year of books – may

2014 goals, reading, Vagina Monologues

The Vagina Monologues” was a faster read than I expected.

I’ve heard chatter about the monologues for a few years, but I’ve not seen the performance yet. A couple weekends ago, a group of women in town performed the piece but I was pretty sick that weekend and didn’t see it.

In preparing to write the articles for the newspaper, I picked up the book, written by Eve Ensler. I thumbed through it a few times, read the prologue — written by Gloria Steinem — and introduction to get a feel for the book and its contents.

I finally made finishing the book a priority, thinking it would be emotional and full of triggers and something I would need to take one page at a time. But, I was wrong. I finished the book in two nights.

It’s not a long book, and it turned out to be an easy, quick read for me. There was plenty to be emotional about, and one of the monologues made be tear up.

I suppose it speaks to the relationship I have with my own vagina? I dunno. But I am glad I read the book before seeing the performance. Spoken word always has had a significant effect on me, and I was glad I could absorb and process the information on my own terms, instead of having another person deliver it to me.

Either way, I wish the book was longer, that there were more interviews and stories. My favorite one is a series of answers to “If your vagina got dressed, what would it wear?” The thought makes me smile, and I appreciate the answers.

“I think readers, men as well as women, may emerge from these pages not only feeling more free within themselves — and about each other — but with alternatives to the old patriarchal dualism of feminine/masculine, body/mind, and sexual/spiritual that is rooted in the division of our physical selves into ‘the part we talk about’ and ‘the part we don’t,'” Gloria Steinem wrote in the foreword.

Next up is “Spirited Waters: Soloing south through the Inside Passage” by Jennifer Hahn. The book won the 2001 Barbara Savage “Miles From Nowhere” award.

From the jacket: “In a kayak names Yemaya with a cedar wreath lashed to the stern, Jennifer Han launched from Ketchikan, ALaska, on a 750-miles solo voyage home to Bellingham, Wash. Hahn’s journey is not about miles but moments about sinking into the rhythm of waves and tide; about the deep connection Hahn made with the wildlife and seascape around her; and about the people she met along the way — lonely lighthouse keepers, salmon fishers, native elders, and small-time loggers. This is a story about navigating dangers, both real and imagined. Sensual in its vision ‘Spirited Waters’ reminds us that even in the landscape of solitude, we are never alone.”

First, anyone notice how long that first sentence is? Whew. Also, I’m a couple chapters in and learned that she makes the 750-mile trip in sections during a couple summers, and not in one long trip. Which I’m slightly disappointed about. But who an I to criticize? It’s not like I’ve done it.

Either way, it’s what’s on the docket for this month.

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