Sunday, April 02, 2006

In Evelyn White's biography "Alice Walker," she talks (briefly) about Walker's intimate relationships which have been with men and women, black and white people. She then quotes Walker as saying that she likes young masculine energy in whatever kind of body it may occur.

So excellent to blow off other people's categories and be clear about what's real for her.

Reading that made me hope that in her lifetime Edith Pargeter found ways to have physical fun with young male energy in whatever body it occured it.

Edith Pargeter wrote a lot and is currently best knows for the Brother Cadfael mystery series which is the last group of books she wrote, reading well to her death at the age of eighty. (Unlike, for example, Agatha Christie, whose last books were terrible.)

The whole Brother Cadfael series is kind of in praise of young male energy. Cadfael is old; he had young guy adventures going on a Crusade; and his function of helping the sheriff of his area think ethically and intelligently about murders that happens, he often stands up for young men who have made themselves look guilty by being impetuous, maybe hot-tempered, not having a concept of thinking ahead.

Cadfael always sees the good in these guys, and they almost never did it. The author clearly loves their young maleness. Which helps me, because I can underappreciate that vibe.

Which is embarrassing because throughout my life people have often mistaken me for a guy (briefly) and often thought I was younger than I was (at length). Hmm. . . I don't know if young male energy is a look in the mirror phenomenon.

Reading and liking the Cadfael series, I would sometimes do the lesbian patriotism thing. I would think I really liked the books she wrote; all I knew about her private life is she was unmarried; hey, maybe she was a lesbian. That isn't brilliant thinking. I think it's fairly harmless indulged in quietly and inmoderation.

Also, when she was younger, in her earlier books, it was clear that she wanted to be a guy so she could do guy stuff--like fight in World War II.

Times have changed so people like me are more like--I should be able to do that, rather than--I want to be a guy so I can do that. I've been lucky to see women be able to do more categories of things every year of my adult life.

Reading her early book, written in World War II, with the title "She Goes to War," I was slow to hear the title the way it would have sounded when written--the strikingness of the "she."