Below are a few comments from Words On Us readers. You can send me your own through the feedback form.
July 28, 2005
by the way, your website rocks!
ALSO, noticed that a certain cow goddess was absent from your list of comics. hmmmm. Didn't ya know you never slight the haughty?
Hathor the Cowgoddess and the Evolution Revolution Amusing cartoons and insightful/incite-ful commentary about homebirthing, breastfeeding on demand, maintaining constant contact, sharing space, unschooling and saving the world. http://www.hathorthecowgoddess.com/
Hey, lady --
Thanks for stopping by Words!
As for your comic -- you know how much I love you! Did you not notice the walls papered with your stuff when you came by the other day? Didn't you see your comic on my front door? Haven't you noticed my annoying tendency to quote your own work to you, like maybe you haven't heard of it or something? The comics essay was a piece about books I received for my birthday, silly goddess. The day I'm lucky enough to get your work in book form is the day I'm throwing a bring-your-own-kegger (or port, so Patty can come) block party.
Okay, it's nine-thirty and I haven't even taken a shower and my father-in-law is coming over and there are work people on our deck, so time to face reality and get the self dressed.
--Deborah the book goddess
July 28, 2005
I finally got a chance to check out the site. It is so cool, Deb (can I call you Deb). I forwarded it to some of my friends.
I never mind Deb, because it sounds like you started saying my name and suddenly remembered something you had to do and so didn't have time to finish. At least Deb is a syllable of my real-live-honest-to-gosh name. What drives me to chugging paint thinner by the barrel is when people hear my name is Deborah and just immediately start calling me "Debbie." Oh, yeah, that's what I just said! Hello! (knocking hard on their head) Anyone home? Had your hearing checked lately? It just gets us off to a bad start, and then there are all those pesky restraining orders to cope with.
Thanks for checking out the site! Please spread the word! I'm so glad people are looking and liking. I'd love to post some more stuff on the feedback page, so if anyone has any rave reviews -- or even stuff they don't like, I always like a good debate even when I lose -- pass it my way.
--Deb(orah) the book lady
July 28, 2005
i sent your site to family and friends as promised. i'm already getting back raves!!!!!!!! you are a hit m'lady. one of the raves was from a close mn friend of mine. she is a writer herself, and one of the most intelligent women i know. keep it up chicklet.
~peace and love
wow, you so cool! i write real good!
seriously, thank you for the fan letter, and for spreading the word about my site. What a nice way to start my morning! Send raves my way -- I eat them up, and I'd love to have some more stuff to post to the feedback page.
p.s. you forgot that I'm severely stupid. what's an mn? moral nucleus? maybe naughty? many noodles? much nudity? Mormon nugget? spill!
"mn" = "Minnesota"
I knew that.
July 27, 2005
Nice work -- but what was all that going on about not trashing an author even if you didn't like it and reading the work anyway as you may find something good in it -- yadda yadda yadda?
Are you talking about why I would go on and on about a point when I could just sum up in five or ten concise, boring words? Or are you talking about why is this a point to be made in the first place?
If the latter -- coming from working at a feminist bookstore for six years (in many ways a truly fabulous experience, not least because of the employee discount), I met many people who would absolutely refuse to read or say anything at all positive about a writer, no matter how talented, if he or she was sexist or otherwise flawed as a human being. Now, I consider it occasionally important and always of interest to know something about the writer, but if we had to stick to paragons of virtue in our group reading, let's see who we'd lose:
Tolstoy -- questionable attitude about the lower classes, unquestionably sexist.
Emily Bronte -- possibly racist (room for spirited debate here), buys into looksist attitudes about women by insisting that her main character woman had to be beautiful (though Heathcliff could be positively scary looking and still have women falling for him all over the place).
Charlotte Bronte -- anti-Catholic, weird about the French.
Dickens -- sexist as the dickens.
Twain -- not racist, rumors to the contrary, but definitely narrow in his attitudes about women.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman -- racist.
Dante -- not actively sexist, but not actively anti-sexist, either. Toss him out, just to be safe.
Kafka -- ditto.
You think I'm exaggerating? I heard this kind of thing all the time.
So who does that give us? We would be left with pretty much just Austen and Shakespeare, in terms of classic writers. (We'd still have Hurston and Jackson, which is good, but we'd be in danger of running out of stuff to read pretty darned soon.) And then most of the people I'm talking about (and I really wish I were exaggerating) would go ahead and pitch the big S, on the grounds that being a dead white male he was no doubt riddled with all kinds of hideous prejudices, and we don't want to take that kind of chance.
I got really annoyed by all this. It got to the point where I was hauling big fat volumes of Milton to work to read on my lunch break just to tick off the holier-than-thou clerk who never sullied her hands or eyeballs with anything by DWMs. She just ruled them out categorically. Okay, fine, her loss; but she didn't just not want to read any Homer or Euripides or Aristophanes or Plato or Dostoevsky or Chekhov or Milton or Dante or Hemingway or Aristotle or James or Hawthorne or Dickens or T.S. Eliot or Byron or Shelley or Keats or Wordsworth or Faulkner or Poe or Hugo or Thackeray or Fitzgerald or Hardy or Flaubert or Robert Browning or Melville or Thoreau or Swift or Virgil or Steinbeck (well, okay) or Augustine or Bocaccio or Defoe or Pascal or Paine or Ovid or, of course, Shakespeare. She wasn't just saying that they weren't her cup of tea. She argued vigorously against anyone reading DWMs, because they were mostly such an icky bunch of people and why do we really need them anyway.
Oh, I don't know. Maybe because THEY WRITE REALLY WELL?
If this had just been some random lunatic I worked with, fine. But she had a lot of support; and so far as I know, there are plenty of people who still feel the way she did.
And it bugs me. Yes, I go on and on about Dickens being a big fat sexist pig; but only because I deeply resent that failing of his leaking (try rushing) into his writing. It mars it. Tolstoy wasn't exactly Susan B. Anthony, but it didn't pain me to read Anna K. In fact, I'm really considering reading War and Peace. But I don't think that two of his least known works that I've also read, Family Happiness and The Kreutzer Sonata, are little read and clunkily written and just shot through with vicious sexism (especially Kreutzer). His personality flaws flawed his writing because he stopped being a writer and just ranted. He let his anger push the pen. But when he wrote -- when he reclaimed his art and cared about the craft, as opposed to being a propagandist -- he could write.
If you're asking why I would go on and on and on about some (comparatively) minor point -- okay, how long have you known me?
--Deborah the book lady