I am going through the I-have-too-much-to-write-about-and-
Can you say, "Precipice"?
Although I had a serious case of carrot-cake-baking between the ages of 14 and 15, in general I cook because people need to eat these days. Cooking for the pleasure of it? I have realized that the cheery kitchen fairies who left nary a shoe print one night as they scraped my crusty pans are not REAL, after all. Damn. That means if I dirty it, it stays dirty and slowly--with appropriate sun and moisture--moves into the science experiment phase. I have taken the only measure possible and ceased and desisted from anything resembling a culinary act. Thus, if baking a cake seems more appealing than writing OR reading, then I am teetering on the edge.
This entry is me forcing myself to write. something. anything. Other than what I write for my students. Cryptic notes about MLA requirements do not count as poetry.
I have been reading lately. Even reading in the service of my writing. L. recommended a new title that sounded similar to my work. I just finished it and am working through a love/hate reaction. The Uses of Enchantment by Heidi Julavits twists and turns around the life of a young narrator whose coming of age entailed an elaborate act of narrative fiction. Mary disappears from field hockey practice and then reappears weeks later. The story revolves around the truth about the events during her absence. Was she abducted? She did purposely hide herself away? Was she raped? She was a virgin, but returned not a virgin. I enjoyed Julavits uses of language and her inventive plot. In the end, however, I just didn't buy into the narrator.
The narrator of my own novel-in-languish is also a young woman still in high school. Julavits' s character narrates the experience from about ten years later, which allows her a level of retrospection that my character doesn't have. Julavits writes in the third person. My choice to tell my character's story in the first person is feeling more and more like a cage instead of a podium. Hhmmmm...to rewrite entirely from the third person? Argh.
In other reading, I also recently finished Eve Ensler's new book, Insecure at Last: Losing it in our Security Obsessed World. Her blunt declarative sentences are brutally honest about her life, her political views, and her various states of insecurity. By the end of the short work, you want to join her movement and give up security in order to allow peace to take hold. If security (think personal integrity AND national security) becomes our first priority, then our stance toward the world is by default a posture of defense. This is the antithesis of peace, which is fundamentally empathic. You can't build walls and dish up bowls of soup at the same time. If you are curious about Ensler's work, read or see The Vagina Monologues. Then read her latest book. It will make you want to be honest with yourself; it may even help you say "Vagina" in unexpected places. Like to your priest. Trust me, he needs to hear it, especially if he is under 40.
(Speaking of Eve Ensler, Me, and Priests. . . remind me to write about that trinity sometime. I've got loads of material.)
Eve. . . and. . . C.S. Lewis. Currently I am reading, really re-reading, Lewis's Till We Have Faces, which retells the Cupid and Psyche myth. I was entranced by this book's exploration of the sacred v. profane theme the first time I read it (maybe ten years ago?). Sacred v. Profane: a false dichotomy! Repeat after me: false dichotomy. That is right. A binary opposite that serves only as a rhetorical flourish! (Hear me rant.) I look forward to our Book Club discussion in December where I promise to try and not interupt others.
And, finally, a note for the anonymous reader who wants to know why I durst to resent a statue. . . I'll post a reply in the comments on that original post. Soon.