Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I feel so craptacular I am pretty sure (even though I lack the male appendage) I have caught manflu.

Bug boy has a raging respiratory infection. At least the other two males in the house are on the mend (from their manflu at least, one of them has cracked ribs and a back strain from football)  So it's fun times in the crayon box right now.

The girl child decided I needed a picture to cheer me up. (as you can tell from her pic, she is currently revising angels)

Her manga drawings are getting better, she draws better when she's recreating a picture she can see....but her ability to create from her mind is improving vastly as you can see from this one.  (I know she created this one herself as the girl in the picture has no boobs.)

And now I must return to my laundry and try to shift the remaining stubborn stains in three football jerseys, before I collapse on the couch with the kids to watch documentaries on WWI. Because that's about all the schooling I can summon from my codral addled brain today.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A quick review of The Book of Rachel.

So, biblical fiction that tells the untold story of women, is my kink. I love it. And The Book of Rachael by Leslie Cannold certainly delivered. 

The best thing about Cannold's book is not that she gives name and voice to the women of the Bible but that there's such a profound believability to them. Her women are flawed, deeply so, just like real women. Each suffering their own weakness, each revelling in their own strengths, each woman unique and though bound by the constraints of their time and gender each one defies these ties in her own way. 

The adage that well behaved women never make history is certainly true in biblical terms. One flick through the bible shows that very few "good" woman are named. Very few Good women are given voice with the most notable exceptions of Ruth and the idealised woman from Proverbs 31. There are more minor players, but the most infamous women of the bible are the naughty ones. 

History also shows us that there are always defiant women. Whether we record their defiance for prosperity or not. In Rachael's case, she did not bring down a judge of Israel or slaughter a band of men in their sleep,(and so evaded the history books) but she rejected the nominal place of women and girls over and over again, much to the chagrin of her mother, the haughty wonderfully arrogant Miriame. (And blessedly Cannold chose to leave out the virgin birth...Miriame, better known to us as Mary has her own secrets to which Rachael cannot guess. And so the very things that would have you condemn her, redeem her in the end.) 

Cannold really portrayed the mother/daughter friction perfectly. Your heart would break for little Rachael. 
The sister bond was treated with an equal amount of attention to reality. Parts of the story will make you hurt. Will make you angry. Will make you despair. 
Cannolds writing is anything but flowery or over reaching as is shown in her ability to convey the emotion without attempting to overwhelm us with prose, unlike Anita Diamant in The Red Tent. A book I also loved though in the case of The Red Tent it was purely for the relationships between the various women, not the writing itself. 

The tender sub-story of Joshua, as seen through the eyes of his sister, is touching and beautifully done. Cannold wisely focused on Joshua as brother, son and lover, rather than as the Messiah. As such, she was able to breathe into him a real soul. A man far more believable and probable than the man proffered up for us in the bible. 

And though the book focuses on the untold story of women, Cannold has not treated the men as shadows. Her supporting cast have dimension. Gentle yet commanding Joseph, brave and brash Judah and the somewhat snivelling Jacob. 

Unsurprisingly, the strengths in Cannolds tale lie in her ability to weave her non-fiction expertise ( she has two other non-fiction books The Abortion Myth and What, no baby?, is an ethicist, President of Reproductive Choice Australia, Ambassador for dying with dignity law reform among other things...) into the threads of her fiction. The grown up Rachael is mistress of her own destiny, as much as a woman could be in that day and age. As apprentice to the mystical crone Bindy, Rachael learns how to control her fertility, she learns how to heal and how to comfort when the body is beyond all healing. Through Bindy she learns who she is and that who she thought she was may not actually be who she wanted to be. 

At it's very heart, the Book of Rachael is the story of women in general, it spans the years, for just like Rachael did all those years ago, we still struggle to fight for the right to complete autonomy over our own bodies and the right to pursue and define our own destinies, whatever they may be and in this way Rachael's story is our own story.

Laundry as therapy- it's cheaper than wine but not half as fun.

We're still inundated with mucous here in the crayon box. As I type my chest tightens in reaction to hearing my youngest son hack up his little lungs. I keep waiting for the asthma attack, hoping to keep it at bay. It's been a long time since he had his last real full scaled attack. I have liked not visiting the hospital so much.

Football devours my days from Friday through Monday. Watching, playing, the laundry I do for 30 grown men. I have this perverse sense of achievement when I manage to budge the grass and dirt stains from 30 football jumpers...all white I might add. The husband has now realised what a mistake that was, and the has decided that the next set of team jumpers will be blue.  My bathtub is full of these once white jumpers, soaking.  They can wait.  A little longer at least.

Laundry is what I do when I have too many thoughts running through my head. Scrubbing at those jerseys is like attacking each thought one at a time, turning it around, staring it down.  They're (the thoughts) nothing personal and yet they are all too personal.  Like my brain waking me up because it couldn't shut out the Bolt saga. Leading to thoughts on identity, race, politics. Who am I really and how does that fit with different perspectives of culturally defined persona.  I am still turning thoughts over in my mind on that one.

Thoughts on Lent and how we've all manage to bend lent just a little this year, the two boys are fairing the best. Both made resolutions that would be hard for them.  Both are sticking to them very well.

Thoughts on the answers to feminist motherhood questions I am yet to finish...these ones are tougher. I don't know where to start.  But know that these thoughts are definitely linked with the identity thoughts.

and finally, thoughts about fish that fake orgasms. There is a type of brown trout, that when mating a female brown trout will fake orgasm, so that the male will think he's done his reproductive job, then she can swim away and mate with a more suitable male trout.

And I learnt a new term.  Penguin Guado. Which means penguin shit. This morning the husband informed me had the most satisfyingly huge guado....I need to stop telling him guado.