truth or two.
    Let’s just get on with that…

  11. Reamus-

    Yeah, I think you about summed it up, although I’ve really been enjoying the dialog that this comment box has become. Privilege is such a testy subject- something we’re almost TERRIFIED to talk about, and we shouldn’t be. I can’t think of anything more ordinary, or common. Let’s hash it out, people!

    On the note of me thinking work is dumb, I think I just wandered off into the land of ridiculous metaphors and lost everyone. The thing that I think is “dumb” is what the word “work” has come to mean- waged labor. That’s all it means. And if you’re not doing waged labor 40 hours a week, then you’re just a drag on society. But what about being a mom? That’s not waged labor! There aren’t even health benefits! Someone very smart (I can’t remember who) once said- “The most revolutionary thing anyone can do is raise a loving child.” But that’s not even considered “work”! On the other hand, if you spend 60 hours a week at some office making bigtime bucks as a lawyer, you’re considered a fucking hero! Yay! Big round of applause for you!

    And what if you live for as cheap as possible, sharing food and rent with friends and taking the bus and riding your bike, and it allows you to work very little, and you spend the rest of your time distributing food to homeless people, or organizing with farm workers, or even taking anti-racist classes or participating in a co-counseling group so you can learn to be a better human being? What if you just spend all your time gardening, and cooking, (which is becoming a lost art) and provide your friends and family with incredible, healthful food, better, even, than anything money can buy (money you would get by working) and in the end, you’ve just brought up the quality of life of the whole fucking neighborhood, in addition to the preventative effect of eating healthy foods, which will avert alot of medical expenses down the road? What, even, if you get rid of your car, cut your hours at the bar you work at, and spend your days learning holistic medicine, gather medicinal herbs that grow in your area, and then spend all your time treating the health problems of friends and community members, for fucking free? What if you just play your accordion on the streetcorner for change? People need music! People need accordians! People need real goddam food! I’m talking about quality of life here, goddam quality of life! You can’t put a pricetag on that! Or a fucking wage! I’m not playing videogames all day, people, and neither is anyone I know! This is real fucking life!

    We have such a stigma in this particular western culture against people who “don’t work”. But aside from paying the bills, why is it that we are so gung-ho about waged labor? Why is waged labor the only “valid” way to spend our time? What does it keep us from doing, when we’re working all the time to pay for things we don’t need? Does it keep us from making art? From growing food? From getting to know our neighbors? What would our society look like, if we had more quality leisure time, and we weren’t completely drained from working some job that we hated?

    Maybe I’m just idealistic, too blinded by my own privilege to see that everybody has to fucking work, all the time, and that’s just the way it is. And I, after all, am no exception- I need about five grand worth of dental work at the ripe old age of 26, plus the money to go to Mexico to get it done. I’m actually combing the internet for jobs as we speak, faced with a shit job economy in Portland grown even worse in the months I’ve been gone. My savings are pretty much gone. I’m dog sitting for a friend right now but after that, I don’t have a place to live. I’m hoping it all comes together at the last minute, because that’s the way it seems to work for me. And if it doesn’t, I’m young and resilient enough to tough it out until it does, and I have a community of incredible friends who have my back, which is what happens when you don’t work all the fucking time and have time to build community with the people who share your ideals.

    It could’ve been different. I could have hella health problems. I could have kids. Shit, what if I wasn’t white? Everything would be different. We all walk this line, an intersection of “spaces and times” (as aaron34 so poetically put it), we’re all hanging on the only way we know how. And because I CAN refuse to do waged labor half the time, I do. But it’s because I want to be of some goddam use, and right now I’m trying to figure out how.

    If I you or I were “working” right now, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, BTW.

    But extra points to you if you ARE reading this at work.

    More comments! More comments!

  12. Carrot Quinn,

    Yup, I agree with much of that and if you had put it that way the first time instead of wandering off into the “land of ridiculous metaphors” a lot more would have understood it.

    Work is good.

    Work for pay is not better than work for no pay, although somehow the world has come to believe it.

