In celebration of International Women’s day on Tuesday of this past week, the 2016 Baileys’ Women’s Prize for Fiction, announced it’s long-list. Commending the excellence, originality and accessibility of women’s writing across the world, I felt compelled to burry my head in at least one of the nominated publications.
“But these were days of self-fulfilment, where settling for something that was not quite your first choice of a life seemed weak-willed and ignoble. Somewhere, surrendering to what seemed to be your fate had changed from being dignified to being a sign of your own cowardice. There were times when the pressure to achieve happiness felt almost oppressive, as if happiness were something that everyone should and could attain, and that any sort of compromise in its pursuit was somehow your fault.”
…But what was happiness but an extravagance, an impossible state to maintain, partly because it was so difficult to articulate? He couldn’t remember being a child and being able to define happiness: there was only misery, or fear, and the absence of misery and fear, and the latter state is all he had needed or wanted.”
Hanya Yanagihara, A little life.
Crisp, buttery shortbread helps sustain my state of happiness a little while longer.
Valentines day. That’s how this past week began. The possibility of trying to block out the ghastly occasion was rudely disrupted by all the pink glittered kisses and in-your-face foil balloon hearts decorating every inch of absolutely everywhere at this time of year. By all the star-crossed lovers that swan around seduced by the consumerist enterprise. Who, having fallen into the commercial trap, all uniformly confess their undying love by purchasing flowers and garish ‘I’m forever yours’ mugs. Ughhh.
If you haven’t already noted from the very icy tone of this weeks post, February 14th is not my cup of tea. I’m sorry if any die hard V-day celebrating sweethearts out there are saddened by my lack of love for the big love day. Please don’t mistake my cynical edge for resentment. I just don’t really get it and I don’t think I ever will (even after I’ve kissed all the frogs and found my prince). It’s too forced and contrived and downright cringe worthy if you ask me. But, since no one did ask me I’m going to stop rambling. Instead I’ll conclude with a quote from Tanya Gold, a freelance journalist who’s statement so greatly summarises the shambles that is Valentines Day…
“It is also weirdly like paying taxes. It’s expensive, incredibly irritating and everyone has to do it. If you don’t take part, you are possibly suspicious and probably dangerous.”
(Tanya Gold, Good riddance to Valentines Day, 2009)
Regardless of my feelings towards the annual celebration, Valentines day does bring one good thing and that’s a lot of well-stocked chocolate shelves. So, although I made an executive decision not to post a special Valentines bake, I thought I could at least whip up a batch of my Macadamia Nut Brownies. In the hope that you don’t think I’m an entirely miserable old batty cat lady. FWI I like dogs better anyway.