empathy

A letter to Angela Carter: you taught me that women can also be werewolves and tigers, resourceful survivors

Angela Carter

Angela Carter

Dear Angela Carter,

Forgive me for writing to you while I still have many of your books left to read. Either way, I already know you wrote the book that will remain my absolute all-time favourite –The Bloody Chamber” – and, if you’re kind enough to bear through these lines, I will tell you more about what it meant to me.

First, let me say that you left too soon. You hadn’t even turned 52. In your pictures you have lively quicksilver eyes, killer cheekbones and your face is bathed in light – the kind that can only come from within – even when you are being pensive and seem to want to keep a distance. When you smile, your smile is kind and understanding.

If you were still with us, you would be an energetic 75-year-old, with your mind and tongue as sharp as ever. You’d still be calling Germaine Greer a “clever fool,” because she still is, and I’d read articles about your battles of wits and share them on my social media, mentioning, of course, how delightful and almost scarily intelligent I think you are. You’d let us know exactly what you think about the current fads – about the kids with iPhones, the authors at the height of popularity and the superhero movies. I would wish to meet you at least once, hoping you would be the only Taurus woman I’d manage not to quarrel with. Even so, I would find being scolded by Angela Carter a great honor and something to tell everyone about, until they get tired of the story and even after that.

But you are not with us any more, and all I can and will do is tell people about you and urge them to open one of your books. Especially if that book is “The Bloody Chamber.” I will challenge them not to hold their breath through the whirlwind of the title story, not to shed tears of joy at the very end of “The Tiger’s Bride” and not to shiver with excitement when the wolves show up.

This, because with “The Bloody Chamber” you taught me, not to believe in fairy tales again, because I never truly stopped believing, but something even more important – to see them for what they really are. You taught me the gritty side of fairy tales – the rawness, the struggle, the moment when hope seems to lie dead and the stubborn, relentless struggle for survival and self-affirmation.

The Goth kid in my heart will always be fond of your sad vampire, playing solitaire with her ancient Tarot cards, but you taught me that we women can also be werewolves and tigers, hunters and fighters and resourceful survivors, and that redemption comes when we have the power to see the truth and make a choice. Like I’m sure you did, I hope each and every one of us will see that day when honest love – the kind that means openness, connection, true intimacy, inspiration and sincere effort – will turn us into what we were all along. The day when we shake the water from our beautiful fur.

Love (to a true Lady of the House of Love),

Anca

Angela Olive Carter-Pearce  (7 May 1940 – 16 February 1992) who published as Angela Carter, was an English novelist and journalist, known for her feminist, magical realism, and picaresque works. In 2008, The Times ranked Carter tenth in their list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945″. In 2012, Nights at the Circus was selected as the best ever winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Anca Rotar is a Romanian-born writer, over-thinker and caffeine addict. She is the author of two books, Hidden Animals and Before It Sets You Free, both available from Amazon.com. Among her interests, which she finds it hard to shut up about, she counts fashion, yoga, city breaks and deadpan sarcasm. She is also currently studying Japanese, so wish her luck. You can sample bits of Anca’s creative writing here.

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