Tag Archives: Virgin Mary

International Women’s Day, or here we go again with the platitudes…


I’m all for a celebration of women. As a gender, I think we’re pretty cool. And hard done by, in general. Just look at the housework balance, the pay disparities, the parenting gaps. The complete erasure of women’s accomplishments in so many spheres. So the idea of celebrating women’s accomplishments seems like a good one.

BUT. I can’t help but feel a day just isn’t enough. I’m with the folks at Black History Month who want to extend the celebrations to more than just the minimum. I mean, isn’t it a bit…urgh…to give Black History the very shortest month in the calendar? Whose bright idea was that? Was it a bit of a dig? 

Or the pink shirt anti-bullying day. Ugh. Kids are bullied if they don’t wear pink to school that day. I can’t help but feel this is a bit counterproductive.

‘I wonder if I can reschedule the grocery delivery for Thursday instead of Tuesday?’

Besides, shouldn’t recognition of bullying, women, black history, indigenous people, people with disabilities, and plain old white cis men go on all the time? Of course it tends to run to the latter in this list, so I understand completely the need for emphasis on the other groups, but it is beginning to seem to me that there are so many different ’cause’ days that the serious problems are getting lost in the shuffle.

Like the ongoing, paralyzing racism present throughout the world. Like capitalism’s driving of starvation and grinding poverty

Or the bad behaviour by so many men towards so many women. I heard this AM on the radio of a city councillor in Ottawa who has been sexually aggressive to his female staff to an unbelievable level, who is still being paid with the taxpayers dime and has not received any serious repercussions. He is still the representative for the women he abused. Gawd. 

Story after story of men being jerks scroll across my timeline (and trust me, I’m not looking for them – I find them triggering as I have experienced my full share of jerkish experiences) I DO know there are good men, I know they can act humanely and kindly and do good things. I also know women can be jerks. No need to differ with me on that score. But the balance seems to still be off. 

And I simply don’t believe waving an “International Women’s Day” heart on one’s sleeve will do anything to stop honour killings, rape, aggressiveness against women, even forced intimacies of the minor kind. I don’t think men fully understand the feelings of danger we feel when alone with them. 

Even friends can’t be trusted. An old (married) friend of mine once took the opportunity of us being alone in my apartment to press himself on me. I was shocked beyond the ability to respond. It’s damaged our friendship beyond saving, in my mind anyway. I doubt very much he even considered it out of line. I remain baffled as to why he thought he COULD do such things.

But I’ll just bet he celebrates Women’s Day. 

You good men and true, I salute you. You, too, deserve recognition. Maybe having a “Decent Men’s Day” would help rebalance behaviour. We could celebrate it on February 28th? (Just teasing…)

I’ve written a book about a woman who was massaged like Coca-Cola into a merchandiser’s dream. It’s called Recycled Virgin, and it’s an alternate history of Mary and her role in the Christian story. It puts her where I think she should have been, somewhat more in the centre of things.

While I was writing it, I was taking a course on Mariology at the excellent Atlantic School of Theology, under the patient guidance of David Dean. I remember knocking him off his heels by suggesting that all the difficulties with Mary (her ever virginity despite giving birth, her pure blood line, her lack of sin, her assumption into heaven in her full body – all things created well after the fact by clumps of men trying to persuade people to join the church) could be completely explained by making her the god part of the god-human connection, as vs just the receptacle. Those of you who read Catholic doctrine for pleasure (I realize there may be few) might look at the stories through that lens and see how they think they might fit. I found it fascinating to contemplate.

So, in honour of International Women’s Day, such that it is, I’ve put my book on discount for March 10-17. The ebook only, as this is all the mighty Amazon allows at present. Why not take a look and see if you can challenge that prevailing belief that Mary didn’t really matter, but was just a womb on sanctified legs. It’s alternative history. It’s fiction, but then, aren’t most of the stories we tell ourselves?

Check out my book here. If you like it, or hate it, or anything in-between, please take the time to write a review. 

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Why I wrote about the Virgin Mary, or “Hello? Hello? Do you see me?”


mary12Choosing to write about religious topics is risky. All my writing book advisors go on about ‘finding your niche’ and being sure people want to read what you are writing…and of course, being contrary, I wrote the book and then wanted to publish it. It’s a bonus if people buy it, I told my self.

But my self is a horrendous lying thing.

Of course I want people to buy it and read it and like it or think about things. Even if it isn’t easily classified, if it doesn’t have a GENRE, really. Does everything need to have a genre? Apparently, if you want to be found.

So why write about Blessed Mary if the book isn’t genre?

Because of Elizabeth Warren. Or any of the many many other women who are overlooked, whose accomplishments are minimized, who feel like they have to shout to be heard (and then they are called strident). Women who cannot be seen even if they want to be. Women who are told they have no purpose except to make men happy and birth the next generation2d1df2684651e1b0a983f960b4171b4a

That happened to Mary. Here she was, the mother if this big important man, and her contribution was so minimized she barely existed until the Catholics used her image as advertising copy and trotted her out everywhere like a show pony, changing her completely as they did so. They used her as a friendlier contact point than a bleeding man on a cross.

She was the perfect mother figure, a loving presence for all the church. Then the church men started playing with her. (I refuse to call them church fathers.)

They needed to make her unusually pure. Never mind the ‘why’ — what about the how? The church men were puzzled. Oh, right, she must have been born without that original sin thing – that’s how she gave birth without any pain. (Say what? Given that men were also telling every other woman that their births had to be painful because of Eve and the

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At least she’s having fun here…

apple (a set-up if ever I heard one), this all seemed a bit strange.)

