“One Friday, during a student-teacher conference, Sister Katherine said, ‘Isolde, you are a very special child.’ Isolde gripped the edge of her detachable collar, mortified by the possibility that she had, by wearing it, drawn attention to herself.”
— Jennifer Tseng, The Passion of Woo & Isolde
Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson: What I’d really like is to be on Math Olympiad.
Nun: But math isn’t something you’re terribly strong in.
Lady Bird: That we know of yet.
— Lady Bird
This month’s pairing is one filled with both anticipation and exceptional follow-through. With Tseng’s previous publications and awards plus a glowing introduction from the unparalleled Amelia Gray, The Passion of Woo & Isolde assuredly delivers. And though Greta Gerwig’s acting and writing career has already been proven multiple times over, Lady Bird was her stunning directorial debut met with Golden Globes’ favor.
When combining these masterful works of art, you may discover :
- The hazards of enculturation
- Personally altered Catholicism
- The inability to fit into a predetermined space
- Outward appearances as reflections of developmental stage (especially hair color)
- Indulgently precise language
- The struggle to be viewed how you want to be seen
- The way relationships can increase and decrease feelings of isolation simultaneously
- Weakened fathers
- Attempts to understand the cruelty of a lover even to the point of illogically justifying their behaviors
- How to maintain identity in a new place
- Comparing self to others and discovering glaring inadequacies on your end
- Finding the proper role of ambition
With 24 flash pieces in one micro collection and scenes cut tightly without filler or vista, this pairing demonstrates that powerful stories often fit into the smallest of square footage. An example, possibly my favorite line from Tseng’s chapbook: “What she would have given to feel the old thorn of his refusal enter her heart.” This is something that Lady Bird also understands when she desperately longs for the mother she hates after finally becoming free of her. Though I’m sure none of us understand this haunting feeling that emanates from complicated relationships, not even remotely…*coughs*.