Learning to ride, falling down, getting back on
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Judy Hogan is a writer who lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She runs the Carolina Wren Press.
November 17. Monday. The car didn’t start — again. We rode the bus. Manuel, in hat, was driving. He picked us up, leaving the students who were waiting to wait seven more minutes. I bet they hated me.
Thinking today again about fate, the substratum of what is possible, and then the power we have once we are in close touch with what is there. Where the power to act and to change things and to create really lies.
This collection of Bob Fox’s stories are described by Fox’s publisher, Curt Johnson, as “the most enlightening and enlightened surrealism I’ve read since Franz K.”
How many novels have you read lately that challenge stereotypes, while giving you characters you can love and hate, with a plot and an ending that satisfy both your sense of what must happen and what you wish would happen?
His heroes are frail — but also strong and unbreakable, because they cope with these realities, not blurring or distorting what is there, what they have done, or how they feel. And this rubs off on us, makes the reader braver about acknowledging the truth in his or her own guts.
The poet has a mind capable of raising for us all crops of words, dense with meaning, rich in symbols, exactly expressive for us all of what our lives are like, what our human condition means, what we feel, why we keep struggling, why we sometimes can’t go on.
Write what matters, as well as possible, risking triteness, risking being labeled political, risking being under or overfunded, risking being imprisoned. The only weapon anyone really has against you is death. And that weapon, too, the older poets used to say, can be turned against an enemy.
“Where do I write?” a good friend asked me. And when? And how? What are all the externals? He thought it might be helpful to others to know that I sit in a chair, near a window; that I eat and drink without limits, impulsively; that I like to look out at something natural.
I can’t remember the first time I heard someone say that the conglomerates (giant U.S. corporations like Xerox) were buying out the big New York publishing houses, the ones that 20 or so years ago were a fairly reliable place to publish a first novel, a well-written book, something that might someday be known as a great book, as “literature.”
Maybe this is one way women can help our present troubled society when they are given opportunities like I’ve had: trust their human responses and instincts and go through the invisible walls that cause us all so much suffering.
It is possible that we are looking out there, over yonder, when we ourselves, or our sisters or mothers or daughters may be secretly squirreling away some of the most direct, honest, intense “news” around about what being a human being is — and not even know that it qualified as literature and might stand the test of time better than much that is presently coming out of the big N.Y. publishing companies.
For we have only begun to express how we see the world. And after our angers have risen and spent themselves, and we have made peace with our deepest and feminine selves, we can settle down to getting the world written and into print.