In her recent essay about learning to pry herself away from love that drained her, from a man who emptied her, CJ Hauser offers the fable of the crane wife.
In the story, she writes, there is a crane who tricks a man into thinking she is a woman so she can marry him. She loves him, but knows that he will not love her if she is a crane so she spends every night plucking out all of her feathers with her beak. She hopes that he will not see what she really is: a bird who must be…
Published in The Sunday Times Style. 8 September 2019.
a knife to my throat in a dusty lavatory stall. I thought he was going to kill me. Some days, I wish he had.
I didn’t tell anyone what had happened. I took myself home, cleaned myself up, waited for the bruises to heal and pretended it had never happened. I didn’t whisper a word of it to anyone for 11 years.
The experience had been coiled inside me for so long, it had turned rotten. Toxic. I know now that if I had asked for help as a teenager, I…
We may never know beyond a reasonable doubt what occurred between Dr Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh on that night in 1982 — the night he is accused of sexually assaulting Dr Ford. We may never know the truth about the numerous other allegations of aggressive sexual behaviour made against Kavanaugh since Dr Ford came forward. We will probably never bother to find out.
But, from what we’ve witnessed in this week’s US senate hearings, we do know beyond a doubt that our cultural and political distrust of women is as fierce and fact-resistant as ever.
Published in Bookanista. 16 September 2019.
What do you do with the things that cannot be expressed? Where do you put the things you cannot say? What do you do when words don’t work? In the opening pages of The Argonauts, Maggie Nelson cites Wittgenstein: “the inexpressible is contained — inexpressibly — in the expressed.” This is, she says, why she writes. I’ve discovered that it’s why I write, too.
“Are words good enough?” Nelson asks. Perhaps they are, and perhaps they aren’t. Sometimes words are slippery. Sometimes the expressed contains only a shadow of the inexpressible, sometimes none at…
Published in Granta. 17 September 2019.
It’s two a.m. and I am lying on my side on the landing outside my flat. I have just fallen down a flight of stairs, tumbled out of the door to my apartment, which I didn’t realise I’d left on the latch, and landed hard against the wooden floor at the bottom.
I am surrounded by chipped paint and old receipts that have fallen out of my messy handbag at various points over the last year, as I rifled through it to find my keys. The landing is dark and stuffy.
I have a…
Published in The Lifted Brow. July 6, 2018.
Image by Raphael Goetter, reproduced under the Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license.
CW: rape, sexual assault, suicidal thoughts, chronic illness
I have so much beautiful time.
— Olivia Gatwood, “Alternate universe in which I am unfazed by the men who do not love me.”
Growing up, I was a gymnast. The serious kind. The train-six-times-a-week-and-never-do-anything-else kind. By the time I was ten, I had represented New South Wales at national championships and won. I represented Australia by the time I was twelve.
By fifteen, I was preparing for my second…
Published in Meanjin. 24 October 2018.
Sally Rooney’s debut novel, Conversations with Friends, is one of the most compelling works of fiction I have ever read. Her new novel, Normal People, is no less so.
Both of these novels have been primarily characterised as modern love stories — two women figuring out who they are through the maze of their first significant romantic relationships. And, of course, this is true — in Conversations with Friends, the main plot-driver is our protagonist’s tortured relationship with a married man. …
Published in Meanjin. September 7, 2018.
A WOMAN WAS PERMANENTLY PHYSICALLY AND PSYCHOLOGICALLY HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS FILM.
What if it said two women? What about ten?
I imagine you shaking your head in disbelief, thinking that this is where you would draw the line.
But in reality this is the calculation we make every single day when we choose to engage with the art of abusive men: we readily consume what they create without sparing a thought for what they destroy.
Can we separate the man from the art? In an era where every other day…
Author, essayist, journalist. I Choose Elena out now with The Indigo Press. My Body Keeps Your Secrets out October 2020.