“YOUR BELIEFS WILL BE TWISTED”: WELCOME TO THE ARENA BY MINDY OHRINGER

The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band song “In the Arena” opens with a voice intoning: “Never before have you been able to witness so much cruelty, live and in color, in the privacy of your own room.” This song juxtaposes anti-war demonstrators being confronted by the police with the predictability of attendant brutality. At the end, a voice reminds us that other atrocities are on tap due to “popular demand.”

Absorbing public reaction to the televised “Town Hall” as it unfolded on Facebook provided crucial analytic and emotional distance. While I often watch certain political and cultural events in real time, there was something about his spotlighted venue that made me deeply uncomfortable. A friend of a friend posted that she thought of “The Hunger Games” and I took that comment to heart. What happened in that arena wasn’t a spontaneous act of conscience or civil disobedience, but an establishment sanctioned medium for public confrontation. Given early exposure to Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will”, I’m not a fan of political spectacle. I’m an advocate of political theater: by all means, go ahead an levitate the Pentagon, but understand the Yippie generated gathering was something quite different than what happened last night and earlier in the day at the White House. To me, the similarities between those two current media events (and their marked contrast to that of organic, dissident theatrical resistance like the Pentagon Levitation and “Billionaires for Bush”) are more interesting that the differences. To paraphrase Marshall McLuhan, there’s a message to be found in these mediums.

POLITICAL SPECTACLE I: THE WHITE HOUSE

In response to tragedy, presidential invitations are issued to Trump supporters with a direct connection to these horrific events or those victimized citizens who can be trusted to behave themselves. The presence of victims provides a convenient backdrop – legitimizing an embattled President and enabling him to quickly adopt and advocate an absurd solution – arming classroom teachers – which would mean millions of dollars for the gun industry. An explosion of horrific parental grief, an episode of outspoken dissent against the odds, gave the event color and texture…It’s so real…and it is conjured too. Which doesn’t make it any less real. The presidential summons sent a message: The suffering and fear of white parents and children of a certain class – it may or may not be substantively addressed. But it will be strategically acknowledged so accusations of official indifference can be countered. Something, no doubt, will be done!

POLITICAL SPECTACLE II: THE TOWN HALL

In response to tragedy, and with awareness of a potential ratings bonanza, a public “Town Hall” (the closest we’re getting to “Grover’s Corners” these days) is held with pre-selected gladiators. Grieving students brave the incandescent media spotlight that can illuminate and incinerate individuals as well as social movements. Law enforcement representatives, ideologues, and elected officials also took the stage and Senator Mark Rubio found himself burned alive at the stake. The Governor of Florida and the American President are, no doubt, amused by this development…Despite their ties to the N.R.A., they haven’t placed themselves in a media setting beyond their control. Surely if they wait long enough and delay long enough, those pesky students and their distraught families will disappear? Systematic efforts to discredit student activists will continue. But the young people are so idealistic and inspiring. Perhaps something will be done this time?

POLITICAL SPECTACLE III: THE ROAD AHEAD

So, what happens if/when the media grows tired of the story? What if teenage media stars are created and then fall from grace in some fashion? From an advocacy perspective, what is the legacy of Sandy Hook? From an advocacy perspective, what is the legacy of all the police shootings of unarmed African-American people in this country? The fact that nothing has changed. Daily life is…daily life. There will be new tragedies, new celebrity gossip, and additional media events to distract citizens and dull the sense of moral outrage. People will be encouraged to passively consume infotainment. If folks connect with one another in real time and space, while making concrete and coherent demands – only then will things change.

Choose your upcoming expression of dissent wisely. One media event materializing on Long Island preempts a local protest while claiming it offers a convenient, viable alternative to the N.Y.C. and Washington D.C. marches. It will probably be a public spectacle where well-intended citizens provide a backdrop for a premature “compromise” proposal that does not ban the AR-15 (and similar weapons) or require the collection of public health and safety data with regard to gun policies. The sponsors of this event are ignoring the implications of the presidential proposal to arm classroom teachers as it does not fit their “unity” narrative. The members of Congress spearheading this rally – a Democrat and a Republican – are up for re-election and want to avoid being viewed as too far to the Left and too far to the Right .They are interested in “shepherding” (their word, not mine) student opposition to the status quo. These local officials need to be politely but firmly reminded that students and other voters are independent citizens – not sheep.