    Work that produces something–music, wood carving, good food–all the other things you mention or imply is the very best kind. Work that produces the words that you write is good as well.
    The words I write are work even if they only produce emotions and a willingness to think about things a little differently. That is the work I do, so I get it.

    I am working now. I write. Its what I do. Sometimes I get paid, sometimes I don’t. That doesn’t make the “paid stuff” better or more valuable. Unless my novel sells, I won’t get paid. I’ll live if it doesn’t.
    I’m sure you’ll get a lot more on this string but I do get it Carrot Quinn, I get it. Just keep writing, I want to see the fruits of that work too.

  13. Carrot, when I responded initially I was in a shitty headspace. I think I misread you and now that I realize who you had in mind with the demographic when you said what you said, I understand it better. I misunderstood so much because of my experiences with anarcho-train-hopping-biktivist who, in my experiences, are very arrogant with their assumptions that everyone should live like them while at the same time shunning people who live very simple wage labor lives. I read, “I refuse to work,” and it sent red sirens off in my brain because to me that statement is almost identical to the “I’m not racist! I don’t see color!” line so many of us white-privileged folk have spoken in one easy breath, never realizing just what it really says.

    I think you bringing up the demographic of bloglandia is very important and really opened my eyes. Most of the people who read my blogs are people like you and me and sloth and hobostripper- people who are wandering and lost and finding. Finding each other in bloglandia in a really cool way.

    Work sucks. It steals your soul. Working hard for the achievement of someone else’s dreams- that hurts me so much. I think it hurts all of us in a way we can’t even begin to articulate. A way you are articulating in your blog, and you have mad respect from me for it and I wish I would have said that before.

    But the people who I grew up with and love cannot escape their situations. They must work. They would love to throw caution to the wind and travel, hop trains, experience music in the streets, but they are afraid of those things. Most of it is a real valid fear because doing so would just obliterate their lives and the lives of the people depending on them.

    One example: my best friend has three babies and lives in shitty section 8 housing. She is on welfare and struggles daily to survive. That is the financial layer. The psychological layer is that growing up dirt poor fucked her up in a lot of ways. Growing up woman had her molested early. So she is now addicted to a lot of medications for her nerves. Last week she had a hysterectomy. This is a quick solution often given to poor women for problems that could be easily treated in time if she had insurance, but she doesn’t so- off with your uterus. So now she is at home healing and losing money from not working. It just goes on and on. Leaving her house, her community, her childhood town to do what you do is an impossible option.

    I am not saying you do this. But a lot of anarchist-hobo kids I know look down on people like her, who they just blindly see as someone doing nothing with her life. But like you said, motherhood is something. I’m not even sure of what I am trying to say except that I think the train hopping anarchist primitivist trend of our generation is at once so inspiring, and such bullshit. Bullshit much like Tim Leory’s “tune in and drop out” mantra of the sixties. Imagine what that sounded like to working class people living in intricate webs of community and work and family.

    I guess what I want is for us all to look at her journey and everyone’s journey as just as wonderful and interesting as yours.

    Also, working people may hate work, but the working people I know and love and live with also find amazing ways to make their lives beautiful and work to them allows them to do this.

    It all to me represents this binary I see in so many instances of history. The hippies wanted a new way. They were predominantly white and upper middle class. They spit on poor working class men like my father who were drafted into war and returned. They looked down on people like him, never looking at their own privilege and how it constructs the availability of choices.

    The hobos of Kerouac’s time were mostly men and at home there was some woman raising the babies they left behind. Or some woman trying to hitch and getting raped on the road. The “On The Road” freedom way wasn’t an option for those women.

    So speaking to our generation I really loathe the judgment and lack of compassion and wisdom I hear from my hobo friends toward people who aren’t living like them. So much goes into a person’s life and where they are at any moment.

    I was wrong for assuming you were like these people and felt judgment toward people.

    I also take issue with the levity and the “look at me and how free i am and we all can be,” attitude this particular demographic takes towards other people they see as any given label, “yuppie” etc.

