Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

09 April 2021

On the Spin #4

Current mood: Like my feet are chained to the earth.

Listening: 

  • Needy, Molly Burch: "Oh I can be needy, way too damn needy/I can be needy, tell me how good it feels to be needed..." 

  • The Audible edition of Lafcadio Hearn's Japanese Ghost Stories, read by Eleanor Matsuura. Nothing I'd rather listen to while wandering my new neighbourhood, replete with ghosts I've yet to meet...

Reading: 

  • Four Eternal Women: Toni Wolff Revisited - A Study in Opposites, Mary Dian Molton and Lucy Anne Sikes. This explores the four psychic archetypes of women in patriarchy that Toni Wolff designed: the Mother, the Hetaira, the Amazon and the Medial Woman.

    Archetypes are always an attempt to simplify what is not by nature simple, and of course we contain them all; we are legion. But part of me struggles with the realisation that I identify most easily with the Hetaira, even as I feel the relief that often accompanies a long-desired diagnosis.

    A Hetaira's ego is mostly fed by the health and quality of her relationship to men or a particular man. She spends her energies helping them better realise and understand themselves, even as, ideally, she develops her own work and maintains a necessary autonomy. But there's a shadow part of my brain thinking, what if I have no great work of my own, and this is all I'm for? I hate it.

    On the other hand, I love the Hetairas that have walked with me in folklore and history: Aphrodite, Inanna, Circe, Simone de Beauvoir, Toni Wolff herself, and even Lyra Bellacqua of His Dark Materials. For all Lyra's scrappy independence—all the change she effects in whole universes!—in the myth logic of the world she lives in, she is Eve. One does not exclude the other.

Watching: 

  • His Dark Materials on HBO. I'd still gladly name my hypothetical daughter Lyra, something I decided when, as a kid, I first read this trilogy. Unrelated: I recently thought, if I ever have a son, I shall call him Rilke.

    Dix Pour Cent on Netflix. I miss this show when it's not around. It is just different enough from my old life to feel like reprieve, but similar enough that the stakes feel like my own. Also, it's a love letter to the Paris that I know, or once knew. She is becoming something else now, changing like the rest of us.

Studying: 

  • Myths, always myths, forever myths. I'm reading about Yaqui mythology presently, and of course there is my ongoing osmosis of Japanese ghost stories, which have a few charming resonances with Celtic stories, for example. Following the logic of Michael Witzel, that means such themes and stories are far older than even the cultures we happen to learn them in, scaling all the way back, perhaps, to the route from Africa.

    To wit: A worthy man follows a beautiful immortal across the sea and into a world of endless summer, where he passes several blissful years married to her. Then, missing his family, he asks to go home for a visit. Alarmed, and fearing she'll never see him again, she gives him something to ensure he can return if he can just follow one instruction. (You see where this is going.) Of course, he returns to his village to discover hundreds of years have passed, all his people are dead, and defies the one instruction required to assure his return.

    This is the story of Oisín following Niamh to Tír na nÓg, but it's also the story of Urashima Tarō, following the Sea God's daughter to the Dragon Palace across the Sea of Japan.

Something I wish: 

  • The earlier part of Covid confinement was easier. I imagined myself on Aiaia, cultivating my own desires, finally, with the patience of eternity yawning before me. It is harder to maintain a grip on this mindset these days. I'm not sure why. Or rather, I am: Relationship disruptions, separation from my partner of 10 years, after we both tried so hard; moving; the inability to travel freely, which so punctuated my life up to this point; and returning to what feels like the unstructured, more compressed but chaotic life of student with no clear trajectory ahead.

    At this point in life, people have settled into a certain level of material and rhythmic stability, spreading out into larger spaces, buying homes. I feel like I did all that first, then dropped those balls and ran backward, or sideways. Somewhere off the map. When people come to visit my new, smaller apartment, however charming it is and glad I am to have so exquisite and apt an Angela nest, I wonder if this is what they think about: she went backward. Why?

    I wish it were easier to maintain the embodied conviction of Aiaia.

Looking forward to:

  • Something that feels like safe haven.

Projects: 

  • I joined the board of Creatives for Climate, an opportunity to direct years of creative experience into helping other creatives locate meaning in their work and effect long-term environmental systems change. Our recent learning event gave me a chance to try filtering my myth learnings into the larger world:


  • I'm still representing women in esports for Hurrah—which is now a group, not a baby anymore!—and WIGJ:


  • Late last year, I went back to grad school at Dartington Arts, where I'm working on an MA in their inaugural Poetics of Imagination programme. It's about oral storytelling and myth, my bread and butter these days. I just finished my second term paper, on the theme of betrayal as ritual in the story of Tristan and Isolde, and it enriched me in ways I didn't know I required. Whole days and nights of madness were spent trying to birth that paper, and when it was over it was as if my soul had eaten a complete meal.
All good work here. All crunchy, magical things. I'm just longing for my winged sandals. 

Underworld journeys are necessary, and we romanticise initiation times while skirting over the fact that they are, by necessity, agonising and uncomfortable. A death is required.

Knowing this intellectually does not make it easier to live through. I don't think it is meant to be easy. Maybe the trick is ignoring the urge to try constantly escaping it.

Sometimes Blogger feels like a crumbling empire. All the villagers left long ago; there's just birds here now, and stone edifices in various states of toppling. I like it.

07 April 2021

Unsolicited Pro Tip #1: Learn to Cook Vegan

Last year, just before Covid confinement descended, I decided I should finally learn how to cook, and bought a giant bundle of vegan cookbooks. 

I am not vegan. I bought the books because there was cheap deal on Humble Bundle, and also out of some vague idea that vegans who write cookbooks are people who enjoy eating, and, given the constraints of veganism, likely have interesting and creative strategies for making tasty but also nutritionally-balanced everyday meals.

I did not regret this choice. One of my favourite things about learning how to cook vegan is how much more diverse your meal options become. To start, I know how to do tons of stuff with vegetables now, and don't just have this vague, depressing idea that all vegetables are basically just salad. Veggies can be savoury, lush, textured, juicy, fleshy. Learning to cook them seasonally has become one of my greatest pleasures.

Vegan cooking is insanely creative. There are replacements for all kinds of stuff that frequently goes missing in the kitchen, like eggs or milk. If you want macaroni and cheese but are having a bad dairy week, some nutritional yeast will sort you out. Missing milk? Oat milk is a 20-minute make, and most of that is soaking. This is especially helpful in lockdown times, when your ability to shop is limited. 

It's also just nice to have this skill on-hand. If you can cook vegan, you don't worry about most guests with eating preferences. You can quickly prep something nice for them, instead of just serving side greens or extra leftover rice, and people are really grateful for that.

Today I had a hankering to make oatmeal raisin cookies, but had no eggs. Not a problem! Who doesn't have an overripe banana, or some cornstarch and water? I used an overripe banana, was pretty goddamn proud of myself, and my resulting cookies were not only pillowy but also softly banana-bread sweet.

So yeah. Learn to cook vegan. You won't believe how much you learn, and how much more possibility you'll see when others just see the need for a shopping trip. Plus, meat is expensive.


Yup. That's the post. 

10 March 2021

Always, Never

"Always and Never are countries that don't exist," someone said recently, probably in a podcast. And yet they are the countries that so often compose the language of early love. I will always. I will never. Always, never, always, never. So too for love at the end of its rope. You always, you never. I always, I never... 

A swing of promise, then reproach.