31 July 2005

You owe it

One of the aims of this site is embodied in this quotation from Ruthann Robson:

I don't think of reviewing as real production, I think of it as a service activity. You owe it to literature, you owe it to other younger writers, you owe it to your readers to call to their attention other writers who they ought to know about, and you owe it back to your constituency and the movement you're part of, and so forth.
Marge Piercy "An Interview with Peggy Friedmann and Ruthann Robson of Kalliope" From Parti-Colored Blocks for a Quilt (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press 1982)

Virginia and Vita

Vita Sackville-WestVirginia Woolf is Vita-stirred and begins to write Orlando.

9th Oct. 1927


Yesterday morning I was in despair ... I couldn't screw a word from me; and at last dropped my head in my hands: dipped my pen in the ink, and wrote these words, as if automatically, on a clean sheet: Orlando: A Biography. No sooner had I done this than my body was flooded with rapture and my brain with ideas. I wrote rapidly till 12 ... But listen; suppose Orlando turns out to be Vita; and it's all about you and the lusts of your flesh and the lure of your mind (heart you have none, who go gallivanting down the lanes with Campbell) ... Shall you mind? Say yes, or No ...


30 July 2005

In the beginning

Mary originally emailed this:

- All we have to do is give ourselves a name. What do you say, girls?

- What are you talking about now, Mary?

- You've read my latest essay? What is the inescapable conclusion? To make ourselves a support group! First, we need a name.

- But who are you talking to, Mary? Who are these girls?

- There's Nicki Hastie, Jan Steckel, Liann Snow, and me. Four's enough for a support group.

- And what do you expect me to do in this group? (Like as if I have enough time! Like I fit in a group! Like I need this!)

- This is the best group you've ever heard of. You don't have to do anything. But it we have a name -- if we are a "we" -- there's a better chance we'll be recognized.

- But I don't know Nicki, Jan, or Liann. Only you know Nicki, Jan, and Liann.

- Hm. That's a good point. But you should know each other, because you're all brilliant, decent, queer women writers. This is not a marriage! It's an idea, this group. It doesn't have to be a list. It could be us dealing with the ugly work of trying to promote our books. Maybe a support group would make this easier on all of us. There's the Beats, remember? Bloomsbury, Wilton Circle, Lesbos -- can't think of others right now. We could read each other's work, review it, talk about it, build a buzz about it, and generally have a good time. We could accept each other so much that the mainstream would begin to accept us. We could share tips and ideas. I don't want to wait ten years to publish my book! I want Liann to publish millions of paperbacks, so she won't have to take the London tube anymore. I want Jan to be comfortable. I want Nicki to transform her woman-stirred imagination into great works.

(who would actually prefer to just stay at home and write sonnets, but finds herself propelled into the outside world, Oprah, Terry Gross, you know the whole sad picture....)