The danger in writing is not fusing our personal experience and world view with the social reality we live in, with our inner life, our history, our economics, and our vision. What validates us as human beings validates us as writers. What matters to us is the relationships that are important to us whether with our self or others. We must use what is important to us to get to the writing. No topic is too trivial. The danger is in being too universal and humanitarian and invoking the eternal to the sacrifice of the particular and the feminine and the specific historical moment.
Anzaldúa, Gloria. “Speaking in Tongues: A Letter to Third World Women Writers.” This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. Eds. Cherríe Moraga & Gloria Anzaldúa. New York: Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, 1983. 165-174. Print. 170.
The problem is to focus, to concentrate. The body distracts, sabotages with a hundred ruses, a cup of coffee, pencils to sharpen. The solution is to anchor the body to a cigarette or some other ritual. And who has the time or energy to write after nurturing husband or lover, children, and often an outside job? The problems seem insurmountable and they are, but they cease being insurmountable once we make up our mind that whether married or childrened or working outside jobs we are going to make time for the writing.
Anzaldúa, Gloria. “Speaking in Tongues: A Letter to Third World Women Writers.” This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. Eds. Cherríe Moraga & Gloria Anzaldúa. New York: Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, 1983. 165-174. Print. 170.
Unacknowledged class differences rob women of each others’ energy and creative insight. Recently a women’s magazine collective made the decision for one issue to print only prose, saying poetry was a less ‘rigorous’ or ‘serious’ art form. Yet even the form our creativity takes is often a class issue. Of all the art forms, poetry is the most economical. It is the one which is the most secret, which requires the least physical labor, the least material, and the one which can be done between shifts, in the hospital pantry, on the subway, and on scraps of surplus paper. Over the last few years, writing a novel on tight finances, I came to appreciate the enormous differences in the material demands between poetry and prose. As we reclaim our literature, poetry has been the major voice of poor, working class, and Colored women. A room of one’s own may be a necessity for writing prose, but so are reams of paper, a typewriter, and plenty of time. The actual requirements to produce the visual arts also help determine, along class lines, whose art is whose. In this day of inflated prices for material, who are our sculptors, our painters, our photographers? When we speak of a broadly based women’s culture, we need to be aware of the effect of class and economic differences on the supplies available for producing art.
Lorde, Audre. “Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference.” Sister Outsider. New York: Ten Speed Press, 1984. 114–123. Print. 116.
In a sense, then, narrative and visual pleasure constitute the frame of reference of cinema, one which provides the measure of desire. I believe this statement must apply to women as it does to men. The difference is, quite literally, that it is men who have defined the ‘visible things’ of cinema, who have defined the object and the modalities of vision, pleasure, and meaning on the basis of perceptual and conceptual schemata provided by patriarchal ideological and social formations.
De Lauretis, Teresa. “Imaging.” Alice Doesn’t: Feminism, Semiotics, Cinema. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984. 37–69. Print. 67.
We begin to observe behavior, both in history and in individual biography, that has hitherto been invisible or misnamed, behavior which often constitutes, given the limits of the counterforce exerted in a given time and place, radical rebellion. And we can connect these rebellions and the necessity for them with the physical passion of woman for woman which is central to lesbian existence: the erotic sensuality which has been, precisely, the most violently erased fact of female experience.
Rich, Adrienne. “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence.” Blood, Bread, and Poetry: Selected Prose 1979-1985. Reissue edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1994. 23–75. Print. 57.
Sexual liberation has been and continues to be a feminist goal. The women’s movement may have produced some of the most retrogressive sexual thinking this side of the Vatican, but it has also produced an exciting, innovative, and articulate defense of sexual pleasure and erotic justice. This ‘pro-sex’ feminism has been spearheaded by lesbians whose sexuality does not conform to movement standards of purity (primarily lesbian sadomasochists and butch/femme dykes), by unapologetic heterosexuals, and by women who adhere to classic radical feminism rather than to the revisionist celebrations of femininity that have become so common. Although the antiporn forces have attempted to weed out of the movement anyone who disagrees with them, the fact remains that feminist thought about sex is profoundly polarized.
Rubin, Gayle S. “Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality.” Deviations: A Gayle Rubin Reader. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011. 137–181. Print. 173-174.
In other words, it is the responsibility of the oppressed to teach the oppressors their mistakes. I am responsible for educating teachers who dismiss my children’s culture in school. Black and Third World people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade responsibility for their own actions. There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future.
Lorde, Audre. “Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference.” Sister Outsider. New York: Ten Speed Press, 1984. 114–123. Print. 114-115.
It is not that we are that rare in time, it is that over time our accomplishments have been co-opted and have disappeared; the issue is when can we stop being perceived as "firsts"? I wonder when I and the millions of other people of color who have done great and noble things and small and courageous things and creative and scientific things - when our achievements will become generalizations about our race and seen as contributions to the larger culture, rather than exceptions to the rule, as privatized and isolated abnormalities. (If only there were more of you! I hear a lot. The truth is, there are lots more of me, and better of
me, and always have been.)
Williams, Patricia. “The Obliging Shell: An Informal Essay on Formal Equal Opportunity.” Michigan Law Review 87.8, Legal Storytelling (1989): 2128–2151. Print. 2135.
For now is the time to revolt against the tyranny of definition-machines and insist on your right to name what your senses well know, to describe what you perceive to be the limits of sausage-justice, and the beyond of which is this thing, this clear injustice.
Williams, Patricia. “The Obliging Shell: An Informal Essay on Formal Equal Opportunity.” Michigan Law Review 87.8, Legal Storytelling (1989): 2128–2151. Print. 2131.
But to be a female human being trying to fulfill traditional female functions in a traditional way is in direct conflict with the subversive function of the imagination. The word traditional is important here. There must be ways, and we will be finding out more and more about them, in which the energy of creation and the energy of relation can be united. But in those earlier years I always felt the conflict as a failure of love in myself. I had thought I was choosing a full life: the life available to most men, in which sexuality, work, and parenthood could coexist. But I felt, at 29, guilt toward the people closest to me, and guilty toward my own being.
I wanted, then, more than anything, the one thing of which there was never enough: time to think, time to write.
Rich, Adrienne. “When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision.” College English 34.1 (1972): 18–30. Print.