Saturday, April 22, 2017

Margaret and me

I was in bed with Margaret Atwood this morning.

Rick slept next to me in his Henry David Thoreau "simplify, simplify" t-shirt. Outside the church bells rang 8. Muffled sounds from merchants setting up for the marché penetrated the windows.

Margaret wasn't there in person, but was in an article in the latest New Yorker, the gift from my husband that keeps on giving weekly. Never is there an issue that I don't learn something. This article was so vivid it felt as if she were there and sharing my cup of tea.

Atwood has always been one of the my favorite writers. As a writer myself comparing me to her is like comparing a marathon runner finishing in less than three hours and a baby crawling the same course over weeks, if not months.

My 11 published novels and a couple of poems do not stand up against her seemingly endless list of novels, essays and poems.

We do share things in common with some difference. We are both in our seventies. I'm three years younger, although young is not a term for either. She's traveled the world, I've traveled much in Europe and North America. To a certain degree we both are iconoclasts at least a little bit. She has lived in the wild. To me, wild is a camp ground that has hot showers.

Here's some quotes from the article.

"Fiction has to be something that people actually believe."

When it comes to women's rights and the current need to protect them yet another time. "After sixty years why are we doing this again?"

On the Edible Woman "(A reviewer in Time said the novel had the 'kick of a perfume bottle converted into a Molotov cocktail.')"

When asked how she got her housework done she said, "Look under my sofa, then we talk."

"Her feminism assumes women's rights to be human rights, and is born of having been raised with a presumptive of absolute equality between the sexes."

"My problem was to that people wanted me not to wear frilly pink dresses--it was that I wanted to wear frilly pink dresses."

"All characters have to live somewhere even if they are rabbits in Watership Down."

When discussing nail polish with a friend, Atwood remembered she was wearing red. "How frivolous of you to remember." the friend said. "How novelistic of me to remember it," Atwood said.

The article talked much about Handmaid's Tale which has had a resurgence in popularity because of America's current political climate.

Like all New Yorker articles, it was several pages. My tea was cold when I finished. There were things that needed to be done. Check out the marché, pack for our D.C. trip tomorrow, empty the dishwasher, eat breakfast.

Margaret went her way and I went mine.

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