Wednesday, April 9, 2014

In the middle of a strange adventure: Things to read, listen to, and watch while pregnant

So, I'm currently waddling around, waiting for the arrival of both of my babies, Echo Lake in July (you can pre-order now!) and my actual human baby in late May, and figured this is as good a time as any to recommend some pregnancy & childbirth-related media. Being that I love all things weird, and pregnancy is certainly a weird time (at least for me), these recs will not be of the warm & fuzzy kind. Maybe, like me, you are interested in those strange edges of experience. If so, these various pregnancy & birth-related media might appeal: 

Nine Months by Paula Bomer: In this novel, a woman pregnant with her third child, fearing the complete loss of her life as an artist and woman, leaves her two small children and husband to take a cross-country trip to regain her sense of identity & figure out exactly what parts of herself she left behind. Along the way, she has random sex with a stranger at a rest stop, visits her high school friends, drinks and smokes, and pays a painful visit to a fellow artist and former lover, a painter who berates her for her lifestyle choices. The novel opens with one of the most realistic and arresting birth scenes I've ever read and ends on a hopeful, but realistic note: everything isn't going to be OK, but life will go on. While the novel might sound grim, the humor and sheer honesty of the narrator keep even the most desperate moments from becoming too much. 

Fever Ray's self-titled album: Karin Dreijer Andersson, one half of the brother-sister band The Knife, put out her first solo album under the name Fever Ray in 2009. This album is hypnotic and sometimes terrifying, fragments of language repeated and run through various spooky vocal manipulations. Many of Fever Ray's songs seem to be about navigating the cramped spaces of a home with a strange, new creature, about sleeplessness and early-morning delirium

Eyes are open the mouth cries
Haven't slept since summer

I live between concrete walls
When I took her up she was so warm
I live between concrete walls
In my arms she was so warm

Can I come over, I need to rest
Lay down for a while
Disconnect the night was so long
The day even longer
Lay down for a while recollect

The Brood, directed by David Cronenberg: The film focuses on Nola, a woman in an experimental psychology program that encourages people to exorcise their psychological problems somatically: through scratches, cuts, tumors, etc. Her estranged husband and young child suspect much more is going on, though, when a pack of very blonde, not-quite-human children start murdering people who have hurt Nola. C-berg is the King of body horror, and this films is one of his best (if not his very best). I won't give much more away, but the movie includes anger babies and  Oliver Reed and a crazy good Samantha Eggar as Nola, who is "in the middle of a strange adventure"

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