Ms. Bigelow, practicing a kind of hyperbolic realism, distills the psychological essence and moral complications of modern warfare into a series of brilliant, agonizing set pieces.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
I wrote about this experience in a collection of monologues called Epiphanies. The girl walks home on the silent small town streets (much like I did), and cuts through a local park. Mid-way through the woods, she has a vision; she sees a woman, dressed in long robes floating above a creek. The ghost/woman/goddess grants her a moment of peace, of reprieve. In that moment, and for only that moment--- she doesn't struggle with her own duality: good girl/whore. And it was a struggle. Even when you know you are right, if everyone else is telling you--- you are wrong, it's a hard road to walk.
Of course I never saw a floating woman who granted me anything, but I believe I have spent my life trying to find a place, real or metaphorical, where I could find some peace, or at the very least reconcile that duality. I wonder why this is still such a struggle.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
We hung out at a nightclub owned by the infamous Sammy G and he would squire us about town like P. Diddy with a gaggle of ho's. We knew what people thought of us, but we didn't care. Some of us wore our pants so tight, our slits showed, our tits hung out, and some of us passed out on the dance floor. Oh the horror, the horror. But, shit I had fun.
I also ignored the iron clad rule that boys didn't like smart girls. Or at least girls that were smarter than them. To hell with that. I read lots of books, saw lots of movies, and educated myself. I read Babi Yar, The Bell Jar, Ariel, Gone with the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, Manchild in the Promised Land and a host of others.
I was a proto-teenaged feminist and I lived to tell the tale. Photo courtesy of Feminist Lawyers.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Too bad the over-all look and feel of the store is institutional and bleak, dirty and dusty. Good name brand bras for $5.00 but filthy. So those I would never buy. I checked out the demographic; black people, white people, Spanish people, mostly women. One woman didn't speak English and wanted me to weigh in on a mattress pad for a crib. I wondered why she thought I would know what I was talking about. I did the best I could and assured her it was probably alright via sign language.
They had wine glasses, salad bowls, flash lights, umbrellas, gum, candy, chocolate, even extra virgin olive oil. I couldn't wait to get out of there. I think I am my mother's daughter. This hurt my pride, my ambition, the great plans I had about my "future." As a young child, we were dirt poor. Mom cooked batches of pea soup, wouldn't apply for food stamps and our apartment was over-run by mice. It's like I carry a little bit of that history in my heart, and it won't let go.
Life is cyclical. Sometimes, you are up. And sometimes you are down. The only certain thing is change. It's what keep me going.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
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I would sincerely like to know why and when feminism became about un-sexy, mean women who hated men. At Lehman College, one of my colleagues has this posted on her office door:
Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.
What is so hard to understand about this? It's not mean, its just sensible. Logical.
Feminism exists so 25 year old women in the workplace don't have to be sexually harassed. It's now against the law. Should we go back to the way things were? Being called honey and baby, comments like "your ass looks good in that skirt", and then you were supposed to just laugh and find that flattering.
Feminism exists so women can vote.
Feminism exists so women can get an abortion.
Feminism exists so women, if they want, can have an existence outside of the box of wife and mother.
Feminism exists so pornography can be made by women for women.
Feminism exists so women can study to become lawyers, engineers, bankers. It wasn't so long ago that the only "professional" occupations available were "whore" or "teacher".
Feminism exists so I can have a voice.
Again, what's mean or un-sexy about this? Please explain.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Spoke in her cheeks, and so distinctly wrought
That one might almost say, her body thought.
--- John Donne
The great metaphysical poet, Mr. Donne, has given me something to think about, something to strive for, something bigger than the quotidian restraints of bills and debt and the humidity of late July. Some find solace in religion, some find solace in drugs, some find solace in work, I find it in language.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
At 86th, two Russian women got on the train, a mother and daughter. They tried to squeeze next to the 'ho's. Big mistake. Peroxide with missing teeth was like, "Bitch why you pushing up against me?" A wiry black man, who seemed a bit crazy himself, jumped up to give everyone more room.
