Tuesday, August 20, 2013

He was milked and fed and cultivated and allowed. He was encouraged, and enabled, to become Flaubert. Same with Tom. He was allowed to write "The Waste Land." Waited on hand and foot by Vivie once at home. His nerves tended to, his absolute exhaustion treated. (She nursed him through several collapses, when she collapsed he would perennially send her away.) Although he did work constantly, too much, everything was spiritually in the service of his eventual great art, the Bel Esprit, Ezra Pound's monetary campaign to allow him to be a writer. Save the poet. And lines built upon lines. That is how one writes. Slowness. Wait. And in the isolation of that room, a belief in oneself that could be construed as monstrous. In one's own Eventual Greatness. No little voices that wormed through to whisper in one's ear: Sick Sick Sick. What is seen as signs of great Artistry in a man can be seen as alarm in a woman's behavoir. So besides the isolation of the room that all writers and artists suffer under, there is an active campaign against women to pathologize their struggle, their torment, or to have this done for them.

Random quote from Kate Zambreno's book Heroines. All pages can pretty much be quoted from. Sadly we didn't know about this project when we set up Audiatur Waste Land in 2012. Zambreno's book is an essay-mess (her own expression) that tells the story of the wives of modernist authors like Eliot and Fitzgerald. The empathy is so strong towards the "illegitimate" writing of these women that on the last 20 pages her own writing burn down into "blogcriture" while describing her community of bloggers that give the kind of support that, for instance, Vivienne gave Tom. The regression is funny; Zambreno going for total nakedness, turning into a wee girl saying fuck you. I read this as a self parody and an acting out of the girly outsider position that she analyzes so well through the book. Her blog here.