The retreat* is over. My flight back from California was delayed, so I didn’t arrive home until well after midnight. Somehow this felt right. I crept back into my life, hour by hour, mile by mile in the dark of night, returning from my encampment in the wilderness to the confines of respectable society with its dinner parties and playdates. I snuck in and planted my seeds of dissent throughout the house. I am a renegade after all.
- a deserter from one faith, cause, or allegiance to another
- an individual who rejects lawful or conventional behavior
apostate, defector, dissident, escapee, fugitive, heretic, iconoclast, insurgent, mutineer, nonconformist, outcast, outlaw, rebel, revolutionary
Writing will do that to you. These women will do that to you. Turn you into a renegade—a dissident, heretic, outcast, outlaw. All eleven of us have defected from the bullshit politeness that requires us to say we are fine, that everything is fine. It’s fine when our misogynistic boss belittles us. It’s fine when people call our writing “hobby” cute. It’s fine that we are expected to give our partners and kids all our physical and emotional energy. It’s fine that we don’t have a room of our own unless you count stolen minutes locked in the bathroom with a smart phone and a bottle of bourbon. It’s fine that our President grabs pussies and shouts “lock her up” and that our Vice President thinks The Handmaid’s Tale is a how-to book.
But it has never been fine. We have been insurgents all along. Waiting for our moment, which is finally here. The seeds have sprouted, and I am writing. This is my renegade manifesto.
- I write to undo the cultural brainwashing, to remind myself there is nothing wrong with me—that there are multiple ways to think and be.
- I write to connect with others who feel like closet weirdos—because we need to know we are not alone.
- I write because language facilitates action—and revolution is the only way we change this fucking system.
*For the second year in a row, I went to a secluded spot in the woods of northern California for a week-long writing retreat with the most badass women I will ever meet. It is a magical place where the coffee is always hot and the fires burn long and hot.