A Garden Variety Lesbian: Essays About Creative Outlaws, Wild Journeys and Mindful Passions

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This essay collection is authored by a lesbian woman who survived a life-changing, seemingly insolvable trouble that few experience. She became a fugitive of conscience in 1970 while on trial for a non-violent act of civil disobedience against the Vietnam War and racism of the compulsory draft. On the run, she was cut off from her real name and prior life for nineteen years until her voluntary surrender in 1989. Through exploring nature and caring for a garden, she renewed her innermost self, that had been stripped bare by the many years in internal exile.

A Garden Variety Lesbian was written during the two years (and counting) of global COVID. A time of despair, sorrow, and hopelessness for so many. These essays seek to find a way through with stories, journeys, insights, and reflections by a societal outsider, who is both curious and engaged in the natural world.

One section is devoted to the lives and loves of notable creative outlaws in the context of their special places. Finally free to travel, the author journeyed to the homes of gay outlaws, like Frida Kahlo and Vita Sackville-West, whose private spaces became their solace and joy. In the process, these women created astounding expressions of garden design, beauty, and autobiography.

A Garden Variety Lesbian explores the spirituality of organic gardening and “growing your own”, affirming the garden as a mindful space where those struggling with physical or mental health problems can find engagement and peace. Freeman has a keen interest in gardens as expressions of alternative values and esthetics, such as in Japan.

During the last 20 years, Freeman visited remote nature reserves around the world which shelter fascinating, endangered creatures. Freeman opens up how a woodland walk, utilizing the Japanese practice called “forest bathing”, focuses her as a writer and dispels fearful thoughts during turbulent times.