International Women’s Day and some women writers I admire

International Women’s Day and some women writers I admire

For some reason (possibly because I’m very lucky or because I have the habit of ignoring the world around me), I get surprised when men say sexist stuff to me about my work. I was in a Moscow bar recently on a dark and stormy night, and a typical twatty overpaid British expat man of the sort that should be displayed at the zoo with a plaque reading Typical Twatty Overpaid British Expat Man told me it must be “quite nice” to have “such a fashionable hobby” as writing plays – with zero irony, of course, because I must be a bored rich girl (ahahahaha) who must go through a phase of thinking she’s the next Beckett before moving on to pottery or adult coloring books or whatever it is that bored rich girls do. Oh, and he “used to have a girlfriend who wrote plays” but “she’s in marketing now.” I do hope that “in marketing now” is a euphemism for “slept with his best friend.”

Anyway, although sexism with regard to women writers surprises me every time, and although I rarely pay attention to whether or not the author I’m reading is a woman, it must be said that not everyone thinks like me. So here’s a list of some of my favorite female writers, and their books and plays, because it’s IWD, and because whatever. They are great not because they are written by women. They are great because they are great.  Continue reading “International Women’s Day and some women writers I admire”

This is me right now

Also, Poland is beautiful. All clothed in a snowy shroud. But what else is new, really? I have always loved this country. It’s in my tendons and my blood and other parts of me as well. It’s the country where I shot a gun for the first time.

Paustovsky loved Poland, and Paustovsky and I are practically brother and sister. He wrote one of the best autobiographies ever, incidentally. Everything is in it – Kiev and Bulgakov, Moscow and Gilyarovsky, summers in Bryansk, war in Lublin. His Kievan ghost was the first to hold my hand (squeeze his nails into my palm, truth be told) and tell me to write. So, you know. This is srs bzns.

The Immortal Genius of Facebook Groups: from Ian McEwan to John Locke (the bald badass on “Lost,” that is)

Far too many serious writers treat the Internet with bemused detachment.

They are missing out.

They are especially missing out wherein Facebook groups are concerned. Thank God they have a… uh, non-serious writer such as myself to set them straight.

Consider, for example the title of the latest group I joined on Facebook: “In a perfect world I’d be doing Robbie in a library as Briony burns in hell.” Tell me this isn’t the ultimate response to Ian McEwan’s novel Atonement, recently adapted for the big screen. The group’s description gets Cecilia’s last name wrong (it’s Tallis, not Talon), but we can overlook such trifles; Facebook does not yet require a group creator to be babysat by a tut-tutting editor, after all (this is, of course, both the strength and weakness of Internet writing). The group, I believe, has been bolstered by James McAvoy’s portrayal of Robbie Turner – as belonging to it, and hence forging a connection directly to the character, is so much cooler than simply listing oneself as a McAvoy fan on Facebook (not that I didn’t go and do that when I saw the movie).

A group commemorating Charles Bukowski, on the other hand, is deftly titled “Meet me at the Racetrack and Bring Booze and Whores.” This particular example illustrates the other great thing about Facebook groups: Continue reading “The Immortal Genius of Facebook Groups: from Ian McEwan to John Locke (the bald badass on “Lost,” that is)”