FROM NOW ON 1 - sasheer

by Susan Weber

I heard an interview with Sasheer Zamata which you can hear too if you’d like. Her parents named her for an alien crystal on Star Trek. She left Indiana to rule the world and wound up in New York City. There she set her sights on stand-up because she liked to try scary things. She is now a Saturday Night Live cast member, has her own comedy special, acts in movies, and advocates for women of color.

Sasheer Zamata is beautiful, funny, and winningly alive. In the interview she skirts around bravura and braggadocio, as most women do, assuring us she may be wildly popular and talented but, at heart, she’s just a kid from Indianapolis, following her dreams.

Most of the time the fairer sex, a name we’ve been assigned to remind us of our unassuming virtue, is artfully oblivious to how much energy we expend tiptoeing prettily around a host of landmines. Hazardous material like pride, ambition — even competence — threaten to upend our successes. Niceness is your set point, girls. Remember that.

I’m reading Vladimir Nabokov. His early works certify his genius even as a young writer. An outcast from Russia, he published stories in Berlin’s émigré newspaper, Rul’. His pages brim with brash, youthful, sensuous, extravagant prose. He may have had his land mines too, with writers like Chekov, Dostoyevsky, and Tolstoy on his radar. But I have to suggest, because I just turned ancient and I can be the fishwife battle-ax she-devil hell cat hussy if I want to, that Nabokov’s land mines were distinctly different from my own. Russian masters who came before were proof positive of the masculine, explosive potential in his art. Should Nabokov wander the promised land of Russian Lit, he too might trigger fate and rocket skyward into glory.

It’s obvious, isn’t it? From now on I may as well try more scary things. I can roam this earth, kick up clods of peat, and watch what happens. Hopefully, fireworks. Possibly grandeur. And let's not rule out art.

Photo by Didier Descouens CC BY-SA 3.0