Feeling Furious

Reading Kate Zambreno‘s latest brilliant book ( and I don’t use the word brilliant very often) HEROINES I am incensed, furious, livid, at what was (and maybe still is) considered an acceptable attitude towards women’s writing of the modernist era.
I can’t put the damn book down – my PhD – the submission of which is fast approaching, imminent in fact! – sits neglected as I devour Zambreno’s deliciously constructed text.

“He writes I imagine, in the tradition of neurotic men who treat women as objects but are forgiven for their insight and sensitivity, in the tradition of falling in love and into beautiful girls. The entire history of Western literature is dominated by absolute pricks, I realize, pricks that can’t get hard but yet ejaculate with such eloquent language, Beckett was a prick with Lucia Joyce (poor Lucia), Scott Fitzgerald was a prick and how does she get revenge? She is always the minor writer.”

Kate Zambreno, Heroines (2013) p. 228.

The only problem being? Now I want to read EVERYTHING she mentions – all of it – the novels, the biographies, the letters, the diaries, the scraps – THE EVIDENCE of the silenced/othered.

I like to think my own heroine, Rebecca West, survived and was artistically successful because she dumped that pompous narcissist H. G. Wells , who tried his damnedest to control her, squirrelling her and their son off to the wilds of Wales and Norfolk to keep her out of sight and away from her career … just in time!

It’s made me more aware of myself as a female, as a writer, as a fractured identity than anything else I have ever read – it speaks to women in the here and now. Claim yourselves! She seems to be saying. Don’t be negated – don’t be sanitised by male expectations!

This author is inspirational.

In other news – 

Meet Hilda!

We don't all need to be size 0 to look HOT!
We don’t all need to be size 0 to look HOT!

On a more frivolous note – a friend sent me a link to this cheeky little bit of lighthearted fluff … leaving the whole hyper sexualised/objectifications of the female body thing aside for now it’s good to know a fat girl can rock the Pin-up world!

After all I keep saying it so it must be true  FAT is a feminist issue!

Zaftig /zäftig/ adjective: (of a woman) Having a full, rounded figure; plump. Yep – and baby I am not giving up cake for no man!

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WORLD BOOK NIGHT

So I am perhaps a little slow on uploading a post about the fabulous World Book Night event (it was yesterday ) but I did enjoy feeling very philanthropic as I handed out the books.

I chose to gift mine to pub goers. I opted for Maggie O’Farrell’s The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, because it was one I had read and enjoyed and had already given away; a clear sign I wanted to get other people to read it.
I could have gone highbrow and taken on Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca but what a foosty old book that is to try and foist onto unsuspecting folks.The aim of the evening is to get non book readers to read .. now that is harder than you think and perhaps a little patronising. The website even gives you handy hints for targeting ‘non-book readers’ but I found the tone implied a level of condescension that I didn’t quite hold with – so I went for people who looked friendly!

This year the books all have numbers and the idea is to trace how far a book will travel as it is passed from hand to hand to hand … I imagine that folks will stop registering them after a while but here’s hoping one of the books I gave away will reach the other side of the world! 🙂

It was also the anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and death! So in honour of the bard each novel had a sonnet attached to it – Esme’s sonnet was no 63!

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

Sonnet 63

Against my love shall be as I am now,
With Time’s injurious hand crushed and o’erworn;
When hours have drained his blood and filled his brow
With lines and wrinkles; when his youthful morn
Hath travelled on to age’s steepy night;
And all those beauties whereof now he’s king
Are vanishing, or vanished out of sight,
Stealing away the treasure of his spring;
For such a time do I now fortify
Against confounding age’s cruel knife,
That he shall never cut from memory
My sweet love’s beauty, though my lover’s life:
His beauty shall in these black lines be seen,
And they shall live, and he in them still green.

Progress on the revisions has been slow – hence the lack of blog posts – but I am still daily on Blipfoto so if you fancy dropping by and saying ‘hello’ feel free.