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"I asked [Fanny Howe] if she felt there was a tension between writing and religion. There has been for some people. Gerard Manley Hopkins stopped writing for several years because he felt it was not consistent with his profession of being a priest. I have a friend who’s off to divinity school right now, and in part I think it’s because he feels the pull of poetry is so strong that it’s distorting the nature of his faith. We talked about that with Fanny Howe and she said she understood why someone would give up writing, because writing is always the assertion of the ego, and faith the eradication of it. I have found this tension very hard to negotiate in my own life."
"In some ways what I’m interested in my own work is the intersection of individuals and larger forces. I do think leaders matter. I do think leaders can direct history. I do think the conversations and thoughts and actions of individuals are important and can alter the course of things. But there is also the danger of removing them from their social and historical context so that they are seen as more uniquely movers of history than they are. So often the way the public thinks about Lincoln or Washington -- or the founders as a group -- lacks that contextualization that really helps us understand why they were able to do what they did or why someone like Lincoln changed so much."
Dahl writes, “In a heterosexist world that continues to tell us that femininity is the ultimate available object for universal consumption and contempt, taking a stand on and through (queer) femininity, as we all do and know, is both intense pleasure and clear and present danger… To us, femininity is neither phallic fantasy nor default, it’s beyond surface and it certainly does not passively wait to come alive through a (male) gaze. Fiercely intentional, neither objects nor objective, we have stuff to get off our chests.”
"Every fake contains the fingerprints of the age in which it was created. But those fingerprints can be hard for contemporaries to detect. That museum director I mentioned said the effective lifespan of a forgery is a single generation. After that, our sensibility changes. Our eyes change. What fooled our fathers doesn’t seem remotely plausible to us. Take the moon hoax story you mentioned. How ridiculous it seems to us now, the idea that anyone ever believed life -- man-bats and fire-wielding beavers, among much else -- was discovered on the moon. And yet we are fooled plenty, and often, by other things. We’re only smarter about a few select things. But at least we’ll never fall for the man-bats again."
Sean P. Carroll
“I think an editor’s job,” said Chinski, “is basically to fall in love with a book and then to help it be more of what it already is.” Chinski edits fiction. For all I know, many young editors of fiction, maybe many older editors of all genres, feel as he does. But it was Chinski and Chinski alone who uttered those magic words and so it’s on Chinski that I’ve found myself imprinted, just like those cute little ducklings became imprinted on the great ethologist Konrad Lorenz.
Barbara J. King
A professional archive has been weeded and whittled down, stored and processed in such a way that a researcher can find the thing she needs with minimal fuss. Acid-free boxes and Mylar sleeves guard the stuff of memory from its own tendency to corrode. Not so our personal archives, which are often piled and stuffed and hidden away in such a way that the things we save surprise us now and then when we find them: did I really buy all those postcards? Did I really save that catalogue? What deranged reason did I have for filling the pocket of this jacket with small stones? Why is my collection of teas so immaculately organized while my tax documents appear to have been redeployed as bookmarks and coasters?
In relation to content, first and foremost, it becomes clear that the contributors to Labor Pains and Birth Stories are a fairly homogeneous group. They are middleclass and in stable relationships; for the most part, their pregnancies appear to be expected (according to the American Pregnancy Association nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned). Descriptions of shelling out twenty thousand for medical treatments for a birth mother in the event of a possible adoption and a couple who spend the days leading up to their child’s birth strolling the beach and watching movies evidence that these authors live in relative economic comfort and privilege.