But wait – how could she have been born without original sin? Well, her parents must have been unusually holy. And their parents before them, and so on, like some backward-dated Ancestry file. Never mind that previous documents assigned the line of David to Joseph. “We can change that!” the church men said. “While we are at it, let’s make her ever-virgin, unsullied by man. Because women who have sex are dirty. Men who have sex are dirty, too, but they have urges that must be met.”

Despite being the mother of THAT guy, she only gets a mention at birth and at his death. Oh yes, except she is brought up to ‘fail’ him by asking him to make the water into wine at a friend’s wedding. Apparently, this indicates that she doubted his mission. I’d argue that this would have proved that she thought he had unusual powers, but of course, she must have known that given the angel, etc, etc.

That’s a problem, too. How did a baby form in her unsullied womb? Lots of ideas were trotted around, none of them particularly convincing, until people just gave up and said it had happened. The bible doesn’t say much. That hasn’t kept people from discussing how, though, and mostly making the pregnancy seem like a total out of body experience for Mary.

The-Immaculate-Conception

what’s that funny feeling?

This resulted in ridiculous discussions like one I had in my Mariology class, about THAT guy’s DNA. “Of course, he must only have a half set of chromosomes!” one woman opined, forgetting the need for a double set to make that baby grow at all normally. Or let his beard grow.

I can find no mention of Mary’s parenting of THAT guy. But surely she had a huge role in that? Perhaps she was the source of so many of his ideas about mercy and wealth and kindness? What if Mary was the actual founder of the religion we all call Christianity, and if THAT guy had to take the reins because women weren’t even allowed to speak then?

You see? Once you start looking at Mary’s story, questions arise. Why are the church men so mean to her, so determined to wipe her out of the picture, while still using her as a meme? As I dug into books about Mary, I found myself feeling frustrated on her behalf. I wanted her to be given fair coverage, for her and the women who followed her.

I tried to present a story about Mary, done with respect and care. Oh, and let her have a little fun along the way. I’d like to hear from you if you think if I reached that goal.

Find my book on Amazon.

 

Being Seen (and read) or where the heck did that chin hair come from?


Well, it’s out in the wilds. The ebook version is launching on Saturday.

The book. My book. By me. All alone.

Recycled Virgin (Scleratis Series Book 1) by [Brown, DA, Brown, Dorothyanne]It all seems such a small story, so meaningless. I mean, I like it, but I am having trouble dealing with the thought of my friends reading it and then having to make a comment on it, either positive or negative or, ugh, patronizing. One fellah commented that “some of my chapters seemed fun.”

I’ve taken out a contract on that guy, and YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! (Kidding, of course…)(Well, maybe…)

But it’s all a bit like doing a public speech, and meeting and greeting people afterward and when you run to the washroom at the end of the festivities and peek into the mirror, maybe giving yourself a confident, “you did it, girl!” smile, you notice a 3-foot long chin hair sticking straight out and wiggling with every lip flex.

Did they see it? How could they miss it? How do those things grow so damn fast? You know you’ve peered at yourself in your home mirror, holding your face every which way and shining lights and there was NOTHING THERE that morning, and somehow this hair grew like Jack’s beanstalk in a matter of hours. images-2

You wonder in a panic if the hair scraped the face of the people you were talking with, and if they felt it and decided not to comment, like those friends who don’t tell you you have spinach in your teeth or that your hem is tucked into your tights… Maybe they were being gentle with you, sensing your inner fragility, realizing that under chin hairs can destroy any semblance of professionalism. You can see it is almost reaching the mirror, across the sink.

Of course, you have not brought hair removal devices with you and it just won’t leave to tugging, so then you have to go out and REJOIN the mob, knowing full well your hair vine will be spotted by EVERYONE.

I took my beloved dog Pickles to the groomer once and when I was picking him up, shivering and pinkish and looking hurt to his soul (which is why I ended up grooming him after this because he didn’t find it so traumatizing, but I digress), and the groomer, who I had trusted with the animal I loved the most in the world (the kids were in a horrid stage, and let’s not mention the ex) told me that the dog hairs from her clients had slipped off and rerooted themselves in her face.

I gazed at her, non-plussed. What does one say? It seemed wrong to talk then about the biology of facial hair and how it didn’t behave like a seedling. She, after all, had a few sprouting from her chin. All different colors, she pointed out, because of all the different dogs. I was left speechless.

The more important issue was why did she mention this to me?

Well, yep. I ran my hand over my chin when I got into the car and sure enough, a hair-vine was extruding from my face. How long had I been going around like that? Who knew? Cos, you see, once these hairs grow a certain length (you official beard growers know this), the hair gets all soft and molds itself to your face. Well, unless it is yearning for freedom. Then it reaches out, struggling towards the unwary, terrifying them. Whacking against walls and tangling in scarves…

So, the book thing is sending its little horrifying curls out into the world and I keep wavering between singing and dancing (and being profoundly grateful for the support friends and family have shown me) and wanting to pluck it like a chin hair out of existence.

Either that or grow a beard so it all seems like it should be there, filling my author’s face with other books and articles and writing like a demon to get things out. (Next book: DIsgusting the Devil is on the assembly line) Creating a new framework so that this one eases gently into a crowd and thus is less obvious as a solo event. Maybe it’s time for me to embrace my writing beard?

So, I hope you have a look at my book, maybe read it, write a review, hostile, friendly, grumpy or bored. I’d love to hear what you think…No, really, I would. Just let me check out my chin…

 

 

beard-1.jpg.optimal

Old news, but I need to wallow a bit…


Will be revising my book over June, hoping to send it out shortly afterwards…;-)

I’m not a winner, but a contendah in the top 12, for “Recycled Virgins”
http://www.3daynovel.com/2013/02/26/announcing-the-winners-of-the-35th-annual-international-3-day-novel-contest/

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