In 1949, seventy years ago, Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex was first published, and became famous for the statement, ‘One is not born, but rather becomes a woman.’ The book came out in two volumes, Facts and Myths, and Lived Experience. She made many provocative observations, particularly emphasizing that because of childbirth woman was defined by her biology in a way man never is. ‘What is woman?’ ‘Other.’
Continue reading Becoming Beauvoir: A life by Kate Kirkpatrick
Nicola Barker is a tricky writer. We have followed her through books about the adventures of a Medieval jester in the 15th Century, to the life of an Indian Guru narrated by his unfortunate nephew. Recently there was the prize-winning, H(a)ppy, set in a dystopic future, where her interest in playing with fonts and text colours was given free reign. The last book of hers I read was her 2014 novel, In the Approaches, which was possibly about a tiny young girl who was a saint, who may have performed miracles, or about IRA terrorism, or about reconciliation. I do know it had many pages where a parrot spoke, ‘Oh oh oh oh…’ and lines of other semi articulate sounds. I had, therefore, some sense of what lay in store when I came to her latest book (which she describes as a novella) I am Sovereign.
Continue reading I am Sovereign by Nicola Barker
Following on from the saga of Gert’s knee, here are some other body-part afflictions you may or may not know about: Continue reading Wittgenstein’s elbow
I was born by the river in a little tent
Oh and just like the river I’ve been running ev’r since
It’s been a long time coming, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will
There have been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long
But now I think I’m able to carry on
It’s been a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will
The wonderful voice and sentiments of Sam Cooke can be heard below. I always feel a surge of optimism when I hear this (but I have to disregard the horrible piercing chords at the opening of this recording, but then everything has its down side.)
Do you think we have a little reason for optimism at present? Is a change gonna come?
As our readers know, we are two Gerts. We are the poet, yogini, classical scholar and intrepid bush-walker, and we are also the singing, piano playing, weight lifting lying about, Gert. We are both compulsive readers.
Today, while Gert 1 is in a remote part of Australia leaping from rock to rock, this Gert, Gert 2, is minding the store and taking the opportunity to tell at length about her recent knee operation.
Continue reading Gert’s Knee
A 2018 study that tracked participants’ activity levels and personality traits over 20 years … found that those who moved the least showed malign personality changes, scoring lower in the positive traits: openness, extraversion and agreeableness.
Shane O’Mara In Praise of Walking Continue reading One foot after the other