Monday, April 29, 2013

constraint-based living

"The kind of woman willing to wait
is not the kind you want to find waiting."
Recently I was introduced to this group and this prompt, which provided a nice distraction from the current clunky-ness of my YA novel. When I was in college, it dawned on me that some of my favorite musicals (Rent, Sunday in the Park with George) featured male artists and female muses. The women were portrayed as human and whole, but it still bugged me.

Last week an artist I like asked me to pose for some photos, something that never happened back when I was neither particularly gorgeous nor all Diane Arbus-y. So I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a non-passive muse (this artist sees the process as collaborative, which I like). I think it relates to the dilemma of being a patient—how to be a recipient, how to receive things you wouldn’t choose, how to be active anyway? How to be the painting that that stares down the viewer with the painter’s help?

I’m pretty sure it’s easy to give lip service, hard to enact. So this little freewrite was a first step toward wrestling with that question. It’s probably appropriate that it’s full of constraints—it’s hard to get your point across when your options are limited. And that is kind of the point.

The Muse Eyes

She never wanted to be a muse, but here she stands in a fig leaf of navy blue cloth and a pool of window light. The painter is a woman, a friend of a friend, named May, who swears liberally in a porny purr. Make me light, the muse thinks. Give me eyes. Worries her fig leaf area is not porny enough.

Former muses watch from the wall. Some of them are dead.

May brushes blue. The muse is in the Navy here, on watch, standing and not dead. She is a former leaf and worrier.

May gives. The dead are paint. The dead are painters and eyes. The walls purr but not think. Death is Not Making. Porn is a wall is not enough. Some may leave. The muse may. May may. May brushes her watch and watches her brushes.

Muses give, thinks the muse. Cloth is enough. The dead are friends. She swears to them, she thought brushes purred for painters! Here, the pool swears, Never them!

The muse wanted to be a painter, but canvas is a wall, death is a wall. Light is not her muse to brush on canvas. It pools liberally, it names her.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

a qualified yay

1. the end of the middle of treatment

In a couple of hours, I’ll have my sixth and last (hopefullyforeverknockonwood) chemo session. Before I started, I told people I was thinking of chemo as my four-month vacation from worrying about getting cancer, and it’s pretty much been that. I’ve used that time to work and read and write and do some fun things; also to bitch about people who’ve let me down and stir up small dramas with my family and friends. Because hey, cancer treatment still blows, just not in an anxiety-producing way.

I also told people who seemed convinced I’d be more sick than I’ve actually been (knockonwood), “Maybe you’re right. Maybe by the end I’ll be so sick of being sick that I’ll trade it in for good physical health and the return of crippling anxiety.”

I’m almost there—it would be nice not to have my feeble exercise routine undermined every three weeks. It would be nice to have hair. And, thanks to Effexor, I’m not totally an anxious mess. I’m just a girl walking down the same path I’ve always been on—because I either have an unshakable sense of who I am and what I want out of life, or I’m highly uncreative and rut-prone—but now there’s a gaping, burning, Hunger Games-esque hole in the middle of it, and I have to go the long way. And I don’t walk in the same way. I skip more. I limp more.  

Making my way around the fire. But instead of a bow and arrows, I'll have, um, Tamoxifen.
Cancer treatment isn’t done. I have thirty-three radiation treatments ahead of me. One of my awesome newish cancer friends told me it was nothing—you just lie on a table for ten minutes a day while they beam some crazy shit at you. Another newer cancer friend told me radiation was the hardest part for her because she already felt so beat up from all the other treatment.

Me, I’m almost over having expectations anymore. I’m just glad to have cancer friends who feel like regular friends—smart, cool ladies who seem like people I’d want to be. Who have wisdom and hair.

Then there will be the nixing of the ovaries and the exchanging of weird hard implants for silicone starlet implants. (Side note: one of my students wrote a story starring a girl who’d been coerced into getting breast implants. This story took place in a dystopian future and there was a lot of crazy shit going down, but the implants nevertheless featured prominently in every peer critique. BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE OBSESSED WITH BOOBS, AND FAKE ONES ARE SHORTHAND, perhaps incorrectly, FOR SO MUCH.)

