The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Portrait of a Woman Walking Home by Anne Casey

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Alaina Hanchey, is from Portrait of a Woman Walking Home by Anne Casey, released by Recent Work Press in 2021.

Welcome to your Life Cruises self-guided tour [Official transcript]

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Welcome to your Life Cruises self-guided tour [Official transcript]

For Gabrielle

Please ensure your personal headset is set to Channel 1 at all times.

Welcome to your self-guided tour of the State of Womanhood. This destination has been pre-selected for you on a randomised basis. You have opted for the no-frills version of this tour. Please be aware this means you will incur additional charges en route. We are not responsible for unforeseen costs or for personal losses damage injury or death incurred.*

Following a brief passage through the Strait of Infanthood, noted for its rosy sunrises and its perennial flamingo-tinted flora, we will be approaching our first drop-off point. This is non-optional. Significant additional expenditure applies. Please prepare to disembark for your overnight adventure at the Precipice of Girlhood. If you have not read our preparatory notes on local customs, here is a quick recap: You do not have an opinion. If you think you have an opinion, it will be summarily refuted. You will accept all forms of affection from random strangers, distant relatives, and ‘friends’ of all ages and persuasions (no matter how creepy or repugnant). You will refrain at all times from being loud, shrill or argumentative. (Conduct of this nature is restricted to the Moors of Shrew, which destination has been excluded from this tour for reasons relating to current litigation.) You are regarded as inferior in all matters related to logic, mathematics, spatial awareness and physical strength. You are encouraged to make significant purchases in the gateway giftshop. The last tender will depart at 7 am sharp. Please ensure you are on board.

The highlight of the next part of your cruise will be your visit to the Capital of Womanhood. On the left you will find the Plains of Empathy. Natives of this region are commonly found to be friendly. Caution should be applied further to the left where radical elements are known to inhabit the coastal fringes as well as heavily wooded hinterland areas.

Having navigated the Sound of Education (with its twenty-five per cent chance you have sustained sexual assault), you will now be versed in fending off unwanted physical interactions to a greater or lesser extent, while navigating obstacles deliberately placed in your path. We recommend you pause here briefly and take in the distant heights of the Cape of Corporataria. There you can expect two thirds pay for like or higher value work. Up to forty per cent of prior participants have experienced sexual harassment in this location. Beware low-slung glass overhead.

In the event that you opt for the side-trip to the Geyser Fields of Maternity, career parking is available at rear. Please be aware that terms and conditions may change without notice in your absence. A hefty surcharge is applied to all late returns. In the event of your non-return you may be required to pay [redacted] [redacted] [redacted]**

We have just received a tycoon warning. For your own safety, please follow all directions without question. Step out of the vehicle. Interlace your hands behind your head. Spread your legs and await further instructions [redacted] [redacted]**

We hope you have enjoyed your journey through the midlands of the State of Womanhood. Please gather up all of your resources as we will shortly arrive at the Mines of Menopause. No appropriate protective equipment is available at this time. Severe conditions are expected. We urge you to take every precaution as we navigate [Static… voice becomes inaudible].

*Travel Advisory – State of Womanhood: Violent and/or fatal assaults have been recorded in the case of one third of tour participants.
**Sections redacted due to ongoing litigation.

Originally from the west of Ireland and living in Sydney, Anne Casey is author of five poetry collections. A journalist and legal author for 30 years, her work is widely published internationally, ranking in The Irish Times‘ Most Read. Anne has won literary awards in Ireland, Australia, the UK, Canada, Hong Kong and the USA, most recently American Writers Review 2021 and the Henry Lawson Prize 2022. She is the recipient of an Australian Government scholarship and a bursary for her PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Technology Sydney where she researches and teaches.

Alaina Hanchey, known as Harley to both friends and foes, believes rhetoric is intensely important and the way we speak can change the world. That belief was shared by her best friend, Quinn Arielle Kerlin, who inspired her to volunteer and immerse herself in those words that matter, and the connections that matter.


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