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Today Flows from Yesterday, Without Labels

This post was originally published on the Bookview Cafe blog in 2013. We humans love our boundaries.  Between nations, between states, between property.  So important to know where you end and I begin, not? But in history, maybe not so useful.  When I was taking history classes, there was a tendency to teach historical periods and eras, as if the Plantagenets filed out in an orderly fashion one day, the Tudors clocked in, and everything–clothes, art, technology, politics–changed right then.  But history isn’t a single timeline, there are huge overlaps,… Read more Today Flows from Yesterday, Without Labels

Xeno’s Ending

So there I was, working on a short story that took over my brain, right when I ought to be working on the book that took over my brain when I was supposed to be working on the new Sarah Tolerance book.  (For those following along at home: 1) Sarah Tolerance Book < 2) Urban Fantasy Thing < 3) Short Story.  This is why Madeleine cannot have nice things.) So I want to finish this story. When its finished I can go back to #2, so I can return to… Read more Xeno’s Ending

The Things I Know, The Things You Know

Many writers (I won’t say all writers, because I don’t know them all, but at this point I think I have a pretty decent random sample) know a bunch of different weird things.  Many writers (see above caveat) were probably the sorts of kids who stored up random factoids, or had deep pools of info about odd things, or could list all the kings of England from Edward the Confessor onward (that used to be one of my parlor tricks, along with reciting the Prologue of the Canterbury Tales).  Many… Read more The Things I Know, The Things You Know

“How Feminism Killed Cooking”

I read an article on Salon a few years ago: “Is Michael Pollan a Sexist Pig?” by a writer named Emily Matchar.  The title is, of course, very tongue in cheek; the article is about the omnivore/ locavore/ femivore movements, and about the myths we make up about the past.  In this case, the past in question is the good ol’ days of cookery from the writers’ childhoods, and how much better everything was in the days before feminism led us to processed food. Now, all things being equal I like to… Read more “How Feminism Killed Cooking”

Tell Me

I have a friend I don’t see very often.  When I do, and we’re catching up, she launches into stories about her life that are interlarded with names and events of which I know nothing.  It means that I feel both bewildered and shut out.  I think she believes that because she knows all these things I, as her friend, must know them too.  But it frustrates me, and I’m pretty sure that’s not her intent. There are books like that, too. I love twisty stories that demand my full… Read more Tell Me

Miss Vickers Does Not Regret

I love the work of Sinclair Lewis.  Even though I know better. Even when his prose is didactic and braying and he can’t make up his mind who he most disdains: country folk, city folk, religious folk, doctors, lawyers, academics, politicians. Ever since high school I have felt like I needed to apologize, maybe even join a 12-step program, for my fascination with Lewis. And yet fascinated I am. Why apologize? Lewis is respectable, albeit not much in fashion these days. He gave us the terms “Main Street” and “Babbit.”… Read more Miss Vickers Does Not Regret

A Fire on 95th Street

It would be difficult to find a neighborhood more concentrated with left-leaning intelligentsia than the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  Which is not to say there are not conservatives, curmudgeons, and random people who think the world is going to hell in a handbag, but the traditional Person On The Street on the Upper West Side is likely, at the very least, to be four-square for the First Amendment. Which is why my daughter burning a book on the sidewalk occasioned considerable outrage.