What I’m writing
Women over fifty are a significant part of the world. We know middle-age can be every bit as life-shifting as adolescence. Kids leave home, parents become ill, and marriages break up. Plus, our bodies undergo radical change. That’s why I wrote “Your Body Was Made for This”.
The women in my linked short story collection work at a college and their locker room does not have change stalls. They expose their menopausal flesh within sight of one another’s judgment, and they tend to their bodies in a crowded exercise room that stinks of rubber and sweat.
From Lynn who no longer desires the man she loves, to Pauline who scarcely believes she’ll ever reach her emotionally unavailable mother fading into Alzheimer’s, the women in these stories yearn for intimacy. Their bodies must have it and will do surprising things to satisfy the urge: carrying bloodied nipples through an endurance race, having sex with a much younger boss, refusing to eat, choking down handfuls of sugary cereal, trying the “love” drug.
But there’s something they need even more than intimacy: a rumbling in their belly, a clench of their fist, an unwinding of a silk scarf, the proud refusal to have breast reconstruction. From the moment they were born, they’ve been told their main job is to make babies. Whether they are in a relationship with a man or another woman, their choices would be taken from them. Not anymore.
The mess on her bottom, the rash on her skin, the rages that do not yet have language, none of it can be ignored any longer. Shirtless at the stove, stirring a pot of spaghetti sauce, her white bra glowing, her chest shining with a fresh coating of sweat, pure hot rage flares in her flushed out womb.
As a post-menopausal woman, I’m too young to be told what I can’t do and too old to delay doing what I must. I’m a graduate of The Writer’s Studio offered by Simon Fraser University and a former teacher’s assistant in the program. My work has appeared in descant, Euphemism, Emerge 18, Phoebe, Qwerty, “Shy Anthology” (University of Alberta Press), and “You Look Good for Your Age” (University of Alberta Press). I’m a writer and editor both on the job and off, and a known hugger of trees.
Recently, I joined Heige Boehm on A Writer’s Life Short Story Saturday to read one of my short stories. I also did an interview with Sabyasachi Nag about the craft of writing which is published in The Artisanal Writer.
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