Okay. So this has been long overdue. I'm kinda behind schedule in the way of "introducing" the talent on board Ozymandias, as I promised in my previous post. I had intended on initiating introductions last week, but my kids have all taken consecutive turns being sick, sick, SICK!!! And then of course I got sick, so it's been one hell of a week!! Or 2 weeks, I should say....
By Nicola Griffith
I just finished reading that 514 page novel, and to say that I am blown away by Nicola's talent is an understatement.
First, let me just start by saying that given the current economic crisis, times have been financially backbreaking in our household. 4 weeks ago, when I walked into Barnes & Noble to order Always and Ammonite, (both by Nicola), that I was under the impression that Snookms and I were okay financially. A week later our lives were literally turned upside down, and while I was okay with that (aside from the drama queen antics I pulled these last few posts) I was utterly miserable at the thought of possibly having to let ol' B&N ship back my book orders had I not the cash to foot for these 2 novels. Weeks went by with no prospect of our financial prospect getting any "better". Electricity was due to shut off, as well as water.
And then the snow storm hit. 12 inches of beauty stacked up at my doorstep. And while this may be a bitch for many, this meant financial "yays" all around the household fer us Turnerfolk. Snookms got called out to shovel the lovely white mess, for 24 hours straight even!! And while Panda Express never got back with neither Snookms or me, (as well as Target, and Starbucks, and all the other billion and 1 places we had applied at!) we were able to struggle up our financial hill to a place that wasn't of ruin. But not before I could unbury my little 2001 Kia Rio out of the 12 inch chaos.
But I was hell bent on a mission, you see. It was the 28th, and B&N was threatening to ship Always back to where it hailed from the very next day if I didn't make it up there by the 29th. So like, all the fucking odds were against me, from an already exhausted husband whom I wouldn't of expected to help me dig our car out, to 3 kids taking turns hacking up lungs, to my own lung being hacked out, to me having to scrape up $15.00 in change so Always could once and for all be in my grasp.
And let me tell you right now, folks.
It was worth every, fucking, cent. And every pound of snow shoveled, and every gulp of icky Robitussin, and all that other hullaballoo.
Now I'll get on to the good schtuff....
Oh. My. GAWD.
That's all I kept saying while reading this book. And I couldn't help but continually picture Nicola as Aud, the whole god-damned time, so my obsession level both with Aud and Nicola increased dramatically with this read.
Aud is a self defense teacher. Aud has come to Seattle from Atlanta to take care of much business. Aud has demons in her closet. Fuck skeletons. The kind of demons that make one truly shiver and want to curl up in a ball and cry for mommy. And the "beauty" (if one can dare to refer to it as such) of this book is that they aren't even fully revealed. There are fragments and patches here and there that come to present themselves, but it's good in the kind of way that makes you hungry for more.
And Nicola shows, shows just how important it is for women to embrace their womanhood, to be proud of it, to be unapologetic, but in the classiest of ways. In a way that would make the truest and noblest of men bow down to her in humility and loyalty.
It's not all about manhate. It's not all about disregarding femininity. It's about coming to terms with oneself, identifying who you are, finding out what works, repairing what doesn't, and going back out there and giving it your all.
Nicola speaks of places you've never been, and makes you long to be there, in the moment, eating of her exotic foods that she so astutely describes via taste, touch, and smell. You want to be basking under the same sun she once spoke of as a child, lying beneath the Norweigean rays of light.
You want to take Kick into your hands as Aud does, and finesse her sand coloured mane, and brush your lips acrossed hers as Aud does, simply stating "Bed" as a means for her legs to continually be wrapped around your midriff in utter midnight delight, be it man, woman or Minotaur.
And if that weren't enough, there's always THIS folks. There's always THIS:
"When an ovulating woman offers herself to you, she's the choicest morsel on the planet. Her nipples are already sharp, her labia already swollen, her spine already undulating. Her skin is damp and she pants. If you touch the center of her forehead with your thumb she isn't thinking about her head--she isn't thinking at all, she's imagining, believing , willing your hand to lift and turn and curve, cup the back of her head. She's living in a reality where the hand will have no choice but to slide down that soft, flexing muscle valley of the spine to the flare of strong hips, where the other hand joins the first to hold both hip bones, immobilize them against the side of the counter, so that you can touch the base of her throat gently with your lips and she will wimper and writhe and let the muscles in her legs go, but she wont' fall, because you have her.
She'll be feeling this as though it's already happening, knowing absolutely that it will, because every cell is alive and crying out, Fill me, love me, cherish me , be tender, but oh God, be sure. She wants you to want her. And when her pupils expand like that, as though you have dropped black ink into a saucer of cool blue water, and her head tips just a little, as though she's gone blind or has had a terrible shock or maybe just too much to drink, to her she is crying in a great voice, Fuck me, right here, right now against the kitchen counter, because I want you wrist-deep inside me. I hunger, I burn, I need.
It doesn't matter if you are tired, or unsure, if your stomach is hard with dread at not being forgiven. If you allow yourself one moment's distraction--a microsecond's break in eye contact, a slight shift in weight--she knows, and that knowledge is a punch in the gut."
And so there are many fleeting moments like this in the book, coupled with many moments of definitive clarity, no matter what gender you are, that get you thinking, feeling, knowing, and suddenly caring about how very important it is to take good care of yourself, and to then arm those around oneself with this same notion as well.
If Nicola's work isn't getting the exposure it deserves, well, it should be. I don't see why this book isn't found on the shelves of Target and Walmart. They've got Augusten Burroughs up there. And David Sedaris.
Nicola's turn is next.
And if you're wondering about the title of this post, go read the book, and you will understand the beauty of that Orwellian quote, profoundly.
Now I am off to read Ammonite. Thank God for getting paid to shovel driveways. I'll let you all know how it goes. :)