Today is the first of my three-day weekend, payoff for working last weekend. And it’s a gorgeous day in Edmonton -- yes -22C, but the sun is out and if you could ignore the snow you’d want to wear a skirt. (Can I say how much I look forward to wearing my summer dresses again? I really miss summer.)
So, right off the top, I offer the best Saturday morning mix I can think of:
Love Today, MIKA
When the Night Feels My Song, Bedouin Soundclash
I Am Your Tambourine, Tift Merritt
Anyone Else But You, Moldy Peaches
Kaboom!, Ursula 1000
Wake Up, The Ditty Bops
Non je ne regrette rien, Edith Piaf
Soon We’ll Be Found, Sia
I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’, Scissor Sisters
I know, my “eclectic” music taste is questionable. My brother, who is far more talented in this area, would come up with something much better. But I like dancing around my living room on Saturday mornings. It’s my thing.
On that image, let’s go to books.
Despite my ever-growing pile of must-reads, I’m re-reading a favourite Atwood.
To read Margaret Atwood immediately after reading Carol Shields is to step through the looking glass. Yes, you’re still pondering on feminism, but you’ve tilted. Forward? Sideways? Certainly not backwards. If both are angry to start, then perhaps Shields’ voice is vaguely uncomfortable and confused by its anger whereas Atwood’s voice embraces the anger, spins it, makes it bizarre while stabbing at the truth.
Cat’s Eye is set in the late 1980s and the late 1940s at once. At once Elaine is the girl who sits awake at night picking the skin off her feet to give herself a pain to focus on, and at once she is the middle-aged woman hyper aware of what others think of her while at the same time somehow lost without the anchors of husband and home.
(Why must women be hyper-aware of what they think other women think of them? What is that? Do men do this?)
At the start of the book, your heart breaks for young Elaine who doesn’t know the games that girls play. You search through your own memories, hoping you never did such things to other girls -- never made them rethink every word they said over the day in a desperate search for the one thing they said wrong.
But I always find the wanderings of modern Elaine more fascinating, as she trips through a Toronto that’s utterly changed from the one she knew as a young person.
(Why does the bulk of Canadian literature sit in Toronto? Why do all the greatest literary minds live in the GTA?)
From the book, a comment on the author herself (I think):
“Well, what about, you know, feminism?” she says. “A lot of people call you a feminist painter.”
“What indeed,” I say. “I hate party lines, I hate ghettoes. Anyway, I’m too old to have invented it and you’re too young to understand it, so what’s the point of discussing it at all?”
“So it’s not a meaningful classification for you?” she says.
“I like it that women like my work. Why shouldn’t I?”
“Do men like your work?” she asks slyly….
“Which men?” I say. “Not everyone likes my work. It’s not because I’m a woman. If they don’t like a man’s work it’s not because he’s a man. They just don’t like it.” I am on dubious ground, and this enrages me. (p. 101)