Writing round-up, 2016: Six non-horrible things that happened this year

Writing round-up, 2016: Six non-horrible things that happened this year

I’m not really sure what to say about the year 2016. “At least we didn’t all die in a nuclear blast” is one good thing I could mention, I guess.

On a personal level, it was a year of disappointments and setbacks, fears and frustrations, but also the year in which I sat in a taxi coming back to Chelsea from Broadway after a dinner with great talents whom I also simply admire as people, and the very dear friend and great talent sitting next to me turned and said, “You’re doing it right, you know.” I surprised myself by believing her. There are people in my life who burn very brightly, you see, and I’ve learned to let their light in, and for that I am grateful.

In light of that, in light of them, here are the six things I definitely did right this year: Continue reading “Writing round-up, 2016: Six non-horrible things that happened this year”

Tornado of Shrieking Demon Heads (The Calm the Fuck Down Song)

Tornado of Shrieking Demon Heads (The Calm the Fuck Down Song)

Calm the fuck down, bitch
Calm the fuck down
Get it together or get out of town
Oh you crave a crisis
Just to feel important
You’re jerking off again
To a tornado
Of shrieking demon heads
And other fucked-up shit
Bitch, calm the fuck down
Jump in a lake
Sink to the bottom
And listen to the sound
Of nothing and everything
Of water worshipping rock
No one acknowledging you
Or measuring your cock.

Nothing in nature or in the stars
Cares for your shit, bitch
So calm the fuck down.

I wrote this song a while ago for a musician friend and it feels especially appropriate to post it today, in light of everything

My love could have been a Thomas

My love could have been a Thomas

My love could have been a Thomas
From Trinity or from St. John’s
We could have had our choicest fights
By the fire at the Anglesea Arms
My love could have been a cliff at Exmouth
Or grimalkin’s stone third eye
My love could have lain like fog
On the sea at Lady Chapel Isle
My love could have fed me poppies
Drunk my milk and fallen fast
Slept for centuries and awoken
Hugged tight by electric glass
My love could have been upright
Tipper of hats and payer of taxes
Veins as wide as Roman roads
And a fool’s blameless conscience
Boil the blood and pull the rhubarb
Bring the flags down in the suburbs
My love could have loved the land
But my love loves me instead.

Why don’t you treat men this way? The false dichotomy of “mother vs. artist”

Why don’t you treat men this way? The false dichotomy of “mother vs. artist”

This post of on combining art and motherhood made the rounds this past winter. There were a lot of responses, public and private. Two of the more recent responses made me feel like revisiting the issue:

1. The Divided Heart is a more honest exploration of what it’s like to be a mother and an artist. I’m sorry, but I think you are over-compensating and it shows. For decades, women have been quite open about how combining great art and motherhood is almost always an impossibility. One blog post on the matter from someone who sold one play is not going to convince society.

2. All due respect, Natalie [sic], but people like you lure promising artists towards breeding, and the results are almost always disastrous. I wonder if you’ll change your mind when your kid is on the therapist’s couch, discussing the ways in which mum neglected him so she could make her Art, and he almost certainly will be.

So to address all that:

Who the hell are you to argue that women can be both mothers and great artists? You’re nobody! But it’s not about me.

The idea that you can’t reconcile being a mother with being great artist is, today, a peculiarly Western concept. In many other parts of the world, women just get on with it.

One of Russia’s greatest poets, Anna Akhmatova, was a mother. Nobody goes around wringing their hands on her behalf. One of Russia’s greatest painters, Zinaida Serebriakova, was a mother – and, once again, people really didn’t make a big deal out of it. Continue reading “Why don’t you treat men this way? The false dichotomy of “mother vs. artist””