Amanda Palmer defends artists, writers, and self-publishing.link • •amanda palmer• •art• •writing• •writers• •artists• •self publishing• •self-publishing• •writing advice•
Margaret Atwood on Women Writers
link • •margaret atwood• •feminism• •gender equality• •writing• •women writers• •women writing• •famous authors• •female authors• •canadian authors•
“I felt that I was writing in the teeth of the odds; as all writers do, to be sure, but for women there were extra handicaps. I was writing anyway, I was writing nevertheless, I was writing despite.
Things that were said about writing by women:
that it was weak, vapid, and pastel, as in strong “masculine” rhymes and weak “feminine” ones;
that it was too subjective, solipsistic, narcissistic, autobiographical, and confessional;
that women lacked imagination and the power of invention and could only copy from their own (unimportant) lives and their own (limited, subjective) reality — they lacked the power to speak in other voices, or to make things up;
that their writing was therefore limited in scope, petty, domestic, and trivial;
that good female writers transcended their gender; that bad ones embodied it;
that writing was anyway a male preserve, and that women who invaded it felt guilty or wanted to be men;
that men created because they couldn’t have babies; that it was unfair of women to do both; that they should just have the babies, thus confining themselves to their proper sphere of creativity.
The double bind: if women said nice things, they were being female, therefore weak, and therefore bad writers. If they didn’t say nice things they weren’t proper women. Much better not to say anything at all.
Any woman who began writing when I did, and managed to continue, did so by ignoring, as a writer, all her socialization about pleasing other people by being nice, and every theory then available about how she wrote or ought to write. The alternative was silence.”
The difference between curb and car door proved entirely too short. Gas pedal down. I tried to get a last look but luggage blocked the view. The constant awareness of taking other people’s time forced a quick removal. Already, despite being mere yards away, they left to the other side of the country and I was driving a car alone through a crowd of families and friends.
I made the worst decision as to how to fill the rest of my time. As my parents made their way through the airport, I drove over to a huge mall. I hate malls. Not necessarily hate, but I find the experience exhausting unless I cut off most of my peripherals and make certain not to investigate the personalities of every single person passing my way. More families. More friends. Teenagers leaning provocatively against railings, looking for cute members of the opposite sex. A girl flipping her hair.
This mall featured a carousel at the end of a food court. Moms stood next to toddlers on miniature horses impaled by golden rods. Over-gilded, impressive and yet somehow annoying.
I think of her face the next time I see her. I think of the next few lines that will appear, a symptom of stress I couldn’t help alleviate. Will she be happy? Do I have much more time with her?
The first death of a loved one leaves only a mesh of gauze to replace its hole. There’s no healing. You discover the scar feels like a missing appendage. Phantom limb. Precious. Precious time.
I didn’t know how to act. How do you accept the fact that the person you’ve lived with your entire life, who knows the most about you, who gave you everything she had, disappeared with the plane over a horizon? Localization seems so simple. I act like a dog, worried that it will be the last time I see her—one instant she’s there and the next she could be as alive as my kitchen chair.
I rummaged through sales racks and found some things to buy with my Christmas money. Even though it’s all gift money, I felt the bills slip out of my hands like water. Catholic guilt swept in. I’m doing something wrong. I’m spoiling myself. I’m buying a jacket, top and skirt when I should save for dog and cat food, refilling a prescription and a whole lot of other future purchases.
I told her that Grandpa, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, needs her. I told her that new experiences were out there. I told her to keep her options open.
“I’m twenty-two, I’ll be fine.”
“I’m an adult.”
“Your children are all grown up, it’s time to think about yourself.”
“Don’t worry about me.”
What did I do? What did I do? How could I push my mother away, even if I believed it was better for the both of us?
Because everything I said was true.
I’m fine, I’m an adult, and my wonderful mother deserves a life of her own choosing—not the confines of a city no longer nourishing her spirit.
See, Mom. It’s all okay. I’m writing like I said I would. I’m putting your investments to use. I’m doing what you told me to do. I’m spending a lot of time with friends. I spent the money you gave me as a gift on presents to myself.
Sometimes it’s best to live as well you can. Sometimes that’s the greatest treatment of a heart filled with sorrow and loss. Sometimes that’s the best way to pay back a parent’s love, acceptance, and investments in your future.
Hope that the weather in Tucson may be forever lovely and that the sun greets you as I would with a smile. May I one day be able to dedicate the clean, bright first page of a book with three words, Thank you Mom.
I miss you already.link • •writing• •family• •nonfiction•
“And if there is anybody out there who feels crazy enough to want to become a writer, I’d say go ahead, spit in the eye of the sun, hit those keys, it’s the best madness going, the centuries need help, the species cry for light and gamble and laughter. Give it to them. There are words enough for all of us.”
Charles Bukowski, Betting on the Muse (via honeyforthehomeless)
“I suppose the danger is the damned egotistical self; which ruins Joyce and Richardson to my mind: is one pliant & rich enough to provide a wall for the book from oneself without its becoming, as in Joyce & Richardson, narrowing & restricting?”
Virginia Woolf, from her diary. 26 Jan 1920
Excerpt from recent work
The thing, that one thing that’s crucial to understanding a society, about Atalsia is diagnosis. The Ancients began phasing through medical practice with intensity—dissecting every available organism on cold slabs in moist, dank cells underground, toxins hanging in the air as hell’s continuously seeping sea breeze. The tomes discussing all documented malpractices outlasted philosophy, poetry, and religion. Spreading and effecting every inch of civilization, the people filtered knowledge through checklists, traditional tests and texts tried through the ages. Atalsia fostered study, bulging in prosperity and patrons for scientific advancements, beckoning brilliant minds across the lands to its crisp, clean streets and hygienic metal buildings: the crux of progress.
The Board ruled in favor of immortality; each successor preserved all instances of impartial analysis like specimens doused and consumed by formalin, contained in hidden vaults masterfully constructed to protect their treasure chest of secrets and data.link • •writing• •work• •prose• •fiction• •fantasy•