Please Wear Proper Attire

December 12, 2019

I lost my virginity to a blue lake. I was trying to make love waterproof. Water is not the only tongue that can’t resist short skirts. We can avoid the circumstances of beauty until we stand next to a waterfall and realize it speaks in sentences. Milk cartons were built in response to clapboard houses on the sides of mountains. In the surrounding farmland, cows were bored. They nearly milked themselves. This is just another circular story. The house, the cow, the milk, the carton, the house. Just like the woman, the love, the future, the failure, the woman. The safety of raincoats is temporary. How many times have you fallen out of love outside of a bar in the rain? How many times has your raincoat saved you? I swore off men who carry symbols in their front pockets. I know the excuse My symbol hurts, not tonight & My symbol is running, I have to go catch it. Everything is tired of trying to become everything else. If electricity has anything to do with it, I’ll be a good wife and take the blender with me in the bathtub. The shape of the fire will depend on which one of us is turned on.

Meghan Privitello

writing essentials

December 12, 2019

I can’t write poems anywhere but in my study. My desk usually has at least three book piles on it, but I was feeling claustrophobic so things are looking extra tidy (can’t work with desk clutter).

My writing essentials depend on the project. When I was writing A New Language for Falling Out of Love I required: whiskey, the hours between 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm, a colour-changing Jesus light, and a small selection of songs on repeat (can’t remember the songs anymore, but rest assured they were sad).

Even though Notes on the End of the World was my second publication, it was actually the first manuscript I wrote. The writing process for that one is a bit hazy, but I do remember there were a few songs on repeat: “No Quarter” by Led Zeppelin and “Eyes on Fire” by Blue Foundation (don’t judge me).

The poems in One God at a Time also had a specific repeating soundtrack (I find that repeating the same song over and over helps me chisel away at ideas), but required less alcohol (although alcohol is always welcome). I know I listened to The Leftovers soundtrack on a loop, as well as Mozart’s Requiem in D Minor.

Meghan Privitello
Seahorses, Gods, and taxidermy art – an interview with Meghan Privitello

old holiday snaps

December 12, 2019

These old holiday snaps remind me of so many different times, like small windows into our past:

Walking in the woods at twilight with you; cobbled streets and antique shops where we went window shopping one time;  small,  intimate public houses in sleepy seaside towns out of season; fine rain and ruined castles – like the one in Luxemburg where you insisted you climb to the top of the tower and then struggled to get down again. Running together hand in hand through deep snow to catch the bus. And laying on a beach in bright sunshine –

born from a tomb

December 12, 2019

People like Clarice Lispector or Marina Tsvetayeva were born from a tomb. Their relation to their mothers, to birth, are failed, so they are painful. For both, the question of the maternal is raised in a strong sense, since they were both daughters of sick mothers. The questions remain: ‘What is it to be born? For what am I born? Of what? Why? And who looked over my cradle?’”

Hélène Cixous
on being born from the womb-tomb of the sick mother,
Readings: the poetics of Blanchot, Joyce, Kafka, Kleist, Lispector, and Tsvetayeva

Horror is a genre of excess, of abundance — and food is the perfect metaphor in its narratives because it holds so many meanings at once. Food, from the grotesque to the delicious, populates the screen: the raw steak crawling across the kitchen counter in Poltergeist (1982); a distracted Drew Barrymore burning her popcorn in the opening scene of Scream (1999); the chocolate bars Charlie routinely snaps with her teeth in Hereditary (2018). Hunger is everywhere in horror: from werewolves to zombies to cannibals, the protagonists we find on screen are either devouring or being devoured. But what I’m interested in is not the readings of food as metaphors for capitalist consumption, the disintegration of the American family unit, or sexual taboos — but simply in the act of eating itself.

Laura Maw
There’s Nothing Scarier Than a Hungry Woman

Heinrich Kramer, the author of the Malleus Maleficarum or Hammer of Witches, the 1487 treatise on witchcraft, was not a man who thought highly of women. In the sixth of a series of questions, Kramer asks “Why is it that Women are chiefly addicted to Evil superstitions?” After all, he notes, most witches are women. His answers to his question are predictable and familiar: women are naturally inclined toward wickedness, their intellects are childish and weak, they gossip too much, they are feeble in mind and body, they are lustful, they are deceitful, they have weak memories, they need governance by men but resent and resist it, they tend toward hateful jealousy. Even in the Bible, Kramer reminds us, Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph of rape when he wouldn’t satisfy her sexual demands. Women: you just can’t trust them.

Heinrich Kramer wrote his treatise after he was kicked out of town for his obsessive attentions to the sex lives of the women of Innsbruck, particularly the sex lives of women who refused to attend his sermons. The Malleus Maleficarum is his justification for his behaviour, and he advances the claim that witchcraft, once viewed as a minor offense, is actually heresy, a much graver crime. The punishment for heresy was to be burned alive. His treatise, with the help of new technology, spread his ideas far and wide and helped kick off the witch hunts that took place in the early modern period throughout Europe and lands colonized by Europeans. The vast majority of convicted witches burned, hanged, or drowned over this several-hundred-year period were women, often older single women, and they were killed by the tens of thousands.

Kristen Hanley Cardozo
How Lolly Willowes Smashed the Patriarchy by Selling Her Soul to Satan