--I am likely the last person in the U.S. to read The Hunger Games. When we convened at my parents' house, my dad had checked the whole series out of the library. My sister and I tried to read The Hunger Games while we were there, but we didn't get far. My sister got far enough to know she needed to finish it, and when we went to Target to restock, she bought a copy. Then she mailed it to me, because I, too, knew I wanted to finish.
--I'm fairly sure that Katniss will survive, since there's a trilogy. Of course, I've been tricked by clever writers a time or two before.
--I had a restless night, and at one point, I woke up to read the book. Finally, I decided to stop in the middle of one chapter because I noticed that each chapter ends with a revelation that made me want to keep reading. It's a time-honored technique that continues to work.
--I went back to sleep and dreamed strange dreams. I was competing in some kind of race across a huge campus for a chance to attend UVa. I don't think the stakes were as high as in The Hunger Games, but I felt under constant threat.
--My friend and I had a conversation about those games in the book as metaphor. We may not literally kill our children in our society, but we do pit them against each other in ways that are soul killing. Don't believe me? Hang out with high schoolers who are thinking about college and report back to me.
--If you look at the statistics of who is in prison, you might tell us that we do, indeed, have games that pit youth against youth in a fight to the death. We just don't televise it.
--Being in a gym on certain nights puts me in mind of various games. The other night I noticed a guy who did a few reps on a machine, admired himself in a mirror while looking to see who else might have been admiring him, and then proceeded to click around on his Smartphone for 7-10 minutes.
--I wanted to say, "Dude, you're surrounded by people who are beating back midlife or who are cardiac patients. You're in the wrong gym if you're looking for admiration." I wanted to point out that he might develop more muscles if he spent more time lifting, less time on the phone. But I'm no ripply-muscled person myself; maybe I should try his technique. I shall pause now to allow you to collapse in laughter.
--Yesterday, on my way to spin class, a Camaro (new model) that was the deep-purple color of a bruise zoomed up behind me and whipped around me. I noticed that the license plate had one word on it: Virago. So, we have a muscle car branded with that word that makes me think of all the words that strong women have reclaimed for themselves.
--Who did I expect to see as a driver? When I pulled up beside the car, it certainly wasn't the driver that I saw: a white-haired man of color. Did he borrow the car from a tough daughter? Was he playing with our expectations of gender and age? Did he mean to request a different word? Virile, perhaps?
--If I was writing lots of fiction, that set of details about the Camaro and upended expectations of the driver would find their way into my work.
--I am not writing much fiction. Feel free to use this detail in your own work.
Best Essay Collections of 2017 by Women Authors
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