Iris Murdoch

If my memory doesn’t fail me, about 7 years ago, while still living in Sweden, I watched Iris. A beautiful movie in which Judi Dench and Kate Winslet share the heavy loaded mission of acting Iris Murdoch uncommon and sublime life in two phases. Ninety one minutes was all it took me to fall completely in love with Iris.

A couple of years later, I found a job in Dublin and moved to Ireland, her home country. I remember how excited I was at the prospect of being in places where she had been, of seeing what she had seen; I knew I would buy every book, every diary she has written for the possibility of scanning her brain through her own words, memories and twisted lies. I knew I’d read her works chronologically, as a timeline, and backwards, as a palindrome.

To my complete surprise, for 3.5 years, whenever I entered a bookshop and asked for Iris Murdoch books I’d get a shrug, or a “I’m not sure we have them”, or a “Check the women’s books section”. I assumed she would have her books printed in gold at the front of every Irish bookshop or library, but no, Joyce and Yeats was all they seem to care about.

Then today, in my last week living in Dublin, I went out to buy a new sweater to help me cope with the rather bleak Irish weather and, by taking a new path to town, I came across a rare book shop I had never seen before.

There I went, opening the door, and gazing at dozens of old and colorful book covers. The woman inside asked if she could help. I said “Yes”, she asked me if I was looking for something, I said: “Do you have anything by Iris Murdoch?”. She went: ”Iris M… Yes, I have. Only one, though. But it is a signed copy!” My heart skipped a bit.

  • How much?
  • Err… let me see. 150 euros.

I tried not to act as surprised as I was. Then I rapidly converted the value into my own home country currency in my head… 150 EUR is something like 550 BRL, which is roughly 50% of  a minimum wage in Brazil. Damn.

After living abroad for almost ten years I still convert everything into Brazilian Reais. It is as if, no matter where I go, “my currency” continues to be the base for financial decision making, which, of course, makes no sense whatsoever considering the very different economic contexts of both countries and that I’m paid in Euros, but still, the mind goes where it goes.

  • I’ll take it.
  • Do you want a bag?
  • Yes, please.

Of course I wanted a bag. A bag to put and protect the most expensive stack of paper I ever bought in my life from the constant drops of rain coming from the skies above in Dublin. “But it is a signed one”. I repeated the woman’s line in my head. Not that I needed convincing, I didn’t. I knew the value of it, to me. The chance to touch pages that Iris had touched, to have a copy of the first edition of one of her books, a book that was made and bought in Ireland, where she was born and lived.

Who knows, maybe there is an Irish woman signing books as Iris and making a fortune thanks to fools like me. Who knows, maybe the fraudulent woman is not even Irish. Who knows?

Who cares. I don’t. I knew what having the book would do to me. This is the stuff that dreams are made of. This is the fuel to believers, to faith, to hope. All that I’ve been looking for and that I need to start and finish my own books in this life.

Back home I went, feeling like a casket of happiness, carrying a pulsing body that is starving for more stories like hers and for more time to read all the stuff I buy, however much it costs. By the time I reached my doorsteps, I had this post written in my head, from the very first word to the last dot.

 

Empty Uterus

The project
Empty uterus is a blog and a book in the making about childless women around the world.

The background
In 2009, hoping to find an answer to whether I wanted to have children or not, I decided to start a blog with the primary intent to dig deeper into the possibilities and share all the material I could find about the process of reflecting and deciding on becoming a mother and the childless option with other women who might be looking for the same information.

Over time, my interest for the theme grew immensely, as did the scope of the research, and what started as a personal journey revealed itself as something much bigger: a book about women who live without children of their own. Now, both the blog and the book are called Empty Uterus.

The blog
A library where I archive parts of my research: reviews of movies, books, podcasts, theater plays, magazine and newspaper articles I’ve come across since I started the quest to better know and understand the childless path.

The book
A collection of interviews with childless women from several countries. Still in the making.

The intent
To create a virtual living room full of material for women who chose not to have children, who are childless by circumstance or who are ambivalent about motherhood.

The visitors
You can claim your seat in two different ways:

  • by visiting this blog, as regularly as you wish, reading the posts and exploring the different pages (on the top menu) filled with books, movies, podcasts, etc. about the childless life.

or

  • by requesting a place in the Empty Uterus book and telling me your story (if you wish to know more, contact me via email, social media or comments in one of the posts).

Either way, what matters the most is that you got here.

I hope that the content carefully created and curated for this blog will prove useful to you somehow and I wish you the best of luck in your self-discovery journey.