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“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”
~ Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum LP
“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies — "God damn it, you've got to be kind." ”—Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
“And yet, the human body is still the measure of all things. This is the scale we know best. This ridiculous six feet belt the globe and everything in it. We talk about feet, hands, spans, because that is what we know. We know the world by and through our bodies. This is our lab; we can't experiment without it. It is our home too. The only home we really possess. Home is where the heart is... The simple image is complex. My heart is a muscle with four valves. It beats 101,000 times a day, it pumps eight pints of blood around my body. Science can bypass it, but I can't. I say I give it to you, but I never do. Don't I? In the fossil record of my past, there is evidence that the heart has been removed more than once. The patience survived. Broken limbs, drilled skulls, but no sign of the heart. Dig deeper and there'll be a story, layered by time, but true as now. ”—Jeanette Winterson is an author who writes stories that are at once fanciful and gripping. Her works are deceptively simple, reading like novel length poetry as you are drawn deeper into the story. This excerpt, taken from her novel “Lighthouse Keeping”, follows the tale of Silver who is a lighthouse keeper’s apprentice who ends up following wandering feet to wherever longing dictates. Silver is rootless and continuously perplexed by the way that we carve up our lives into sections. Ruthlessly, the novel shines a light on the aspects of our lives that we have learned to no longer question.
- Caesar Salad: Romaine lettuce and croutons dressed with parmesan cheese, Caesar dressing, optional chicken.
- Brutus Salad: Similar, but topped with steak, so you have to attack it with a knife. Mix some arugula and radicchio in for that bitter aftertaste
- Cassius Salad: Lean and hungry. Use fat-free dressing, only half the cheese, and no croutons. No wonder Cassius resents Caesar's popularity.
- Mark Antony Salad: Served with the same Caesar dressing on a rainbow of eye-catching vegetables, this homage to the more popular recipe lacks its elegant simplicity, but will win over fans of the original.
- Octavius Caesar Salad: The Caesar salad that you can get from McDonalds.
Is that what you think feminists do?
I did my undergrad at Oxford in English, and thus the subject was generally rife with insecure mansplainers shouting their opinions louder then the female students in their classes, but one particularly egregious example comes to mind.
In a class with two other students (one male, one female) and a female tutor, we were discussing a famous Jacobean revenge tragedy, in which the female protagonist bribes her father’s “deformed” male servant into murdering her fiancé so she can marry someone younger and better-looking, in exchange for her virginity. Said female character then continues to have sex with the male servant for the rest of the play, until eventually she gets caught out by her lies and stabbed because, well, it’s a Jacobean revenge tragedy. Dramatically, it’s a great play; in terms of feminist critique, it’s problematic.
In the class discussion, I was outlining my view that there was a lot of coded male fear of female sexuality embedded into the environment and settings of the play (dark, tight spaces, secret tunnels etc) and that the playwright only allowed the female protagonist to work through male agents, which she was then punished for anyway (with a nasty reference to the Biblical Eve being the downfall of mankind, as well as the aforementioned stabbing). I was then interrupted by the male undergrad - the only male in the room - telling me how I’d got it wrong because the female protagonist was, in fact, a ‘feminist character’.
Discussion was a major part of the class so I let him talk, despite being interrupted. He then mansplained to me how I was “interpreting feminism wrong” and that the female protagonist of the play was, in fact, a feminist because she “went out and got what she wanted”, despite a) having known me for two years and that I was actively involved in the feminist movement and b) it was evident that in the play the female protagonist neither “went out” OR “got what she wanted”.
My response was to puncture this with the question, “She has her fiancé murdered because she doesn’t fancy him. Really. Is that what you think feminists DO?”
Our tutor - whose specialist area was feminist critiques of 16th and 17th century drama - applauded.