Let’s see where the planned walkouts grass roots protests, and vigils lead. Please consider joining them! Reflect critically about what powerful interested parties are doing to corral dissent via mass media and legislation. Have discussions with your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues. Create strategies of resistance and social transformation in their company. This is a painful process of learning, discovery, and radicalization. We (even the most politically experienced) are being schooled…

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HALLMARK CAN NEVER SAY IT ALL! HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY By Mindy Ohringer

There’s a beautiful Dar Williams song, “February”, which captures heartbreak in winter.

“…The everyday turned solitary, so we came to February…And February was so long that it lasted into March…and found us walking a path alone together. You stopped and pointed and you said “That’s a crocus.” And I said, “What’s a crocus?” And you said “It’s a flower.” I tried to remember, but I said “What’s a flower?” You said, “I still love you.”

He’s dead at fifty-six, a college crush admired from afar. He had beautiful bluish-green eyes and a soft beard. He was three years older, but only a year ahead academically at Columbia. He was way too cool for me – or so I thought. He died a year ago, the information surfaced in my alumnae magazine, discovered only because I read about the graduates of other years…Only the people older than me. The younger ones are not particularly interesting as I’ve been there and done that. He was divorced and living in northern New Jersey. These days, there’s nothing about a divorced Jewish guy from upstate New York and living in New Jersey that would intimidate me. Clearly, I’ve changed. There’s a Facebook Remembrance Page. He had progressive politics. We even have a mutual friend. Someday Facebook will be a cyber-graveyard and he’ll be in one of the earlier plots. I haven’t thought about him for many years as there was no point. I’m sure I barely cast a shadow upon his illuminated landscape. Perhaps he glimpsed me and my best friend blushing, whenever he and his cute friend in a black leather jacket, passed by. I know better now. When it comes to men, I am no longer silent. I ask for what I need and seek out what I want.

It’s a lousy time of year. I’m simultaneously adrift in February 2008, February 2011, February 2014, and February 2018. It’s only the latter that doesn’t bring me acute pain. In fact, the present promises rebirth. There are hints of a phoenix rising from the ashes, an avian entity and theoretical construct providing much more comfort than any emotional support peacock ever could! But I still need to excavate dark, frozen places as winter signifies a countdown to heartbreak and, at some level, this will never change.

In February 2008, I was in the early stages of writing my novel. I watched the improbable ascent of Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign while struggling to make sense of why my trust in a treasured comrade in arms was suddenly betrayed. In February 2011, my father battled pneumonia and nearly died while I was vacationing in Florida. In February 2014. my dearest friend was dying of breast cancer. I slept over at the hospice, keeping her company until she could die at home in accordance with her wishes. In February 2018, I’m finishing my novel “The Wife in Winter: Seduction of The Muse” and finding the courage to face more of the rejection that’s part of the writing life. A short story was passed on this weekend. There will be more to come. Whatever the disappointments may be, they cannot compare to the losses I’ve sustained. More importantly, they cannot negate the work I am on the verge of finishing.

The novel has been a labor of love. Completing it is my Valentine’s Day gift to myself. It is a love offering to the universe. The writing is an entreaty, an exhortation across frigid starlit skies, an eternal encapsulation of enduring political advocacy and passion…VALENTINE’S DAY WARNING: Eros really does shoot arrows! I have been struck three times although, in reality, perhaps I have been the one who drew back the bow? Yet, I’m the one who was overwhelmed with desire and left utterly vulnerable, the one who has deeply suffered and pined.

The First Arrow: Reader, I married him. The Second Arrow: Remains embedded in my heart. The Third Arrow: He died. I mourned, read Proust, and expressed gratitude for having been, however briefly, someone’s Perfect Woman. 

THWACK! TWANG! OUCH! HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! 

