I came across this wonderful illustration and it seems to sum up a few of the thoughts I’ve had lately on gender and writing. There’s been a lot written about the under-representation of women in the broad literary community. Most recently, I came across Jack Heath’s post at Literary Minded. I applaud him for his decision to read only women for a year. (Despite my support of the Australian Woman Writer’s challenge I still find myself being seduced into reading by books written by men) I quite liked his idea that women use outfits as a means of making a statement. I suspect this may also be true of domestic tasks. But as much as I support efforts being made to bring some equality to writing, I always feel a little puzzled by many of the conversations. I have to remind myself that that’s how I’m seen, as first and foremost a woman. I’m thinking of Jane Caro’s comment that a group of men is just a group of people, but a group of women is … a group of women. I confess to using DJ rather than Dorothy-Jane as my author name, but that’s mostly because almost everyone ends up calling me DJ no matter how I introduce myself. It just seemed easier. (I did end up with a pink book cover, however) I’m thinking wishfully of Ian M Banks’ The Culture and the way in which its members are able to move from one gender to another, and sometimes become genderless. Perhaps that is the only way in which to make the point moot. Not for the first tine, I want to live in The Culture.
As I wiped my brush idly over the deck rails, I thought: I could paint for a year, the house would look magnificent, and that could be a goal. The fence is 85% painted, the last 15 % being that which can’t be reached by any ladder in our possession, even standing on tip toe. And seeing as the back yard could, arguably, be counted as a jungle, standing tiptoe on a ladder with a black paint brush in your hand is quite dangerous. For suburbia at least. Especially when the least little bit of of black paint on the neighbours’ side could lead to something along the lines of the zombie-unicorn wars.
Yes, real life seems vaguely disappointing some days. I want to live in The Culture.