My Girl Canon

Catch 22

A friend of a friend has a new worthwhile website up and running. Check it out today to read a list of the ten books that have most moved me. Read below for a more detailed description. Or follow them here: http://girlcanon.tumblr.com/.

Girl Canon- About Us

“The power of a personal canon, secret or not, lies in the authority one needs to create it. Women need to trust that they know what’s good, what’s bad, and what serves them intellectually in order to reject or reclaim the books in their lives. […] What “No Regrets” argues for most powerfully is the right of women to reject that line of thinking and to believe that they are qualified to decide what literature should be. It argues for the public claiming of formerly secret canons: the right to create your own vision of what is best in the culture and to have that vision influence what books other people read and value.” – Sady Doyle, “The Perils of Reading While Female,” In These Times, 2014.

We are GIRL CANON, and we want to know what you read.

grrrlcanon [AT] gmail.com

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Happy Friday.

Sometimes, by the end of the week, everything sits just right. But sometimes it’s Friday morning and I do this. Really.

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I Have Been a Writer

I have been a writer since sixth grade. A quick response to the common question, What do you want to be? (For the record, my teacher, whose name I fortunately cannot remember, then also quickly said, No, no I mean, what do you really want to be, like for a career? Her response will be addressed in a much later much angstier post.)

Later that same year, I wallpapered my bedroom with my own (mostly terrible) poetry. (Below is a brooch I’d like to buy on Etsy.com.)

For Progress in Writing

So this writing career is  approximately twenty years old. And yet, I have never belonged to a book club. Sure, sure, I’ve debated plenty of books. In living rooms, literature classes, at bus stops. Once I even debated Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead in a public restroom. The arguing went on for so long that three of my friends eventually came in to see if everything was all right. Freshman year of college at Brandeis University, we all were required to read Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, but that’s the closest I’ve come to the official tradition.

Truth be told, I’m not much for traditions or clubs, or even large gatherings. I prefer intimacy. I prefer not having things in common. A lot of times, I simply prefer to be left alone.

On Friday, however, all this will (at least temporarily) change. A mix of intelligent women will gather, some of literary backgrounds, some not, and we will eat and drink and discuss Richard Morais’s The Hundred-Foot Journey. I’m skeptical. I’m excited. I’m unsure what to expect. I will be there to listen.

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Happy Friday, to me anyway.

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I love rain. Cold rain. Hot rain. Just right rain. Rain that spits or soaks or wakes you up in the middle of the night as it slashes sideways against your window. And the forecast in ‘s-Hertogenosch, Nederland this weekend is nothing but, you guessed it, regen.

I love running in the rain, biking in the rain, and, most importantly, writing in the rain. Or, more accurately, writing indoors next to a big bay window and not just watching it rain but knowing, with every punch of the keyboard, that it, most certainly, is. I love day darkness and monochromatic clouds and everything gloomy that comes with the package.

I love precariously walking my laptop in some kind of plastic grocery bag to the nearest café and commandeering a window seat to write stories about the woman in the perfectly-belted beige trench coach and Gucci umbrella, the little kid decked in one-size-too-small purple slicker, the man who didn’t notice the chasm of intersection puddle that soaked his mesh tennies and white gym socks. And, if, today or tomorrow or next year, I’m the one unknowingly prancing through the puddle, I’d love it if you wrote about me too.

Oh, rain, I love it all. Head to toe. Tip to tail. Rock to rump roast. Happy Friday. Happy raining, blowing, storming, writing weekend.

Forecast 2

Return of the Unabridged Adventure Series

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As some of you may remember from a previous post, I bought, not too long ago, a five-inch-thick dictionary from 1937, which is now proudly displayed on a re-purposed deck railing stand in my living room.

I began documenting the items I found inside the book. First, a newspaper article. Then some rosesA sketch by Mom. Finally, a fern. I was reminded of all these fine findings when I accidentally flipped to the first blank page of the dictionary this morning, only to see this lonely blossom that must have somehow migrated from page 231.

I’ve decided to expand The Unabridged Adventure Series to include my entire book collection. Many copies purchased used. Many purchased new and now used, likely to contain bits I’ve left behind.

Productive Spaces: the Productivity of being Flexible

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I have a small home office. Complete with desk, shelves, printer, ambient lighting, inspiring paintings, and reference books. But in the morning, the sun comes in the house here. It’s a an empty soon-to-be baby room with psychedelic wallpaper of safari animals.

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In the spring, this trees blooms, and so I sit here, smell here, have coffee right under it. Sometimes the neighbors give me long Dutch stares. Sometimes a child stops by with a soccer ball to ask me a question I don’t understand. (I know neither Dutch nor soccer.)

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In summer, it’s usually the backyard. Everyone is close at hand, but the eight-foot-tall fences allow me only to speculate, and hence, to write. A little girl yells. A bike bell dings. Someone splashes in–what is that?–a kiddie pool. A moped passes far too quickly in the back alley.

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And none of this is as perfect as it sounds. Sometimes the writing comes; sometimes it sticks like globs of crunchy peanut butter to the back of my brain. Sometimes it rains on my laptop and I have to run inside. Soon, there will be a baby in one of my writing rooms, and so I’ll have to move on. And that is, I think, what writers do: move on. Change perspective even if it only means the domestic scenery. Write in the attic laundry room where the morning light also comes in quite nicely.

(For a short piece of fiction on this topic, see “The Year-Ago You” published online at Tethered by Letters: http://tetheredbyletters.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=380.)

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