Crying lessons.

I never learned to cry with style, silently, the pearl-shaped tears rolling down my cheeks from wide luminous eyes, as on the covers of True Love comics, leaving no smears or streaks. I wished I had; then I could have done it in front of people, instead of in bathrooms, darkened movie theaters, shrubberies and empty bedrooms, among the party coats on the bed. If you could cry silently people felt sorry for you. As it was I snorted, my eyes turned the colour and shape of cooked tomatoes, my nose ran, I clenched my fists, I moaned, I was embarrassing, finally I was amusing, a figure of fun. (6)

Narrator Joan, in: Atwood, Margaret. Lady Oracle. Toronto: MacLelland and Stewart, 1976. Print.

Raised to fear.

All I know are here are these two tiny little people standing in a river in Northern Ontario as the gods keep watch, or don’t. A drunken east coast stereotype insults a fine-boned French girl of slender means. Problem is, they have both nothing and everything in common. They are hicks. They are broke. They are working at the building site of a hydro electrical generating station for isolation pay at White Dog Falls because the world has nothing else to offer them as yet. It is 1965 and kids their age are rioting in the cities, upending the socio-sexual landscape, but my soon-to-be parents are farm people, terrified of cities, of drugs, of the irreligious, of those who walk around wearing entirely different coloured skin from them. The world is changing, rapidly, dizzyingly, and change is something they’ve both been raised to fear. They have this in common: they want no part of it. (130)

Narrator “Rank,” from: Coady, Lynn. The Antagonist. Toronto: Anansi, 2011. EPUB file.