Mahshid Amirshahi

What a GOOD writer, and how lucky I am to have such friends as the gent who has introduced me to her prose! (Thanks, Benito!)

I read her and think: why have I not heard of this woman before.

I need to peer above my monitor more frequently, and see what else is out in the world, clearly.

Enjoy. She’s a wonder!

Here, just read this little bit:

Once on top of a London double-decker bus, amidst civilised whispering voices punctuated with crisp rustles of newspapers, I heard a little girl’s voice asking, “Mummy is our cat a she-cat or a he-cat?”

Whispers and rustles subsided just enough for the mother’s answer to be audible: “A he-cat dear.” The tone was firm and final that announced the end of the conversation.

The little girl thought otherwise. “How can you tell Mummy?”

This time the silence was all embracing, except for the tiny cracks of ears stretching out. The mother did not fidget or falter, as may have been expected; she did not even prolong the agony of the audience, and said composedly, “He has got whiskers, hasn’t he darling?”

The upper deck came back to life with a couple of soft giggles, coughs of satisfaction, before plunging back to its lulling rhythm of whispers, and rustles.

The next stop was a “request” one, and mine. I had already rung the bell, and the driver was pulling aside to evacuate me, when I heard the little girl’s voice again. “But Mom, she-cats have whiskers too!”

I got off the bus chuckling and thinking to myself how on earth ‘Mom’ is going to wriggle out of that one.

Now, years after this long-forgotten episode, I find myself almost in that child’s shoes. I have been asked to introduce this “she-book”, that with or without whiskers, resembles a “he-book” as far as I am concerned. I somehow regret not having stayed on that bus a bit longer to hear the reply of that little girl’s mother. She might have provided me with a neat satisfactory formula for drawing the dividing line between “male” and “female” without sounding cheerfully vulgar or clinically anatomical.

The truth is, that I find no difference between the creative works of men and women, and what is more I am not even after finding any. The sex of the author definitely does not figure among my criteria for choosing a book. Therefore the division of literature on the basis of the writer’s gender appears to me extremely arbitrary, and to be frank quite silly, as silly as trying to classify literary works into “originally hand-written” and “typed”, or produced by “ambidextrous” and “left-handed” authors. These divisions and subdivisions, which can go on eternally, do not interest me in the least.

Ahhhhhhhh…I love her. She is my new best friend! :-)

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • travis


    I once had a professor of architectural history that was convinced he could tell “Gay” architects from “Straight” architects solely on the basis of their works. How silly.

    But this always left me wondering…what does a “gay” house look like? Am I living in one now? It seems that this is a whole area of real estate that could be exploited for the benefit of both sides.

    Also the whole thing about Michelangelo being gay, as if that’s the most important distinction of his work. Go check out this little tidbit by Lileks.

    I think it aptly sums up all the silly arbitrary nonsense we find in Women’s Studies as well. All this group identitiy nonsense is just degrading to people as individuals.

  • Random Gemini

    Where negative attitudes toward women, and non-whites, homosexuals and other minorities exist education is everyone’s path to freedom and social equality.

    It may not be necessary for travis, or other like-minded individuals to participate in diversity education, but for those people who have only been exposed to narrow-minded views of minority groups and women, it is immensely important to show them the larger picture.