As women, when we’re children we’re taught to enter the world with big hearts. Blooming hearts. Hearts bigger than our damn fists. We are taught to forgive - constantly - as opposed to what young boys are taught: Revenge, to get ‘even.’ Our empathy is constantly made appeals to, often demanded for. If we refuse to show kindness, we are reprimanded. We are not good women if we do not crush our bones to make more space for the world, if we do not spread our entire skin over rocks for others to tread on, if we do not kill ourselves in every meaning of the word in the process of making it cozy for everyone else. It is the heat generated by the burning of our bodies with which the world keeps warm. We are taught to sacrifice so much for so little. This is the general principle all over the world.
By the time we are young women, we are tired. Most of us are drained. Some of us enter a lock of silence because of that lethargy. Some of us lash out. When I think of that big, blooming heart we once had, it looks shriveled and worn out now. When I was teaching, I had a young student named Mariam. She was only 11 years old. Some boy pushed her around in class, called her names, broke her spirit for the day. We were sitting under a chestnut tree on a field trip and she asked me if a boy ever hurt me. I told her many did and I destroyed them one by one. I think that’s the first time she ever heard the word ‘destroyed.’ We rarely teach our girls to fight back for the right reasons.
Take up more space as a woman. Take up more time. Take your time. You are taught to hide, censor, move about without messing up decorum for a man’s comfort. Whether it’s said or not, you’re taught balance. Forget that. Displease. Disappoint. Destroy. Be loud, be righteous, be messy. Mess up and it’s fine – you are learning to unlearn. Do not see yourself like glass. Like you could get dirty and clean. You are flesh. You are not constant. You change. Society teaches women to maintain balance and that robs us of our volatility. Our mercurial hearts. Calm and chaos. Love only when needed; preserve otherwise.
Do not be a moth near the light; be the light itself. Do not let a man’s ocean-big ego swallow you up. Know what you want. Ask yourself first. Decide your own pace. Decide your own path. Be cruel when needed. Be gentle only when needed. Collapse and then re-construct. When someone says you are being obscene, say yes I am. When they say you are being wrong, say yes I am. When they say you are being selfish, say yes I am. Why shouldn’t I be? How do you expect a woman to stand on her two feet if you keep striking her at the ankles.
There are multiple lessons we must teach our young girls so that they render themselves their own pillars instead of keeping male approval as the focal point of their lives. It is so important to state your feelings of inconvenience as a woman. We are instructed to tailor ourselves and our discomfort - constantly told that we are ‘whining’ and ‘nagging’ and ‘complaining too much.’ That kind of silence is horribly violent, that kind of insistence upon uniformly nodding in agreement to your own despair, and smiling emptily so no man is ever uncomfortable around us. Male-entitlement dictates a woman’s silence. If we could see the mimetic model of the erasure of a woman’s voice, it would be an incredibly bloody sight.
On a breezy July night, my mother and I were sleeping under the open sky. Before dozing off, I told her that I think there is a special place in heaven where all wounded women bury their broken hearts and their hearts grow into trees that only give fruit to the good and poison to the bad. She smiled and said Ameen. Then she closed her eyes.
Hue & Cry is my favourite New Zealand journal. Chloe Lane publishes consistently exciting work, but more important for the purposes of this post is the way that everything fits together. The individual works in each issue fit together like jigsaw pieces and the issues are bricks that form the most comfortable house. Everything feels so complete. The minimalist design by The International Office perfectly encompasses the Hue & Cry aesthetic.
Also, in a country dominated by a couple of big journals, Hue & Cry offers a space where less established and more unusual writers can reach a wide audience. This is definitely something I want to emulate with LEFT
Artifice’s desire for work that is ‘aware of its own artifice’ is one that I share. I could easily steal that tagline and staple it onto LEFT and I think I would receive exactly the type of submissions I’m looking for.
With such loose submission guidelines one might expect Artifice to be messy, but nothing could be further from the truth. This magazine is not a home of meaningless experimentation. Their editors’ eyes are sharp. Each issue is a controlled explosion which uncovers the most shiniest crystals.
One of my favourite things about Artifice is their wishlist, a work of art in its own right.
The Newer York is not a controlled explosion. The Newer York is a firework factory on fire. Reading one of their books is a truly visual experience. I want LEFT to similar experience but with a more focused vision.
TNY pushes the idea that anything can be literature/everything is literature which I wholeheartedly believe in. But I think their focus on new forms causes them to miss out on some work that is doing interesting and new things but takes a more traditional form. I want to find a balance of these two things with LEFT.
'IGG is a zine dedicated to showcasing female perspectives in art and literature.' I don't see how anyone could hate on that mission statement. I salute Gabby for undertaking this project and for the quality work she publishes.
The thing about Illuminati Girl Gang that I will be drawing on the most is the way that it brings an internet aesthetic into the print medium. The majority of the art (in any form) that excites me is found online. One of my main goals for LEFT is to create that same sort of excitement around a physical artifact.
I’m also really impressed by the way Gabby has gotten so much coverage for the zine. This is something that I think will be a struggle for me to achieve with LEFT, especially since I don’t have such a strong mission statement.
While I admire and support all of these publications, I also view them as the competition. I will be measuring my success against theirs and trying to outdo them in terms of quality (which is subjective) and reach (which is more easily measured). These publications are important to me and I want LEFT to be important to people too.
“I watched the first few seasons of The Biggest Loser avidly. The show offered the ultimate fat girl fantasy—go to a “ranch” for a few months, and under the pressure of intense personal trainers, low caloric intake, the manipulations of reality show producers and the constant surveillance of television cameras, lose the weight you’ve never been able to lose on your own.”—Read the rest: My Body Is Wildly Undisciplined And I Deny Myself Nearly Everything I Desire | xoJane (via roxanegay)
You’ll believe it when you see it Everything and everyone you know So Laila just goes away? you get good at it and yeah you’ll go quietly Cuz you got no fight, right? I want to be invisible too I recognize it in myself
“If originality is a “sense of novelty and freshness” then, in the act of constructing ourselves, originality is not the goal. We construct a self-portrait, relying on existing objects – books, quotes from authors and artists, images, art – that we are more than happy to show off to others for them to use as masturbation material or for the material by which they align themselves. This is the new action painting – the curational archive. The referential self portrait. The portrait of any other artist could be readily used to explain yourself, just reblog it and caption it with “same.” The past consistently becomes the present, not through linear time, but through the constant reconstruction and relabeling of it.”—
“what is the difference between being an independent person
and being a person who is accepting of loneliness”—Mira Gonzalez I Will Never Be Beautiful Enough To Make Us Beautiful Together (via sempiternale)