Sailing with The Argonauts: A personal history of Christmas, queerness and Maggie Nelson by Efemia Chela

The Argonauts
Maggie Nelson
Graywolf Press 2016

Actually, no one is inspired by anyone except his own self and his own anguish

—Eugène Ionesco

The Argonauts

Christmas is my straightest time of year and it is then that I read Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts. I am bi but I have to be straight at Christmas. It’s someone else’s Christmas wish. There isn’t any other choice. My parents are what I’d describe as Christian Fundamentalists. Somehow I’m always at home to deck the halls (which we don’t actually do to avoid the sin of excess), having boomeranged back there after my once bright and seemingly permanent plans for the year have failed again:

A Short History

  • 2013: Retrenchment
  • 2014: Severe depressive episode
  • 2015: Not so big in Japan
  • 2016: Can’t remember. Won’t remember.

My people are the people my parents make fun of on a good day, and revile and accuse of all manner of arbitrary things openly on a bad day. According to my mother, Trump, Brexit and trans bathroom rights suggest the end is near and Jesus is coming. She can’t wait to meet him.



  • Tennesse Williams


  • The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson


  • Christmas
  • The Edgars MAC counter
  • Queerness in Africa

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