WHEN FEMININITY IS CODE FOR FEELINGS ON FAILURE, MOTHERHOOD, AND FLIGHTLESS BIRDS

Next to the “Birds” listing on Wikipedia is the term Aves, followed by the word “Disambiguation,” parenthetically. Aves, it turns out, is the Latin word for Birds. The disambiguation page explains, if you click it, that these (Disambiguation) pages “are used as a process of resolving conflicts in article titles that occur when a single term can be associated with more than one topic, making that term likely to be the natural title for more than one article. In other words, disambiguations are paths leading to different articles which could, in principle, have the same title.”

For example, “Failure.” For example, “Feeling.” For example, “Birds.”

Woolf was birdlike and she killed herself. Duras was drunk. Jean Rhys, Shirley Jackson, Lucia Berlin, Doris Lessing, drunk and drunk and drunk and abandoned half her kids. What is it that these women couldn’t stomach sober? What is it that felt not worth the work? What was it about the way they failed that felt that much more like failing? Why, for them, wasn’t failing again and again, but then still trying, not just the most noble thing?

*

I feel, think, say: the most terrifying part of every day is when I stop writing, when I am no longer containing feeling inside language, inside fiction, when I must swoop down and into life.

Lynn Steger Stronghttp://lithub.com/when-femininity-is-code-for-feelings/

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