Hiding in Eatonville

Well, there’s no real two ways about it – it’s been a tough couple of weeks for those of us in the states. Regardless of where you fall in politics, or if you try to avoid politics altogether, it’s been hard to avoid the press leading up to the Kavanaugh hearings and the national discussion on sexual assault.

If you are a victim of sexual assault, or if you have a close loved one who is a victim of sexual assault, it’s probably been tough to listen to the constant news stream covering the conversation, which has been pretty unavoidable. At this point, I am pretty sure even if I retreated to a yurt in the middle of the woods, a squirrel would turn to me and say “well, actually, in the Kavanaugh case…” There’s just been nowhere to hide.

It did get me thinking about the library though, and how many books mention sexual assault. In a totally unscientific survey of the books I’ve already read and remember clearly, I counted around 50 that I am sure I remember feature some kind of assault (including victims of all genders and some “statutory” incidents), and there are probably more where I’ve just forgotten the plot.

It seems like a lot, and I’m sure that there are many more lurking in the books that I haven’t read yet. As I type this, it occurs to me the two books I’m in the middle of both include it. So we’re up to 52 and I’m not finished this blogpost yet. Obviously, it’s a topic that matters to women writers enough that it appears in books by all races, ethnicities, age groups, and eras of 20th century women’s writing that I’ve read so far.

I wish I had more deep thoughts to offer to the larger national discourse, but I feel worn down this week, and I ache for all the victims that are hurt by listening to the conversation raging around them. It’s a hard thing to deal with, especially for so many that worked so hard on self-care and self-healing, to have feelings brought up so close to the surface again. If all you could do was get dressed and go to work this week, I am proud of you for doing that!

I’ve been rationing Kindred but even so I will be finishing it tomorrow – it’s been quite the journey with Dana. As part of that rationing, I’ve also been reading Zora Neale Hurston’s The Complete Stories, which have been as wonderful a place to hide from the news cycle as any. At any time or place, books can be the perfect place for us to lose ourselves. Then again, they sometimes do a better job than anything at reflecting our humanity, so it’s maybe not the whole story to say I’ve been hiding in the books – I guess you could say I’ve been turning toward the books. And they have not been letting me down.

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