    Like slothwoman said, working in the soup kitchen a few days a week doesn’t mean much. Just like working food not bombs doesn’t mean much either. I mean it means alot, but it always means UPPER MIDDLE CLASS WHITE PEOPLE= hands out giving. Poor people= hands receiving.

    The real compassion happens when you just work with them and share your share of the drudgery. Real understanding happens there. But then, who wants to do that?

    It’s all very confusing and I have a lot of anger towards people, especially in the primitivist/anarchist subculture, who have so much arrogance and individualism and privilige, they they just cannot see the complexities of each person’s life. They think their way is the answer and it just isn’t.

    I think we also have a stigmatization against people who work wage labor jobs. I think artists circles and professionals think working class people are sad, scummy, unintelligent, etc.

    I know a lot of people who get by hustling. drug dealing and dancing. stealing shit and re-selling it. They don’t write blogs about this because they don’t see it as some interesting smash the state subversion. They just gotta put their food on the table.

    The whole way we can romanticize our journeys is a privilege. And I am privileged in that way as well.

    All I am saying is that if you go into any community of artists and people our age who identify as anarchist/hobo/primitivist/etc and take a head count and find out socio-economic backgrounds- you will find that the majority grew up upper middle class and THIS means there is a class component, a privilege component in the ability to make those choices, end up there. I want that to be analyzed.
    I don’t know what it means, but I know that these people are usually from that background and I am not and that is why we disagree so much and why I find so much about them and their lifestyles prolematic. Also so much of what we need to say to each other is untranslatable, but they mostly get to control the discourse. This is within these circles I am talking about. Not on the larger scale. On the larger scale nobody gives a shit about what any of us little freak wanderers are saying.

  14. Davka-

    You are amazing. My brain hurts. Thank goodness I don’t have a job, so I can just do this all evening. (actually I was just writing a cover letter, and got on to the intarwebz to look up an address, and got sidetracked…)

    You know what’s nice? This. You know what most of my friends like to talk about (bless their souls)? Gender. You know what I want to talk about? This. WHO AM I. WHERE AM I. WHO AM I. WHERE AM I.

    Davka, blogquaintance- I know what you mean on so many levels. Like, I grew up dirt poor (raised on welfare by a schizophrenic single mother in Alaska) and somehow turned out fine, standing tall when it came time to step up to the podium and Inherit My Privilege, as a well-spoken, able-bodied, white adult (even tho I had to figure it all out on my own- read books to get smart, read books to know how to eat right so my teeth would stop rotting out). The class of my childhood? Gone. It’s true, many of the folks I hang out with come from families with money. They went to good colleges. My grandparents adopted me when I was 14, and actually FORBID me from going to college right out of high school, because they think it “ruins women”. So I, too, have this giant chip on my shoulder when it comes to hanging out with my radical, gender-freaky, artsy queer community. But you know what? When other sorts of folks see us on the street, can they tell us apart? Nope. It’s all the same to them. I may as well have a trust fund as any of my friends. And in this way, I benefit from the same privilege they do, without, of course, the safety net their parents may or may not still provide. People on the street read me as an artsy, well-educated white person (trying to look poor, of course), and that benefits me in so many ways, every day of my life.

    Which brings me to this question, the question I cannot, somehow, seem to answer-

    Being an “artist” is inherently an incredibly selfish act. You have to think your shit is SO good, SO important, that the people MUST have access to it, even tho there is already so, SO much writing, music and art ALREADY out there, even tho there are people with access to NO resources whose voices are being SMOTHERED, whose stories are SO MUCH more crucial than yours-

    Basically, you have to have a giant ego to be a successful artist. Writing is all about tooting your own horn.

    Let’s say you like to write about hitch-hiking.

    What the fuck? What good is that? Look at meeeeeeeee! I have adventuresssssss! !! !

    At the same time, what else can we write about, but what we know? I can’t write about being a single mother, because I’m not. All I can do is tell my truth and try to weave some larger story into it, something the reader can take with them. What kills me is this- who am I writing for? Young people just like myself? Folks with my same privilege but who chose a more mainstream path, aka people who are using their twenties to try and get rich?