 

REINVENTING THE WHEEL OF FEMINIST DISCOURSE, “GIRL POWER”, AND THE LEGACY OF CHATTEL BY MINDY OHRINGER

Without Hillary Clinton in the White House, moderates and neoliberals are wide awake and deeply uncomfortable with the status quo for the first time. Terrified and disgusted folks are advised (particularly in the aftermath of the most recent women’s march) to channel dissent into the 2018 Midterm Elections (and, eventually the 2020 presidential election) while hoping that Robert Mueller’s investigation will, somehow, save us from a full term (let alone two terms) of Trump. REALITY CHECK: It’s only the threat of revolutionary change that has made the ruling class back away from their policies of perpetual war and greed. While it was great to see thousands of women marching against sexism (Haven’t seen so many out there since the women’s marches of the early 1980s trying to secure the E.R.A., protect safe and legal access to abortion, and opposing to the Hyde Amendment) and vocalizing distaste for Trump, radical demands were kept to a minimum. What’s our path going forward? How do we effectively confront fascism while modeling civility and inclusiveness? Can one light a progressive fire beneath the feet of centrist corporate Democrats, encourage Trump supporters to change their views, and inspire more people to make left of center activism a greater part of daily life?  YES! We’ll have to explain to our misguided fellow citizens (an identity quite different from being a voter or consumer) that one’s suddenly mushrooming 401K is not synonymous with the Common Good or shared Economic Growth. We need to keep in mind that what we’re fighting for is transformation of our society not the mere installation of a new neoliberal regime.

While frank discussion (“Naming, Blaming” and Claiming”) about the oppressive nature of women’s lives in Capitalist Patriarchy has re-emerged, it is disconcerting that folks need to take “FEMINISM 101” and become radicalized all over again. What hasn’t changed during the past twenty years is a failure to nurture radical feminist consciousness, sustain critical examination of female socialization, and truly build a strategic mass progressive feminist movement that embodies genuine sisterhood. The more recent feminist work of Roxanne Gay, Rebecca Solnit, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Judith Butler, and Kerra Bolton, as well as the #MeToo advocacy of Tarana Burke (and this list or the one which follows are not exhaustive) can be provided with additional historical context as another generation of feminists becomes familiar with “In a Different Voice”, “The Second Shift”, “Gyn/Ecology”, “Toward a Feminist Theory of the State”, “Against Our Will”, “Reviving Ophelia”, “The Time Bind”, “Nickel and Dimed”, “The Managed Heart”, “I Am Your Sister”, “Sister Outsider”, “A Lesser Life”, “Letters to a Young Feminist”, “The Hearts of Men”, “Right Wing Women”, “Pornography: Men Possessing Women”, “Capitalist Patriarchy and the Case for Socialist Feminism”, “The Dialectic of Sex”, “Snapshots of a Daughter in Law”, “No More Nice Girls”, “Beginning to See the Light”, “The Second Sex”, “The Feminine Mystique”, as well as the classic anthologies “Sisterhood is Powerful” and “Our Bodies, Our Selves.” Without an organic feminist movement generated emphasis upon women’s experience and history, the mainstream media winds up setting the parameters of and constraining feminist debate. One could argue there’s been much more superficial public conflict about motherhood (framed as “stay at home vs. working”) and pornography (framed as “women being anti-sex or pro-sex”) rather than coherent discussion about the long term impact of wage inequality (as a key aspect of sexism), racism, sexual assault and harassment,  access to health care, and the formative consequences of care-giving/child-rearing responsibilities upon the content/texture of women’s lives in capitalism. The task of defeating fascism (of which misogyny is one facet) presents us with an opportunity to heal the rifts in the feminist movement by  compelling us to more deeply examine the common experience of women as chattel.

Instead of a focus upon the feel good sloganeering of “Girl/Grrl Power”, we need to face rather than obscure the lived experience of women during all stages of life within capitalist patriarchy. As feminists, our task is to remind a Daughter (biological and/or spiritual) that our suffering is simultaneously ancient and contemporary…that She was once a Slave…She was Property…That while legally free and a full sexual being entitled to pleasure, her body remains a Commodity to The Men Who Rule…While imploring her to continue seek liberation for herself and her Sisters.  A feminist must explain to a Son that his mother was once Property and not Person…and he must be implored to shed privilege so patriarchy can be shattered again and again….Until what it means to be truly human is discovered and ethically lived on a grand scale. The journey of worldwide feminist resistance and revolution encompasses our past, present, and potential futures, collective and individual. As we grow in our ability to understand and explain the nature and history of female life in capitalism, there will be a greater likelihood that our world can be changed for the better.

