I'm re-reading Pia Pera's novel Lo's Diary a kind of sidequel to Nabokov's Lolita only from Lolita's pov. It was written back in the 90s and she takes it more from the angle of a mother's hatred for her daughter and also incorporates some riot-grrl feminist vibes into the text - Emily Prager did a much better job of this with her Lolita-take book - Roger Fishbite. But it is an interesting read.
I'll do a longer post but for now I'm just stunned that Pera took 90 pages to set up Lolita's life prior to meeting Humbert only to have him enter, takeover and this realization isn't shaking up Lolita. She's as acerbic before she met him as his complete takeover of her life.
What's your thoughts? Should major events shake up the mc even if they're a bit twisted or should you maybe tone down the twisted side of your character so you can have them appear shook? I feel like Pera is doing everything she can to have Lolita avoid a victim label.
Just read another story of a woman named Amelie Zhao having her book deal yanked after some people on Goodreads decided her book didn't meet up to certain standards? I don't know how else you'd call it. A fantasy novel - set in a fantasy world didn't mirror certain aspects of … reality. Not shocked … just uneasy. What did she do wrong? Apparently wrote about slavery without mentioning POC. My feeling on this is whoopdee-shit. If I read a book and no characters looked like me - who cares, if they don't represent certain religions, atheism, certain viewpoints, certain real world issues - again, who gives a shit. I'm there to read their take on their world and if it doesn't include anything of, or not of my world - who cares. Apparently though a noisy group of people care and seriously want to destroy a person's career before it even has a chance to flower. Some of the kooks accused her of being anti-black, a plagiarist (and if she's guilty of that she should be called out) and a flat out racist.
I think the publishers have pulled publishing the trilogy temporarily which makes me think the books are probably being groomed and reworked to pacify the mob-squad before being sold.
No concrete proof of racism, no proof of malicious intent, no proof of bias. But somehow still found guilty.
And the writer apologized. Reminds me a little of Canada when someone bumps into you - you apologize before the person who bumped you. What I used to think as funny isn't so funny anymore.
I have no idea what kind of message this sends to writers. I'm caught between terror that we're pre-banning people and possibly encouraging people to write with a certain mindset versus the exhilaration that it's forcing me to take a good look at what I believe in.
** This is a cut and paste poem I did a while back taking phrases from vintage Harlequin novels -- I love doing cut and paste.
Then it happened; they kissed.
Shock was like a needle
to the irresistible pressure of his mouth
sensual lips that knew no mercy
Caught in the slowing down of time
resistance took a tumble
that shattered her fury
So intense were her emotions
Flame flickered deep
burning, burning with a deep fire
bodies were melting together
to form a throbbing duet
she knew the real danger lay within herself
and tried to escape the hard demanding mouth
“You brute!” she cried
“Give in,” he growled. “You are aching to
be my wife.”
* Clipped phrases from retro Sears catalogs and some phrases from Dylan Thomas's short stories collection - Adventures in the skin trade. I love doing found poetry. *
The Garden of Sears
Creation screamed forth
in an enchanted garden
Of non-conformist comfort.
two available in your choice of colors
He - lab-tested, excellent resiliency
She - fully immersible, high polish,
He had been invisible
Till, she opened eyes
of handcrafted, leaded cathedral glass
You were lonely before I came
They stood fresh-as-spring
It’s got bounce, he thought admiring her pompon elegance
She ignored his big 10 “ swivel nozzle
The fine-quality, vitreous china Classic
had waited for this Sculptura
One by one the funflowers died
as the Fooler purred his way through
“Take off your frock of freedom from defrosting and
resistant to the effects of smoke, humidity, and
a spark of wing and fire
the safety shell drops
leaving a hole in heaven
she took his hand and lead him racing over the Magicube
truly amazing, they move as though alive
and multiply, multiply by 3,500,000
Pattern is protected under a hard glaze for long wear
We are chip-resistant
We glory in - a cool-down tumble
complete with spill catchers
trapping tiny tubular travelers
What is death’s music?
The stunning modern look!
Was going to enter this in a contest here ( little black dress ) but as usual I went over the word limit and then haven't finished, yet. I would like to expand on the theme of cowardice & masculinity but I'm not too sure if it's too obvious.
Prove Your Y
Out of all of them, I kept my eyes on the slimy creature in the little black dress. He/she/it’s craftier than the others. He, I’ll call him he despite his get up, came slurging down the road yesterday like a seal, but when he noticed the others starting to imitate humans, taking bits of refuse to give themselves a frame, a mock skeleton, he broke branches off a tree. He used limbs to give himself limbs. I let out a wild donkey bray, something between a laugh and a cry of hysteria and had to back away from my watch at the upper floor window. ‘Cause whenever they hear noise, they move towards it.
This thinking gelatin, this meteoric goo - that some dipshit CNN newscaster two weeks ago had laughed off as ‘watch out people the blob is here’ - had propped himself up, gave himself bones. This was no blob, this was something worse.
There were about eighty of them in my neighborhood. A week ago, before their numbers had climbed into the double digits, the troops had come and banged on doors and most of my neighbors grabbed bundles and willingly vacated. Had to do with that Youtube video in which some teenage boy challenged by his friend had touched one of the blobs. That was before they’d begun taking shape, when they were just stewing and sliding along the gutters, like loogies, feeding off the water, ingesting whole puddles ... Growing. The boy convulsed and died. The trolls cried Hoax! Faker! But then the army rolled in. Other hospitalizations became public. News bulletins told the people to stop spraying the goo out of their yards with garden hoses, or trying to bang it into the gutters with rake ends and enough with the bleach.
I stayed behind, with my wife Angela. It was her idea to stay.
