Author: Laura Madeline Wiseman
Publisher: Dancing Girl Press
Publication Date: February 7, 2014
Number of Pages: 30
How I Got It: from the author
Format: paperback and e-copy
Author supplied summary:
Launched into the underworld realms of sunken ships, myths, and mercurial pop cultural representations, Spindrift dives into waters where who we thought mermaids were wavers with possibilities, dangers, and hopes.
This flash fiction piece of work may appear small, but it is indeed mighty. Part journal format, part poetry, but all fiercely female, Spindrift deconstructs feminine ideals through modern perceptions of mermaid myths. While a few statements in this work contain flashes of thought toward the idealized concept mermaid's represent ("paint their lips with crushed anemones,") Wiseman provides a feminist interpretation of the fantasy. In Against Myth the mermaid is not long flowing hair and seashell pasties, she exists regardless of belief and outside of scientific explanation (no exoskeletons or horns) and gender norms (hairy armpits and unibrows.) In Whoppers, Wiseman references Peter Pan's mermaids and gives a chillingly realistic interpretation of Melville's Moby Dick and Disney's The Little Mermaid:
Ahab lied. There was no whaler, no dick of Moby. Ahab was simpy a dick. The old man in the sea, he lied. Not a marlin. Ariel lied. She wasn't mermaid or fish, just another voiceless woman with amnesia. Anyone would forget an event that turned every step into a feeling of knives.
Wiseman walks a fine line between providing us with another, more feminist, mermaid narrative and pointing out inconsistencies in yet another perpetuated myth personifying feminine concepts. The effect is a dreamy swirl of bedtime story and call to action. Again, I am beyond impressed with Wiseman's work and strongly recommend it to anyone, but especially those interested in gender theory.
Additional Info about Wiseman: Originally from Iowa and currently residing in Nebraska, Wiseman has been a writer-in-residence at The Prairie Center of the Arts is in Peoria, IL three times. Her dissertation (Queen of the Platform) focused on Matilda Fletcher, the suffragist, poet, and lecturer from Illinois, who was also her great-great-great grandmother.
Be sure to also checkout Wiseman's website and one of the Spindrift videos as well as my review of another of Wiseman's works Intimates and Fools
** I received a copy of this work in exchange for an honest review **