But Peroxide wouldn't give it up, "Is you got a problem wif me?" The mother tried to explain that her daughter didn't speak English, "She no understand, she no understand." Peroxide was on her. Meanwhile two teachers had gotten on the train. One of them, a Latina, in her mid 30's said to Peroxide, "Let it go. Leave her alone."
Peroxide turned on her, "You a fucking teacher, don't try to teach a ho, I ain't one of your fucking students." Soon Peroxide jumped up, got right in her face, started grabbing her hair. The teacher was screaming, "Call the police." Other people began to intervene. It got ugly, tense. Peroxide wouldn't back down and neither would the young teacher. Why was she pushing it? The hooker had obviously been raped and beaten not just once, but many times. She had nothing to lose.
Finally 14th Street, Union Square. The two self proclaimed ho's got up to leave. Other women crowded around the Latina teacher. I heard her say: "There's a fine line between minding your business and being a human being." The ho's heard this, threatened to stay on the train, and kick some ass. I thought, that's where I got to get involved.
Can you imagine it? The whores against the teachers. Who would win? Luckily I didn't have to join the fray. But the woman's words echoed in my head--- once I witnessed baby gang bangers beating up an elderly Asian man on a stalled R train. I kept my eyes averted, my head down. I didn't want to be next.
When is it cool to save your own skin, and when is it just selfish?
Monday, July 20, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
So the Wicked Stepmother, Dominique, marries the Duke of Lexington because her second husband pissed away her fortune, then promptly died. But what she doesn't know is that her third husband, the Duke of Lexington, has just killed his fourth wife. Her ghost roams the castle seeking sexual gratification and revenge. Not only that, when she arrives, she realizes that his young daughter, Snow White, is quite mad. Suicidal.
Dominique has to live with the Duke for 1,000 days to insure a private income from his vast fortune. She has no choice. Watch how she outsmarts her once charming spouse who becomes homicidal after 39 nights in the marriage bed (read: fucking). See how she keeps Snow White from drowning herself in the river with the help of 7 dwarfs. Thrill to the hot passionate romance with a devil who lives inside the chapel mirror.
A poisonous apple never tasted so good. Photo by: Marc Travanti
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Click on the link for a hysterically funny (or is it?) video about advertising aimed at women, how we're fat, ugly, wrinkly, etc. and all we need to do is sort ourselves out. Men, on the other hand, just have to shave and get drunk because "you're already brilliant." Couldn't have said it better myself, and I've tried.
Monday, July 13, 2009
I'm trying to figure out the new title for a book proposal. The idea is to take fairy tales and myths where women are portrayed as evil or stupid or flighty or naughty or lazy or lascivious and revision them as erotic fairy-tales; places where women can find powerful archetypes or role models.
What do you think? P.S. The "chamber" is short hand for pussy.
The Velvet Chamber:
Erotic Archetypes for Every
This goes on and on. This is now my life. I am no longer a writer, no longer the brilliant straight A student at NYU writing her brilliant thesis on female archetypes as revisioned by feminist theory. That lofty, precious, beautiful world is now closed to me. One hopes not closed forever, but for now, kaput. Do I question the sanity of that degree? Friends, I do every day of my life. Who could guess that three months after graduation the economy would crash. Was I wrong in trying to build a better life for myself? That story has yet to be told. The irony is I will be living the same life I lived before the degree, the life I tried to get out of--- the life where I had to work four or five jobs in three different boroughs just to survive. I said to myself in 2005, I've had enough. I need to make a change, a BIG change.
One would think that with all the publications, prizes, productions, reviews, teaching experience and now a Masters, that finding a full time job would be easy. This is what I thought last May. I confidently set to work: I made an appointment with an NYU job counselor. She reviewed my resume, my cover letters. I worked with her for three weeks. I gained access to their data base. I was managing my bills with work and savings. All would be well! Week after week passed, weeks become months, and now its been a year. This could well be very humiliating if I let it, but I won't. I know how hard I've tried. I've got a stack of applications four inches thick.
