“I’ve always known that a book will find you when you need to be found…”
When trying to pin-point how I came about this book, I decided to trace my internet searching steps back to a certain piece or key phrase I had found, but to no avail. The transient nature of a browser search should not be lasting, that might make life a little too convenient. Thus, all I can say is that I’m grateful I found this book and Kate Bolick’s writing. Though I am a happily married woman to a very lovable man, this book called out the the independent woman in me that has never been stifled by coupledom. I don’t mean this as an affront to the love I have for my life partner and our commitment to one another, but more as a compliment to the love I also have for myself and for the person I hope to be. The lifelong assignment of finding out what this life of mine means is a most unique gift and there’s not a day that passes wherein I don’t contemplate how I want to share it, who with, and what drives my mind and heart. Being cognizant of this, let’s take a look at Kate Bolick’s first book.
Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick
“In my early twenties, the “spinster wish” was my private shorthand for the novel pleasures of being alone. As I grew older, and felt more strongly the cultural expectation of marriage, the words became more like a thought experiment, a way to imagine in detail what it would look like to never settle down. The word wish is crucial. A wish is a longing, not a plan of action. It was perhaps precisely that I conjured such an escapist fantasy, not because I didn’t want such relationships, but because I also wanted to find other avenues of meaning and identity.”
Through honest yet discreet personal accounts, Bolick delivers a book that’s well-worth a read for anyone who’s ever questioned societal norms. It’s obvious from the carefully designed structure of her book that Spinster was a labor of love that flowed from a most genuine and natural place. Bolick utilizes different women writers–you’ll have to read her book to find out who they are–that she refers to as her ‘awakeners’ to unfold her thesis that a woman’s role in life is that for which she makes it, and the drudgery of societal impressions of marriage should never be a factor in marring your personal and artistic process of becoming a fully developed woman. What is more, though her text does speak directly to women, I happen to feel that her message could be palatable to any gender. Bolick embarks on a journey through this book that rarely transcends where she starts, but the text does anchor its message in taking comfort in one’s circumstance while being aware of its impact, be it good or be it bad, on one’s identity.
“The term bachelor girl was coined in 1895 to describe a specific breed of middle-class woman who chose to pursue the new educational and vocational opportunities opening up around her, which allowed her to live alone and support herself–so very unlike her sister the spinster, who was closely associated with the home, and the working-class women for whom work was an economic necessity.”
Is it all really just a matter of diction? What’s incredible about Bolick’s deductions about the term “bachelor girl”, versus “spinster”, is that she establishes the imposed separation of the terms while embracing a generalization that a woman in pursuance of her own life, independent of a man’s financial support, is whatever label she chooses for herself. Bolick does seem to struggle with absolving herself of guilt from passed relationships by qualifying her actions as those which were necessary to lead her on her path of independence. In this, I feel her concept is flawed. She posits that a woman must give something up in joining to a partner, yet bases this observation on her own experiences of becoming complacent in the routine of in-practice monogamy and her awakeners experiences. However, she juxtaposes this idea when speaking about becoming complacent and stale in her single life as well.
“How do you embark on your adulthood when you don’t know where you’re headed?”
“It was like looking into the future and discovering that my unremarkable self had somehow become a person of consequence.”
Finally, and what’s most moving about this book, is Bolick’s meticulous and attentive vision of the agony of self-discovery and the joy of finding one’s voice. She’s able to speak about feminine self-loathing without belaboring the point or projecting an heir of desperation, because, let’s be honest, if there’s one thing women need less of, it’s another voice that harkens negativity. Bolick’s well earned confidence is why she’s able to conjure a book that would surely have made her awakeners proud, and should make all of her readers grateful. Reading this book was a pleasure, and more than anything, it helped me understand that’s it’s okay to be joined in matrimony to someone and still have a singular identity. In fact, it’s imperative.
“It never ceases to astonish me how readily we presume to know ourselves, when in fact we know so little.”
As for edibles, I decided to utilize Sarah Britton‘s The Life-Changing Crackers to touch on the simplistic, yet enriching approach to food Bolick speaks about in her book. It’s not my intention to imply I think she would have any interest in preparing this cracker, but I do think this recipe represents an alteration in routine, which is just what Spinster speaks about. So here’s to crackers, life-changing crackers!
