Note: this is an exercise based on Joanna Russ’s How to Suppress Women’s Writing. I adapted it for my own use.
Yesterday, at a time of great mental duress, I took a biro and notebook and started writing; soon I covered two pages. It was a deeply therapeutic exercise. I post the annotated notes from my scribbles below in the hope that it will be of use to some besides me!
(Readers will be reassured to know there will be a positive version of this post, “She Wrote It, And…” which will be posted up shortly after this one.)
She wrote it, but she isn’t well-connected among people like us, people who matter – who’s heard of her?
She wrote it, but she’s an awkward loudmouth with notions and no tact.
She wrote it, but one of us was meant to write the World War I novel, not her, and we would have done so with more skill and subtlety.
She wrote it, but she’s an Irish Catholic woman. That’s triply the wrong demographic to write about WWI; we’re Irish and we say so.
She wrote it, but it was melodramatic, emotional and sometimes sensual. Ewwwwww, embarrassing, like she’s got her period all over her pants again. Snigger. We only consider proper literature.
She wrote it, but compared to our piquant-pale Iowa graduate headshots, she really doesn’t photograph that well. Not to mention she’s too old.
She wrote it, but she wrote a romance. And expects us to take her seriously? HAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh my days, what a scream!
She wrote it, but she had a character high up in the British military behave wickedly, and that would never happen with “a man of his station” (I wish to Christ I was joking but no, this “criticism” was made in the Irish Times review of White Feathers in November 2014)
She wrote it, but we’re muting her on twitter because she’s so angry all the time.
She wrote it, but too intelligently for a genre we’ve already decided isn’t intellectual, so it’s all a bit awkward.
She wrote it, but she quoted from Shakespeare, and we only allow authors we know and like to quote from Shakespeare. (The Irish Times review again, but I won’t link to the other review. Not the other author’s fault.)
She wrote it, but she wants to go to FESTIVALS? The likes of her should know they can’t just rock up and speak at an arts festival. She should be grateful she gets to wait her turn on the fag end of an open mic slot, uninvited and at her own expense, and make the most of her three minutes. (I did. Listowel 2015. Audience told me that I and my friend Helena Mulkerns were the best acts of the night.)
She wrote it, and nothing since for the last five years. Obviously a one-off.
She wrote it, but she didn’t smile and say thank you when we deigned to give her a shit sandwich. Even when we told her to eat up because it wasn’t really that shitty compared to the shit sandwiches we gave X, Y and Z. I don’t understand why she’s so annoyed.
She wrote it, but I’m another author, and it’s a bit awkward when she rants about people who have power over my future career. (Fair enough. I understand. To a point.)
She wrote it, but we didn’t want her to, so if we keep failing to mention her work, pass over any opportunity where we could, and shut her out even when she’s in the room, it’ll soon be as if she never wrote it at all. As if she never existed.
She wrote it, but she’s “egregious”.
She wrote it, but only as a marketing ploy to get it out in time for the centenary. (Ibid.)
She wrote it, but
She wrote it