Category: body

On Marghanita Laski’s “The Victorian Chaise-Longue.”

The Victorian Chaise-Longue by Marghanita Laski (1953), published by Persephone Books (1999) “We think back through our mothers,” Virginia Woolf wrote, “if we are women.” Marghanita Laski’s terrifying novel The Victorian Chaise-Longue (1953) spins this proposition sideways. What if becoming a mother makes a woman a time-traveler against her will?  What if mothering allows memory […]

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Confirmation.

When you’re a woman, you try to live in hope, and you try to teach others (especially younger women) the same. Because, after all, the world doesn’t accommodate itself to you and never has. You are the one who must make way, yield the floor, decline to give way to professionally discrediting anger, sit incredulously […]

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Bacon and Brussels sprouts.

Next time you want a quick, warm, good winter supper — or a dish for Thanksgiving — especially if you are a Southerner in the Upper Midwest, here’s what you do: Go out in your garden and break off some Brussels sprouts. Brush off snow as necessary.  Bring the individual sprouts cupped in your shirt […]

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The patient gardener? Labor and humility.

I spent the middle of May — just after classes ended, even before turning in my grades — in a fever of garden work, reclaiming a quackgrass-infested lily bed and moving and spreading a giant pile of mulch and constructing a long-dreamed-of raised bed by hand.  All of this I did by myself, in one […]

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Essentializing the animal: owls, war horses, and poetry.

Coming out of my office late this afternoon, I spotted a barred owl up in a tree outside the building, hunched against the trunk, squinching his eyes against the light and stoically standing off a pair of crows who were hassling him. I got concerned, especially when he was still there at dark a couple […]

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The humility wheel.

Pottery class, day three. Clay in hair.  Clay in eyelashes.  Clay on neck.  Clay on shirt and jeans.  Clay on sandals, tracked inadvertently across studio floor.  Clay deep in cuticles.  Hands and arms trembling when held out to examine clay deep in cuticles; I’m still trying for less muscular effort and better touch, but kneading, […]

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