Dealing with one crisis is bad enough; trying to deal with three is - existential. We are facing a world health crisis in the form of the insidious COVID-19 pandemic, a world economic crisis that has resulted from the killer pandemic (although the current recession in the United States actually started during the last two quarters of 2019 under the auspices of Donald J. Trump, before the novel coronavirus pandemic was a "thing." Whatever Trump touches dies*). The third crisis is, perhaps, even more destructive in the United States particularly, than the first, because it threatens not only the lives of Americans, but the life of our very country: a crisis in the form of battle fronts in a variety of forms against the forces of Trump's Fascism.
Katherine Neville has not been a prolific writer of novels in her lifetime, but a couple of the novels she has written had a tremendous impact on my life - in ways I could not foresee at the time I read them. Indeed, the seeds for the synthesis of what would eventually become Goddesschess were planted years before in the form of Katherine Neville's novel "The Eight." It was first published in January 1989 and I purchased my paperback edition in early 1990 for $5.95.
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Seems an eon ago in more ways than one. I don't remember the exact circumstances in which I decided to buy the book, perhaps it was this tagline on the back cover "A feminist answer to Raiders of the Lost Ark." The Washington Post Book World. And the symbol on the front cover - a sort of "figure 8" laying on its side. For some reason, it struck me - maybe because for many years back in the 1960s when I was a teenager I watched "Ben Casey," a television medical drama that every week's intro started out with a hand holding a piece of chalk writing on a chalkboard and describing the symbols as a male hand drew them: Man, Woman, Birth, Death, Infinity. That sort of "sideways 8" was the symbol for "infinity."
And the tag line appealed. I was and remain a feminist. I was born and raised a feminist from two bloodlines of families with generation after generation of strong, tough women. They had to be, in order to go through what their lives were and to survive. Women who didn't take NO for an answer, women who were never afraid to go toe to toe with anybody, women who were strong, tough, fighters when necessary. Women who were pioneers and helped settle our country; women who sought out education, including the first college-graduates in our respective family lines. It was the women who led the charge, and the men in our family, including my father and his father before him, who encouraged their daughters to go for it all.
Now yellowed with age and with permanently dog-earred pages and scribbled inked notes in margins here and there, I have read my beloved copy of this novel a few times and parts of its I have read over and over many times. And like watching a favorite movie over and over again, each time, I gain some new insight.
Many of Neville's fans are devotees and she maintains a popular website, issuing periodic newsletters. I think this August 1, 2020 newsletter is especially relevant to our time and what we in the United States in particular are going through right now. Maybe you won't agree, or maybe you will gain some new fresh insight, who knows? Katherine Neville's Lammas New Letter, August 1, 2020.
*From the non-fiction best seller "Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever," by Rick Wilson. Wilson is one of the co-founders of The Lincoln Project, which has the uncanny ability to get under Donald J. Trump's skin and truly killer sensibilities when it comes to making gut punches in the Project's political ads.