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I Survived The Awakening

I've finished reading Kate Chopin's classic novel The Awakening, and though it was intense, I am not left with the same soul-sick feeling I had after reading Nedjma's brutal novel The Almond: The Sexual Awakening of a Muslim Woman. The latter is a story about a sane woman who is traumatized and worn down by sexual and emotional abuse until she gives up on romantic love. It's a story that one could imagine happening to just about anyone, given the same life experiences. "There but for the grace of God..."

Kate Chopin's The Awakening, on the other hand, is about the "awakening" of a mental illness in a woman whose troubles cannot be as clearly traced to specific wounds inflicted upon her from the outside. A singular instance of abuse is absent, though the story certainly hints at a repressive childhood grounded in patriarchal religious fundamentalism. The main character, Edna, sets off on a course of destruction when she jumps at the first availa…
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#AmReading The Awakening by Kate Chopin (with Safety Gear)

I have just read the introduction (by Marilynne Robinson in this edition) and first few chapters of Kate Chopin's The Awakening. I am immediately reminded of Nedjma's The Almond: The Sexual Awakening of a Muslim Woman, published only about a decade ago.

Although The Almond was written over a century after The Awakening, I read The Almond first. I still remember the sting of reaching the last page and despairing of finding the kind of mind-body-spirit enlightenment implied by the positive word "awakening." I thought a better word might be "disillusionment." Or perhaps, at best, "disenchantment."

It is the story of a girl sexually abused in an oppressive culture, who escapes that culture only to carry the burden of her unhealed trauma into unfamiliar territory, where she wanders compulsively and blindly through (to her) a social wilderness without form, vulnerable and easily victimized. She regresses to her childhood before the trauma, attempts to r…

Writing a Love Scene in the Time of Climate Change

That's my man muse right there. We haven't seen each other since yesterday morning (it feels so much longer, though!) because the progeny and I have been power outage refugees at my parents' house for the past 24 hours. (I earned the right to be a giant baby about this a few years ago, during the Icepocalypse of 2013/14.)

I tried to tough it out at home. There's something invigorating about weathering a storm, emptying out the fridge and stashing the food in the cold garage, stoking a raging fire in the woodstove, piling on furs and holding each other close to stay warm, lighting our home with lovely beeswax candles, and pausing to watch through the living room picture window as the big, old trees of the neighborhood bend and cast off torrents of stubborn dead leaves and broken limbs--listening to the howl and shriek of a windstorm fiercer than any ever before witnessed by a living inhabitant of the Great Lakes region--

And then your daughter starts puking up the very…

Daring and Decorum by Larry Hogue Coming Soon!

A novel I helped beta read, Daring and Decorum by Larry Hogue, has been acquired by an indie press and will be published soon!

Pleased to announce that my first novel, Daring and Decorum, will be published later this year by Supposed Crimes. Signing the contract today! A post shared by Larry Hogue (@larryhogue) on Feb 28, 2017 at 11:26am PST
I'm so pleased, because this is the story of a nice Jane Austen-era lady who gets seduced by a Robin-Hood-like highwayman... who turns out to be a woman in drag! Ensuing adventures take the characters from the English countryside through the seedy, criminal underworld of London. It's ridiculous fun, and I firmly believe that the world needs more of this.

I remain seriously committed to ridiculous fun.

Here I am at a "longship burning," doing "research" on the Viking Age for my own work, which Larry has beta read for me as well.

Here's to literature that explores dead serious, radically pro…

Words of Welcome Transforming Neighborhoods

This week's post is dedicated to Pigasister Victoria's husband Austin! This winter, Austin used one simple sentence (in three languages) to give his entire neighborhood a makeover, and the message of welcome is spreading all over the capital city area--and communities elsewhere in the United States.

Austin and another member of our church, Mary Elaine, have teamed up to get hundreds of these signs printed, and they are selling them at the church during coffee hour. Already, we've heard many stories of people jogging or walking in the neighborhood, turning a corner, and seeing rows of these colorful signs speaking words of welcome to them in their language of origin and moving them to tears. These signs are crossing political divides, uniting political conservatives and liberals who wish to break the silence on our shared support for our local refugees and college town immigrants who contribute so much to our lives and our cities--and who are simply human beings worthy of l…

#AmTripping on Fever, Dextrowhatever, and Virtual... Trips

I was going to send query letters this week, but fortunately I was stricken by an outrageous case of the influenza. (Yes, I got a flu shot. No, I don't take whatever magic supplements you sell. Get off my lawn.) I say "fortunately" because I have awoken several times, drenched in sweat, confused and frightened and suddenly aware of a continuity error in one of my book chapters that needs to be fixed before I send it out. I've been writing them down so I can check them in my lucid moments, and these realizations are true. Apparently my subconscious mind works better when I'm unconscious and crazeballs. So, silver lining.

On an unrelated note, this is my family, dressed the way they like to appear when they sneak up on me in the dark.

I've been passing most of my time in bed, watching YouTube travelogues and documentaries about archaeological sites. I notice the people who make these things apparently do not watch other people's documentaries or travelogues…

#AmWriting a New Summary for a Revised Grove of Thorismud

The Grove of Thorismud has been rerewitten and revised a couple of times--stripped of 6,000 unnecessary words and filled out again with clearer character motivations and inner journeys, thanks to a good deal of beta help from my Pigasister Christina Mitchell.

Next, I wrote a new book summary for a new round of query letters. I've drafted up the following, which I am running by members of my writers' association while I decide which agents to contact:

Rosemary is an insomniac teen with a cutting habit who accidentally ends her mother’s reign of peace by setting off a hundred-year sleeping curse. She awakens to find that the next ruling dynasty of her small forest kingdom has also fallen, and the valley has been invaded by eaters of human flesh. 

Two aspiring heroes converge upon the valley to take the throne: Johann Farmer and Bellynda, a nomadic wolf huntress. Bellynda wins the race to power by freeing the crown prince Gustav from a spell that had transformed him into a bea…