I went back to the coffee shop today because it is my coffee shop and because I am a frugal person in possession of free coffee cards. The men were once again holding forth on the Weinstein revelations–“bla bla, if the women took money, they shouldn’t be complaining now; bla, bla, why didn’t they stand up for themselves at the time?” I had forgotten my headphones so, though sitting apart from them, couldn’t help hearing hearing their male entitlement mishegos. The female barristas were held hostage since they couldn’t yell at customers without jeopardizing their jobs; the mothers were shaking their heads as their toddlers played; the millennials were hunched over their devices trying to ignore the misogyny broadcast. The men rambled on loudly–“you gotta understand, women can’t have it both ways”– ironically luxuriating on the cockacratic continuum whose existence they were denying. Reader, I blew up. “You fucking guys, why don’t you just give it a rest? The rest of us don’t want to hear your sexist bullshit, did that ever occur to you?” and so on, and so forth. At one point one of them said, “Your generation of women don’t listen well enough. That’s why you can’t make relationships work. We’re used to women who know how to be wives.” At which point this spinster in a fur hat really blew up. “THE GOOD OLD DAYS WHEN WOMAN COULDN’T HAVE OUR OWN BANK ACCOUNTS? OR BETTER YET, WHEN WE COULDN’T VOTE? FOR FUCK’S SAKE WE’RE DAMNED IF WE DO AND DAMNED IF WE DON’T. IF WE SAY SOMETHING, WE’RE BLACK-BALLED BITCHES. IF WE DON’T, WE’RE BLAMED LATER FOR NOT STANDING UP FOR OURSELVES.” Continue Reading →
Last week I had the book-writing equivalent of a healing crisis, an occupational hazard when you’re writing about your childhood, maybe. Essentially I wrote my way into some unhappy revelations, then got so sick and unmoored that I dipped back into a romance that was a dangerous dissociation the first time around. It was a total “what’s it all about, Alfie” moment, no doubt triggered in part by the fact that I was actually getting somewhere. The only way I could coax myself into working again was to write some present-set essays, two of which I’ve shared here. But I must honor this memoir that’s been roiling in me for years, especially as I’ve removed myself from the flow of my regular life to so so. Far from here old white men are choking us on what’s left of their power, and the country is on holiday for what rightly would be a genocide remembrance day. Right around me, soft rain is falling, and the woods are hushed by the downpour. Grace, who never approves of my slacking off, is pacing like a schoolmarm who doesn’t know what else can be done with her unruly subject. I flash again on that Beckett phrase, “I can’t go on, I’ll go on,” and write to you.