Andrea Dworkin: The New Womans Broken Heart

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Andrea Dworkin The New Womans Broken Heart
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THE NEW WOMANS BROKEN HEART

By A ndrea Dworkin

WOMAN HATING

OUR BLOOD: PROPHECIES AND DISCOURSES

ON SEXUAL POLITICS

THE NEW WOMANS BROKEN HEART

Short Stories

Andrea Dworkin

Frog In The Well

430 Oakdale Road

East Palo Alto, California 94303

1980

THE NEW WOMANS BROKEN HEART

Copyright © 1980 by Andrea Dworkin

Copyright © 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979 by Andrea Dworkin

All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this

book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written

permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information address Elaine Markson Literary Agency, 44 Greenwich Avenue, New York, New York 10011.

“the simple story of a lesbian girlhood” was first published in

Christopher Street, Vol. 2 No. 5, November 1977, in an earlier version

under the title “The Simple Story of a Lesbian Childhood. ”

Copyright ©

1977 by Andrea Dworkin.

“bertha schneiders existential edge” was first published in Bitches and

Sad Ladies,

edited by Pat Rotter, Harper’s Magazine Press, 1975.

Copyright © 1975 by Andrea Dworkin.

“the new womans broken heart” was first published in Heresies, Vol. 2

No. 3, Spring 1979. Copyright © 1978, 1979 by Andrea Dworkin.

This is a work of fiction and any resemblance between the characters in this

book and real persons living or dead is coincidental.

FIRST EDITION

ISBN: 0-9603628-0-0

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 79-055919

Printed at Up Press, 1944 University Ave.,

East Palo Alto, CA 94303. (415) 328-3944

Typeset by GJGraphics, 2336 Palo Verde St.,

East Palo Alto, CA 94303. (415) 322-7188

No, Claudine, I do not shudder. All that is life, time

flowing on, the hoped-for miracle that may lie round the

next bend of the road. It is because of my faith in that

miracle that I am escaping.

Colette, Claudine and Annie

Acknowledgments

I thank especially Elaine Markson, Jeannette Koszuth, Sheryl Dare,

Susan Hester, John Stoltenberg, Eleanor Johnson, and Judah Kata-

loni for their unwavering support and faith.

I also thank the many friends whose lives, opinions, values, and accomplishments encouraged and inspired me during the years in which these stories were written.

I

also thank the many individuals who helped me to survive with

loans and gifts of money over the same period.

Andrea Dworkin

Contents

1

the simple story of a lesbian girlhood

1

2

bertha schneiders existential edge

6

3

how seasons pass

11

4

some awful facts, recounted by bertha schneider

15

5

the new womans broken heart

6

the wild cherries of lust

7

bertha schneiders unrelenting sadness

8

the slit

the simple story of a lesbian girlhood

it began quite possibly with Nancy Drew.

there she was.

her father Carson was a lawyer and her boyfriend Ned always wore

a suit.

she solved mysteries.

in particular I remember The Secret in the Old A ttic. there she

was, her hands tied behind her back, her feet tied together, thrown

on the floor of a deserted attic in the middle of the night, that was

because she had singlehandedly and against all odds discovered the

murderous villain who had committed unspeakable crimes. I cant

remember what they were but Nancy never underestimated or

overestimated. he wanted to kill her so (it seemed absolutely logical

then) he locked her in a pitch black attic with a black widow spider.

there she was, on the floor, struggling and twisting, at any moment,

any wrong move, she would be bitten by the black widow spider and

die a slow, lingering, agonizing death. she wasnt even afraid.

me, I was terrified. I had learned to be terrified in the 2nd grade,

Mrs. (as we said then) Jones class, when we did a science project—

the boys did theirs on spiders, we did ours on seashells. every time

the boys discovered a new poisonous or even a very ugly non-

poisonous spider they made creepy sounds. for about 8 years I

always felt at the foot of my bed for spiders and wore socks. naturally

I was relieved when, on the last page, Carson and Ned flung open the

door to the attic, turned on the light, and stomped on the black

widow spider which was just inches from her brave, abused body, she

never even screamed or cried.

there were also, of course, Cherry Ames Student Nurse and Ginny

Gordon Detective and Flossie of the Bobbsey Twins and Nan who

was I think another Bobbsey Twin (there were 2 sets), they always

had adventures and went out at night and had boyfriends and were

rescued just in the nick of time, they werent much as heroes go but

they were all I had.

sometime about the 6th grade I got into the heavy stuff. Scarlett

O’Hara and Marjorie Momingstar. I read Gone with the Wind at

least 22 times. I had total visual recall of every page. I could open it

up at will to any episode and begin crying immediately. I would sit in

my room, door locked, and cry—tears streaming down my cheeks,

body racked in agony, but quietly so my mother wouldnt hear and

take the book away, when Rhett carried her up those stairs. “My

dear, I don’t give a dam n, ” he said when finally, at last, she begged,

when Ashley died, when Tara was burned to the ground, how

Scarlett suffered and how I suffered, we were the same really, both

women of greatness. I saw my grand white house in rubble, myself in

ashes and sackcloth, destitute, humiliated, my slaves loved me (here

I quivered, knowing even then I was a jerk) and were forced to leave.

Rhett. Rhett. I was her, and I was him, and I was her being cruel to

him, and him being cruel to her, and all of us, suffering, heroic,

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