I Hope You Like Feminist Rants!

I have an essay in this, a feminist zine (i.e. an independently-minded, independently-financed magazine) called I HOPE YOU LIKE FEMINIST RANTS, edited by Abigail Tarttelin. It’s a platform for sharing feminist and women’s voices, and championing non-patriarchal journalism and art. Issue #3 is out this month, and available in London (Pages of Hackney), Los Angeles (Skylight Books), and Liverpool (News From Nowhere).

Rants 3 new

You can also order online using Paypal via abigailtarttelin@hotmail.com. All zines ordered this way come with beautiful stickers. Issues #1 and #3 are £4, issue #2 is a bumper issue on Motherhood and is £5. Please add post and packaging – UK £1, EU £2, International £3. Note your address and the issues you want in the notes section on paypal.

@cathbore

Advertisements

Date Night

 

He says my flat is like the Tardis, loads bigger inside than it looks from the street. He’s right, too. It’s got a tiny doll house front door and a staircase that goes round and round and up in a barley sugar twist, my living room blooming high and wide as you go in. My rooms are pretty like a chocolate box, soft furnishings of quiet pastel; the porcelain figurines my Gran left me lined up in rows on the shelves and along the mantelpiece, and on the top of the telly.

He calls our Fridays date night, but we’ve never been on an actual date. No dinner in a candlelit restaurant, or necking in the back row in the pictures, no dancing hip on hip, and lip on lip. I’ve never put on a nice dress for him or painted my face, and gone walking into town holding hands. But, just look at him. Tall and lean, hair thick and clean and blond like the beach in holiday brochures; close my eyes and I smell the sea, same as when you hold an empty shell to your ear and the water laps on a shore, right there.

One Friday, I watch from the bedroom floor as he’s pulling his jeans back on. The belt buckle slaps against his thigh.

‘I love you.’ It’s a shock when he comes out with it.

‘What?’

He blinks. ‘I love you.’

My words whoosh out. ‘Me too.’

‘Really?’ More age slips from his face.

‘Of course.’ But my larynx sheds rust.

Air is snatched from my lungs as it hits me. I’m not in love, am I?  I don’t love him, not at all. I don’t even bloody well like him. Not as a person. This isn’t what I want. He isn’t what I want.

I want to be in love.

I want to be happy, the sort I read about in books. I want to die of summer, feel the sun kissing my face more surely than he ever could.  I need the feel of a firm hand curving my hip and pulling me close, lips resting softly on my temple, the small of my back moist and sticky, cheeks flushed and pink, my pulse racing in my wrists. I want it all, and more.

And yet instead, I gift him a shy smile. Coquettish and coy, I get up and walk over. He covers my mouth with his. As our tongues dance awkward and slow, bumping this way and that, moving out of time, the figurines around us, my figurines, curl their spines into round shells, strike a pose, and freeze frame. The pile carpet thickens under my feet and, the ceiling pressing the top of my head, it bends my neck crooked, the walls around me closing in.

(First published National Flash Fiction Day Flash Flood Journal, June 2017)

The Critical Sense

In the second year of English A Level class, at age seventeen, we were handed a book. A slim volume with The Critical Sense printed blandly on the over, our tutor warned us from the beginning, ‘this book is hell.’

And he was right. The most boring book ever written, instructing us on how to criticise poetry and prose.  We had to pen essays on the bloody thing for the next eight months. Horrific.

Whether one can learn how to critique by reading and analysing a book is debatable (that might be one of the essays I wrote, come to think). Fact is, in 2016, a *few* years later, Amazon and the internet have made reviewers of all of us.

Authors need five star reviews on Amazon, and lots of them, to sell books. Fair enough.

But.

Award under full marks and reprisals start bleeding through, naming and shaming the new sport.

Music reviews on blog sites and webzines are the same; everything must be declared ace or it’s sucked in cheeks, waggling fingers and passive aggressive sub tweets.

Reviewing is largely a thankless task. Reviewers are reviewed, critics critiqued.

As critics we can only say what we see, hear and feel.  The last one is as important as the rest. Puff pieces simply won’t do.

Of course there are always those wanting to make a name for themselves by slaughtering sacred cows, nothing new about that. And giving one measly star on Amazon because a book took 2 days to arrive or you didn’t like the look the postman gave you when he delivered it, is plain daft.

Hey – everyone’s a critic these days.

It’s important that authors, musicians, actors and creatives know that we largely go in desperately wanting to be thrilled. I always want to fall in love.

A book or performance making me happy is one of life’s most beautiful things.  I think that’s the same for all of us, pretty much, yes?

@cathbore  

New stuff

I have work coming out in some really nice places over the coming weeks. This blog post reads a bit like a list, so I apologise in advance for that!

An essay on sisterhood will be in the A Room of Our Own anthology, the book is raising money to keep the organisation’s website going so they can continue their valuable work.

Another essay, about my non-motherhood and choice to not become a parent, is in issue 2 of I Hope You Like Feminist Rants later in the summer. My writing on housework is in issue 1 of Rants, which you can purchase here.

My flash fiction Good Times, originally published in Slim Volume 1 : No Love Lost (2015), is published in CRUSHED, a book of writing and art on the subject of heartbreak is out this month (May 2016). Editor Charlotte Apsin is producing a zine to go with it.

I’ve got work in the University of Liverpool Centre For New & International Writing’s journal, on  page 18, published last week.

I was made up to have a flash fiction, The Other Woman, included as part of Hayley Webster’s All The Words book festival also last week, you can read it here.

I wrote about LightNight here, and Liverpool Biennial here, for Getintothis.

52% starts its summer break next month, I make my final appearance in this series in a fortnight. The next series starts in the Autumn!

That’s it, I think. For now…

@cathbore