Thursday, May 14, 2009

Damsel in Distress = Jamaica Cole

I realize today is Friday. I have had a major creative block for the past couple of months. I missed last week's topic and this time around I procrastinated until.. well, the day after.
I did manage a photograph for this entry, which I quite like, but alas the cord I need to transfer the image has disappeared, so perhaps I am a damsel in distress. 

Everything could be upside-down in my life, but if was still able to create on a regular basis, I think I'd be satisfied. As it is, I've spent the last few weeks mentally battling myself, trying to overtake my own lack of motivation, beat it down and conquer it. So I suppose I'm my own Knight in Shining Armor as well, only at the moment, my Knight is lost in a dark forest filled with beastly creatures. And all the trees look the same.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not depressed. Just frustrated. I am constantly surrounded by the most creative people I've ever met, and I watch them create, trying to remember when I last felt productive. 

Oh, woe is me. 
I'm alone in a high tower of laziness and my Knight has fallen into briars and had his eyes scratched out. I must save myself.

Damsels in Distress - Jessalyn

the month i lost my orgasm marked the beginning of the end. march, the crocuses bloomed too soon, died a week later in the rain. it was saturday, maybe sunday. we tacked a sheet over the window to block the sun. we tried everything—legs bent, sandalwood incense, a record with heavy drumbeat. nothing. when the futon broke, you asked for the last time how does that feel? it doesnt.

-Dear Stillness, Elizabeth Hall

Elizabeth Hall and I discovered each other's writing online ages ago. A mutual intimidation was immediate; girl is good. We talked on the phone for years before finally meeting this past January. The spirit of her work and mine intersect, though mine is dedicated to the Cult of Sensualism and hers embodies a simultaneous worship and discard of the act of The Fuck. Elizabeth's stories exude a distressed femininity that I just can't get enough of, the subtleties of women blended with the crudest, most tender sex, that easily disrupted balance of being Female. For damsels in distress, or damsels distressing themselves, Elizabeth is my first pick.

Elizabeth Hall & Coquetry

damsel in distress: Jessica

There are many types of damsels in distress: Sleeping Beauty, prostitutes, my friend who let an old guy make her car payments for her, most of the women in David Lynch's movies, most of the women in my paintings, the girls in slaher movies, a bunch of white women, and finally, there are the women that like to play damsel in distress on the weekends.

Damsel In Distress (or, Why Women Need Strong Men In Their Lives)

actress, Anne Hathaway with father, Gerald Hathaway

I'm going to get in trouble for this one.

Did anyone see this year's Critic's Choice Awards? Anne Hathaway tied with Meryl Streep for Best Actress. When Anne accepted her award, many noticed the steely eyes of Angelina Jolie (she lost by the way). Angelina's reaction is actually laugh out loud funny but what I noticed was how Anne thanked her father who "protects me and shows me that there are good men in this world."

My parents divorced when I was 4 years old. My father stopped contacting me when I was about 12 or 13. The child support came in, and he made an effort later in life... only to fall off the face of the earth just about 2 years ago. I grew up with a step-father who didn't really know how to connect with me. By the time I was in college, he was out of our house. The best man I knew was my brother who is 5 years younger than me, and still growing up. I'm not asking for a pity party, I'm just painting a picture. Until recently (about 4 years ago), I can't say what Anne said. My partner, my BF, my love, Nick, is the first man that has protected me and showed me that there are good men in this world.

If only I had him or someone like him when I was growing up.

We are a generation of women that grew up without a father. We get our cues from our mothers: "Get by, fend for yourself, find a man with money but you can live without them, I certainly did well without a man." When it came time that guys were noticing me, I glued myself to any guy that gave me any kind of attention. I didn't know how great it felt for a guy to notice me and tell me nice things. This made for some turbulent relationships and serious insecurities.

Why do you think girls are wearing barely anything?
Why are girls sexting?
Why do girls put so much value on sex-appeal?
Why do girls date asshole men?
Why do nice guys finish last?
Why are women hating on men?
Why are women getting basted without a husband to help them?

