Two Serious Ladies is a small online magazine to promote writing and art by women.

The magazine was created in 2012 by Lauren Spohrer, who regrets how slowly she responds to submissions.

It’s named for the 1943 short novel by Jane Bowles. The novel contains the line:

“I wanted to be a religious leader when I was young and now I just reside in my house and try not to be too unhappy.” 


Leaving the library (To Russia with love?) by Hadley Suter

She’s good but she’s not a nihilist, I said, leaving the library with Zhenya, where I’d just introduced her to Yana— one Russian to another. Implied here, which Zhenya understood: Because You! and Because Russia! implied also: so what do I want with her, ultimately, this assimilated non-nihilist— implied but not obvious, right, or so I hoped, because then the question took over of whether through the nineteenth-century walls of free knowledge and public literacy she’d heard me, Yana, call her, to Zhenya: not a nihilist. And if she had— but had she?— what would that mean for our ‘newly blossoming friendship’ as she’d called it in an early text, that had seemed to point to a Q: aurait-elle de l’esprit ? I tried the old ‘put myself in her shoes’ and once there, hated me. Not a nihilist—how dare! Not a nihilist—I’ll show you… Then Zhenya, the voice of reason: she didn’t hear, but should she have heard, well, she’s not a nihilist, hence would not be offended by being called not a nihilist. Ah, but it’s in the tone— couldn’t you hear that scorn? ô Zhen, ô fellow hateful muse: why am I so superior? why am I the worst person alive? you understand this; I thought all Russians understood this! Zhenya with her nose in demons that week, a later text. La femme de la nature et de la vérité—c’est moi ; that’s me, shedding friends faster or exactly as fast as it takes to say not a nihilist. Out of this certainty that she’d heard I got all quiet, I retreated, taking notes, underground with Zhenya who was leaving in a few days back to Venice, that village, that sunshine. See—Zhenya: a nihilist! Ah well, lost Yana; there’s always Anya. Then Zhenya had a falling out with Nastya the day she and Yasha left town. In ballet class with the teacher who hated me, my name was the only one she wouldn’t Russify— chika-chika-boom! it didn’t flow: too Anglo, plus no profess’ed love. I was under the impression all of you were nihilists. I was so sure we’d be close. Hadley Suter is a novelist and poet living in Jersey City.

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