Who’s super busy? Me. Yes, I am saying no to things — mostly so I can say YES to things I am enthusiastic about (yes, it’s still a struggle not to overburden my time). Some of them quite fun. I have two conference presentations coming up next month and another in December. I have a lot of other things that aren’t yet ready for the light of day but isn’t that always the case?
With some PCA pals I’m presenting at the Mid-Atlantic area on Fritz Leiber’s Conjure Wife and the film adaptation known alternately as Night of the Eagle/Burn, Witch, Burn. My presentation centers on the fear of women’s power demonstrated in the adaptation.
For the International Society for the Study of Surrealism conference I will be talking about Leonora Carrington — I know, you’re completely surprised. My abstract:
Wearing My Last Skin
In the short story ‘My Mother is a Cow’ Leonora Carrington offers a fantastic phantasmagoria of imagery: yes, the narrator’s mother is a cow—or rather a cow-faced fan—but there are temples, offerings, Watchers, sailors, mannequins, dolphins, sharks, and ‘a long stream of lies’ too. The snap and crackle of Carrington’s wit and deliberate overload of images works as a smoke to obscure the gem of ritual within the tale. The sometimes complicated imagery had been influenced doubtlessly by Robert Graves The White Goddess, which as Susan Aberth argues had an effect on the artist that ‘cannot be overemphasised’; she called it ‘the greatest revelation of my life’ (Aberth 79). While Carrington always did her best to discourage intellectualising or interpreting of her works, telling her son Gabriel that the ‘force’ that guided her hand in creation was ‘maybe a kind of possession’ (Eburne and McAra 132), it is possible to dance your way through this story and unfurl a ritual of transformation. If one waltzes with Hathor, tangoes with Circe, and takes a turn with Ix K’abal Xook AKA Lady Shark Fin (Newman 394) one may at last begin to ask the right questions—the only way to strip off the illusions of this world and find the truth. One may be liberated from the Watchers’ hypnosis, but it will require ‘dancing like a cart horse on bleeding stumps’ (183). In this presentation I will point the way.
I’ll be talking about Night of the Eagle/Burn, Witch, Burn again at this conference but from a completely different perspective. Also I’ll be on a panel with my pal Peg Aloi, the Media Witch, who’ll be talking about Harvest Home. You know this is going to be an awesome time.
The good thing about all these conferences — simplifying the slight possibility of overlap between two of them [eek!] — is that they are all virtual and can be attended from anywhere on the globe. If you think you’d be interested in attending, too, check out the links and find out more. Times like this it doesn’t look like I am cutting back on things but I am! It’s just that some things bunch up on the calendar.
New Surreal Noir this week, too!