    I guess at the end of the day, I don’t want my hitch-hiking stories to be about me. I want them to be about the people I meet on the road, and the way we interact with each other. That’s my ultimate goal. Other than that, I just want to take people on an adventure. Adventures are so rare these days, and people are so starved for them! If I can’t actually take people trainriding with me, I want to write about it in a way that’s really, really fun for people to read.

    The internet- so anonymous, and so personal, all at once.

    Ok. I need to step away from this and finish my cover letter, or I’ll be sleeping in the snow with nowhere to plug in my computer 😉

  15. Carrot! I don’t want you to think I meant your blog was the levity yippie look at me! blog. I was talking more about like some kids I know here in Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh has a huge hobo scene.) I had no idea about your childhood. Wow. Now, knowing that I can let my guard down and feel so much closer to your stories. It may seem silly to others, but I know you know what I mean when it comes to being defensive within our similar circles.

    I think you write way more than the people I think of when I say “yippie look at me,” here in Pittsburgh. You write about a lot of complexities and I didn’t at all mean that you shouldn’t write because you aren’t that single mother. I’m not that single mother. I feel guilty all the time about the way I moved up and out of the poor town I was born in. My friends haven’t had the chances I had and I struggle with this feeling of metaphorical homelessness all the time. Where do I belong? With these anarcho primitivist kids who want me to join their traveling van circle- or should I go back home and help my girl raise her babies and just live there, find the beauty there because without that, I feel so empty, but while in that, I feel insane.

    Ok I don’t want to take any more space up on your lovely blog. I am just gonna start reading from start to finish and feel safe now knowing you came from dirt and are not at all like the people I think of when I think of trains and God, I love a lot of them too, but always felt so unable to connect to them on so many ways.

    ok. 🙂 i’m happy we met. I’m sorry I came off so stupidly in the beginning.
    I’m glad we had this dialogue.

    I understand your “I don’t want to work” thing more now that I know your background isn’t well protected and waiting for a big fat safety net for you.

    Big lesson for me. Shut the fuck up and read the whole blog and think before you speak. 🙂

  16. Oh Davka! I know you weren’t making assumptions about my blog. Those hard questions about writing and being privileged are questions I ask MYSELF.

    It’s interesting that you have so many primitavisty friends. I used to try and run in those circles too but am actually, these days, the only one I know who rides freight trains/wants to build debris shelters in the woods. I got tired of all the competitive macho bullshit. Now I mostly hang out with the queerbos (bless their souls) who do not ride freight trains but who are much more pleasant to be around than those insufferable primitavists. And hotter, too.

    Goodnight, friend. I’m glad we “met” (this is all real, right?) and I look forward to reading more of your blog (I only just discovered it when you left a comment!). It’s so, so nice to have the company, out here in blogland, of others from my tiny, tiny planet. (it’s almost a handicap, being from such a small planet.)

  17. I love the way you write ideas, Carrot. How do you hold them all in your head at the same time and put them together like that?

  18. “Bloglandia”…sometimes it’s the only place I feel like I can be myself.

    Now that I think about it, it’s all a revolution. Carrot, Davka, her friend who is a single mom and lost her uterus, Tara and even me. one is not more revolutionary than the other. All of our experiences are extremely valid. We are all so incredibly unique, yet we have one thing in common that is so important. We have our eyes open. And maybe that is why we are repulsed by those who are not yet awake, whether they be hobos or yuppies or both.

    Do we, with our varying degrees of privilege living in these incredibly complicated matrices of oppression, have the right to be artists? I don’t know, sometimes I feel guilty for not running down the street screaming and crying for what is happening in the world.

    I’m oppressed in some arenas, privileged in others. I drive around late at night crying about my struggles and then I see a young woman standing at the bus stop, in the cold, clutching a small child. Shit. I’m in a car with the heater going blaring music and driving aimlessly wasting gas. What the fuck am I doing? I turn around to see if she wants a ride but she’s already gone by the time I get there. It makes me feel small. I go home and crank out my feelings in a blog for the world to read, somehow it makes me feel less small. Is it right? Is it wrong? Yes and yes.
    But I am still proud of myself for having the ability to examine it all and look for the truth. I expect no more or less from others.

