Thursday, April 20, 2017

Desire In Seven Voices

Desire In Seven Voices. Ed. Lorna Crozier. Douglas and McIntyre, 1999.

The books I read function as a kind of divination. What is it I am needing now, at this moment, this station in my journey? They come to me, they arrive, comfortably pre-read, as gifts, as loans, by word-of-mouth, or by serendipity, falling at my feet off the shelves of thrift stores and secondhand book stores which form the trap line of my urban life. I cannot afford to buy books new. Library due dates create too much anxiety. But "used" suits me fine. I read and enjoy. Some I adopt, squeezing them in to existing rows. CanLit. Poetry. First Nations. Non-Fiction. History. Art and Design. Others I return, or pass to a next reader, or donate, or recycle.

Yesterday's find is Desire In Seven Voices. Six essays and one story, by seven accomplished Canadian female writers--Dionne Brand, Bonnie Burnard, Evelyn Lau, Shani Mootoo, Susan Musgrave, Carol Shields, and Crozier herself. I love the female perspectives, the stories of awakenings, confessions, even gossip. And the explorations of other desires besides the sexual.

Crozier's essay--"Changing Into Fire"--is my favourite. Possibly because our backgrounds are most similar. Possibly because she seems, she and Shields seem, most aware, most evolved, if you think of that pyramid of self-actualization. Seeming to have the greater understanding. Beyond rebellion. Beyond working out unresolved childhood "issues." I love her line: "How did I learn to love myself and then love you?" [p.66]

Because the goal seems to be to explore rather than to define, I am left feeling teased yet still unsatisfied. This, I suspect, is the goal of this little jewel of a volume. Experiential. 

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