2. dykes on bikes on vacation

Anyway. I actually meant to write about the super lovely bike ride AK and I took earlier this week. For my birthday, she got our bikes fixed. They’d been in our garage for like a year, accumulating a patina of spiders and the funny little tumbleweed things that blow beneath the garage door. I was excited in a mostly theoretical way. Did I even know how to ride a bike anymore?

Of course I did. Because riding a bike is like riding a bike. We pedaled down the new bike path on York, and I was suddenly grateful for all those hardcore cycler lobbyist types who seem all self-righteous and born-again when I’m in my car. They got me this bike path! Thanks, activists, for doing what I’m too lazy to do!

AK was often blocks ahead of me, because she’s in kind of amazing shape right now, and I have strange hurty chemo quads. I’d get to the end of a street and see her waiting with an encouraging smile on her face.

We stopped at Buster’s in South Pasadena for coffee and Homeboy Bakery bread and the conversation that we’re too tired to have on so many busy weeknights.

In South Pasadena, everything is actually in watercolor. There are cotton candy clouds and good public schools.
“I feel like we’re on vacation,” AK said. “Like we rented bikes and stopped at this little cafĂ©.”

“Me too! As soon as we got into South Pas, I felt it.”

Highland Park’s hipster corridor peters out somewhere around Avenue 53, and there’s a long stretch of muffler shops, discount T-shirt warehouses and convalescent homes. I’ve gotten some good shit at that 99 Cents store and eaten fine burritos at the Estrella #3 taco truck, but it doesn’t feel like vacation, you know? Then you cross the arroyo and it’s all charming cupcake stores and blooms of farmer’s market.

Then I had to go to work, so we got on our bikes and headed back toward the land of gum-stuck sidewalks. It was an easy ride back, mostly downhill.

Friday, April 19, 2013

forever young

Take that, all you uber-healthy wheelchair racer types.
A few nights ago, because I still can’t go to sleep without images and voices flashing on a screen, I started watching Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan. I remembered the documentary coming out when I was in college, and it had stuck with me—maybe because in elementary school I’d watched Alex: The Life of a Child a bunch of times. It was a TV movie about a girl who died of cystic fibrosis, the disease Bob Flanagan had, and as a kid I thought, Cool!

Bob Flanagan was prodded with needles and choked with mucous from the time he was a few months old. He knew about pain. He knew about not being in control of his body.

And so his brain did what funny human brains do, and decided to take control by liking pain. (You can’t fire me, I quit.) He became a masochist, and as the documentary reveals in his interactions with his mistress wife, the bottom is always really the one in control. He became a performance artist, and videotaped all the kinky, painful stuff he did. Some shots are a little bit sexy. A lot of shots I had to watch through my fingers because they looked so awful. He nails his penis to many things.

He was also funny—because getting off on nailing your penis to things is pretty funny, when you think about it. He played guitar at a camp for kids with cystic fibrosis and sang a CF version of “Forever Young” called “Forever Lung,” doing a pretty good Bob Dylan impression. There were silly jokes about coughing up lots of snot. But also, the truth: Those kids got to be forever young because they were unlikely to live even as long as Bob Flanagan, who was in his early forties at the time.

I studied the shots of Bob in the hospital, eyeing the camera tiredly from his wheelchair. He looked haggard and unsexy. But he looked like a person who had not lost himself. His eyes were round and dark and intelligent. This is how you do it, I thought. This is how you win even when you’re losing.

He helped a Canadian teenager and budding kinkster with CF get her nipples pierced (after she turned eighteen) in the most touching, twisted Make-A-Wish wish ever granted.

I haven’t finished the documentary yet. I guess Bob dies, or at least he has by now. I always think it’s so weird when people who write eloquently about death die; that was why Nora Ephron’s death struck me as particularly sad. I’ve always kind of subscribed to the subset of magical thinking that says if you predict something, you should be able to prevent it from happening. I am genuinely outraged that Bob Flanagan and Nora Ephron couldn’t out-trickster death by being wise and ironic.

Recently I heard on NPR that they’ve mapped the CF gene. They already have a medicinal treatment that amounts to a cure, and they’re working on a gene-based, actual cure. If Bob Flanagan had been born today, he might never have been Bob Flanagan, super-masochist superstar. It might have been the world’s loss. But what would you choose, if you were Bob’s parents? If you were Bob?

