Nora Chassler


from Madame Bildungsroman’s Optimistic Worldview



Have you ever noticed how people who say ‘you make your own reality’ are always really rich?


The Death of Nature

You should read Carolyn Merchant’s The Death of Nature. It’s about the ‘evolving’ nature-as-mother metaphor, among other things. There is a lot about mining. Did you ever read The Faerie Queene? I haven’t.

Today I saw a lady wearing a similar coat and boots to mine. She had (what I think is) the same inoffensive, quite subtle hunch. I thought she was older until I saw her face; she was only about 25. She was dressed older. She was walking a parti-poodle (that is what they are called, I believe) and my dog had gotten him excited. My dog is in heat. I haven’t neutered her. I decided not to, AMA.

I said, “It’s her fault,” so she would not blame her dog for bugging us. At least I think that is why I said it.

She said, “It’s not really anyone’s fault.”

Which made me think.


A Change in the Memes of Production

I could just get the word ‘typo’ tattooed on my arm. Put a heart around it.

I’ve said this before, and maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but I believe within the next century standardised spelling will die.

Die! Die! Die! Your reign of terror will end. You fascist language-eater! Killer of legitimacy! Box-ticker! Shallow ninny! Etc.

Dictionaries are about meaning, btw. And history. Not fucking spelling.


And you know what else? I like reading things that are spelled funny, having to pause and think: playfe, what the heck did that mean?

Printing press = standardised spelling.

Internet/autocorrect/texting = you get the idea.


My Lovely Lady Humps

For much of human history the most important words we heard made no sense to us, we literally couldn’t understand what the priest said. Even when it was in our native tongue we couldn’t understand the symbolism, the strange stories with no end, the lists. We spent our lives decoding. We trusted when we couldn’t understand. And we felt soothed in not knowing. It was the sound, and the speaker, and what we were told they meant. It was where they stood. And what they wore. But it was also this value of words. We know and we don’t know, at best.

Was there a point in time, along the lines of when perspective was invented, when words were relieved of these, their highest uses?

Literature was not always so far from the other arts, from music and visual images. Today we are allowed to stand in front of a painting and not get it, but still love it. Likewise, music.

Is the highest words can climb the pop song lyric, the poem that tells you something about love or death or longing – reminds you of something you’ve felt? (I won’t even mention that one story we are allowed to tell.)

I don’t always have to say something you understand.



Shush. Listen to the motiveless leaves. Now that it’s cold they are coated in frost. They are cracking under your footsteps! It’s the beginning of your day and the end of theirs. Luckily they don’t care. They have been through a lot: sheer experience without struggle requires all their energy. And is nothing like as easy as it looks.


Nora Chassler was born in 1972 and grew up In NYC. She moved to the UK in 2002 and now lives in Edinburgh. She has published two novels, Miss Thing (2010) and Grandmother Divided by Monkey Equals Outer Space (2015). Her book of fragments, aphorisms and allegories, Madame Bildungsroman’s Optimistic Worldview, will be published by Valley Press in July 2017.

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