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Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

I am proud to have a piece published in Senses of Cinema for the Valérie Massadian cover story. My piece is called “Milla and Motherhood”.

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When halfway through the film Léo dies at work you do not have to see the death —and you do not, such is Massadian’s dedication to life without spectacle — to know that his is the death of the young and low skilled, working in arduous conditions for businesses that likely cut corners.

Heavily pregnant and newly alone, Milla finds work as a cleaner in a hotel. The essential nature of work for the low paid is a constant theme of the film. The neatly maintained divisions between jobs and social connection, made possible with higher incomes, are absent. Milla doesn’t holiday, doesn’t go out for brunch. The majority of Milla’s most meaningful exchanges, such as when she outlines her future ambitions or tries to encourage maternal gestures from other women, happen with workmates.

In this context, the later protracted scenes of mothering make sense. Life happens for Milla not in her free time, which is limited, but while she works, including when the work is mothering work

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But you are becoming more enormous and looming right out of control across the land, and controlling my mind. The more you push, the more I can’t find the answer for what should be kept under control. Where are all the proper story keepers? Who’s going to sing all the sacred story so you won’t feel lonely anymore, is there anyone left? Anyone there? Anyone at the birthday party?

From “Hey Ancestor!” by Alexis Wright in The Guardian. 

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This is good. “The speakers’ circuit is where original thinkers go to die” by Simon Kuper in Financial Times.

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Photo and words by Flannery O’Kafka. Flannery is one of the best photographers of motherhood around.

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Now, nine months on, my father has bouts of inertia, bouts of reluctant acceptance, and bouts of dotty but clear-eyed humour and calm, as he sits in his large room in his own recliner, with his pictures on the walls and his books on the shelf. He has lost all sense of the passing of time: everything and everyone that he still remembers – all the people, places, dogs and cats, dead or alive, near or far – seem to coexist for him in some perpetual Now. Occasionally he has no idea where he is, and gets volcanically angry when told that this is his room and he has been living in it for nine months. “Bullshit !” he yells, brandishing his stick. Once or twice I have feared that he was going to hit me. Another, darker fear I have is that, if he did hit me, the red mist would descend and I would hit him back. I am my father’s daughter, after all.

When I visit, two or three times a week, I pause at the front door and take a breath to face the possibilities of what I might find when I walk into his room, the possibilities of what I might have to do. I might have to calm him down, or clean him up, or close his eyes.

You should really read this. It’s “The limit of the world,” the Horne Prize winning essay by Kerryn Goldsworthy in the Saturday Paper.

 

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I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.

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More wonderful Ariel Gore from Rumpus:

I had my son at thirty-seven after having my daughter at nineteen, and I was partnered, although queer and not married so, again, not exactly getting invitations to the mom-party, but this time I was established as a writer. I’d been supporting my family as a writer and teacher and editor for years. I owned a little house. It was a hustle, but I had a level of stability I didn’t dream of when Maia was a baby.

And of course life is also a lot easier when people aren’t constantly making remarks about how your child should be taken away from you and put in an orphanage. No one has ever said that to me about my son. And I’m the same parent. I’m actually a worse parent now because I’m tired and my back hurts.

Rumpus: Ah, that gets to what I was probably asking with that previous question: when is very young motherhood a boon? What are the various factors that can stymie our creative growth and survival?

Gore: I’m all for young motherhood. The only problems were socially constructed. At nineteen, I was as ready to start my family as I’d ever be. I was as physically healthy as I’d ever be. I was getting gayer by the minute, so my biological clock had been ticking since age sixteen.

I wasn’t invited to the mom party or any other party, so I got to write. My first stories, like everyone’s, were just practice and experiment, so the baby wasn’t getting in the way of anything I didn’t have a sense of humor about.

Early motherhood didn’t ruin my life. I just did everything all at once—writer/mother/grown-up. I’m still clawing to dig myself out of the hole, but it’s good dirt and I have no regrets.

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