Every doorway, every intersection has a story.
American culture is torn between our long romance with violence and our terror of the devastation wrought by war and crime and environmental havoc.
Prior to penicillin and medical research, death was an everyday occurrence. It was intimate.
The intense campaigns against domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, and inequity in the schools all too often depend on an image of women as weak and victimized.
Let's just say, the American school of suburban angst is not my cup of tea.
Perhaps the strongest evidence that women have as broad and deep a capacity for physical aggression as men is anecdotal. And as with men, this capacity has expressed itself in acts from the brave to the brutal, the selfless to the senseless.
We're also far enough from the publishing power that we have no access to the politics of publishing, although there are interpersonal politics, of course.
I have been a believer in the magic of language since, at a very early age, I discovered that some words got me into trouble and others got me out.
This idea that males are physically aggressive and females are not has distinct drawbacks for both sexes.
Asked why they wanted to fight, the young women said they enjoyed it, just as some men and boys do.
But the idea that women can't take care of themselves still permeates our culture.
But I went to high school in a Portland suburb and went to college here.
I come from a family of great readers and storytellers.
In our struggle to restrain the violence and contain the damage, we tend to forget that the human capacity for aggression is more than a monstrous defect, that it is also a crucial survival tool.
The second is the structure and source of cults. They have always haunted me, and I wanted to explore the fundamental notion of giving up responsibility to an outside power.
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