Thursday, August 28, 2003 | DVDs are for losers

Bill Maher in cracks me up with this, but it's an uncomfortable laughter: "Besides ruining movies, we've ruined our kids by making everything about them, and now if I want to see a movie I had better like loud noises, things blowing up and Colin Farrell.

Movies suck because Hollywood figured out that Mom and Dad don't spend their money on movies anymore, they give their money to their kids and they spend it on movies -- to break up their shopping spree at the mall. It's like American parents are on one long date with their kids -- no, it's even worse, it's like Robert DeNiro in "Casino," helplessly trying to buy the love of a shopaholic hooker with no heart, played of course by Sharon Stone. " Read the rest here: | DVDs are for losers

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Meditations on Life And Writing

I might be checking this out more. Look for it to turn up in the sidebar when I get around to it. Meditations on Life And Writing

Monday, August 25, 2003

Four 9/11 Moms Battle Bush

Check this out for heartening news on the power of angry moms, but disheartening news (as if we needed more) about our governent: Four 9/11 Moms Battle Bush

Friday, August 22, 2003

this woman's work

Dawn has a great entry today about being at home with an infant. I especially liked this comment: "I had to get used to boredom, which was hard at first. Especially because it's such a busy boredom." Exactly! Read the rest here: this woman's work

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

thanks to Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac for this one...

Poem: "From Blossoms," by Li-Young Lee, from Rose (Boa Editions).

From Blossoms

From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Margaret Atwood

Someone just posted this to a listserv I'm on and I'm blown away. Speechless, in fact.

Margaret Atwood

My daughter plays on the floor
with plastic letters,
red, blue & hard yellow,
learning how to spell,
how to make spells.


I wonder how many women
denied themselves daughters,
closed themselves in rooms,
drew the curtains
so they could mainline words.


A child is not a poem,
a poem is not a child.
There is no either / or.


I return to the story
of the woman caught in the war
& in labour, her thighs tied
together by the enemy
so she could not give birth.

Ancestress: the burning witch,
her mouth covered by leather
to strangle words.

A word after a word
after a word is power.


At the point where language falls away
from the hot bones, at the point
where the rock breaks open and darkness
flows out of it like blood, at
the melting point of granite
when the bones know
they are hollow & the word
splits & doubles & speaks
the truth & the body
itself becomes a mouth.

This is a metaphor.


How do you learn to spell?
Blood, sky & the sun,
your own name first,
your first naming, your first name,
your first word.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Helen Simpson

I am re-reading Getting a Life, Helen Simpson's brilliant collection of short stories. Here are a few bits from the title story:

Since the arrival of the children, one, two, and then three, in the space of four years, she had broken herself into little pieces like a biscuit and was now scattered all over the place. The urge--indeed, the necessity--to give everything, to throw herself on the bonfire, had been shocking, but now it was starting to wear off. (p. 28) last she extracted herself like a slow giantess from the cluster of children, gently detaching their fingers from her limbs and nightdress.

When she turned from drawing the curtains, Martin was painting his shins with a stick of deodorant while Maxine sat on the floor galloping her round bare heels in the cups of a discarded bra, pulling on the straps like a jockey, with shouts of "Ya! Ya! Giddy-up, boy!" Robin ran round and round his mother's legs, wrapping and rewrapping her nightdress. Then he rolled on the carpet with both hands round her ankle, a lively leg-iron, singing alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. (p. 31)

The thing about small children was that they needed things all day long. They wanted games set up and tears wiped away and a thousand small attention. That was all fine until you started to do something else around them, or something that wasn't just a basic menial chore, she thought, dragging the Hoover out after burrowing in the stacking boxes for the Superman suit. You had to be infinitely elastic and adaptable; all very laudable but this had the concomitant effect of slowly but surely strangling your powers of concentration.

Then Superman needed help blowing his nose, and next he wanted his cowboys and Indians reached down from the top of the cupboard. She forgot what she was thinking about. (p. 46)

Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry's not going to use a computer to write, and that's fine with me. More importantly, he says some interesting things about marriage in this essay: "Feminism, the Body and the Machine."

Here's a sampling:

Marriage, in what is evidently its most popular version, is now on the one hand an intimate “relationship” involving (ideally) two successful careerists in the same bed, and on the other hand a sort of private political system in which rights and interests must be constantly asserted and defended. Marriage, in other words, has now taken the form of divorce: a prolonged and impassioned negotiation as to how things shall be divided. During their understandably temporary association, the “married” couple will typically consume a large quantity of merchandise and a large portion of each other.

The modern household is the place where the consumptive couple do their consuming. Nothing productive is done there. Such work as is done there is done at the expense of the resident couple or family, and to the profit of suppliers of energy and household technology. For entertainment, the inmates consume television or purchase other consumable diversion elsewhere.

There are, however, still some married couples who understand themselves as belonging to their marriage, to each other, and to their children. What they have they have in common, and so, to them, helping each other does not seem merely to damage their ability to compete against each other. To them, “mine” is not so powerful or necessary a pronoun as “ours.”

and, from further in, he weighs in on the principal failure of liberal feminism:

How, I am asking, can women improve themselves by submitting to the same specialization, degradation, trivialization, and tyrannization of work that men have submitted to? And that question is made legitimate by another: How have men improved themselves by submitting to it? The answer is that men have not, and women cannot, improve themselves by submitting to it.

Women have complained, justly, about the behavior of “macho” men. But despite their he-man pretensions and their captivation by masculine heroes of sports, war, and the Old West, most men are now entirely accustomed to obeying and currying the favor of their bosses. Because of this, of course, they hate their jobs—they mutter, “Thank God it’s Friday” and “Pretty good for Monday”— but they do as they are told. They are more compliant than most housewives have been. Their characters combine feudal submissiveness with modern helplessness. They have accepted almost without protest, and often with consumptive relief, their dispossession of any usable property and, with that, their loss of economic independence and their consequent subordination to bosses. They have submitted to the destruction of the household economy and thus of the household, to the loss of home employment and self-employment, to the disintegration of their families and communities, to the desecration and pillage of their country, and they have continued abjectly to believe, obey, and vote for the people who have most eagerly abetted this ruin and who have most profited from it. These men, moreover, are helpless to do anything for themselves or anyone else without money, and so for money they do whatever they are told. They know that their ability to be useful is precisely defined by their willingness to be somebody else’s tool. Is it any wonder that they talk tough and worship athletes and cowboys? Is it any wonder that some of them are violent?

It is clear that women cannot justly be excluded from the daily fracas by which the industrial economy divides the spoils of society and nature, but their inclusion is a poor justice and no reason for applause. The enterprise is as devastating with women in it as it was before. There is no sign that women are exerting a “civilizing influence” upon it. To have an equal part in our juggernaut of national vandalism is to be a vandal. To call this vandalism “liberation” is to prolong, and even ratify, a dangerous confusion that was once principally masculine.