i’ve been rereading the blind assassin, which i first read at age 11, and realising how unintentionally formative it was. also it is fucking ace. atwood doesn’t go in for kind, does she? though not unkind, exactly.
If you knew what was going to happen, if you knew everything that was going to happen next—if you knew in advance the consequences of your own actions—you’d be doomed. You’d be ruined as God. You’d be a stone. You’d never eat or drink or laugh or get out of bed in the morning. You’d never love anyone, ever again. You’d never dare to.
A beautiful gif-set showing David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly rehearsing for the ballroom scene.
how did jennifer connelly survive this
you fit into me
like a hook into an eye
a fish hook
an open eye
Select artworks from Nigerian artist Njideka Akunyili:
“Nigeria is almost a third character in my work,” she said. “A lot of my work is about investigating my love for Nigeria and my life in America.
“I met my husband at college and there was some anxiety that if I married outside my culture I would lose my identity, but there is a space in my work where these things come together.”
Akunyili is hoping to help change attitudes to art in Nigeria, where she said appreciation is growing slowly.
“If I hadn’t left Nigeria, I wouldn’t be an artist, I would be a doctor,” she said. “When I told my parents I wanted to be an artist, they couldn’t get their heads around why an educated person who went to college in America would want to be an artist.
“If people think of artists, it’s somebody by the side of the road painting signs.”
“When I was young, the less Nigerian you were the cooler you were, but now we have gone back to tradition,” said Akunyili. “There’s a nice energy about the country that’s finally coming into its own.”
When I was little, I loved the movie Labyrinth. This was because my grandparents told me it was made specifically for me. It was about a girl who picked on her little brother. I also picked on my little brother. Clearly, this was an instructional film about how, if I were not nice to my little brother, he would be taken away by goblins. I tried to get my little brother taken away by goblins like 14 times after I watched it. Sometimes my grandparents’ plans backfired.
But Labyrinth is a very instructional film—it just happens to be about dating. The girl, Sarah, clearly has a crush on the David Bowie character because who doesn’t? And Bowie clearly has a crush on Sarah. Because of this, Sarah gets dropped into this complex and dangerous maze. There are rules, riddles, bogs, monsters, and awfulness, and David Bowie just stands there and says: “I ask for so little. Just fear me, love me, do as I say, and I will be your slave.” That’s the actual line! That’s the line every toxic partner will always feed you. And that’s why this is so instructional.
Because it turns out that fearing him, loving him, or doing as he says is not necessary for Sarah. She didn’t even have to walk through the maze. What she has to do, in the end, is look him in the eye and say one thing. There’s a whole big build-up around it involving how much he’s put her through and how awesome she is—“through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here,” blah blah, “my will is as strong as yours and my kingdom is as great”—but that’s not it. That’s a waste of time until she says the one thing that counts: “You have no power over me.” She has to say those words and know how true they are. And then the whole maze falls apart. And she’s home.
You are going to get home. You already are: you are in control of your own life. All you have to do is remember that.