never married, over forty, a little bitter


…bad to write the naked, the true, the confessional. I think that is often why we pull back. These great lulls on the Internet. We are sometimes horrified by what we have written, we press erase, or some literally scratch out the post, the strike-through bisecting the words, so that you can still read underneath. We are stricken with this sense sometimes that we are too much self, we gaze at our navels. Often we threaten to take down our blog. This act called “suiciding.” Or we put ourselves on a hiatus, and then come back a few days or a month later. Our dramatic disappearing acts. The theatrical comebacks in broad day.

We are always ready to shut down the blog because we’re worried about who’s reading it, family members, workplaces surveilling us, would-be employers. We worry over being disowned for writing the autobiographical, for divulging info about our psychiatric histories, the truth about our toxic-girl pasts, our gooshy, goopy, confessions. We worry over being found out– by coworkers, family, our students. So some of us already veil ourselves in pseudonyms, in password-protect.

I think about this need for public confession, and how this is often denigrated as not writing.


Although the blog is an emerging form, this question of women swallowing panic about the autobiographical, and often censoring themselves, or being asked to, is nothing new.

The horror/ shame/ worry: of being discovered, disciplined, ostracized… the reason why women use pseudonyms, women have always used pseudonyms.

So the decision to write the private in public, it is a political one. It is a counterattack against this censorship. To tell our narratives, the truth of our experiences. To write our flawed, messy selves. To fight against the desire to be erased. Why try to make these personal confessions public? Why write one’s diary in public? To counter this shaming and guilt project. To refuse to swallow. To refuse to scratch ourselves out. To refuse to be censored, to be silent. Or to circle around that silence, like a traumatic scene.


But the important thing now is to write. To write. To not hold back. To tell our narratives. To not be stopped. Publishing, even, can come later. But if you censor your writing with a view towards employment, what you’re writing is probably going to be safe and hygienic anyhow.

— Kate Zambreno, Heroines, pp. 289-291


The purity of the ideology of the Second Wave, I believe, makes us lie about the dividedness and contradictions of our lives for fear of being seen as bad feminists.


Does literature written by women need to be feminist, or does it need to be honest, to document the cultural reality? Yes, to critique it but also to explore its nuances and perhaps even to subvert it. For sometimes we are destroyed by love. Or we don’t want to get old. These thoughts still haunt many of us. The novels of Rhys address the complexities of both our subjectivity and objecthood, our psychic colonialism, in a way that seems still so modern.

— Kate Zambreno, Heroines, pp. 270-271