What are you thoughts on this text? Did you find that any particular yummy food ideas popped into your mind while reading? In the theme of changing routines, I am sad to say that the frequency of my posts has lessened as I’m sure you’ve seen, but please know that Connect a Bite is still very special and important to me. I have started a new and exciting job, and my routine has been sufficiently shaken. Fear not! Once the dust settles some, I hope to be back in full-force with content! And with that, I’ll leave you for now. Check out more Noshed in a Book posts and share some of your own #noshedinabook thoughts with me. Join me in my next reading selection, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. And remember…bite responsibly!
Today I’d like to do something I’ve meant to do for quite sometime, a focused piece on a blogger I follow, who has inspired me or left a sweet feeling in my heart after reading/viewing their blog. Sarah Britton is just this person and My New Roots is her fantastic blog. I came across her blog a year or more ago, and the first I saw it, I spent hours rummaging through all of her old posts–from the beginning–because I loved her message so much and what her blog stands for.
As I’ve not come out and said this yet on the blog, 2013 is the year I will call “The Health Trials”,dumdumduuuuummmm…almost as though I’m in a life game, fencing with what ails me. And because I’m me, I’m going to conquer and get answers! My New Roots has been such a motivating factor in this plight. Why is this? It’s not because she herself–Sara Britton–has made overly confessional posts and twaddle about her life/food/health journey, it’s because she focuses on diversity in the diet, cleanliness of our pallets–metaphorically–and bursts with helpful recipes that put into action her philosophies. A woman who truly connects her bites!
Throughout my personal food journey, My New Roots has helped me keep perspective on my greater goals in the ‘food world’, and I cannot say enough about her bravery in reaching for what she wanted in the culinary world.
Enough about what I think, here are a couple of excerpts from her blog that you may find interesting–both are from her ‘fall’ section.
Below you’ll see sample of A Brush With Health
Dry Skin Brushing is something I learned about last year as I was attending school for Holistic Nutrition. I had never heard of it before then, but the subject surfaced in several of my courses until curiosity got the better of me. Now, dry skin brushing it is part of my daily routine and from this simple act I have seen many positive changes take place…
The skin is the largest organ in the body, and is responsible for one-fourth of the body’s detoxification each day, also making it, one of the most important elimination organs. More than one pound of waste products are discharged through the skin every day! Toxins from everyday soaps, cleansers, antiperspirants / deodorants, lotions, cosmetics and synthetic fibers worn next to the skin, can gather beneath the skin’s surface and contribute to a variety of skin problems and conditions, as well as prevent the skin from breathing. If the skin becomes inactive with its pores chocked with millions of dead cells and chemical residues, then impurities will remain in the body. The other eliminative organs, mainly the kidneys and liver, will have to increase their labor and will eventually become overworked, thus eventually creating disease.
Read more HERE!
In this sample, Whole Food Thinking and Whole Plant Eating, Sarah focuses on eating the entire vegetable, a waste-free message I second! Beet greens are delicious. 😀
Would it sound strange to buy sneakers without the laces, or a sandwich and throw away the bun? Well, it seems to be in this culture of ours, we’ve grown accustomed to eating just part of a whole food, and tossing away the parts that matter most. We peel our apples, we separate eggs into their respective white and yolk parts, we strip our grains of all their exterior nutrients to make pristine, white everything, and we lop the tops off our root vegetables. Stop the insanity!
Foods are whole for a reason – they are all perfect packages of well-balanced nutrition – designed that way for our benefit. Beets are a perfect example of this. Fortunately, this time of year, you can find them in their whole state, with the delicious green tops attached! It’s like getting two vegetables for the price of one! Here are some other vegetables that you can eat (gasp!) whole.
Read more HERE!
Also, my love and I are taking a vacation to New York and I hope to take hoards of photographs that I plan to share with all of you when I return. Maybe I’ll even be stirred into yummy inspiration! I’m more than thrilled at the thought of all the incredible food and food experiences that await us.
Bite responsibly in the coming October, and I hope to give updates soon!
Copyright 2013 Connect a Bite at www.connectabite.com