Monday, April 15, 2013

poetry bug

Go toward the fluorescent light.
Yesterday I went to Terry Wolverton’s annual Poetry Month workshop (more of a craft talk, actually) and reading at Skylight Books. I feel like I’ve been absent from the literary landscape for a while, and when I think about going to events, I think about seeing a lot of people I know a little bit, and explaining (or not) why I’m bald. Mingling takes energy for me even with hair, even if I have some new publication credit in my pocket.

But Skylight and Terry’s crew feel like home, so it was a nice way to get my feet wet. I became a fan of some new poets (Ashaki M. Jackson—and Andrew Wessels, whom I work with three days a week but hadn’t read before), and by the end of the panel, I was jotting notes toward some kind of poem of my own. It’s below, and rough.

I had a nice weekend, but it was threaded with thoughts of death, the way even some of my nicest weekends are. I watched an episode of Mad Men, in which a woman diagnosed with terminal cancer describes it as being at sea, watching people on shore. You struggle despite knowing better, she says, and try to join them. Sometimes their dramas and daily concerns feel like your own again. Other times you want to give up the fight and just sink.


The technical definition would be
inflammation of the senior.
You swell and ache, you are red,
but you don’t want to leave.

You hate your econ teacher,
who will have a heart attack and live
and continue to record the daily agenda
on the board:
8:15: turn in homework
8:18: open book to chapter 9.

In middle school you imagined
yourself a cartoon
stuffed in your own locker.
Now you know the squeak
of its door like the back, yes,
of your own hand—

where they will put the IV,
tether you to this world.
There are so many good people
trying to keep you
here; kind as children
putting bandages on a doll.

Some days it feels like a surprise
party. Who are these balloons for?
Who deserves this onion dip?
You want to cling to them
with your bony hands.
Will they see it?
The truth behind the normal
blue of your eyes—
a melanoma of doom.

Their grip will loosen.
You will say, You can’t fire me, I quit.

Pack your things in a cheerleading bag
stitched with your name
because you do not own a suitcase.
Head north to the unknown,
pretend it is the beginning.
You sealed the deal, bought the sweatshirt.

Later you will know,
as you claim to now,
that high school did you wrong
as a man in a country song.
And what comes next is not the edge
of the flat world,
but a slope into deep blue water
like normal eyes.

What comes next?
The ones who could answer
are beyond the barricades,
voices choral, volume down,
pronouns snapped
like wishbones.
You want to join them,
but what is them?

The last summer before college,
you apply for jobs, but they all say,
You’re leaving soon.
They want a commitment
to cash registers, pizza dough,
neon bikinis that upstage the ocean. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

my repressed immune system and irrepressible anne

1. a child’s garden of viruses

I grew up hearing stories of sickly children who’d grown up to be famous writers. Unable to leave the house due to vague and romantic illnesses, they read and reread classic literature, hardbound books strewn about them on fluffy Victorian linens. Perhaps they would pause to gaze out at the lonely moors now and then.

I also liked the sick kids in books. I never wanted to be rambunctious Laura Ingalls or frolicking Heidi or sassy Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden. I wanted to be blind, well-behaved Mary Ingalls, or Clara in her antique wheelchair, or pale weak Colin. It’s easy to see why I romanticized illness and disability—these kids got to be mysterious and special, while being forgiven any shortcomings. I actually was like the talkative, mildly troublemaking protagonists—the Lauras and Heidis—who tried adults’ patience with their busy imaginations, and therefore I was totally uninterested in them.

They were always picnicking with bread and cheese in Heidi, which was also very appealing.
But despite this obvious and understandable pathology, there’s always a little part of me believes that I wished too hard to be crippled and will bring it upon myself. There was a minute when my fertility doctor thought the twins I was carrying were conjoined (the thin membrane between them wasn’t showing up on his monitor). I confessed hysterically to AK that I’d played Siamese Twins as a kid, and this must be my punishment.

I could have similar thoughts about cancer, but I’ve had a LOT of therapy between that ultrasound and now. I’m long past finding illness romantic, and almost past believing that it’s divine punishment. What it is, is really boring.

2. sick daze

As someone who has enjoyed a lifetime of good health, who used to routinely call in sick to her bookstore job so she could go out with friends, actual sickness takes me by surprise. I slept through my post-chemo weekend as predicted, but I was sidelined by a cold a couple of days later.

