16 August, 2012

self-contorted existence

I just finished a great book today, by Alison Bechdel. Are You My Mother. She's an artist and storyteller who wrote (writes?) Dykes to watch out for, and in some ways this book is a sequel to a book about her father that I have not yet discovered. He was apparently homosexual, and committed suicide while she was away from college. I say apparently there not to suggest that it is or is not actually so--I don't know, I don't have any investment either way, and it strikes me as weird that I chose that word there, to make clear to others that this man's orientation is not something I have personal experience of.

I must digress to say that blogger apparently disapproves of my posting this entry today, because it keeps warning mt that errors are occurring while (automatically) trying to save or publish my post. I couldn't get the whole internet to work at all the first time I came over to share this book review with y'all, about  20 minutes before I finished the book, but now the opposition has narrowed.

At any rate, this book is about herself and her mother and what she did about that, and includes a lot of therapeutic information about mothering and identity formation that was really fascinating and wonderful. There's a guy I'd never heard of, Donald Winnicott, who has some good enough theories about stuff and things, particularly childhood development as influenced by caretakers. (This sentence make my enthusiasm for Donald seem rather tepid, but it is in fact the opposite. If I weren't writing a review of this book and how great it is, I'd be writing about Donald, and how great he was. Just with a lot less coherency or detail, because I know a whole lot more about this book than I do about DW.)

Internal feelings of alienation are explained by DW, as far as I can tell, as the creation of a "false self" to protect the "true self". The false self intercedes to interact with the big scary world, where it is perceived that authentic reactions are somehow rejected, and are prevented from expression with 'artificial' or edited reactions presented instead. I don't have a lot of these feelings of alienation, but I do recognize the process as part of the 'pleaser' phenomenon, which I'm sure not everybody has heard of, but I'm not going to go into it right now, except to say if you shout at me I will probably make nice and then try to avoid you. Making nice is an asset to civilization, but it is inauthentic, and over-mediation of one's own impulses... well, I have no idea where this sentence was going, but I assume it was going to be AWESOME. sorry. (isn't that funny how I over-mediated my creative impulse so far as to literally forget what I was writing about? luckily it won't kill me, because it happens all the time.)

That aside, I love that the title of this book is the same as the title of a well-known children's book, doubtless intentionally. It's sooooo cool.

I found this book in the library as part of a display, "new non-fiction"? It still has a 'new' sticker on it. I wasn't really looking for a book, I was just taking my sister, visiting from out of state, to check out some stuff for her to read while she visits for two weeks, and found it (and a couple of others) while I was waiting for her to make her selections.

I thought a lot about the Bechdel test while reading this book. The Bechdel test is not very valuable to me personally, because it's not better at selecting movies that I will enjoy and be willing to invest in than I already am. Why aren't people making more movies that pass the Bechdel test? Probably because society (and natural instincts) demand that the false self (and true self) step up and present a good-enough mother almost every time some lady has a baby. (Whether or not there are gender differences in drive or competitiveness or the expression thereof).

The latest movie that I adored was the original Bogart and Audrey Hepburn oldie 'Sabrina'.

It's hot out today and I took a break to eat lunch and splash my nephew in the kiddie pool. Now I can't remember any of the other million interesting things I was going to tell you, so let me just leave off.

No comments:

Post a Comment