In Her Body and Other Parties (Graywolf Press, 2017), Carmen Maria Machado explores the bodies, demons, and desires of twenty-first century women.
“It’s becoming especially important for men to actively work toward envisioning and embodying versions of masculinity distinct from the patriarchal manhood reinforced by much of American culture.”
“I think open endings require a little more work of the reader; that, when a scene or story is left open, the reader gets to imagine for him/herself how things might’ve turned out.”
“Humor helps the heart to open. And heartfelt laughter leads us towards greater connection with those around us. If you can find a way to share humor with others, then there’s an openness towards greater listening and compassion. With the serious topics I write about […] there’s a way such stories can calcify the heart if one isn’t careful. I noticed this in my teaching—if I’m just giving my students the disturbing facts about humanity without humor, it can lead to depression, discouragement, and a deeper political/social apathy. So, humor seems to restore our humanity to us—it allows us to deal with suffering with a more open heart.”
How do we honor the books we no longer identify with that once felt like the perfect articulation of our being? My strategy for the longest time has been to simply not reread them. But that sort of willful ignorance just doesn’t feel sustainable. There has to be a way to honor what the book once did while still problematizing its contents.