I’ve added a couple of things to my “online reads” page.
First is a poem by Denise Duhamel, “The Woman With Two Vaginas”. No, it isn’t pornographic. In fact, I usually end up with a tear in my eye by the end – she is off on an ice floe bemoaning her fate, and her husband is crying into the barren palms of his new young wife. No one is happy, but Normality has been restored. This poem comes from a remarkable collection which is a feminist interpretation of Inuit myths. Many other poems bear reading, and they are all available on the linked page. Or you could buy the book – which, ironically, ran into trouble in Canada when the publisher simply would not print it.
(I hesitated to put the actual title of the work here. From looking at the stats for this blog, I get a lot of hits from people googling “chastity belt” which phrase appears in a What If? writing exercise back, oh, I don’t know, quite some ways. I figure if so many people are so interested in chastity belts, they’re probably going to flock here by the thousands to see two vaginas. [Sorry, folks, nothing to see here, move along, don’t leave me any messages for my spam filter about your proclivities, I’m really not interested.] But that is the title of the work, and it is a good title for that work. So, googlers be damned.)
Second is a short story by Didi Wood, “Elliott Carter is a Dead Man”. This was more of my waiting-for-the-bus-at-the-supermarket reading. A friend of mine picked up a copy of the inaugural edition of Night Train’s print volumes from 2002 at a Goodwill, and she gave it to me. “Elliott” is fourth story in the volume, and the second one to catch my eye (the other was “Grit” by Mary Corrinne Powers) and when I finished it this morning, all my Christmas baking needs packed in my “green” cloth bags and waiting for the natural-gas powered bus, I couldn’t wait to tell someone about it. I told the bus driver, “I just read this great music story!” and she was quite happy for me (she brings stuffed animals, particularly monkeys, on the bus, and they line up to greet passengers as they board). But she didn’t ask any particulars like where to read it or what it was about. Of course, she couldn’t, since she was after all driving a bus. Well, not at that particular moment, but she was getting ready to close the door behind me and drive away, so she had other things on her mind. I decided I would, as soon as I got home and after putting away the unsalted butter and whole milk and dried fruits and various kinds of sugars and flours I only buy once a year, I would find the story online and post a link to it. I have to admit it isn’t earth-shaking, the way “I Use Commas Like Ninja Stars” was. But it was seductive. And funny. And cohesive. And I wanted to read it again. Except… it’s never the same, is it, reading a story a second time. It’s still good – I read many stories many times, I have books I read about once a year, and I almost always discover something I missed the first time around, but it’s not that first “wow” feeling of discovery. So I’ll have to keep reading new (to me) stories for that.