Catherynne M. Valente, Deathless
→ R E M E M B E R T H I S W H E N Y O U A R E Q U E E N
"You can either be executed, or you can be Commander Ambrose’s new food taster. His last taster died recently, and we need to fill the position."
“When I say forever,’ Koschei whispered, ‘I mean until the black death of the world. An Ivan means just the present moment, the flickering light of it, in a green field, his mouth on yours. He means the stretching of that moment. But forever isn’t bright; it isn’t like that. Forever is cold and hard and final.”
—Catherynne M. Valente, Deathless
literature meme | short stories 1/8
The Yellow Wallpaper is a 6,000-word short story by the American writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman, first published in January 1892 in The New England Magazine. It is regarded as an important early work of American feminist literature, illustrating attitudes in the 19th century toward women’s physical and mental health.
Presented in the first person, the story is a collection of journal entries written by a woman whose physician husband has confined her to the upstairs bedroom of a house he has rented for the summer. She is forbidden from working and has to hide her journal from him, so she can recuperate from what he calls a “temporary nervous depression – a slight hysterical tendency,” a diagnosis common to women in that period. The windows of the room are barred, and there is a gate across the top of the stairs, allowing her husband to control her access to the rest of the house. (x)
I really have discovered something at last.Through watching so much at night, when it changes so, I have finally found out.The front pattern does move—and no wonder! The woman behind shakes it! Sometimes I think there are a great many women behind, and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast, and her crawling shakes it all over.Then in the very bright spots she keeps still, and in the very shady spots she just takes hold of the bars and shakes them hard.
And she is all the time trying to climb through. But nobody could climb through that pattern—it strangles so; I think that is why it has so many heads. They get through, and then the pattern strangles them off and turns them upside down, and makes their eyes white! If those heads were covered or taken off it would not be half so bad.
A woman who hates you is playing the pianoforte.
You have five hundred a year. From who? Five hundred what? No one knows. No one cares. You have it. It’s yours. Every year. All five hundred of it.
A charming man attempts to flirt with you. This is terrible.
You are in a garden, and you are astonished."
I cannot…describe what Mallory has done to an already terrifying book:
“Can you take someone else’s Real,” he asked, “or are you stuck getting it on your own?”
The Skin Horse looked at the Rabbit then.
“What I mean is,” the Rabbit said carefully. “If something else was already Real. Could you take it from them, and keep it for yourself.”
“No,” the Skin Horse said, and his voice was a crawling black thing across the floor. “You can’t take Real from another toy.”
But the Rabbit wasn’t finished. “Can you take the Real out of a boy? Can you take his heart in your own self and leave him with a sawdust heart on the nursery floor in your place?”
And the Skin Horse did not say anything.
“I suppose you are real?” said the Rabbit. And the Skin Horse was afraid for the first time in a long time.
- the abhorsen’s bells -
i’m a really big fan of Garth Nix’s trilogy ‘Abhorsen’. more to come!