When I was five, I wrote a story about a dog and a balloon who become friends. (I dictated it. My mother wrote the words.) If I was able to think of such wacky stuff now, I would never again have to hear that if you write about a common experience, the writing has to be really spectacular to make up for it. Doesn’t the writing have to be spectacular no matter what? Does it follow that if you have a zany or action-packed plot, the writing doesn’t have to be quite as good?
When I was 16 or so, I took out a book of criticism by Harold Bloom. He called J.D. Salinger’s writing juvenile (or something along those lines) and said some other things that I perceived as way too harsh. I remember the shock I felt that a writer I loved so much wasn’t universally admired. I remember exactly where on my bedroom floor I was sitting and how I tossed the book aside towards this child-sized white rocking chair with a doll on it. Things felt different from that point on.
Like in high school, whether we knew it or not, whether we were aware of it or not, or whether we actually received the advice directly or not, there was an underlying understanding that boys wouldn’t like girls who were pensive and smart or who looked serious and intellectual, or worse yet, somber, gloomy, reclusive, or a snob (i.e. shy). Back then, I got labeled “the sad girl.” Is this like that? The bubbly, effervescent girls will succeed as writers too? —
Cris Mazza in this essay on The Nervous Breakdown. The essay was published several months back. I got the link from this post about age discrimination in publishing by Mazza on VIDA’s Her Kind blog.
Two of my anxieties when it comes to the PR aspect of existing in the world as a literary fiction writer - 1) being “old” (a woman over thirty) and 2) not having a fun/quirky/not boring persona.(via jessicabrokaw)
Appropriate that someone reblogged this today.
It’s almost conference season, so out come my anxieties!
Mom & me.
WHY DOES HE SEEM SO UPSET??? HE HAS AN ENTIRE PLATE OF MACAROONS!!!
And a pink cake behind him!
(Mmm, I want cake.)
(Source: heathledgers, via soniasaraiya)
For Those Who Devote Themselves to Personal Adornment
“For office workers who have fallen into debt because they spend their salaries on dresses, for women who require regular appointments with podiatrists to compensate for the ravages of years on high heels, for the victims of disastrous plastic surgery, for those who deprive themselves of sugar, for invalids who rise from bed only to dress and make up and then fall back exhausted, for those who weep in front of mirrors, for those with great legs and bad tempers, for mutton dressed as lamb, for those who sweat and strain their muscles out of fidelity to the illusions of a form.
“Spare them diseases of the skin and teeth, for in their sacrifice of time and health and friendship they have given hope to strangers whose hearts have been lifted at the sight of a line that finished itself finely, of colors undreamed of by nature, of constructions which at once affirm and quite deny the body’s range.
“Bless them, because a change of fashion can allow us to believe there could just be, for all of us, a change of heart.
“Grant this for the sake of Your love, which has adorned the mountains and created feathers and elaborate tails, O Lord, source of all taht exists for delight only, for display only, suggestions, in the joy of their variety, of the ecstacy of light which is eternal, changeless and ever-changing.”
—Mary Gordon, from “Prayers”
Photography Credit Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #56, 1980
The Douglass Project is giving away plants! #rutgersday #rudouglass
Aw, I was once a part of the Douglass Project.