A Primordial Feminine Language

September 30th, 2011


As the fourth iteration of Camera Obscura Journal begins to take shape, it is only fitting in our celebration of language and imagery that we will showcase, in Winter 2011, Angela Woodward’s inventive story,  “Erehu,” which is worthy of multiple reads and includes the emergence of what the author calls a primordial feminine language. It begins:

“Because she was one sister among six brothers, or because she’d had a powerful vision in her sleep, she woke with the conviction that every word she uttered had been crafted for her by men. Men had invented words without consulting her or her ancestress, Eve. Like stuffing dirt in her mouth, they had forced her to utter their own grimy constructions, for which she held the utmost contempt. For them, [rock], [kneecap], were the necessary ones, while what was important to her was the ache that came from kneeling on the cold chapel floor. In her own, feminine tongue, [andrador] was what signified that bone-bruise, or [dornadro]—she would decide at her leisure.”

Angela Woodward is the author of the fiction collection The Human Mind (Ravenna Press, 2007) and the novella End of the Fire Cult (Ravenna Press, 2010).

We are also happy to include Abby Geni’s story, “The Girls of Apache Bryn Mawr,” of an unforgettable summer at camp and the arrival of womanhood.

“There were eight of us in the cabin, all Jews from the north side of Chicago. A few girls had been to Camp Reeds before and spoke knowingly and loftily about what the rest could expect, the campfire songs, canoe races and marathon games of Capture the Flag. There was the usual scuffle over who would get the bunks closest to the window and the counselor’s room. One or two girls had never been to sleep-away camp at all and were full of anxious questions about the latrines.”

Abby Geni’s stories have received first place in the Glimmer Train Fiction Open and the Chautauqua Contest. Additionally, her pieces have appeared or are forthcoming in Glimmer Train, Chautauqua, The Indiana Review, New Stories from the Midwest, and Confrontation, among others. In the most recent Best American Short Stories, her work was mentioned in the “Other Distinguished Stories” section. As a student at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she was awarded the Iowa Fellowship.

More updates as they develop.

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