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"This begs the question: what happens when you get what you want? In Frenchís case, she sought a more equitable existence for women everywhere. In gaining ground in the struggle for equality among the sexes, she lost some of her own power and influence. Why does this have to be a source of embitterment, and what does it mean when a feminist icon resents the women she pulled up with her? Of course, some of her difficulties of the past decade can be blamed on the cultural climate of the Bush presidency. Perhaps all of this aggravation explains her sometimes rude and laughably inappropriate responses to my questions."
"Why then canít I shake a burdening sense of irony? You convincingly argue that we humans transform, and have always transformed, sacred texts and our notions of God in them according to whatís happening in the societies around us: ďGodís character is a product of the way Muslims, Christians, and Jews think of him,Ē as you put it. If we transform God, and in so doing make him (and thus ourselves) more moral over the ages, how come weíre so powerless in the face of the ancient selection pressures supposedly at work on our brain and our behavior? Thatís my big objection to your thesis."
Barbara J. King
"For the smug foodies out there who know all of this already, or who think of yourselves as above the fray -- listen up. While eating locally is an excellent way to shorten the food chain and bolster the local economy, it is not the cure-all for the food industryís ills. In her epilogue, Freidberg sagely notes that ďthe same larger forces that have created prosperous local foodsheds in some parts of the world have undermined them in others. It is easier to be a locavore in Berkeley than in Burkina Faso.Ē Colonial powers have created ďbanana republics,Ē forcing native peoples to abandon their traditional foodways and support faraway appetites for apples and haricots verts."
"Publishers have isolated the secret, scary additives that make those trashy paperbacks we read on the airplane unputdownable. But which ingredients make a good book, or a great book, equally juicy and riveting?"
"I had no serious intentions of becoming a writer or illustrator, even though I thought that would be a fantastic job. Growing up in the West Australian suburbs, it simply did not seem like a real occupation. It was only in my late teens that I became very focused on two things: painting landscapes and writing science fiction short stories. I always thought I might end up as a painter or writer, but for a long time saw these as completely separate practices, somewhat incompatible. Generally, I did not know what career I might pursue, and going into university, it was a toss up between biotechnology (another big interest), and an arts degree. I chose the latter."
"I think a lot of religions, especially at the beginning, either tend to spiral outward or tighten inward. They either quickly spiral out of control or they tighten in to become conventionalized and reified. In the first case they move quickly to chaos, in the second, they move toward bureaucracy. Neither is very good, but the first is definitely more interesting, at least for the writer. The trick is trying to strike a balance between those two, which is something very few religions ever manage."
"Terror is a contingent ingredient in awe. I think terror can exist without awe, but I donít think awe can consist without an element of terror. I think awe necessarily includes an element of terror. The word itself has to do with being overwhelmed. Something is awesome. Something fills you with wonder and terror. Itís literally overwhelming. Thatís one of the ways I dealt with the epilepsy too. I used the idea of being electrocuted. Supersaturation. Somethingís very cosmic about it. And thatís terrifying, to be overwhelmed. People donít want to be overwhelmed in that sense."
"It's fun writing in a really restricted form like cover letters. In a way it makes you more willing to experiment. You want to see just how far you can go without ruining everything and breaking the illusion. You want to digress and have crazy parts, but you don't want an eight page short story, you know? That's not a cover letter, that breaks the form. And then when you do figure out how to get some story in there, it is first in service to that letter itself. What the narrator says in his letters is obviously complete fabrication half the time, so you have to use repetition of small details and names to make things seem true. This is the fun of writing A Softer World, too. I have so few words to tell a story. Limitations can be exciting."