The person in front of you cannot really see you. Not in the world we live in now they can't. You are an elaborately constructed edifice designed to ...
|Pic by Vinoth Chandar|
|Pic by Vinoth Chandar|
|James Cubed Design|
|Sugar cube pic by Uwe Hermann under CC 2.5 licence (attribution and share-alike)|
|Public domain pic|
In this chapter, the overall message is that women suffer from underestimating their abilities more than men do. “[F]eeling confident–or pretending that you feel confident—is necessary to reach for opportunities. It’s a cliché, but opportunities are rarely offered; they’re seized.” From refraining from raising their hands in the audience to sitting on the sidelines rather than taking seats at the conference table, Sandberg shares examples of women holding themselves back.
For writers of fiction, poetry, and essays, one of the ways to “sit at the table” can begin, quite literally, with sitting at a table of fellow students and an instructor for a writing workshop. I won’t comment here on the ways that gender dynamics and stereotypes crop up in these situations, because I’ll digress to a point of no return (besides, you’ll get a glimmer of this in the next section, “Success and Likeability”).
But the VIDA count reminds us of other tables and other seats. Where are women “sitting” in those venues? Where do they show up at in the tables of contents and bylines and within prominent literary magazines and book reviews? VIDA and its proponents seek institutional change, but what if that isn’t enough? Some female writers who may not habitually submit their work may realize that—like the woman whose tweet is cited above—they need to take some steps themselves.
But as Sandberg observes, even when offered opportunities, women don’t always accept them. One of the most eye-catching accompaniments to this year’s VIDA count was Amy King’s interview with Tin House editor Rob Spillman, who described that earlier VIDA statistics had prompted Tin House “to take a deep look at our submissions.” One of Spillman’s most attention-grabbing revelations was grounded beyond the slush pile: “Although we solicited equal numbers of men and women, men were more than twice as likely to submit after being solicited. This even applies to writers I’ve previously published.”Yep. I sure get that.
I could only think about my brother from a distance. From a distance he could be an idiot or a son-of-the-moon; from a distance but a different angle he could be a prophet and a Venerable. Right up close to him, though, he was just a mess of whittering and birdshit - and with my face, too.Ananda Braxton-Smith makes me yearn for somewhere I've never been and which doesn't exist, but whose scent nevertheless comes in on the occasional breeze. Her writing is so densely layered, like a decades-old compost heap, rich and earthy. I read books too greedily, consuming them like a Westerner, eager for the next sentence so that while my racing mind thinks, "I didn't quite get all of the gristle out of that last para; I should go back and read it again," by then I'm already halfway through the next, swallowed by the too-small seconds of life, eating the words whole without chewing. Ananda's writing is so lush that I actually want to go back again, just to roll the words round in my mouth one more time, to be a little startled by what I see upon second chewing. No mean feat.
He'd taken our face to town, into the market and the harbour, and he'd done and said such things as made folk stare at me slip-eyed and mutter. I'd learned to sit dumb as rock and deaf as bugs.
After a while longer I'd learned to hurl my mind-eye away.
Faraway. Into the clouds and out to where the sea and sky meet. Out there I could snug into the skytowers, see only my feet dangling, hear only the winds rushing. Faraway, there was only the blue water spreading far below, my legs swinging above, between them just clouds and seabirds.
|Part of the Australian Women|
Writers Challenge 2013
|Messing about with clay - one of the things I need to return to|
to help my body heal itself.