Finding a book at the right time…

A feminist book which addresses mothering, among other things. I just read and loved Notes From a Feminist Killjoy by Erin Wunker. She`s a feminist academic, blogger, activist and mother. She also, like me, loves Sara Ahmed.

She has a section of friendship that I love:

I hate most of the words used to describe friendship among women.

What is it about female friendship that inspires such insipid descriptors? I struggle to find a collective noun that fits my friends without itching in it’s not-quite-right fit. My girls (too infantilizing). My crew (I don’t row, so…). My gal pals (sounds like a condition. My tribe (too new age-appropriative). My bitches (just no). ….

I’ve been looking for the language to describe friendship among women to myself, but I haven’t found it yet.

Why is that?

What do we resist when we resist finding or forging this language? What do we lose when we don’t have the language to name the communities of care that hold our heads above water and bring us back to ourselves?

I’m thinking so much about communities of care lately, partly because of my new job. Now I’m re-reading Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett, which describes a female friendship in the best way, in the most unique and beautiful way. Ann Patchett found the language that so few have. I still have to digest this book, and will have more to say later…

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The truism that is my life right now…

How can time go by so fast? Time didn’t move so quickly before I had a child. In fact, it was often excruciatingly slow. I was underemployed, or unemployed, and time just stretched out in front of me – I wasted so much of it, just waiting for things to happen to me.

Also, my pregnancy was such a slog and seemed interminable. Forty weeks and two days stretched out like a nine-year limbo, full of seasickness, insomnia and boredom.

But now. These 11 months have gone by in a heartbeat. I’ll miss every second of it, even the tedium.

How fast we went from this:

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To this:

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Reading so much…

about motherhood, and how to write. Claire Vaye Watkins helps me sort it out.

But I do see a lot of newly mothered women who are writing in a much more fragmented, impressionistic, lyrical, language-driven way. For me, when I’m breastfeeding, I can’t think of a 300-page narrative arc and, also, I don’t see the world like that anymore. When I’m waking up every 90 minutes, the world becomes a really fragmented, dream-like, lyrical place, so that aesthetic doesn’t really apply. If I were going to try to write a book like that now, it would be a lie.

and

It’s also this all or nothing thing. It’s an extreme binary—I did it bit earlier myself—between men’s writing or women’s writing; between narrative-driven epic novels and smaller, more fragmented, domestic pieces. Or when I evaluate my own work, I still ask, “Is this art or is this a mom blog?” It would be wonderful if our kids came up in a world where mom blogs were art if they were fucking good enough—if that was the only criteria they had.

Watch me wrestle with this question, and why it even has to be this way: “Is this art or is this a mom blog?”

Book reviewsy

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Just finished The Perfect Scent: A year in the perfume industry in the Paris and New York by Chandler Burr, and it was completely fascinating. I somehow, inexplicably got into perfumes this year (smelling them, learning about them, certainly not buying them because I’m broke). The perfume industry is a wacky, wacky business. For example: 

Millions are fascinated by the process by which designers like Todd Oldham cut, sew, design, and agonize their fall collections into existence, but the great creative minds at Yves Saint Laurent and Jean Paul Gaultier and Dior, with the collective brilliance of a single mollusk at low tide, have intuited that with perfume – No. Here is an industry suffocating itself on the most immense pile of public relations shit human civilization has ever produced, a literal mountain of verbiage about “the noble materials, symbol of eternal feminine beauty, addictive notes of Cocoa Puffs, she can’t wait to taste him like a Hershey’s kiss, Cleopatra wore this, it has notes of distilled wild all-natural Martian fungus harvested by French virgins on the third moon of Pluto”.  The lies pile up on other lies, they generate a poisoned river of vapid crap the marketers try to pass off as ‘information’ and the brands have no clear that their public relations approach is about fifty years out of date. Reading anything they put out on their perfumes is like reading a combination of Kafka, only less creative, and Pravda circa 1985. Zero interest. There is almost no recognition that the enforced lack of knowledge – this gaping void of nothingness about what their products actually are, who makes them, and what’s in the things – is creating boredom and disinterest. The perfume industry is choking itself to death on its vacuum.

Anyway, a fascinating read on an absolutely bizarre word. 

 

A biography of 2014.

Joining a challenge. Two weeks late, but there you go. 

Little blips and blurbs about my year.

Alix reads too much as a crutch, as an excuse to stay as far as possible away from life. And the funny thing is, I got a book for Christmas called The Novel Cure: An A-Z of Literary Remedies. A book to fix my problems! Either the precisely wrong thing, or the exact thing I need. 

Time will tell.