 

 

WINTER 2018: REFLECTIONS ON WRITING “SEDUCTION OF THE MUSE” by MINDY OHRINGER

It’s a frigid January night and I’ve been hibernating for days. My cupboards are nearly empty and tonight’s dinner combined tofu with Italian breadcrumbs, tomato sauce (last jar), whole wheat pasta, and frozen peas. A bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream from my late mother in law has bitten the dust. Gusts of wind seep through old windows and doors. I want to believe the plumbing and electrical systems of this old house can handle whatever winter demands of it…So far, so good.

Hibernation also means endless writing, editing, and listening to rock music. Each session opens with “Gimme Shelter”, “You Can’t Always Get Want You Want”, and “Layla”, shifting into “Surrender”, “Liza Radley”, “Tell Me” (covered by The Dead Boys), “Tiny Dancer”, “Heroes”, “I Wanna Be Sedated”, and concludes with “Can’t Find My Way Home.” Rock Anthems make me write. Rock Anthems keep me sane, especially as my hours are spent in circuitous conversation with ghosts, painful memories, unspeakable desires, improbable hopes, and tremendous fears. I don’t know if my life or my writing will ever live up to lyrics, but I’ve crafted 253 pages and 55,000 words of my novel “The Wife in Winter: Seduction of the Muse”and seem to be living to tell the tale. There’s TONS more to edit, this will be a “big swinging dick” (to use Tom Wolfe’s phrase) of a novel. These days, I refer (tongue in cheek) to the novel as a “Mistress Piece” in oblique homage to Thornton Wilder’s “Stage Manager” and Tom Wolfe’s other famous phrase,  “Masters of the Universe.”

This morning began with sunlight streaming onto my dining room table while I sought to sustain a #continuouspractice #wildlyimperfect effort to write for twenty minutes a day without intention or goal. I’m doing this as part of a community of creative folks, most of whom post photographs of their daily practices on Facebook. Their neat homes, adorable cats, and serene personal spaces fascinate me. My house is a total mess, the pet chinchilla sleeps all day in the den, and there’s more loneliness than serenity in the difficult world-creating work I do. But the shared visual depiction of their lives offers me an odd sort of companionship. We are mostly women of a certain age shedding the perfectionism expected of our gender (and often required for our survival) while thriving on a certain degree of healthy compulsion. As the daughter of a soldier, I know how to march…and keep marching forward…This time, the real campaign is for my novel while growing my life as writer and poet.

The greatest gifts I’ve been given are stories, beginning with those of my late father, who put me to bed at night with tales of the Iliad and Odyssey. I was blessed to have a father who recommended wonderful books (“Shogun”, “Marjorie Morningstar”, “Papillon”, “Exodus”), who  let me order as many as I wanted from Scholastic, and never told me there was anything I couldn’t read. Yes, my mother hid her copy of Erica Jong’s “Fear of Flying” and both my parents refused to include me when they went to see the movie of  “A Clockwork Orange.” But the Anthony Burgess novel could also be found on the parental bookshelf, so I eventually made sense of the “Zipless Fuck” and “The Old In and Out.” However, my parents did take me to see a production of “La Ronde” when I was in seventh grade, during our trip cross country. In retrospect, it probably was their best attempt at sex education. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anyone my age I could talk with about sexual exploitation in capitalism but that was par for the course. If you have parents who take you to see “Our Town at the age of five, “Mephistopheles” at the age of six, and “The Zoo Story” at the age of ten, they’ve set you on a path that few will share…

Books have enabled me to endure everything in life that has given me pain. A good novel can provide a magical place where readers can be  immersed in the interwoven lives of compelling characters and renew their strength for the challenges they face. Hopefully “The Wife in Winter: Seduction of The Muse” will embody an antidote to loneliness, providing comfort and empowerment during dark times.

LET A THOUSAND HELIOTROPE BLOOM! BY MINDY OHRINGER

The final phase begins! I’m re-reading “The Wife in Winter: Seduction of The Muse”, relentlessly editing each chapter. Each day starts with questions:

Have I conjured epiphany or revelation upon the page?  Will my writing meet John Gardner’s Standard of “sustaining the vivid and continuous dream?” Are the themes and motifs enigmatic and engaging? Will my fledgling literary edifice be worth deconstructing? How much of a gap must be closed between my vision of the novel and the current level of technical execution? Will reading “Seduction of The Muse” be a captivating, empowering, and inspiring experience in these troubled times?Despite the complex challenges at hand and a profound fear of failure, cautious optimism prevails.

