It’s Finally Raining in San Francisco

airI’ve finally finished writing Resistance: The LGBT Fight Against Fascism in WWII; long mornings of waking up, showering, dressing, making an iced latte, then sitting down at 6:30 am to research and write about WWII for a couple of hours before I take the bus into work are completed. I decided to add a small glossary, mostly of German laws that were enacted in 1933 and leading up to the war — that time period when the liberal Weimar Republic was winding down and the nationalists were gaining power is early familiar.

I live in San Francisco, just 70 miles southwest of the recent massive, quickly moving fire that destroyed the town of Paradise, killing over 80 people, burning down over 13,000 homes, and who knows how many animals were killed. The smoke of death and destruction traveled, reaching San Francisco and hovering in our air for ten days, a thick yellow haze that burned our eyes and throat. It was recommended that we stay indoors to protect our health, classes and events were cancelled, and people organized to hand out masks and water to the vulnerable homeless folks.

I work in downtown San Francisco, in a small basement room with piss poor ventilation, which meant that I was sick by the time I spent eight hours in my office. My cat, Lulu refused to enter the living room of my small drafty Victorian apartment, where there was a bay window. She normally slept on a small faux leopard covered armchair in front of the window, but she stopped. She took to sleeping under the blankets on my bed, something she never did before. I started calling her my little canary-in-the-coal-mine cat.

My girlfriend in Massachusetts mailed me two N95 masks to filter out the poisons and I gave the extra one to my neighbor who’s on a fixed income.  Walking down the streets of the city felt apocalyptic and strange; many folks were wearing either white masks or more elaborate ones that were reminiscent of WWI gas masks. Politics continued to trudge forward, each day more disorientating than the last. It was during this time period that I received my review copy of Resistance: The LGBT Fight Against Fascism in WWII at work. I carried it home on the bus and through the smoke while wearing my mask. The book was beautiful, but the circumstances were bizarre and dreamlike.

Thankfully, the recent rainy, windy weather has blown away the smoke and toxins from my city. I’ve returned an enormous stack of WWII and queer forebearers research books to the library and have been reading Scandinavian mysteries instead. I’m exhausted though; between immersion into the Holocaust, angrily pounding out Resistance: The LGBT Fight Against Fascism in WWII, the calamitous fire, politics, and my cold, my brain has drained into nothingness. I hope you enjoy the book. For me, it’s time now for pleasure and relaxation — sewing projects, strolls through the Botanical Garden, visiting my daughter and grandchildren, maybe a new tattoo, and cooking experiments in the kitchen.

About Avery Cassell

Avery Cassell is a queer butch San Francisco writer, poet, cartoonist, and artist who grew up in Iran.
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