strange fire

books. poetry. paganism. feminism. queerness. blog.

Grrl genius September 28, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 1:07 pm

MAN!! I didn’t just write that paper, I kicked its fucking ass!! Woo! I love this euphoric feeling, when you know you’ve done really good work.

It’s an essay for TeacherCrush, to boot. It’s terribly pathetic, really. I just think she’s absolutely wonderful in every way; I always spend class furiously taking notes in order to keep myself from gazing adoringly at her with great big googly eyes. I knock myself out to impress her. I was wracked with anxiety when she handed back the first paper; I was convinced my thesis was too vague, my subject too broad, my analysis too superficial, she was just going to tear it apart, oh god she thinks I’m an idiot, please don’t let her think I’m an idiot! When I saw I got an A- minus I was happy and relieved, of course; and then I immediately thought “Wait! I can make it better! Let me fix it!”

Which is totally unlike me; I’ve always been perfectly satisfied with a B average. But I become a perfectionist for this woman. It’s a wonder little hearts don’t pop up and float around my head whenever I speak to her. And I’m paranoid that somehow she’ll find out about my crush, and I’d have to crawl in a hole and die from humiliation. Oh god.

But hey, it’s doing wonders for my GPA, so that’s something.


College Lit Student Crushed Beneath Massive Pile of Essays, Details at 11. September 25, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 1:14 pm

Well I just finished discussing how Cabeza de Vaca is a precursor to Vonnegut’s Billy Pilgrim (that was interesting, to say the least); now I get to spend the rest of the week analyzing metaphor in Oedipus Rex (assuming, of course, that I don’t take a page from Oeddy and gouge my eyes out first) and Germanic heroic culture in The Battle of Brunanburh.

If I survive, expect my next post to be me celebrating the fact that I never, ever, ever have to write another word about Sophocles ever again.


Emma Donoghue September 21, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 8:37 am

is my current authorial obsession. I stumbled across her novel Hood a year or so ago in my university library and it’s been a passionate love affair ever since. I about fainted with delight when I ran across a copy of Kissing the Witch in a tiny bookstore in Florida this summer. Her novel Slammerkin was mesmerizing and traumatic. I didn’t want to read it but I couldn’t put it down. And currently I’m reading her work Passions Between Women: British Lesbian Culture 1668-1801. Not that I actually have time to read it, but the only way I can get a copy is through inter-library loan through the university. Public library doesn’t have it, bookstores don’t have it, and I can’t afford to buy it off amazon anyway. I’ll make time if I have to, for Emma Donoghue. Her historical fiction is vivid and alive, her prose flawless, and she’s witty and funny (she calls Horace Walpole “a big fag”). And, judging from the author photos, she’s pretty cute too. She’s got a new book out (HUZZAH!! I can die happy!) and Jessica Lee Jernigan, who’s a far better book blogger than I, has been featuring Donoghue’s work this past week. There are interviews about Slammerkin , her new novel Life Mask, and posts about Passions and Kissing the Witch. I keep trying to imagine what she must sound like in the interviews, with her lilting Irish accent…(Author crushes are so much more enjoyable than teacher crushes, let me tell you.) Anyway there’s a post about Donoghue’s book The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits in the archives for April, but I haven’t figure out how to put up a link. I need to fix the archives up a bit.


Beware the sea-farin’ man with one leg… September 19, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 7:53 am

That’s probably my favorite part of Treasure Island, at the beginning when Jim Hawkins receives a mysterious warning from a blind sailor. Having grown up about 1500 miles from the nearest ocean, I naturally have an obsession with all things sea-faring. So the guys who came up with Talk Like a Pirate Day! are definitely kindred spirits. Not only do they teach you how to talk like a pirate, they teach you how to speak pirate in German too! I’ve been playing around with pirate name generators and so far I’ve been dubbed Moanin’ Adele Slasher, Dirty Anne Flint, Captain Keelhauler, and…Scribe Purple Tongue? As a kid I always thought it wasn’t fair that the boys got to have all the swash-buckling fun, but in reality some cross-dressing queer women got in on the action too. Arr! Splice the mainbrace, me hearties! I’m going on the account!

Anyway, it just wouldn’t be Talk Like a Pirate Day without a saucy sea shanty to sing (say that five times fast!). So here’s one of my favorites, “Cruisin’ Round Yarmouth”:

While cruisin’ round Yarmouth one day for a spree,

I met a fair damsel—the wind blowing free.

“I’m a fast going clipper”—“my kind sir”, said she,

“I’m ready for cargo—my hold it is free.”

