Writing Prompt #1: Challenge Accepted

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The Legend of Sir Chester Nutt

(or, Thank God for Karma, She’s Less of a Bitch than We Thought)

 

One day in your car for a whirl,

You swerved to avoid a squirrel.

He swore on his life

That he’d make it right,

Then he went off to train with the girls.

 

Xena taught him to use a sword,

And Wonder Woman her golden cord.

And he trained his might

To become overnight

The squirrel who quite loudly roared.

 

Then one night you are held up with knives

And you rightfully fear for your life.

You squirm and you struggle

With this frightful big muggle

And then suddenly, that squirrel arrives.

 

He’s a great sight for you where you cower

Defeating your foe with great power!

With a whack and a thrust,

He’s the hero to trust,

Defending you in your dark hour.

Psycho Sunday: Badass Women in Combat Gear #3.5

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Raise your hand if you spent any part of the 1970s spinning around in your living room, hoping that this time, you’d gain superpowers, a golden lasso and maybe an invisible jet. Watching Diana Prince (Linda Carter) beat up the bad guys and save Steve Trevor (Lyle Waggoner) again was very fulfilling and set me up for two decades of disappointed TV watching until the mid-1990s came around and Wonder Women’s spiritual daughters, Xena and Buffy, appeared kicking ass and dusting their enemies.

And while Linda Carter will always be Wonder Woman to me, the new DC comics movie is coming out this spring, with Gal Gadot in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Given that Gadot will be in the solo Wonder Woman film in 2017, I have hopes that the actor, writers and directors step up to the plate. I had always hoped for a Joss Whedon written/directed film with Lucy Lawless in the title role, but such vain hopes were not to be.

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I still want some bullet-repelling bracelets in case I need to travel outside of New England, but I suppose if they were out there on the market, the NRA would try to make them go away.

Badass Women in Combat Gear: Valentine’s Day Edition, Or, Dorothy Parker Was Wrong

((For those of you who, like me, were not Math Majors in college, I apologize. But this particular blog post seems to need a ridiculous number of parentheses and a rather surprising number of braces {curly} and brackets [square]. Be warned.))

There is a fairly famous rhyming couplet by the 1920s Algonquin Round Table wit, Dorothy Parker, that has been widely anthologized (and it suddenly occurs to me that a whole slew [this is a technical literary term] of the editors anthologizing this were {white} men], which says, “Men don’t make passes/At girls who wear glasses.”

I have been thinking about this since Mike Allegra (heylookawriterfellow) asked me to add to my BWCG series some BWCGs who wear glasses. I thought of this most recently after viewing a teaser for this coming Tuesday’s Agent Carter, in which Agent Sousa (the delightful Enver Gokaj) says to (an injured and therefore unavailable-for-the-mission) Agent Peggy Carter (the even more delightful Hayley Atwell) that what they need for the coming mission is someone who can “blend in with the glamour and throw down in the gutter.” Damn, Spanky, I LOVE the writers on this show!

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Any Gentle Reader who has spent any time at all reading this blog will recognize that this is not only the dual nature of what I look for in my Female Leads of TV, Film, and Life, but also a micro-blueprint of who I would like to eventually be. I have to admit that the second part sounds much less painful to me than the first part, because as Agent Dana Scully admits in the most recent New X-Files episode, running/fighting in three-inch heels is no country for really anyone, but absolutely not Women, Older Men or Sane People of any Gender. Okay, she didn’t say that.

But as Jane Austen might have said, “It was nowhere said, but everywhere implied.” Come on. Amy Acker has said that at one point her only “stunt ability was running in heels” (Citation, as Wikipedia would point out, desperately needed. My guess? A ComiCon. San Diego? Maybe. Who knows?).

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My point here is simply that Dorothy Parker was wrong and Mike Allegra is right. (Full disclosure: I wear glasses. So sue me. {Twenty-odd years at MIT’s Writing Center (some of them more odd than others) has made me as blind as my cat Musashi, if not as a bat or a possum. [If M. were a little boy, he’d be wearing Coke bottle glasses and a bowtie]}.

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So in honor of a Sunday-facing Valentine’s Day (black Tuesday meets the Lord’s day), I offer you some of my favorite female actors (Nope, don’t call me a teacheress, professoress, editoress or martial artistess; I avoid calling them actresses for the same reason) in glasses.

 

I tried very hard to chase down the pics I have seen online of Lucy Lawless as herself, rather than Xena, wearing glasses, to no avail. Similarly, her soul-grandmother, Linda Carter (the always-and-everywhere Wonder Woman, despite DC’s brilliant work with Gal Gadot).

And because I believe it is important to look back and forward at the same time, I also give you Ingrid Bergman and Scarlet Johansson.

