If Literature’s “Complicated Men” Were on Tinder by Sarah Chevallier, yonder at McSweeney’s
Now I can die happy, and also in love with Sarah Chevallier.
“Red Ink is a quarterly series curated and hosted by Michele Filgate, hosted at powerHouse Arena. This dynamic series focuses on women writers, past and present. The name Red Ink brings to mind vitality, blood, correcting history, and making a mark on the world.
The following is an edited transcript from November’s panel, “Silence,” which featured Rene Denfeld, Alisson Wood, T Kira Madden, Gayle Brandeis, and Alexis Okeowo.”
I always admire the speakers at the Red Ink panels, which are generally excerpted for LitHub. This one is particular good. Since I write mostly about the aftermath of trauma, and am writing about it currently in a novel where a character (like one of Rene’s!) has selective mutism, I was particularly riveted. So might you be.
Every Time We Put Pen to Paper, It is an Act of Protest
Oddly, in the way life goes, I was thinking of Ursula Le Guin when the word came through on Twitter that she had died. She was a remarkable writer and thinker, an early protector of women’s rights, and the world will be smaller for her absence.
We’re lucky when we get a more or less up-to-date list of what’s happening on the contest scene. Here we are for fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry:
From Bitch Media, S E Smith’s great piece on sexual harassment and assault in CanLit. Where are we now? Where have we been? Where are we going and how will we get there?
As someone pretty much drummed out of a traditional literary career, and who (mostly) speaks their mind, I have to tell you losing hopes of getting ahead is a lot better than the alternative of shutting up. It’s a coming out, if you will. There’s great and abiding strength in it. There’s passion and direction and a waiting army of feminists who refuse to shut the fuck up about the harms that have been done to us.
Nothing will stop us.
A Sexual Violence Reckoning is Coming in Publishinghttps://www.bitchmedia.org/article/sexual-reckoning-in-publishing
1946 Femme au collier jaune; Picasso
painting of Françoise Gilot with cigarette burn on her cheek–if we view this, are we complict?
I found this article by Claire Dederer useful in thinking through what has been an obsession without answer during my artistic career. Should we love the art and ignore what we know of the artist? Should art be held to standards? All I ever could answer with were questions.
What is art? What does it mean? Whose art? Whose history? What art was left out? This is as true of literature of course as it is of visual art or films or photography.
I want to see the world we’d have if the people who had been left by the wayside were white men. I want to see the films, read the books, look at the photography and visual art that wasn’t captured or wasn’t kept or wasn’t remarked upon. I long to know the world without patriarchy. Would it be better, or only different?
Hanya Yanagihara gets my vote here for sheer numbers and gorgeous storage. I think only writers who are visual artists could be comfortable with the results after shelving by colour, don’t you, but nonetheless, Michael Chabon did it. (I was just as impressed at the existence of the summer home.) A fun article by Emily Temple at LitHub.
I organize mine into poetry, short fiction, novels, and non-fiction, then organize by “Best of” collections, and, in non-fiction, by subject (art, photography, biographies, gardening, animals etc) but I don’t alphabetize sections.
Ijeoma Oluo, writing at The Establishment, offers guidance to men (and womxn) who have harassed or abused someone. It’s advice I wish two of my exes would read and take to heart. How to be honourable, folks.
Okay, okay, we who practice this form declare that every year is year of the short story because of their singular pleasures, and today is the last day to submit to CBC’s yearly contest for them, so it’s a good day to declare a YOSS. We who write in this stunning form want editors, marketing board and publishers to welcome them and not to demand they link and not to say, like broken records, they don’t sell. If they don’t sell, help us change that. Buy them, read them, re-read them, love them. You won’t be sorry. I can tell you that at my house, my short fiction collections get pride of place and take up the most space on my shelves. And are my first and strongest love. I write novels because I think I have to (that great rah-rah), and poetry when it makes me, but I LOVE SHORT FICTION. I have two collections and enough stories here to shape two more– with a lot of rewriting.
Here’s Ayelet Tsabari waxing enthusiastic.
