In the last two years, women have boasted about victimhood.
Yes, I know. It’s very sad. But we are powerful women now, aren’t we? And it’s time to tune into that.
I was a victim of statutory rape. And I pitied the lesbian teacher who seduced me, because she manipulated me with stories of how difficult it was to be gay because people constantly rejected her. When I wrote about it here a few years ago, readers misinterpreted it as “a gay thing.” That’s because I wrote about it from my perspective as a teenager, not as a Woman of a Certain Age. The worst things at age 16 were the bad sex and boredom.
Women need to rediscover their strength and self-reliance! Lightening up is the only way I keep from gnashing my teeth! The Iowa state govenment, under the auspices of Governor Kim Reynolds (a woman), has defunded Planned Parenthood and shut down five clinics with devastating repercussions for women’s health. And, remember, we’ve got to vote for the Democrats in November to refund Planned Parenthood.
AND NOW FOR LITERARY LINKS.
1. Patti Smith writes brilliantly at The Paris Review about Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. (It is actually the foreward to the Penguin Deluxe edition of Little Women. Here’s the first paragraph.
Perhaps no other book provided a greater guide, as I set out on my youthful path, than Louisa May Alcott’s most beloved novel, Little Women. I was a wiry daydreamer, just ten years old. Life was already presenting challenges for an awkward tomboy growing up in the gender-defined 1950s. Uninterested in preordained activities, I would take off on my blue bicycle, to a secluded place in the woods, and read the books I had checked out, often over and over again, from the local library. I could hardly be found without book in hand and sacrificed sleep and hours at play to enter wholeheartedly each of their unique worlds.
2. Philip Styrt writes a stellar piece at Tor about epigraphs: “Always Read the Epigraph: A Lesson for Fantasy Readers.”
Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”— Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
see you there, with that novel in your hand. Turning to page 1 (or, given the vagaries of publishers, maybe page 3), are you? Starting with the prologue, or the preface, or good old Chapter 1? Well, I’m here to tell you to turn that page back in the other direction and take a look at what you might find lurking in the front matter of the book. No, I’m not talking about the publication information (though I’m sure the Library of Congress would love to feel appreciated) and not even the acknowledgements and the dedication (though while you’re here, why not find out who the author loves?). I’m talking about the epigraph. The little (often italicized) sayings or quotations nestled in the very beginning, right before the action starts: right ahead of that opening paragraph on page 1 you were about to read.
3. Jon Meacham writes at the New York Times that “Henry Adams’s 1880 Novel, ‘Democracy,’ Resonates Now More Than Ever.”
The enduring relevance of “Democracy” is a tribute to the gifts of Henry Brooks Adams, whose identity as the author was revealed by the publisher after Adams died in 1918. Few people in the midst of the post-Civil War Gilded Age had a better feel for American democracy than Adams. Great-grandson and grandson of presidents, historian, professor and journalist, Adams had left Boston in 1877 for Washington. “I gravitate to a capital as a primary law of nature,” Adams wrote a friend. “This is the only place in America where society amuses me, or where life offers variety.”’
As he worked on his monumental histories of the early Republic, Adams took time to write “Democracy,” a novel that one might have expected if Anthony Trollope and Ward Just had somehow managed to collaborate across time and space. Mrs. Lee, a widow and an idealist about public life, is a desirable catch. Two suitors are especially drawn to her: John Carrington, an aristocratic young Virginian, and the practical and ambitious Senator Silas Ratcliffe, a rising man from Illinois.