Saturday, September 6, 2014

My mother, and the coming war against men



Marge Wold, with creatures

My mother died a few weeks ago, and, since then, stories of my life with her have come bubbling up. She, like me, wanted to do everything, to create everything. She was fiercely ambitious and trained me to be the same, with the good and bad attendant: all the achievements and all the dissatisfactions.  A few weeks before she died, she wheeled herself to her neighbor's, told him she wanted to talk, and announced: "I'm 95 and I haven't accomplished anything." This from a woman who wrote ten or so books, speechified throughout the world, was the goto troubleshooter for Lutheran churches, who founded day nurseries across the country for newly single working mothers, who raised five children, and who, when the family bought a silent 8mm camera, immediately wrote a wordless story and had me and my dog at the time act it out in the sprawling parsonage in Grand Forks ND. 

But one of my oldest and most favorite stories is of the time she sat me down, when I was about ten years old, and told me that, one day - and I suppose I assumed that that day was fast approaching - women would have to take up arms against men, this to right the many wrongs of the many millennia of the many oppressions. I knew that most wars are won by attrition, and that there are more women than men, so I resigned myself to being on the losing side, and would even now be willing to surrender if asked nicely, if we could once again find those Viking soldiers buried with their sword and shield so long mis-gender-identified, but no such battle has come, no such victory, and we see that, even today, women find themselves living in a world of shit. 

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