Michele Filgate photo from LitHub
Yonder at LitHub, an edited transcript from Red Ink’s panel discussion on literary misfittery. Recently Lidia Yuknavitch’s book The Misfit’s Manifesto dropped (a book based on her TED talk). Red Ink is the quarterly panel curated by Michele Filgate.
“Lidia Yuknavitch: I think a piece of misfitting has to do with our bodies, and living in a body—and this could be all kinds of people—that is literally pained by the cultural narratives coming at it. And in some ways, maybe that’s everybody, because the cultural narratives coming at us are idiotic.”
LARB always has great essays about this biz of ours. Alexis Clements writes What Are the Chances? Success in the Arts in the 21st Century and concludes that money is a bit of a dirty secret in the arts. Most artists working at art or writing full time have ancillary income–help from a spouse, inheritance, real estate success.
“The chances of your book becoming a New York Times best seller in 2012: 0.002 percent ” -Alexis Clements
This is a literary blog and exactly the place literary essays about domestic violence belong.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month in the US. November is Domestic Violence Awareness month in Canada.
S/he/they don’t have to be hitting you for you to be a victim; abuse happens with gaslighting, lying, cheating, yelling, sexual abuse, dehumanizing you, demeaning you, threatening you, throwing things, frightening you/the children. This month and next, I ask everyone to remember that this is not just a heterosexual, able-bodied crime. The disabled are victims of violence at home at a much higher rate than are the able-bodied. Queers and trans people are frequent victims of violence both outside the household perpetrated by strangers, and inside it perpetrated by their intimate partners. If you want to read more about queer violence, I started a website to collect the pieces I could find about it at www.queerviolence.com.
Thank you, readers, for having the interests of victims at heart this month and next. It is your understanding that will make a difference. Thank you for educating yourselves.
All a household needs for domestic violence to occur is one partner who feels entitled and willing to batter. It’s not about the victim. It’s entirely caused by, about and the fault of the offender.
Why doesn’t she leave? S/he/they have told her that she’s crazy, she’s imagining things, it’s not that bad, s/he/they love her. Periodically, the violence ends and the loving relationship begins anew, refreshed and revitalized This pattern of violence broken by love broken by violence broken by love eventually twists a victim’s mind. She believes in the love. She hungers for it. She needs it. It’s the “real” relationship, after that. The violence is just something to be borne. This creates a psychological condition called trauma bonding. (In a hostage situation the same dynamic would be called Stockholm Syndrome.) When there’s violence, she would give anything, do anything, be anybody just to have the pendulum swing back to where her partner loves and approves of her again.
Kids are often caught in the crossfire and this is particularly grievous because they are observing behaviour that will make them feel “at home” as adults. They won’t know how to form healthy relationships with healthy people. If you can’t make yourself leave for yourself, make yourself leave on behalf of your children.
Call your local transition house because, there, you will have breathing room to think through your circumstances and to begin the process of healing and figuring out the next steps to your free future.
What can you do? Support resources helping battered women. Educate yourself on feminism and why it’s critical to everyone’s future. BELIEVE THE VICTIMS. If you like the offender, and you don’t like the victim, nevertheless, BELIEVE THE VICTIM.
Below, I’ll link to literary essays on abuse. Please feel free to add the ones that have been important to you in the comments.
It Will Look Like a Sunset by Kelly Sundberg, Guernica, Best American Essays
Apology Not Accepted, a blog by Kelly Sundberg with guest essayists on the topic of IPV
(Stay tuned for a book on the topic by Kelly Sundberg in 2018.)
Using CNF to Teach the Realities of Intimate Partner Violence to First Responders: An Annotated Bibliography, by Christian Exoo, Assay Journal
The Story of My Fear Over Time, by Kelly Thompson, The Rumpus
Underwater, by Kelly Thompson, Manifest Station
I Understand Why Some Women Stay, by Virginia Mátir, xojane
The Mule Deer, by Debbie Weingarten, Vela
On Car Accidents and Second Wives, by Mandy Rose, Apology Not Accepted
Never Say I Didn’t Bring You Flowers, by Jane Eaton Hamilton, Apology Not Accepted, Full Grown People, notable in Best American Essays
Yonder at Terrible Minds, here’s the not-so-terrible truth about finishing your novel, by Chuck Wendig.