Take something to write on. Paper is good. In a pinch, pieces of wood or your arm will do.

index

All ten here. My favorite:

7. You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there’s no free lunch. Writing is work. It’s also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but ­essentially you’re on your own. ­Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.

[bwo Brain Pickings]


“The control of women and babies has been a feature of every repressive regime on the planet.”

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In March 10, 2017’s New York Times Atwood writes in “What ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Means in the Age of Trump:”

[Women] are not an afterthought of nature, they are not secondary players in human destiny, and every society has always known that. Without women capable of giving birth, human populations would die out. That is why the mass rape and murder of women, girls and children has long been a feature of genocidal wars, and of other campaigns meant to subdue and exploit a population. Kill their babies and replace their babies with yours, as cats do; make women have babies they can’t afford to raise, or babies you will then remove from them for your own purposes, steal babies — it’s been a widespread, age-old motif. The control of women and babies has been a feature of every repressive regime on the planet. Napoleon and his “cannon fodder,” slavery and its ever-renewed human merchandise — they both fit in here. Of those promoting enforced childbirth, it should be asked: Cui bono? Who profits by it? Sometimes this sector, sometimes that. Never no one.

No. Never no one. Read Atwood’s column in full here. It’s well worth your time. So is The Handmaid’s Tale.

And a complementary quote:

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.–George Santayana

Learning to make fire

Habitation

by Margaret Atwood

Marriage is not
a house or even a tent

it is before that, and colder:

the edge of the forest, the edge
of the desert
the unpainted stairs
at the back where we squat
outside, eating popcorn

the edge of the receding glacier

where painfully and with wonder
at having survived even
this far

we are learning to make fire

The smell of blood on the wall.

I open the gallery door, walk in with that sinking feeling I always have in galleries.  It’s the carpets that do it to me, the hush, the sanctimoniousness of it all:  galleries are too much like churches, there’s too much reverence, you feel there should be some genuflecting going on.  Also I don’t like it that this is where paintings end up, on these neutral-toned walls with the track lighting, sterilized, rendered safe and acceptable.  It’s as if somebody’s been around spraying the paintings with air freshener, to kill the smell.  The smell of blood on the wall.

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Quote

“I’m the plot, babe, and don’t ever forget it.”

the Ugly Stepsisters

…I’ve never had a turn, not one! I haven’t even been given a name; I was always just the ugly sister; put the stress on ugly…As for the prince, you think I didn’t love him? I loved him more than she did; I loved him more than anything. Enough to cut off my foot. Enough to murder…But all my love ever came to was a bad end. Red-hot shoes, barrels studded with nails. That’s what it feels like, unrequited love. She had a baby, too. I was never allowed.

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Quote

Love her or hate her, her novels will provoke some of the most interesting and intense discussions you’ll ever have about a book, some which are unproductive of sleep later that night.

[From the vaults at stabenow.com, Mar 8, 2010]

My book club reads mostly women’s fiction, and we’ve read a lot by Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood. Love her or hate her, her novels will provoke some of the most interesting and intense discussions you’ll ever have about a book, some which are unproductive of sleep later that night. Trust me, I know.

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