Also, the classic, brilliant, unimitatable Katherine Hepburn on a skateboard, because duh.

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To my pal, Mike Allegra, men and women who love women in glasses or, you know, on skateboards: YOU’RE WELCOME. HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY. NOW WE WILL LET THE WEATHER BECOME WARM AGAIN.

Badass Women in Combat Gear, #5 1/2

So last month when I put our Eliza Dushku as our BWCG #8, our buddy Heylookawriterfellow commented, “Is it wrong for me to request a badass woman who wears glasses? Ahem. Perhaps I am revealing too much about myself.”

At the time, I thought, well, in both the DC and Marvel comic-verses, mainly the heroes wear glasses when they are undercover. Diana Prince and Clark Kent take off their spectacles to be come Wonderwoman and Superman.

Agents of SHIELD and Agent Peggy Carter also put on their glasses when they don’t want to be recognized, and we all know how effective that is. And the Dushku also wore glasses in the pilot for Dollhouse as a part of her new persona.

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So I thought and thought until I came up with an actual badass woman in combat gear superhero who actually wears her glasses as a superhero. Heylookawriterfellow, I have found one at last: Tina Fey. You’re welcome.

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For Lynda Carter’s Birthday

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And for That Writer Fellow, I give you a portion of a poem from the upcoming book:

Postcards from the Amazon

a celebrity correspondence

I.

My exercise routine?

I practice on

the parallel bars of I am

woman and hear

my golden lasso roar.

I beat Superman

at arm-wrestling, every time.

II.

And oh, the boys,

my colleagues: tights

bulging, faces half-hidden,

capes cracking in the breeze.

Their voices deep as a well.

Their jaws so straight and sharp

you could shave with them.

VI.

All women are gymnasts,

swinging

themselves from one necessity

to the next,

swinging, like Jane, from vines,

like me

from golden lassoes. Women hurtle

themselves

over every obstacle made by nature

or man,

break free from steel-forged chains

or do not.

This last is why women have

sisters.

Icons & Action Figures

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Every once in a while, I remember what this blog was supposed to be about: poetry. How to make it, how to fix it, how to think about words and lines and tropes and all that stuff. Somewhere along the way, my recent obsession with American popular culture has kicked in, in part because, duh, Joss Whedon, but also because I am fascinated with how we construct identity and community through interacting with symbols, whether the symbols be our clothes, as my friends Meredith and Amy have recently discussed in their blogs, or music, interior decoration, or their particular fandom.

It’s not just the Greek Orthodox Church that uses icons. We all carry around in our heads the picture of a grandparent, a teacher, a college friend, a movie star, and in different ways we refer back to them at different times. Whenever I write a long piece of nonfiction, I remember my high school English teacher, Sr. Kevin White, talking about conciseness.

In my first book, which is coming along eventually, I have poems about Barbie and Ken, Raggedy Ann and Dapper Dan, Amelia Earhart, Wonder Woman, Lucy Lawless, Sam Spade, and my friends at GreenFaith. In our modern world icons and action figures are increasingly interchangeable, for better or for worse. So I don’t have to write my poetry about some incredibly high culture narrative like Paradise Lost or the Ancient Mariner. Shakespeare was popular culture once; hence all the bawdy jokes even in the tragedies. And I’m not alone in writing about women warriors: Edmund Spencer’s The Faerie Queene uses the character of Britomart, the virgin knight, to stand in for Queen Elizabeth I and British might (painting by Walter Crane). This reminds me of a folk singer who came to Middlebury College a million years ago. I still remember one of her original songs (in addition to the one about the Shrewsbury Moose):

A doll is someone who loves you,

Someone who hugs you when you cry.

I know a doll when I see one

And Rambo could be one

If he would only try!

So tell me peoples, who are your icons and action figures?CIMG1675

Testosterone Thursday

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So looking back at my blog today I realize that it has gotten rather estrogen-soaked, which is a shame, since it is summer, which is Buff Men Jogging Without Shirts Season (and you know how loosely I define poetry), and we really ought to take advantage of that. I was thinking about the evolution of my taste over the years, as portrayed in popular culture. As a girl, I watched Wonder Woman and Gilligan’s Island, so I had huge crushes on Lyle Waggoner (Steve Trevor) and Russell Johnson (The Professor): square-jawed American men, hard-working and smart.

More recentimagesly, I appreciate eye-candy like Daniel Craig (James Bond, etc.) or Chris Evans (Captain America). Strictly speaking, I suspect this is actually devolution. Apparently I was focusing on the right things back then and have gotten away from it since. Although the new Bond isn’t the sexist pig that most of the others have been, and Cap still has some of the better of the 1940s values (“Language, people!”) while also being a feminist.

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That’s what I am going with anyway…captain america 29oct10 02