Elevate Difference

I Am Not Afraid of Winter

I Am Not Afraid of Winter is blog writing at its best: excellently written, thoughtful and thought provoking. I was captivated by this window into Carrot Quinn’s world enough to log in every day, to see what Quinn was up to or thinking about.

Quinn writes about everything from traveling hobo-style by freight train and critical cultural analysis, to having scabies and the compulsion to write, to memories of formative experience and intimate moments of sickness or sex. I was struck with how sensual the writing is; it has the ability to invoke all five senses and psychically transport me to the world of each entry. This is especially true for me because the backdrop of the majority of the entries is Portland, Oregon, a city I know like the back of my hand.

Carrot Quinn has an active presence on her blog and a good-sized following. On Sundays she posts guest entries on sexism in the queer community. While she may be “homeless in the way that we are all homeless, in that we’re all colonizers without a sense of place,” the sense of place Quinn creates is right on.

Her descriptions of experiences are singularly intense, and had the ability to draw me into a sense of familiarity. The imagery hit me with a spark of recognition. For instance when Quinn describes the miserable experience of insomnia, which sneaks in to destroy her creative magic when her life is out of balance, “like a sort of rooster that lived in their central nervous systems. Waking up at dawn with a head full of bright, buzzing anxiety.” I’ve never thought of it that way, but yes, that’s exactly how it feels!

As I followed the blog from her freight trip from Asheville, NC back to the Pacific Northwest, I could hear the racket of riding on a boxcar, the hot wind rushing past, the grime and grease caking skin. The freedom! Then the train climbs into the Cascade Mountains and into “the forest so secret and vast.” There I was then in the cool dense green-blue shadows of this part of the country, awestruck at the beauty of nature. And as a “sort of nature writer” she remembers her nature even in the heart of an electric city: “Above me the stars would glint, perfect and clear and cold, and I would feel like an animal, a present, breathing animal, wild and strong and free.”

I never have done it, but I am very intrigued by freight hopping. This was the main reason I wanted to review this blog. I also enjoy stories that follow the lifestyle and inner world of the writer. There exists in these stories a sort of voyeuristic pleasure, and the icing on the cake is that Quinn is an excellent writer. I Am Not Afraid of Winter is rhythmic and filled with symbolism and fantastic imagery, a modern day Odyssey. I hope events conspire to see a book or collection of essays by Carrot Quinn soon.

Written by: Matsya Siosal, March 12th 2009