I am apt to forget that my life is extraordinary. It doesn’t feel as if it is.
Mostly, my life seems very domestic to me. There is the husband and the daughter, and the house and the cat, and there is writing and reading, and the occasional movie.
Then I have a perfectly ordinary conversation, and my life suddenly seems very different from other people’s.
It seems very strange to me.
I went to my reading group last night, where we talked about Paula McLain’s novel, “The Paris Wife”, and we ended up discussing the ‘artistic temperament’. Of course, this is not one thing; artists of all kinds are people too, but the consensus appeared to be that Hemingway was beastly to his wife. This led to talk about other artists who had apparently transgressed in some way, including Picasso, who was labelled a womaniser.
I pointed out that I could easily be the sort of woman who’d be enchanted, dare I say seduced, by either of those men. I said that I thought intense creativity came with a kind of appetite for life that made artists, men and women both, so engaged with the things they were interested in that, excepting the truly obnoxious or immoral, much of their behaviour fell within a range that might seem a little extreme, but was probably excusable, and certainly forgivable... by me at least.
Just writing that makes me wonder whether I’m on shaky ground. Am I trying to excuse my own peccadilloes by claiming to be a creative type and therefore beyond societal constraints? I hope not.
The truth is, though, I do have opinions and I do share them freely. I do become impassioned on all sorts of subjects, and I do become snarky. I don’t want to claim that I feel a wider range of emotions than do other people. That would be arrogant and absurd; I do think that perhaps I enjoy that wider range of emotions, though; that I’m rather more content to go to the less comfortable places that others might shy from.
I never feel more alive than when I am crying great heaving sobs, whether they are generated by joy or pain. I think that when a life is full of creative, clever, charismatic people who have full, interesting, passionate lives there is the opportunity to cry more often. I just think most people don’t want to cry.
One of the women in the reading group said that she wanted the roses around the door. That’s all well and good, and I wish her joy of them. I want something else. I want to stamp through the nettles at the gate, slide around on the moss between the paving stones, fill my nose with the scents of crushed herbs and dying blooms, draw blood on barbs and thorns, gather what looks and smells and tastes good and sweet, and bitter and sour, and I want to tear my hands to pieces in the process... and that’s just for starters.
Anyone care to join me?