Today’s small literary victory involved heliotrope, the moonlit flowers of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town.” For decades, I’ve wondered what heliotrope looked like. To my delight and with gratitude to Google, I discovered that heliotrope can be blue and purple, thus dovetailing with the Laurel Valley (a.k.a. “Louis Vuitton”) High School official colors. HOORAY! I’ve knotted together the prosperous Long Island town of Laurel Valley, where much of my novel takes place, and Grover’s Corners New Hampshire!

The prosperous fictional suburb of “Laurel Valley” was born in the company of my treasured friend and muse, the late Doreen Davidson. We were attending a revival of “Angels in America” and had grabbed a quick dinner during intermission. Before the production resumed, I turned to Doreen and declared:

“I know where ‘The Wife in Winter’ takes place! The town is Laurel Valley!'”

A synthetic mind had slowly woven Lake Success, Locust Valley, and the leafy circlets granted to winners at the ancient Olympic Games. Voila! Such a realization only took over half a decade…I’d known my characters, their interrelated phantasmagorical stories and destinies, but this particular setting had remained unclear. To have used a real Long Island suburb would have curtailed my creative freedom and limited the imagination of the reader.  Laurel Valley serves as my Grover’s Corners. Consequently, I’ve taken the one local institution that’s only mentioned on the fringes of “Our Town” (the local high school which Emily Webb and her husband to be George Gibbs attend)  and placed it at the heart of my story. As Grover’s Corners denizen Mrs. Soames states during Act III:

“I remember Emily’s wedding. Wasn’t it a lovely wedding? And I remember her reading the class poem at Graduation Exercises. Emily was one of the brightest girls ever graduated from High School. I’ve heard Principal Wilkins say so time after time.”

Despite her considerable gifts and talents, Emily Webb marries young and dies in childbirth. Her “Everywoman” legacy haunts “Seduction of The Muse.” Will ambitious women writers, especially those struggling with an acute awareness of mortality, succeed in giving birth to their best literary selves? What form will their creative efforts take during the presidential campaign of 2008? What will be the fate of their teenage children? What will be the fate of America? Please join me on this unfolding journey of exploration…

#WE QUEST #BEST YEAR #DENY THE DEFAULT by Mindy Ohringer

“A VISION IS LIVED AND ENACTED EVERY DAY”

“POLITICS IS NOT WHO YOU VOTE FOR. IT IS HOW YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE” 

“AND THE DAY CAME WHEN THE RISK TO REMAIN TIGHT IN A BUD WAS MORE PAINFUL THAN THE RISK IT TOOK TO BLOSSOM” 

“THE WAY YOU GROW IS BY STEPPING OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE.”

The first quote is from Jeffrey Davis of “Tracking Wonder”, founder of the annual #WE QUEST experience that engages scholars, artists, writers, healers from around the world. The second quote comes from Abbie Hoffman. The third quote is from Anais Nin. The fourth quote is from my son, Noah Ohringer.

As a “friendly introvert” who has battled shyness her entire life, I’ve found the courage to step outside of my private world and connect with a broader community of creative individuals that want to do their best work and make our world a better place. By participating in Quest 2018, I’ve made a commitment to exploring how the personal, political, and artistic facets of my life can be more deeply developed and better integrated. This means learning new skills, breaking old habits, and staying focused on strategic priorities.

If I work hard and engage in sustained, self-disciplined learning, 2018 will be a year of collaborative political activism, literary publication, artistic endeavors, greater personal pleasure, and spiritual growth. My goals include learning how to be a more effective advocate for progressive ideals and programs. It is also my hope to become more knowledgeable about songwriting, finish the script for my musical “The Adult Program” which I started in June, and be ready for a staged reading during 2019. Work will continue on “The Wife in Winter” trilogy as I seek representation for “Seduction of The Muse” and move ahead with second solid drafts of “Oaths of Fealty” and “The Price of Creation.” It’s time to act bravely and pursue representation for my novel “Apollonian Summer” and short story/essay collection “The Slumber Party: Meditations on Love, Mortality, and Marriage.” This means reflecting on the quality of my queries and pitches and trying to make them more persuasive.  