“Those bastards aren’t driving me out of my house. I just put up new wallpaper.”
It was hard to tell who she meant by bastards; the invading troops or the invading goop. With Angela it could be either or both.
I think there are three others on our block that stayed occasionally in the strange traffic-less quiet, beyond the sticky noise of the blobs traveling, you can hear the wheeze of a screen door.
Ten o’clock. Angela is in the house opposite gently opening the window. She got stuck in the house a week ago looking for food. I tried insisting I go ( although I didn’t want to. ) I said stupid things like, ‘I’m the man.’ She just raised her eyebrow and said, “Bully for you. I suppose having a cock gives you an advantage in dodging intergalactic Jello, is it part compass?”
I started to defend my angle by stating I’m in better shape but Angela glared reminding me if I finished that sentence her wrath would be ten times worse than whatever those blobs could dish out.
I ate the last can of ravioli yesterday. The water still runs. Though I keep the bathtub full just in case. Angela tried throwing me new supplies. She tied them in a little black dress and threw them from the window across to me. I bungled the catch and her package dropped onto one of the blobs below and burst open. The blob spread out like a splat and worked itself out from under the contents. Then it spent most of the day examining the boxes, the cans, the dress and a magazine Angela had thrown in because it had one of my old modeling ads.
Later, the same blob, I suppose, after he’d given himself arms and legs and shape and structure, and a mock head from a neighbor’s basketball, had put on the dress. Now it hobbled around like some freaking eerie Jack Pumpkinhead.
“Pssst,” went Angela with a wave. How is she always so fearless? I opened my window reluctantly. A couple days ago the blobs started creeping up along the house like snails. Scared the shit out of me. I ran around locking every window, shutting every curtain. Shook for hours. Angela just got a Swifer Broom and tried to pry one off - “No, you don’t you slime balls!”
Angela’s plump cheeks have been rouged and she’s done something to her eyes. Glued sequins on, I think. She’s been passing the time playing dress up with the neighbor’s loot. She blew me a kiss. I blew her one back. My eyes kept roaming. They’ve heard us, they’re coming.
“How you doing for food?” Her stage whisper could travel blocks.
“Shhh. Ate the last can yesterday.”
“What? Oh, ouch!”
I got the pun. “Funny.”
“I’ll run something over.”
Too late to find the pun in that -my stomach plummeted. “Don’t!”
“Levi,” she began, her tone straining with impatience.”You have to let me try sometime or you have to come over here.”
My hand wouldn’t stop shaking. It was sickening to be this scared in front of my wife especially while she remained rather calm. I slouched down out of sight, and turned my back on the window. Just squatted and thought. It wasn’t as if I was some he-man now reduced to a quivering mass with less substance than what was now creeping out there. I couldn’t feel the loss of courage like the cowardly lion. Who knew or rather had, or claimed a rightful place of authority in this world. Nor was I some sensitive journalist who would think it sexist to even entertain the thought and could bluff my sagging ego that this was the ultimate opportunity to show I have no sexist bone in my body and could embrace my cowardice, smug in the knowledge that as a right to equality, I owed my wife nothing, not an ounce of heroism. Bravo, pilgrim. But that was not my ideal to prove. I was no contriving actor counting on tears to earn me the Oscar that my lack of anything else couldn’t.
I stood for no one but me, Levi Hammel, an ex male model who spent most of his days in underwear pouting towards cameras and fending off gropes from the photographers. And Angela still seemed to buck tradition even while embodying it. She created and sewed clothes - bohemian hats and dresses. A plump Tinkerbelle who always looked as though she was on her way to a seance. There was never a weirder, more wonderful match-up. Now I was Angela’s model both male and female. I was used to wearing all types of crap and never blinked an eye, so I didn’t struggle and barely protested when Angela shaved my legs and put me in paisley leggings or broomstick skirts or gypsy blouses. Photographing me from the neck or waist down for her ads on Sign of the Owl boutique. This time I longed for a grope from this photographer and she always came through purring, “My very own compliant, anatomically correct, Ken doll.”
“Ken Doll!” She hollared now, as if plugged into my thoughts. An idea so eerie and comforting I scratched at the goose pimples she’d raised, and bit my tongue to keep from shushing her.
I imagined them slurping into the window. Finding me.
“Angel Doll.” My call was much quieter.
“We need a plan.”
My brain froze at the thought of leaving the house but I turned and looked out the window. They were thick on the ground all their makeshift heads - one used a melon from a garden down the block, another a ticking clock ( from inside a house - chilling thought ), another a trike wheel, an empty mayonaise jar, a wasp nest anything that was round or cylindrical - every makeshift head turned towards us. “What do you have in mind?”
“Don’t you have any ideas?”
“Have you tried the phones -”
“The phones are dead, babe. Dead. We can’t count on anyone to help us.”
“Who’s fault is that?” I quickly shot back. The wet flash of pain in her eyes made me instantly regret it. “I’m sorry.”
“It is my fault.”
“No, I could have - ”
“You never give in when I want my way. ” She stopped and snuffed. I was glad she didn’t continue as it sounded rather accusing. It made me feel as though I’d always been weak but had never had to face a mirror and see the weakness. And this is all this situation was one big mirror revealing all my flaws. “Shit, they’re climbing up the walls again. 2 o’clock.” She says and closes her window. She draws the curtains. I follow her lead.
I never sleep long any more. Maybe they’ll get in. Maybe I’ve forgotten something: the flue on the fireplace, a cracked window to let in a breeze, the dryer vent, the hole for the cable wires. Can they thin down to spit strings and find their way in like mice? What do they want?
They just seem to wander.
Separate names with a comma.