  19. Wow. I came over from a link at my brother’s blog (Eric S’s blog), and I haven’t even gotten past the “Bio” and I think I’m hooked.

    Crazy cool dialogue . . . I have the lingering sense of some sort of “priveledge guilt” being a heavy-handed player amongst the psyches here (mine too) . . . something along the lines of survivor guilt.

    Anyway . . . thanks for brain food.

  20. Oh, so now its not okay to be middle or upper class and have an opinion is that it? Ever read Stienbeck? Thorton Wilder? Evelyn Waugh?

    Get over it davka. Do you really think Carrot is better qualified to comment on the world she sees just because she came from what you think is an
    “appropriate” kind of dysfunctional background to give her cred in your view? Because she didn’t come from “privilege” as you define it?

    Art,music,and literature come from rich and poor. What’s the difference? You get to chose whether you like it or not. Forget about some bunch of faux hobos you met in Pittsburgh. When we write, which last time I looked was one of the arts, we throw it all on the table and ask people to judge what we are thinking and how we see things. That’s hard. That’s even embarrasing at times and it has nothing to do with your sociological pigeonholes of privilege and your other brain bending catagorical nonsense.
    I read Carrot Quinns blog because she writes well and it moves me.I would read her books for the same reason.

    Just read it to the end like you said you would.

  21. Simmer down now, Reamus! We’re just asking ourselves questions about privelege, we’re not attacking anyone. It’s ok, believe it or not, to be middle class, to even be upper-middle class. It’s just that with your higher access to resources comes the higher responsibility of Using Those Resources For Good, and the more power you have, the less anyone is going to call you out if you start acting like a douchebag. So we have to call ourselves out, and ask these questions. It’s freakin healthy, ok?

    And yes, it does make a difference that I glamorize being poor WITHOUT the safety net of some rich parents, as opposed to glamorizing being poor but I can ask my parents for money if I need it. That’s all. And Davka and I relate to each other because we grew up poor but as adults we hang out with alot of people who didn’t.

  22. There is a great article on privilege by Andrea Ayvazian called, “INTERRUPTING THE CYCLE OF OPPRESSION:The role of Allies as Agents of Change.”

    She defines an ally as “…a member of a dominant group in our society who works to dismantle any form of oppression from which she or he receives the benefit.”

  23. This is an excellent post. In the ideas you reveal and the comments, one of may favorite.

    I have been toying recently with the idea of a sabbatical while the economy is hurting but my privelege runs strong. Not to ride trains and write, but to ride bikes and write. I once spent two months riding a bicycle from Salt Lake City to New York, and it was the hardest “job” I ever had. What I have in mind for this summer is a job and a lifestyle and rip-at-your-soul uncertainty, all fused as one. Much like what you do.

    I, like many of your readers, have a sometimes stifling (but most often enjoyable) job in a field that’s important to me. I don’t read your blog at work, because you’re blog generally takes much time to consume and digest. 🙂 But my point is, giving up my job would be a sacrifice. It would be an end to comfort, an end to routine, an end to that sense (however misguided) of certainty. But I think sometimes these journeys are necessary – more so than most want to believe.

    I mourn for those who land in impoverished and tough situations they did not choose. Not all tough life situations have to do with money. Sometimes our parents fall ill and we have to take care of them. Sometimes we become pregnant when we never planned to have children. Sometimes we ourselves get cancer or heart disease or diabetes. But I also believe that those who truly have choices and choose to strand themselves in lives they do not love is one of the saddest developments of modern society. That’s the root of much substance addiction, depression and violence. On the same note, those who involuntarily find themselves in lifes toughest challenges – children, disease, poverty, oppression – and choose to be happy – that is modern society’s greatest triumph.

    Thanks again for your bravery and your thoughts, Carrot. You give us all something to ponder.

