12 July 2010

Piera Valtorskar

When she left her father Piera put on her coat and went outside into the early dark, the cold and starlight of winter night. She could not stay shut in the warmth indoors. The sky was hard and the stars bright, small, multitudinous. The lake lay black. There was the queer snapping silence of frost, and the air bit throat and lungs as if instead of breathing one were drinking ice-cold water. Piera walked down to the shore and stood there under the pines looking out to the lake and the height of the winter sky. Orion hung there, the belt and sword of stars, the bright dog at heel. Piera stood still, her bare hands thrust deep into the sleeves of her coat, shivering now and then from head to foot, and in that hour she came into her inheritance. She knew the great hour as it passed. She accepted without reservation what it brought her: the passion of her generation; the end of her childhood.

If this was her world, she was strong enough to live in it. She was a woman, not trained for any public act, not trained to defiance, brought up to the woman's part: waiting. So she would wait. For any act done consciously may be defiant, may be independent, may change life utterly.

But one can act thus only if one knows there is no safety. So she thought, that Epiphany night, looking up at Orion and the other stars. One must wait outside. There is no hiding away from storm, waste, injustice, death. There is no shelter, no stopping, only a pretense, a mean, stupid pretense of being safe and letting time and evil pass by outside. But we are all outside, Piera thought, and all defenseless. There is no safe house but death. Nothing of our own building will protect us, not the jails, nor the palaces, nor the comfortable houses. But the grandeur of knowing that, the pride and grandeur of being on one's own at last, alone, under the enormous and indifferent sky, unhoused and unprotected! To be nothing, a girl, confused, grieved, frightened, foolish, shivering in the January frost, all that, yes, but also to learn at last the stature of her spirit: to come into her inheritance.

Ursula LeGuin, Malafrena, pp.242-243

Romantic Friendship

In the Victorian age, romantic friendships existed....These romantic friendships lacked sexual engagement but were rich in erotic passion. Nonsexual erotic passion has little meaning in today's world. Nowadays the assumption is that something is wrong if an individual feels intense erotic connection with someone and does not allow that eros to lead him or her to sexual intercourse. Romantic friendships differ from other forms of friendships precisely because the parties involved acknowledge both that there is an erotic dimension to their passionate bond and that it acts as an energetic force, enhancing and deepening ties.

bell hooks, Communion: The Female Search for Love, pp.207-208

The Power of Patriarchy

The power of patriarchy has been to make maleness feared and to make men feel that it is better to be feared than loved.

bell hooks, The Will To Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love, p.120