I ran into a colleague of mine today who passed on my CV to a friend in a high place at another college. I had applied to the $80,000 a year job running the writing center. I had recently gotten a form letter stating: we've decided not to interview you. I asked her, what's wrong with me? Who could be better qualified. She said, all those jobs are about who you know. And she added, the problem is you're too qualified. They know you're not a bureaucrat. In a way, I'd rather be filing for bankruptcy. Honestly. Because at least its a change of venue. I'm sick of sending out job applications into the world. They've fallen on deaf ears. I do believe however that the universe rewards an honest effort.
For now I will continue my ballet--- to keep my assets safe, to keep the wolf at bay, scratch, scratch, scratch, hear him? He's at the door. But don't let him in.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Instead of panicking (which I did yesterday) I told myself that knowledge is power, and spoke to three attorneys. I also went online and researched my rights. When I had a slum landlord, I did the same thing, went to court and won. This is more complicated of course, but I look forward to the day when this weight is off my shoulders and I can start over. Meanwhile, this has been the loveliest summer in New York that I can remember.
I'm still being treated to birthday lunches and brunches. I have my health. It will get better. The economy will get better. One day soon I can treat myself to a new pair of shoes, a new blouse, a new pair of jeans, a new lipstick. This is how you rebuild your life. One small item at a time.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Yesterday I didn't want to be here anymore--- in New York, in this life, struggling to survive in this economy. I wanted to run away to Mexico. I saw it all in my head; the way I would pack up one suitcase with just jeans and t-shirts, my laptop and my dog. I would collect my last two checks from Lehman, and not pay any bills. I'd put my books in storage and board a bus at Port Authority--- in the early morning hours, before 6:00 a.m., before dawn. So it would be dark and shadowy. I would sit in the back of the bus bound for Tennessee or Kentucky; somewhere southwest.
At my destination, I would check into a flea bag hotel and cut off all my hair, dye it dark brown. I would watch the local news, order a cheeseburger, maybe a beer. I wouldn't call anyone, I would just disappear. The next day, I would board another bus to Nevada, repeat the same process, cheap hotel, cheeseburger, beer, until I got to a pristine and golden beach in Mexico. I saw myself going off the grid once and for all--- working as a waitress, or on a fishing boat, maybe teaching English. A couple of thousand would go a long way in Mexico, I thought. Maybe I'd come back when the economy bounces back, or maybe not at all.
Today I amended the escape to South Florida, a tiny coastal town, somewhere around Sanibel or Ft. Meyers. Teach in a community college. All my life I've done things the hard way, just to prove how tough I am. Maybe now its time to give myself a break, and do things the easy way.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
1. My sister, Lori for always sending me birthday, XMAS, and other goodies in the mail even when I cannot reciprocate.
2. My sister, Lonnie; for her wisdom and compassion. When I told her I couldn't move right or left, up or down---she said just let it go.
3. My brother Johnny who treats me to expensive dinners.
4. My friend Mars who came to my emotional rescue, and welcomes me into her mountain home.
5. My niece Angie who is taking me out to dinner tonight.
6. My cousin Debbi who always calls me on my birthday no matter what.
7. My Dad who sends me a beautiful card and one hundred dollars every year without fail.
8. Marc--- friend for 40 years, who has given me a sense of continuity and stability in my crazy life.
9. My ex-husband Peter---even though we've been divorced since 1995 always calls to wish me happy birthday.
10. Molly (nuff said)
Today I'm going to celebrate all of you!
Monday, July 6, 2009
Molly and I just returned after 4 days, and while I'm glad to be back in Brooklyn, I am grateful and blessed to be considered part of the mountain "family." Highlight: Dank singing "Rawhide," loud enough to wake the dead, at two in the morning. While I was trying to sleep, I couldn't help but smile at his vigorous rendition.