three essays / 7.23.2019

I guessed that she must have read the opening scene, when the narrator overhears a conversation at a restaurant. A middle-aged man, “Big Silver,” is talking to a young woman he’s invited to his table. After a while, the young woman interrupts to tell him a strange story of her own, about a scuba diving trip, which is also a story of being hurt by someone in her life. 
'You talk a lot don’t you?' Big Silver responds. 
'It was not easy to convey to him,' Levy writes, 'a man much older than she was, that the world was her world too… It had not occurred to him that she might not consider herself to be the minor character and him the major character.'

Ayşegül Sava, 'The Cost of Reading.' Longreads, July 2019.


'The Crane Wife' is a story from Japanese folklore. I found a copy in the reserve’s gift shop among the baseball caps and bumper stickers that said GIVE A WHOOP. In the story, there is a crane who tricks a man into thinking she is a woman so she can marry him. She loves him, but knows that he will not love her if she is a crane so she spends every night plucking out all of her feathers with her beak. She hopes that he will not see what she really is: a bird who must be cared for, a bird capable of flight, a creature, with creature needs. Every morning, the crane-wife is exhausted, but she is a woman again. To keep becoming a woman is so much self-erasing work. She never sleeps. She plucks out all her feathers, one by one.

CJ Hauser, 'The Crane Wife.The Paris Review, 7/16/2019.


Eat what you want when you want. It sounds simple. But many of the women I know seldom ask themselves what they really want. Women of my generation, in particular, still grapple with all their appetites. As I write this, I am sitting at my dining room table, feeling the day’s first flicker of hunger. What do I want? There are doughnuts on the kitchen counter, fancy ones. Do I want those? No, I’ll crash and burn in a few hours. Do I want another cup of coffee? I don’t know. What about the leftover frittata from last night’s dinner? I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. 
Eventually I eat a fried egg sandwich. It is exactly what I want.

Laura Lippman, 'Whole 60.' Longreads, July 2019.


From top:

3 Terracotta female figures,ca. 1400–1300 B.C. Met Museum Open Access.
Figures of monks and nuns made to open, wooden playthings from Berchtesgaden, 18th century. Via 50 Watts.