Women in a Man's World, Crying
216 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
- Published: October 2002
- Published: September 2009
This thoughtful, engaging collection showcases the best nonfiction prose produced by one of the nation's most observant and incisive writers.
This collection of warm, heartfelt essays from award-winning novelist Vicki Covington chronicles the multitude of "in between" moments in the writer's life. These are her stolen moments in between the writing of four novels-Gathering Home, Bird of Paradise, Night Ride Home, and The Last Hotel for Women; in between coauthoring the edgy memoir Cleaving: The Story of a Marriage with her husband Dennis Covington; in between raising two daughters; in between her husband's struggle with cancer and the author's own heart attack; in between a life full of trials and triumphs, disappointments and celebrations - moments that, as Covington demonstrates here, are always rich and revealing.
In the title essay, the author questions why all seven middle-class women who live on her street confess at a neighborhood cookout that in the past 48 hours each of them has cried. In "A Southern Thanksgiving," Covington reflects on the "family dance" that is Thanksgiving in the South: "In the North they put their crazy family members in institutions, but in the South we put them in the living room for everyone to enjoy." In "My Mother's Brain," the author recounts the onset of Alzheimer's in her mother and how, with the spread of the disease, an untapped vein of love is revealed.
Some of these essays were written as weekly newspaper columns for the Birmingham News. Others were written for specific literary occasions, such as the First Annual Eudora Welty Symposium. They are divided into six thematic sections: "Girls and Women," "Neighborhood," "Death," "The South," "Spiritual Matters," and "Writing."
Throughout, as Covington casts her candid, attentive eye on a situation, confusion yields to comprehension, fear flourishes into faith, and anger flows into understanding. In memorializing the small moments of her life, she finds that they are far from peripheral; indeed, they are central to a life full of value and meaning.
GIRLS AND WOMEN Women in a Man's World, Crying 3 The Girls' Locker Room 6 Her Breast 9 Women in Prison 12 Nails 15 Girls Playing Hardball 18 The Father-Daughter Game 21 NEIGHBORHOOD A Southern Thanksgiving 27 Donor 30 A Simple Life 33 Recipes and the Friends Who Went with Them 36 Barbie 39 School Lunch 42 Michael Jordan's Midlife Crisis 44 DEATH Burying Annie 49 Crossing the Viaduct 52 My Mother's Brain 55 Race Car Drivers and Writers 58 December, a Grandmother's Dying 61 Nixon 64 Jackie 67 The Mouse 70 THE SOUTH The South Catches On to AIDS 75 The AIDS Care Team 78 The Family Reunion 81 Grits 84 The Southern Art of Feeding 87 Museum 89 The Disappearing South 92 SPIRITUAL MATTERS The Star of Wonder 97 Jan, My Cousin 100 The Apple Tree 103 Mother's Day 105 Other People's Hell 108 Normandy 110 Letters from the War 113 On Marriage 116 A Feminist Easter 119 Eros 122 The Moon, Twenty-five Years Later 125 WRITING Walking on Water 131 Writers Don't Wear Petticoats 137 Imagination's Birth 140 The Horse 144 The House Within 148 Epilogue 155