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Tennessee Williams based a character on her. She complained that Jerome Robbins was a terrible dancer who stepped on her feet. Her legs appear in a John Lennon film, the only ones that were clothed because she would not remove her gaiters for anyone. The hotel in Paris where she crashed was managed by Proust’s last housekeeper. Until now, Vali Myers’s fascinating life has tended to obscure the value of her drawings. As Carlo McCormick (of Paper Magazine) points out in "Night Flower," a new book presenting the high points of her output alongside facsimiles of her diaries, recollections from her inner circle, and photographs, Myers could easily be taken as just a cool thing to know about, with plenty of room under her spangled cloak for all the manic pixie dream girls out there.
"Something has to radicalize you; something has to push you toward that as a political solution or identity. Valerie Solanas didn't want to be a feminist, I think, because the early feminist movement was plagued with liberal sentiments and ideologies. Early NOW did not want to deal with 'the personal is political' (a phrase which came later in relationship to radical feminism) and issues of sex, marriage, the money system, and so on; they wanted to petition and lobby and make incremental change. They were liberals, and Valerie despised liberalism. As Valerie wrote, 'If SCUM ever marches, it will be over the President's stupid, sickening face; if SCUM ever strikes, it will be in the dark with a six-inch blade.' We can read this as literal, or as a sort of mentality, a position from which she is arguing that we can't just preserve the status quo by asking for 'equality'; we have to destroy the foundations of inequality. There's a difference, and it's something we as feminists today still don't deal well with. We are very interested in what I call 'PR feminism,' a sanitized, nice, friendly, happy version of feminism that relies upon assimilation, liberalism, and openness. Valerie called it a 'civil disobedience lunch club.' While I do believe that principles of connection, friendship, and even love have a place in the feminist movement, I also believe that radical social change requires us to question everything, down to the level of how and why we connect with others, how we understand the category 'women' at all, how we imagine a place for outrageousness."
Ward writes about passing by Robert Creeley’s house (“a converted fire station with a rooftop garden, a watchtower, & maybe a patio hidden by a fence?”), seeing rainbows by waterfall, and going through bookstore shelves with his friend Tisa, who “was writing a book that concerned an imaginary cinema playing an imaginary movie.” Ward describes “the part of the reading where we held pages or books” and so these earlier parts are part of the reading too, which I love. Me wandering Chicago is part of whatever I’m writing next.
"When you want to write a novel of ideas in this country, sci-fi is pretty much the way to go. Our best science fiction or speculative works, like The Handmaid's Tale, Kindred, or Left Hand of Darkness, have had a lot to say. Possibly in the future, people will say, 'Wow, sci-fi was where the ideas were really being discussed.' Brave New World, 1984, Fahrenheit 451 -- these are great political books. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick is a work of genius; it's a very political book. I can't say what we call literary fiction has this quality."
"I'm mostly interested in the way the sexes interact. With Apples being narrated by Adam and Eve, two fifteen-year-olds, I was fascinated by the chasm that seems to open between boys and girls at that age: biologically girls mature faster than boys, and often start focusing their attentions toward older lads, while their male counterparts seem to need an extra year or two to catch up and compete. With Ten Storey Love Song and Kimberly's Capital Punishment, I was looking at all the pleasures and pitfalls of post-teenage relationships: the initial blazing honeymoon period, the contentment, perhaps resentment, over-familiarity, jealousy, and the regular collapses. It seems to me there's so much tension caused by the interaction of the sexes."
"There's a body of research showing how expressive writing can positively impact health and well-being, so when I was working with a patient or caregiver, I'd give reading recommendations or suggest writing exercises. As you might imagine, when faced with a significant illness, a lot of people become more introspective and start to reevaluate their priorities. My story 'Transplant,' about a young woman who receives a donor heart, examines how someone with a potentially terminal illness might turn to faith. It's not based on any particular patients but it is grounded in my experiences at the Cancer Center. Western medicine obviously has its limitations, so I was interested in exploring the ways people try to cope with and make up for these limitations."