Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Literary Motherhood

"Nothing human is alien to the pen of a novelist. And when we read, nothing human is alien to us either.” 
—Julia Alvarez 

You once said that Hitler and Stalin were your travel agents. Does that mean that you have to thank them both for what you have become?
I’ve been racking my brains about that this very night, Miss.
And what about God?
I thank God there is no God to see what we’ve done to the world.
What about the devil?
I saw him yesterday on TV kissing babies and grinning ear to ear.
You are not making any sense, Mister, she says to me. How is it possible to believe in the Devil and not in God and then go around crossing yourself from time to time?
I agree with you Miss, I tell her. Making the sign of the cross must be an inherited habit with me, since I come from a long line of village priests.
~ Antipodean Bohemian In Conversation with Cold River 

František Vláčil’s Marketa Lazarová (1967) is a virtual terra incognita. Thirty years after its release, it was named overwhelmingly by a poll of Czech critics and filmmakers as the best movie ever produced in Czechoslovakia, yet it remains little known outside its native land. Even as national epics go, Marketa Lazarová is unusually off-putting to outsiders. Violent and anti-heroic, the movie opens on a note of mordant self-deprecation (“This tale was cobbled together and hardly merits praise”) and goes on to represent thirteenth-century Bohemia as a backwater of Conan the Barbarian’s Hyperborean Age—the province of halfwits, rapists, and brutes. Third Prague Spring
Now is the time for all good men to fail. Good women, too. Fail early and often, and don’t be shy about admitting it. Failing isn’t shameful; it’s not even failure. Such is the message of a growing body of self-help and leadership literature. “Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them?” asks the Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, in which she argues that a willingness to court failure can be a precursor to growth. Dweck holds, persuasively, that successful people are not the ones who cultivate a veneer of perfection, but rather those who understand that failing is part of getting smarter and better. Losing is the New Winning

Elif Shafak presents the best of literary mothers The Mothers of Parliamentary Literature

“I don’t think any poetry is written that isn’t primarily written to the self, in a way… I’m always talking to myself. But I seem to want somebody else to listen to it. I need, I do want an audience. So it’s a strange thing. It’s a very private conversation that then, you make public, kind of like the starfish flipping its stomach out.”
— Kay Ryan