It was just a regular cold, and there was almost something comforting in the familiarity of a sinus headache and a runny nose, versus the weirdness of chemo symptoms—the burnt tongue, the nasty taste in my mouth, the sore quadriceps, the intangible but pervasive icky-ness. But I still felt like shit, just a day and a half after working my way back from feeling like shit.

I sort of secretly believed that sick days should be fun or productive (see bookstore job). Sure, I might not be up to go to work and build an online grant management system or grade student work—but I should at least be able to read classic literature on my beautiful Victorian linens, right?

Here’s how I actually spent my morning:

1. Sleeping.

2. Watching the reunion episode of season three of RuPaul’s Drag Race on Netflix (because I’d seen all the regular episodes of all the other seasons that were available online).

Creatively, I was a Raja fan, but my heart was with Alexis Mateo.
3. Googling drag queen subculture: “drag queens ball/pageant culture vs. nightclub,” “drag queen breast plate controversy.” Did you know that a nice pair of silicone DD’s with a Velcro neck closure that can be covered by any gaudy necklace will run you $475? Four-twenty-five for a C-cup. I also know, from previous Googling related to my YA novel, that a silicone pregnant belly is about $300. Clearly I have a preoccupation with fake girl parts.

4. Playing Words With Friends.

5. Soaking my feet in the bucket AK uses to mop the floor. If illness can’t be like a Victorian novel, I want it to be like a spa, which is why I decided to give myself a eucalyptus-oil-infused footbath. But we don’t own a foot-soaking tub or even a bathtub plug, and I didn’t want to put my feet in a food-storage Tupperware. Hence the mop bucket—which itself was a huge leap into adulthood/cleanliness, because AK decided she no longer wanted to hoist the dirty mop into the sink or a food-storage Tupperware.

3. in defense of tear-bursts

When I finally got the okay from my oncologist to take some Dayquil, I rallied a little. I read Anne of Green Gables for the YA lit class I’m teaching (classic literature! although it’s a PDF, not a clothbound edition I can toss on my cat-hair-covered made-in-China bedspread).

My mom had read a bunch of the books to me as a kid. I’m sure she saw herself and possibly me in Anne—a sometimes-lonely kid with a relentless imagination. I remember liking the books a lot, but because I related to Anne, I couldn’t find her adorable back then. I wanted to be like the people she wanted to be like, not like her. (Although I did desperately want red hair. Now I just want hair.)

Back in the day, the foster care system was worse, but the luggage was better.
Now, with a little more distance, I fell madly in love with Anne. Now I saw that she was a wonderful person to find something in common with—you have to love a girl who announces, “I’m going to burst into tears!” before bursting into tears. Or at least, I hope you do, because this whole blog is basically a chronicle of my own tear-bursts.

Anne is a drama queen. Anne would love to be quiet and mysterious, but she can’t help narrating her desire to be quiet and mysterious. Anne feels sorry for herself, but she’s also convinced something fantastic might be around any corner. She’s a testament to vulnerability over stoicism, and even though I can feel myself becoming more stoic by the day as a coping mechanism, Anne makes me love my still-alive-and-well dramatic side.

Anne is given to imagining herself into wooded fairylands or paintings of Jesus blessing children. She’s a testament to the benefits of an unstructured, under-stimulating childhood. The sick-day crank in me wondered if the Internet were killing all the would-be Annes out there, myself included. Would people who would have found solace in books and nature now just play games online and grow up to be nothing much?

Or is the whole point of Anne’s irrepressible imagination its irrepressibility? Illness can kill imagination, at least for a while, at least until the Dayquil kicks in, but not much else can. At least, that’s what I choose to imagine.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

best self-appointed oncologist yet

Leafy greens are good for your health.
Friday morning I met Kathy and Bronwyn for a writing date at Buster’s while waiting for the chemo hangover to kick in. I caught up on Bronwyn’s new job and Kathy’s lizard adventures at the Natural History Museum and worked on a freewrite about how one of my characters first encountered a frozen rabbit fetus, in order to postpone outlining.

When Bronwyn and Kathy left, a guy with dreadlocks approached the table. “Do you mind if I ask you something?”

