Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Miss Manhattan Hangs Out...with Tim Wyman-McCarthy

Tim Wyman-McCarthy never planned on liking big cities, let alone one like New York, but here he is, sitting in front of me at Bluestockings Bookstore, Cafe, and Activist Center on the Lower East Side. It’s one of his favorite bookstores in the city, and he wanted to visit because soon he’ll be heading back to the West Coast, where he is a Ph.D. candidate in Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley.

Tim has been in town for just one month, working as the Social Movement Intern for global humanitarian organization CARE. However, it’s not his first time in the city, by any means. Tim previously lived in New York while getting his master’s degree in Human Rights Studies at Columbia. It was, to say the least, a little different from attending university in his native Canada, but he quickly fell in love with the city and he’s glad to be back, even for a little while. And prior to New York, Tim also lived in England, where he got his other master’s degree in English Literature. He’s passionate about teaching and the opportunity to foster productive discussions allow for deeper understanding in the students he instructs at Berkeley, where he’s co-taught classes introductory composition classes with topics like "Language, Culture, and Indigeneity Before the Law"--his focus at Columbia was on indigenous justice and activism--and “Public Images: Photography as Political and Social Action.”

We sit in Bluestockings, chit-chatting over iced coffee and tea, surrounded by zines and books about queer studies, feminist theory, racial equality. Tim’s eyes sparkle when he discusses teaching, yes, but also theatre. While he can’t sing, dance, or act, he laughs, he’s still an aspiring Broadway baby and has made sure to avail himself of New York’s offerings before he returns to Berkeley. As we move through the bookstore, conversation follows the patterns of the stacks: querying necrocapitalism, interacting with autism rhetoric, celebrating American Chicanx cultural, feminist, and queer theorist Gloria AnzaldĂșa, observing radical communist witchcraft. Tim is especially delighted by a display of books asking visitors to “Hex the Patriarchy.”

Shortly our friend Andrew arrives (he introduced us). Andrew has slowly but surely been making his way through Tim’s list of fiction recommendations and today Tim adds another to the list, There There by Tommy Orange, which follows a cast of Native Americans living in Oakland, California. Tim has promised himself to read just one non-fiction book, one fiction book, and one book of poetry at one time. It’s his way of satisfying his desire to just read everything all the time.

Peckish, the three of us make our way Uncle Boon’s Sister, a newish Thai spot a few blocks away on Mott Street. Tim orders green curry and discusses the etymology of the word “sincerely.” Andrew and I make our way through our entrees, but I notice Tim hasn’t. He looks down and laughs. “Typical Tim,” he says with a smile. Sometimes he talks so much his food gets cold.

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