Nov 18, 2008

Wonder Women

In the last month, I have been to readings from two remarkable female writers. The first is Sefi Atta, who is the writer in residence this quarter at NU. She has a whimsical grace and a sweet shyness. She read parts of several of her short stories, which are available to read on her website. Aftewords, I rushed to buy her first novel available in the United States: Everything Good Will Come. David actually had to corner her and stop her from leaving while I bought the book. I told her that I really admired her and David mentioned that I had just finished my first novel. She immediately and honestly asked about it. I blubbered something. I don’t know what I said. How could I speak of my humble, beginning novel in the face of such a great writer?

Everyone really must give her a read.

The second woman I went to see was Allison Bechdel. I was introduced to her by my good friend, Kyle, who recommended her first graphic novel, Fun Home. It was a work of genius. I read it quickly, as I used to read when I was a little girl. I convinced David and a few friends to go with me to see Allison at my favorite feminist bookstore in Chicago, Women and Children First. (No, I’m not very fond of the name, but I adore the bookstore.) Allison was delightful! She was promoting her collection of comics Dykes to Watch Out For, which not only chronicles the life of a few crazy lesbians but also comments on current events and political issues with a ticklish sense of humor.

You can check out her comics at

A couple of weeks ago, we finally rented Persepolis, a animated film created by an Iranian woman who lives in France. The film followed the success of her graphic novel, which I have yet to read. I had heard interesting things about the film, but the experience was mind-blowing. The animation was done traditionally with ink so it has a soft, almost tangible quality. (David was very impressed by the description of how the film was made, which is why DVDs are cool.) The story is charming, humorous, and honest: an authentic picture into the life of one girl growing up in Iran in the 1970’s. She was a punk rock girl living under an oppressive government, just trying to figure out where she belonged. Sound familiar? It’s a story we all relate to and—can it be?—we learn something about foreign culture in the meantime. I highly recommend this film.

My last wonder woman is new friend of mine that I met at the Rogers Park Art Fest in August. Kelli, of Greenie Bean Totes, makes cloth bags out of recycled t-shirts and material. Her description of her company is this: "greenie bean totes are for the wild at heart. the kindred spirits, wonderlusters, modern day hippies. together, we are radical. in our notions of practicality, reusability, and save the world-isms." She has a contact on facebook or if you want her email address, leave me a comment.

I’d love comments if you have been tantalized by any of these wonder women, or any others lately.

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