We've lived our lives without men. Imagine being a girl living in a household where men were barely there (if at all), total screw-ups and they did nothing to show they weren't total screw-ups.

Now that we're women, adults, we need to rise above our raising. Before I met Nick I was a huge man-hater. Every guy I knew (with the exception of my brother) did a great job showing me how bad men made lives. Until Nick. Not only did he prove me wrong... he helped me stop being so resentful for being without a strong male figure in my life.

I get it dudes, you grew up without a father too. The media is telling you that it's totally okay to be lazy and useless (not that you are!). It's supposedly normal to let a chick have your baby and not be in the baby's life. All of us have to grow up and learn. What is it they say?

“When the sins of our fathers visit us we do not have to play host. We can
banish them with forgiveness.” -Fences

So, here is where I say it: I forgive you dad.

Love, Olla

Damsel in Distress (Patricia)

I'm glad this topic came up, because I have the perfect entry for it.

As I do regularly, some time ago I went browsing the $1 racks at the incomparable Strand Bookstore in NYC (if you're in the city, go see it: 13th St. and Broadway, Manhattan). One of the books that caught my eye was Follow Me: Travels and trysts abroad for the woman alone by Jean Baer. After sitting on my shelf for some weeks, its time came and I picked it up. It turns out the book is a guide for the modern woman of the 1950s-- half about how she should travel alone, and half about how she should pick up men on her travels. The advice given is amazing to my 21st century liberated-female-trained-in-liberal-educational-institutions eyes. What's outstanding is Ms. Baer's desire to travel alone, in a sort of rebellious emancipation from the day' norms that would require her not to, combined with the advice given, as below. But then, really, experience tells me men still get tickled by the idea of helping a damsel in distress. Yes, even in 2009. So maybe the paragraph below is helpful?? (unless, by following this particular advice to the letter, you could also get yourself into a lot of trouble!)

Without further ado, here is an excerpt from Ms. Baer about using your Damsel in Distress act to pick up a gentleman... Ladies, read up:

"Play Helpless. The damsel-in-distress strategy works much better outside the U.S.A. Standard devices: be unable to understand the currency, cope with change, read the street signs, get on the right bus, follow directions from the slip of paper in your hand, or read your map. On ships you can be confused by a life preserver, on buses by where to get off, and on planes by how to hook a seat belt. All these dilemmas make it necessary for you to ask help from a man. When choosing your prospect, pick one who is not wearing a wedding ring. (Most Europeans do wear wedding rings, often on the right hand, so in nine cases out of ten you are pretty safe with the man minus the band; for the tenth case, proceed at your own risk.) If at first you don't succeed, don't give up. For example, you buy a large street map, unfold it while standing at a busy intersection, and look puzzled. If ten minutes later you're still puzzled, head for another corner and try again." (p. 81)

Damsel in Distress - Michelle

I found this lovely sad little bird in my side yard earlier this week. I made up a story about her. She was hopping along the fence, enjoying the sunbreaks, looking for worms to bring home to her family. Her foot got caught and she fell down, hitting her head a little too hard. No one came to her rescue, and finally she closed her eyes and the ants and flies took over.


damsel in distress -- St.Ofle

I took this on my recent trip to New Orleans
my flight from Dallas/Ft.Worth to New Orleans was empty
(because it was 7am on a Wednesday)
there were really maybe 50 or 60 of us on the whole airplane.

I saw this girl passing the security gate, with all of its metal detectors and signs that say "take out your laptop" "take your shoes off, but not your socks" etc.
she was saying goodbye to a boy her age.
they were both sad, and lacked the lightning of a couple in love.
I only noticed because they were in front of me in line.

I was surprised to see her on the airplane
and to be sitting next to her no less.

on the airplane, she couldn't stop sobbing.
the entire flight, she was crying

speculation told me that maybe she was in love, but why the crying?
maybe someone had died, and she was on her way back home from college.

the fact that there were so few people on the airplane only accentuated her condition, and she really let go.

the good news?
upon landing in New Orleans, there was a family full of smiling faces and flowers waiting to see her.
She laughed, and smiled, and I never saw her again.

Damsel in Distress