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Study of My Sister / Louise Gluck

We respect, here in America,
what is concrete, visible. We ask
What is it for? What does it lead to?

My sister
put her fork down. She felt, she said,
as though she should jump off a cliff.

A crime has been committed
against a human soul

as against the small child
who spends all day entertaining herself
with the colored blocks

so that she looks up
radiant at the end,
presenting herself,
giving herself back to her parents

and they say
What did you build?
and then, because she seems
so blank, so confused,
they repeat the question.

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"In my own worst seasons I've come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: the perfect outline of a full, dark sphere behind the crescent moon. Until I learned to be in love with my life again. Like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, I have taught myself joy, over and over again."

-Barbara Kingsolver

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Dear Creative Writing: I'm sorry I've neglected you. Will you take me back?

First Memory

 Long ago, I was wounded. I lived
to revenge myself
against my father, not
for what he was—
for what I was: from the beginning of time,
in childhood, I thought
that pain meant
I was not loved.
It meant I loved.


(Louise Glück)

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mmmm

I finally made a decent vegetable soup! Must write down for next time...

Comforting Veggie SoupCollapse )

Yum! Simple, delicious, and easy on a nervous stomach.

I also made this recipe the other day. A little tricky to make (you have to pour the sugar/honey while still piping hot), but tasty nevertheless!

Peanut Butter Cheerio BarsCollapse )

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Feminism And Romance Go Hand In Hand

ScienceDaily (Oct. 16, 2007) — Contrary to popular opinion, feminism and romance are not incompatible and feminism may actually improve the quality of heterosexual relationships, according to Laurie Rudman and Julie Phelan, from Rutgers University in the US. Their study* also shows that unflattering feminist stereotypes, that tend to stigmatize feminists as unattractive and sexually unappealing, are unsupported.

It is generally perceived that feminism and romance are in direct conflict. Rudman and Phelan’s work challenges this perception. They carried out both a laboratory survey of 242 American undergraduates and an online survey including 289 older adults, more likely to have had longer relationships and greater life experience. They looked at men’s and women’s perception of their own feminism and its link to relationship health, measured by a combination of overall relationship quality, agreement about gender equality, relationship stability and sexual satisfaction.

They found that having a feminist partner was linked to healthier heterosexual relationships for women.  Men with feminist partners also reported both more stable relationships and greater sexual satisfaction. According to these results, feminism does not predict poor romantic relationships, in fact quite the opposite.

The authors also tested the validity of feminist stereotypical beliefs amongst their two samples, based on the hypothesis that if feminist stereotypes are accurate, then feminist women should be more likely to report themselves as being single, lesbian, or sexually unattractive, compared with non-feminist women.

Rudman and Phelan found no support for this hypothesis amongst their study participants.  In fact, feminist women were more likely to be in a heterosexual romantic relationship than non-feminist women. The authors conclude that feminist stereotypes appear to be inaccurate, and therefore their unfavorable implications for relationships are also likely to be unfounded.

* Reference: Rudman LA & Phelan JE (2007). The interpersonal power of feminism: is feminism good for romantic relationships? Sex Roles (DOI 10.1007/s11199-007-9319-9)


Feb. 25th, 2009

“The ocean of suffering is immense, but if you turn around, you can see the land. The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy. When one tree in the garden is sick, you have to care for it. But don’t overlook all the healthy trees. Even while you have pain in your heart you can enjoy the many wonders of life—the beautiful sunset, the smile of a child, the many flowers and trees. To suffer is not enough. Please don’t be imprisoned by your suffering.”

(Thich Nhat Hahn)

Feb. 10th, 2009

The Nails
by WS Merwin

I gave you sorrow to hang on your wall
Like a calendar in one color.
I wear a torn place on my sleeve.
It isn’t as simple as that.

Between no place of mine and no place of yours
You’d have thought I’d know the way by now
Just from thinking it over.
Oh I know
I’ve no excuse to be stuck here turning
Like a mirror on a string,
Except it’s hardly credible how
It all keeps changing.
Loss has a wider choice of directions
Than the other thing.

As if I had a system
I shuffle among the lies
Turning them over, if only
I could be sure what I’d lost.
I uncover my footprints, I
Poke them till the eyes open.
They don’t recall what it looked like.
When was I using it last?
Was it like a ring or a light
Or the autumn pond
Which chokes and glitters but
Grows colder?

It could be all in the mind. Anyway
Nothing seems to bring it back to me.

And I’ve been to see
Your hands as trees borne away on a flood,
The same film over and over,
And an old one at that, shattering its account
To the last of the digits, and nothing
And the blank end.

The lightning has shown me the scars of the future.

I’ve had a long look at someone
Alone like a key in a lock
Without what it takes to turn.

It isn’t as simple as that.

Winter will think back to your lit harvest
For which there is no help, and the seed
Of eloquence will open its wings
When you are gone.
But at this moment
When the nails are kissing the fingers good-bye
And my only
Chance is bleeding from me,
When my one chance is bleeding,
For speaking either truth or comfort
I have no more tongue than a wound.

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It's time for another installment of the Meg Love and Sexuality Series. Tonight I want to write about healthy sexuality.

Watching the Superbowl commercials, and a few other things I've seen on TV lately have me thinking a lot about how male sexuality is constructed in this culture... which leads me to think about how sexuality in general is constructed in this culture. And it ain't pretty.

Now, sexuality takes many forms, and they are as numerous as each person on the planet. I think this is a beautiful thing--I mean, our sexualities are extensions of who we are, and they are not only deeply tied to our personalities and preferences, but also to our struggles and joys. Sex is deeply psychological--it is one of the ways in which our subconscious mind expresses itself. Often, our sexual fantasies reflect anxieties and desires in our everyday life... our sexuality is highly dependent on context. For instance, I can be wildly attracted to someone one moment, but if I am mistreated, sometimes I have experienced my attraction switching off. Amazing (and handy)!

However, despite all the limitless and diverse sexual preferences, there are three bare requirements of a healthy sexuality that I think are true across the board. Sure, US culture completely ignores these things and pretends that heterosexual "male" sexuality requires none of them, but quite clearly that's bullshit.

Three requirements for healthy sexuality...Collapse )

Jan. 31st, 2009

Lately I feel so grateful for the wonderful people in my life... both longtime friends and new kindred spirits I'm getting to know. It's a good feeling. :-)