Darkdarkdark, and yet I’m up, roused by the prayer I uttered before falling asleep last night. Help me go from there to THERE in this bildungsrosman that I’m writing, I asked higher spirit, divine mommy, the universe–whatever you call the whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts energy that holds us all like we’re kittens.* At 4:30 am I was pulled awake in the darkdarkdark with the gift of where to go and how; now I’m just waiting for coffee to move me onto that path. The sun’s not up, but it will be.
*I call it G-d.
There was a time when all my blog posts were about quietly shuffling in my kitchen, stirring something on the stove while permakitten Grace wove in between my legs and the city blinked right outside my window. Then my life exploded along with the country, and an urgency replaced any peace I harbored. Truro has restored my calm. I had a mediocre writing day and was late to both sunrise and sunset. But I caught the last vestiges of both, and the glory of autumnal Cape Cod held me like a beloved child. Tonight I am cooking with ingredients gathered from farmstands and my finely feathered city: lamb and lentil stew with kale, cilantro, cumin, and hot-hot sauce swiped from Modern Pilgrim’s prodigious collection. I’m sipping red wine while Stevie croons so sweet and the stars are blinking brighter than NYC. I know where I am if not where I’m going, and will sleep and eat and drink so well. For now, this is enough.
This morning, as the sun rose wanly here in Truro (yes, I’m back for the rest of the month), I caught up on the Harvey Weinstein revelations. Nothing unpredictable, I’m afraid, which made them all the more appalling. Woman after woman coming forward with the same clutch of details: the bathrobe, the massage requests, the obsession with showers, the need—nay, the demand—for sexual attention. What angered me most: Harvey claimed he was offering career ascension to these hundreds—maybe thousands—of young women, which is loathesome unto itself. But all he really was saying was: If you submit to my sexual demands, I will not harmfully, aggressively cockblock your career.
He is a larcenous pig not unlike, say, our alleged president.
As the estimable Gloria Steinem has written—as the Academy of Motion Pictures itself has acknowledged—such predatory behavior is hardly unique to Weinstein. Instead, this “isolate and destroy” brand of toxic masculinity has meant that we women have felt damned if we do and damned if we don’t in terms of sexual resistance.
Again, not news to anyone walking as female in this life.
But Sarah Polley did raise an issue I hadn’t considered in 15 years. In this week’s New York Times, the director addressed her reason for walking away from acting: She felt like prey. Scratch that. She was prey. And it made me think about my own career as a tween actor.
I never talk about why I quit acting. The truth is that it’s probably no loss to the world. As as an adult, I’m good enough on stage or in front of a camera as a commentator but not especially adept at pretending I’m anything but myself. As a young person, though, I really, really wanted to be an actor and experienced a surprising degree of success. Continue Reading →