Other projects include formulation of a poetry collection, finding a home for a children’s book (“Noah’s Question”) that I wrote almost twenty years ago, a draft syllabus for a mini-course in media and politics, and advancing my studies in collage. There are writing conferences to attend and writing residencies to apply for. A top priority will be maintaining a cultural calendar (theater, museum visits, opera, concerts) that doesn’t break the bank or run me ragged. I’ll continue active membership in my Greenwich Village writing group and anticipate reading in public during the coming year.

If the body is the container of the soul, then it behooves one to take proper care of the container. I intend to swim regularly at an indoor pool this winter and build back my stamina. When my recent injuries heal, I’ll return to the tennis court. For now, I’m walking as much as possible and experimenting with more a more mindful approach to food consumption. Buying new clothes remains an unnatural act but I’m going to make some purchases this year. In my mind, I’m still a young woman taking home $166.78 every week, paying off a student loan debt of $116 a month, and struggling to survive…The reality is that I can buy myself some new clothes and enjoy wearing them. In 2018, I intend to live in tune with my physical needs and pay greater attention to them. To only focus on the mind is to be half alive…

In conclusion: When December 2018 arrives, I will have kept these promises and made significant progress on all fronts. My year will have included time with cherished close friends, more new friends and collaborators ,as well as greater professional and creative satisfaction. How exciting to become a stronger, more fulfilled and accomplished person while trying to change the world! And, if timely impeachment or “resignation on the grounds of ill health” come to pass through renewed and sustained political activism in the company of my fellow citizens – that will make the journey complete!

 

 

 

 

 

 

WRITING POLITICALLY CHARGED FICTION: SOURCES OF INSPIRATION BY MINDY OHRINGER

There’s that awful moment when you discover the brilliant scholar, whose review of “Local Deities” in “The Nation” (“Staying on Alone”, 2/12/90) changed your life, has died. You read his 2005 obituary in cyberspace, note that he passed of cancer at the age of fifty-six, and cry, because in a few keystrokes you’ve found and lost an entire world.

How can a book review change one’s life? Without reading this article by the late Professor Fred Pfeil, I never would have discovered “Local Deities”, the incredible novel by Agnes Bushell. Her book builds upon the activist journey explored in Marge Piercy’s “Vida”, juxtaposing the experiences of American radicals remaining in their conventional lives with those who chose to make revolution and headed underground. The superbly written “Local Deities” seamlessly integrates the political and personal, capturing the moral dilemmas of American left-wing radicals during the 1980s as they navigate the challenges of living ethically in advanced capitalist society. This novel, published during the Republican interregnum, examines the limits of working within the system and the consequences of principled dissent.

“Local Deities” portrays the deep friendship Erika and Annie forged during the upheavals of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The novel conveys their mutual loyalty, idealism, despair, and implications of their decisions to embark upon divergent political paths. Annie and her husband Paul go underground, conducting carefully planned attacks against corporate targets, aiming to raise class consciousness without taking innocent lives. They are raising three children while in hiding. Erika and her husband Simon, a left-wing attorney, find their relationship disintegrating as alienated labor and the demoralizing impact of Reagan’s America weigh heavily upon them. As Simon turns inward, Erika, now the mother of two young children, begins drifting away from the marriage. After Paul and his children are apprehended by the F.B.I., Simon agrees to defend him in the first of several trials, the verdicts of which are likely to keep him behind bars indefinitely. Erika decides to change the direction of her life and focus on the fate of Annie’s children. Will Annie resurface and raise them? Will they be given to Paul’s aging mother, Annie’s sister living in the Bible Belt, or an urban collective of ideologically pure activists? What place can these children truly call home?

“Local Deities” fearlessly explores what living as a revolutionary entails. What makes the novel so wonderful is that love, not didactic political prescriptions, serves as the fulcrum upon which interwoven stories of women’s lives spin. Indeed, one could argue that “Local Deities”, like Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”, is a Great American Feminist Novel.  It’s a lost gem, meriting recognition and discovery by a new generation of readers.

For the past fifteen years, I have been thinking about the politics and the historical trajectory of women’s stories, dating back to “The Trojan Women”,  “Medea”, and “Scheherazade.” Like the aforementioned epics, “Local Deities” has been an enormous influence upon “The Wife in Winter: Seduction of The Muse.” If anyone reading this blog is acquainted with  Agnes Bushell, please let her know that her novel is remembered with awe, affection, and eternal gratitude.