Singing fal the ral laddie right fal the ral day,

Fal the ral laddie right fal the ral day.

What country she came from I could not tell which,

By her appearance I thought she was Dutch.

Her flag wore rich colours—her masthead was low,

She was round at the quarter and bluff at the bow.

I gave her the rope and I took her in tow,

From yardarm to yardarm a-towing we go.

We towed on together till we came to the Head,

We both towed together through Trafalgary Bay.

We towed till we came to the House of Expire,

We gave her old horse with plenty of ire.

I lift up her hatches found plenty of room,

And into her cabin I stuck my jib-boom.

She took me upstairs and her topsails she lowered

In a neat little parlour she soon had me moored.

She laid in her foresails her staysails and all,

With her lily white hand on my reef tackle fall.

I said Pretty fair maid it’s time to give o’er,

Betwixt wind and water you’ve ran me ashore.

My shot-locker’s empty and powder’s all spent,

I can’t fire a shot for it’s choked at the vent.

Here’s luck to the girl with the black curly locks,

Here’s luck to the girl who ran Jack on the rocks,

Here’s luck to the doctor who eased all his pain,

He’s squared his mainyards—he’s a-cruising again.


Happy Birthday September 14, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 6:43 pm

to one of my personal heroines, Margaret Sanger. (I know the day’s almost over but better late than never, right?) I remember watching a documentary about her on PBS when I was in high school; to say that she was an amazing, courageous woman is to state the obvious. I remember thinking that she was the kind of person I wanted to be. And I remember feeling guilty, of course, for admiring her, because as a good Catholic girl I knew I wasn’t supposed to.

The basic freedom of the world is woman’s freedom. A free race cannot be born of slave mothers. A woman enchained cannot choose but give a measure of that bondage to her sons and daughters. No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother…

Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that within her which struggles for expression. Her eyes must be less upon what is and more clearly upon what should be. She must listen only with a frankly questioning attitude to the dogmatized opinions of man-made society. When she chooses her new, free course of action, it must be in the light of her own opinion—of her own intuition. Only so can she give play to the feminine spirit. Only thus can she free her mate from the bondage which he wrought for himself when he wrought hers. Only thus can she restore to him that of which he robbed himself in restricting her. Only thus can she remake the world.

–from Woman and the New Race. Also check out The Margaret Sanger Papers Project.

A free race cannot be born of slave mothers. I bought a button with that quote on it at the March for Women’s Lives last April.


A Grey Frock September 12, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 5:49 pm

Girl in a grey frock…

Your braids seem cotton-spun…

Girl, girl, to whom do you belong?

To my mother…Or to nobody.

If you wish–I shall be yours.

Girl in a grey frock…

Do you believe, dear, in a caress?

Sweet one, where are your eyes?

Here they are, my eyes. Empty ones,

Exactly the same as my mother’s.

Girl in a grey frock,

What are you playing with?

What do you conceal from me?

Come now, do I have time to play?

There is much urgent work to do.

Now I spill a string of beads,

Now I wither the first sprout,

Now I cut pages out of books,

Or break the wings of a little bird…

Girl in a grey frock,

Girl with empty eyes,

Tell me, what is your name?

Everyone has his own name for me:

Call me whatever you like.

One calls me division,


Others call me doubt,

Or anguish.

Another calls me boredom,

Still another–pain…

And Mother-Death calls me Separation,

The girl in a grey frock…

–Zinaida Hippius

From The Penguin Book of Women Poets; probably one of the main reasons I like poetry anthologies best is I discover new poets I would never encounter otherwise. The New York Review of Books calls her “one of Russia’s finest poets.” I find this poem fairly mesmerizing; it’s certainly enigmatic. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with reading morbid Russian poetry of a Sunday evening. But Inspector Lynley is on now, so no more poetry tonight.


Thanks to the Green Man Review…

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 7:56 am

…I have another excuse to buy a book. Apparently it’s National Writers and Editor’s Month! So I guess I’ll have to make a trip to one of my favorite bookstores, Used Books and Unicorns. It’s a little hole-in-the-wall place on the square downtown (insofar as this place has a downtown) and I’m not entirely sure what the Unicorns have to do with it, but I like it. Maybe I can finally find a copy of Titus Groan; for some bizarre reason I bought the last two volumes in the trilogy but not the first, and I’d really like to get a start on it. ‘Course what I’d really like is the special edition with all three novels plus a lot of neat extras, like the unfinished draft of the fourth novel.