  24. I like this blog. I like all types of people. I’m confused and affronted when I feel like someone is snubbing their nose at me because I wandered sheepishly into a simple life. I’m nice. Why should criteria beyond my control be examined first?

    This shines light on the reasons why I look for comfort inside a personal homemade absurdity. I fully get what everyone is saying, but half of this conjecture make me cringe for fear that being a good person isn’t good enough.

    Correct me. Gently explain to me that I cannot possibly understand.

  25. Hello Carrot.
    I moved away from Portland after growing up there. It was the midwest where I found myself queer and privileged. It was Portland where I learned to love all that occurs between me and an ecosystem or garden. I never was able to join in the pdx radial transplant scene in high school.

    Reading your blog has inspired me to create and question, to learn and smile with others. Your thoughtful combination of pride, questions and truthful tales makes me want to write my own tales and tell my story.

    Sadly, The written word and I are not faithful to each other, I cannot commit to a blog right now. All I have to give is questions, fierce plans and slightly shameful stories.

    About the city/town: you make me want to return, to scream “accept me” at the community that I crave, a community transplanted on top of my hometown.

    About traveling: (I currently am) you make me want to connect with who I meet and learn a little something, make a little judgment and be judged in turn. You make me want to listen and talk, wander and search.

    I simply wanted to let you know that you affect me, simply by making who you are public.

    ray

  26. Hello Carrot.
    I moved away from Portland after growing up there. It was the midwest where I found myself queer and privileged. It was Portland where I learned to love all that occurs between me and an ecosystem or garden. I never was able to join in the pdx radial transplant scene in high school.

    Reading your blog has inspired me to create and question, to learn and smile with others. Your thoughtful combination of pride, questions and truthful tales makes me want to write my own tales and tell my story.

    Sadly, The written word and I are not faithful to each other, I cannot commit to a blog right now. All I have to give is questions, fierce plans and slightly shameful stories.

    About the city/town: you make me want to return, to scream “accept me” at the community that I crave, a community transplanted on top of my hometown.

    About traveling: (I currently am) you make me want to connect with who I meet and learn a little something, make a little judgment and be judged in turn. You make me want to listen and talk, wander and search.

    I simply wanted to let you know that you affect me, simply by making who you are public.

    ray

  27. our struggles make us stronger, heartier… more courageous.

    we have all fooled ourselves into thinking that money makes the world go round, into thinking that wealth validates us. it has created this empty privilege in places where equality should thrive. but the challenges we face remind us that money is only paper and the energy that keeps us spinning is a bigger mystery than we could ever imagine.

    i know i am blessed beyond measure. i feel guilty for it, i resent it. but i didn’t have any say in the matter. and if anything, it has sent me into a tailspin. my dreams feel superficial and irreverent. so now, i am searching. trying to find what the hell to do with all of the opportunity that comes from just being me. we all have to keep searching (yes, with eyes open!), on freight trains or trains of thought. and we have to embrace each other… because so many people are so lost and afraid. that’s a huge injustice.

    then again, if i was cold and hungry i might have something different to say.

    (thanks much, carrot. your writing helps me in my quest.)

  28. our struggles make us stronger, heartier… more courageous.

    we have all fooled ourselves into thinking that money makes the world go round, into thinking that wealth validates us. it has created this empty privilege in places where equality should thrive. but the challenges we face remind us that money is only paper and the energy that keeps us spinning is a bigger mystery than we could ever imagine.

    i know i am blessed beyond measure. i feel guilty for it, i resent it. but i didn’t have any say in the matter. and if anything, it has sent me into a tailspin. my dreams feel superficial and irreverent. so now, i am searching. trying to find what the hell to do with all of the opportunity that comes from just being me. we all have to keep searching (yes, with eyes open!), on freight trains or trains of thought. and we have to embrace each other… because so many people are so lost and afraid. that’s a huge injustice.

    then again, if i was cold and hungry i might have something different to say.

    (thanks much, carrot. your writing helps me in my quest.)

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