When thumbing by the side of the road, there is often a moment of doubt. Would anybody pull over here, I wonder, and can they even read my sign? Every car that drives by is a betrayal, and the one that finally stops revives my trust in humanity. And I love getting picked up by other women. It’s a rare treat—a relief from the double edge of chivalry and predation that one fears when accepting a ride from a male stranger.
That’s how I met Ms. Alexis Wolf of Olympia, WA and her charming zine about Mary Wollstonecraft. Hyena in Petticoats is a 60-page fan zine for the author of 1792′s A Vindication of the Rights of the Women and mother of early sci-fi novelist Mary Shelley.
The zine includes a series of journal entries from Wolf’s “quiet pilgrimage” to London, where she lived with anarchist philosopher William Godwin until she died in 1797. When I met Alexis I was at the close of my own, destination-less pilgrimage around North America, on my way back to Oregon.
Alexis looked like someone I would know. And, as we came to realize, she actually knew my oldest best friend from Davis High School, Molly Raney, whose musical alter-ego, “Poppet,” had performed recently at Alexis’ house in Olympia. Alexis, with her band Letters, would soon be on her way to return the favor by playing a show with Molly in Davis.
She knew all the lyrics to Molly’s songs. It was one of those meetings that makes a person feel both at home and utterly disoriented. I will stop short of the word “coincidence,” or “serendipity,” because things like this happen when if you travel enough, and Olympia is the capital of small worlds. When I finally sat down and read Wolf’s zine, it was love like being wrapped in a down comforter during a rain storm. I immediately checked out two books of Wollstonecraft’s letters.