I have just finished reading “Bluebeard’s Egg,” a short story by Margaret Atwood. It is, in fact, one of two stories I finished ending today (the other one I began some time ago), The Testament. I find myself debating whether to begin W. Bruce Cameron’s The Dog Master this weekend or to do the “real work” of reading Jack Zipes’ The Irresistible Fairy Tale. I also have a book down from my shelf–though I am not going to start reading anything soon–The Overstory.
My whole life I have wondered about the meanings in stories…
“In the Beginning God Created…”
“When God Created…”
Not long ago, I read Einstein’s Dreams, about the nature of time. Time is very important in stories, and counting it takes on symbolic meaning. “Forty Nights and Forty Days” symbolizes the flood, the Israelites’ sojourn in the wilderness, and Jesus time in the wilderness before his temptation by Satan.
In The Bible According to Eve: Women of the Torah and its thus three unpublished sequels, I retold the sacred stories Jews share. I tell them from the third person singular (mostly) but from the women’s perspective. This is because to tell a story anew requires a slant. Well, I wanted to draw women into the stories. These days with so many negative critiques of the Bible, I wanted to say the book has positive things to say. I wanted to say that it is relevant today, just as it was “relevant” over three thousand years ago when its earliest stories were first told in Israel. Nonetheless, if I had wanted to write about the scriptures and been a man I could not have written this book–no man has the right to Eve’s or Sarah’s Debra’s or Delilah’s or Bathsheba’s or Ruth’s or Esther’s thoughts. Yet as a woman I could peer into my gender’s head in scripture.
It is ironic I say this last. For all that they haven’t sold, I have written stories from the male perspective. Men like Tolstoy write Anna Karenina and nobody complains. Yet it seems like there is a certain species of “woman’s book” that men can arrive at like tourists but cannot really live in. And perhaps there are “men’s books” the same way.
I suppose that thinking of folklore, time, and women… That is why I wrote this meandering blog. I hope the reader is not disappointed in its lack of direction…