Not to presume what it might be, but let’s see, the last two strangers to strike up a conversation at Buster’s had said, respectively, “You’re so brave!” and “Why you not have hair?”

“I couldn’t help but overhear you talking about an oncologist,” he said. “Do you have cancer?”

“Yeah, I’m going through cancer treatment,” I said, because the chemo is for hypothetical, microscopic, undetected cancer. The only cancer we knew about for sure is gone, bitches.

“Have you tried medical cannabis?”

“Sort of…. I mean, I haven’t had a really hard time with chemo side effects or anything.”

For years, I would explain to people that I just didn’t get high when I smoked. Some benevolent pothead in the group would say, That’s because you’re not doing it right. I’ll get you high. Then they’d try, and I wouldn’t feel anything stronger than I’d get from a couple of sips of wine. Finally, I stopped taking drags when joints were passed around because I realized that to do so would officially mean I was smoking just to look cool.

“Is it okay if I pray for you?” Dreadlocks asked.

“Sure, thanks.”

He bowed his head and retreated. I kept working on my freewrite. When he left a while later, he handed me a lumpy, folded envelope and whispered, “For your health.”

That’s what I call faith in action, y’all.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

finally, an etsy item that does not use the word "upcycled"

Michael and I both like black cats and fingerless gloves.
Here’s what was missing from yesterday’s roundup of March reading, but it deserves its own post anyway.

A White Girl Named Shaquanda: A Chomo Allegory and Trewish Story by Myriam Gurba: This little book is staple-bound, loaded with margin scribbles (one page has a fringe of bangs for no particular reason) and available only on Etsy (that I know of). True to its zine-ish appearance, the story is punky and irreverent—in the realm of simile, things are likely to get compared to body parts and fluids—but it is anything but dashed off.

For the teen narrator, coming of age on California’s Central Coast means navigating boys’ probing hands, girls’ gossipy accusations, and teachers’ assholery. These more realistic scenes are juxtaposed with snippets of the Michael Jackson child molestation trial, which are written in a more absurd style—and yes, it is possible to amp up the absurdity of Michael Jackson. Together, the two threads condemn child abuse while acknowledging its ubiquity and contemplating the larger metaphorical implications of society’s sexual hypocrisies (the definition of “ho,” for Gurba, is “being a girl”).

All of this happens in prose that is funny, electric and so tightly packed I had to read many sentences twice—in a good way. I love Gurba’s language and her fearlessness. She makes me want to let my own freak flag fly, and to sew it with precise, beautiful stitches. 

Monday, April 01, 2013

the story of struggle and what i read in march

If this wood paneling could talk....
If I weren’t so beaten down by travel, teaching prep, family events and my Easter candy hangover (which I have all kinds of “sugar and dairy feed tumors”/“do you really want to be bald AND fat?” self-talk about)…I would tell you all about the amazing video art piece I saw at the Menil Collection in Houston. Untitled (Structures) is the story of the Civil Rights Movement as told by decaying buildings, crazy-ass wallpaper, solemn people in gorgeous Mad Men clothing and movement so slow it seems like a still photo (which is the story of all struggle, come to think of it). It’s about juxtaposition and perspective. It’s so pretty I can easily imagine it getting co-opted by a creative director at Urban Outfitters or something. There’s not a lot of video art that really mesmerizes me, but this is a big exception.

But I think there’s a connection (so the brain-science-lovin’ folks on NPR keep telling me) between exhaustion and lack of willpower, so in the interest of fending off further candy attacks, I’m going to keep this short. Here’s what I read in March:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: I am a snob (at least in the regular world; in the literary world I'm a populist), so I suspected this book would suck. It doesn't. The idea of a post-apocalyptic world in which kids fight for their lives on a reality show is not the freshest ever, but it's executed here with fresh touches. The bifurcation between a shiny, hyper-mediated society and a society in which people essentially live in the nineteenth century seems about right. The idea that winning the games isn't really winning, because the Gamemakers punish anyone who doesn't play by the rules, strikes a chord with me too. I admire Peeta's desire to maintain dignity even if he can't beat the system. The writing is solid if not spectacular. Is the love story a little contrived? Yes. Do developments like Rue's death serve plot before character? Yes. But overall I'd call this book a guilt-free pleasure.

Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy: The title story in this collection feels like a Nicholas Sparks novel for middle-aged women who subscribe to the New Yorker. (I say this as an almost-middle-aged woman who subscribes to the New Yorker.) It's dripping with sentences that seem written solely for the purpose of making the reader swoon at their profundity, but which actually mean nothing, or something really obvious. The plot: Two people who've lost someone meet cute and fall in love at first sight and say things like "Stones are really quite beautiful, aren't they?" The subsequent stories are better by varying degrees. "Tiger, Tiger" exists in a realer, less pretentious world. The narrator finds a stash of writings by a deceased pediatrician that pretty much lays out the basics of attachment theory (is that intentional?). "The Coming and Going of Strangers," about multiple generations of Irish gypsies, is genuinely moving. But "The City of Windy Trees" is back to instant love and fake profundity, this time when a depressed (but charmingly quirky! he collects kites and Italian loafers!) man discovers the six-year-old daughter he never knew he had. As soon as he learns of her existence, his life has meaning. Maybe I was just super jaded by this point (or quite possibly in general), but I just thought, "Ugh, that's the dream of bio parenthood, isn't it? All the connection and none of the work."

A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You by Amy Bloom: I want to call these stories "ruthlessly human" or say they get in touch with the sharpest edges of femininity--I want to find a generalized, intelligent way of saying that when the narrator of "Stars at Elbow and Foot," who has lost her newborn son, says she hates all women because they might be pregnant, I quietly whispered yes. Most of Amy Bloom's characters are members of the upper and upper-middle classes who try to hold it together but don't fool themselves. Bloom isn't afraid to strip them down further. In the title story, a mother realizes that her perfect, confident young daughter is a boy at heart; she's devastated but immediately begins saving money for gender reassignment surgery. That's the way of these characters--they're simultaneously judgmental and empathic, and they know what they must do. Flawed as some of them are, I kind of feel like that's not a bad approach to middle age. Bloom's writing is sharp and tight and subtly strange. I often have trouble paying attention to story collections in audio format, but this one grabbed me and held on tight.

Mystic River by Dennis Lehane: If Ron Carlson wrote genre, I think this is what it might look like: plain, round language and beautiful, mundane details; and a quiet exploration of masculinity's softer and darker sides. Sometimes the characters talk like they're in a movie, but it feels like a GOOD movie, which is probably why Lehane's other novels have been made into a couple of my favorites (Gone, Baby, Gone and Shutter Island). Despite its fierce humanity--or maybe because of it--this novel feels cynical in some of its conclusions. People don't change. We meet Sean, Jimmy and Dave as a good kid from a middle class family, a smart wild daredevil and a pathetic follower, respectively. They grow up to be a cop, a criminal ringleader and a man fighting a losing battle with his demons.

So how does the book stay interesting and not just become a whodunit? (Although, as such, it's great--all literary novelists should look to good genre writing for lessons in structure and how to reveal what, when.) By showing how each man is shaped by the secrets he chooses to keep or reveal, especially to his wife, that's how. The men who reveal--who choose to see their wives as true partners--are the ones who win, whether that means enforcing the law or breaking it. For all the neatly tied plot bows and playing out of karma, you've got to admire such progressive themes.

The Garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway: In a post-Midnight in Paris world, Hemingway sounds a lot like a parody of Hemingway. But once I got past that, I fell in love with the language and wanted to spend an infinite vacation motoring around Europe, boating and swimming and chatting up local fisherman, eating brioche and drinking whiskey with Perrier and getting my hair done every three days. And once I got past THAT, I realized, Oh, this is one of those Bitches Be Crazy books in which an absurd female disrupts the creativity of a man whose only sin was to fall for her. Said female, Catherine, is an interesting character--I liked her more than some of Philip Roth's Crazy Bitches. She's headstrong and genderqueer. I think she's supposed to represent the protagonist's self-destructive alter ego, the part of him that puts his vulnerability into the world instead of his writing and gets burned for it. That makes Marita--his blushing, passive, loyal and sexy mistress, who instantly "gets" his writing--his stronger and more successful self. If you look at the three of them as aspects of one guy, the novel is arguably less misogynist. Except what's more misogynist than writing women who are just aspects of a guy? Maybe that's why this one didn't get published until after Hemingway died. But I still want some whiskey and Perrier.