“I am a writer and I want to write.”
Jane Bowles with her little dog.
Fear and Hope
“Like most people, you are not able to face more than one fear during your lifetime. You also spend your life fleeing from your first fear towards your first hope. Be careful that you do not, through your own wiliness, end up always in the same position in which you began. I do not advise you to spend your life surrounding yourself with those things which you term necessary to your existence. This is regardless of whether or not they are objectively interesting in themselves or even to your own particular intellect.
I believe sincerely that only those men who reach the stage where it is possible for them to combat a second tragedy within themselves, and not the first over and over again, are worthy of being called mature. When you think someone is going ahead, make sure that he is not really standing still. In order to go ahead, you must leave things behind which most people are unwilling to do.
Your first pain, you carry it with you like a lodestone in your breast because all tenderness will come from there. You must carry it with you through your whole life but you must not circle around it. You must give up the search for those symbols which only serve to hide its face from you. You will have the illusion that they are disparate and manifold but they are always the same. if you are only interested in a bearable life, perhaps this letter does not concern you. For god’s sake, a ship leaving port is still a wonderful thing to see.”
Jane Bowles, American Writer (1917-1973)
Jane Bowles and her husband the writer Paul Bowles.
Series Women and their Passion for Books
Tavik Simon, Vilma reading on a Sofa, 1912
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?”
MARIA YAKUNCHIKOVA (1870-1902)
WOMEN WITH A PASSION FOR ART
The first female artist I want to introduce in the series Women with a Passion for Art is Maria Yakunchikova. After seeing one of her paintings called Reflection of an Intimate World I immediately fell in love with it. Therefore I like to share some of her paintings with you. Enjoy!
Maria Vasilievna Yakunchikova-Weber was a Russian painter, graphic artist, and embroiderer. Yakunchikova was associated with the Abramtsevo artists, especially with her teacher Elena Polenova. Polenova ,whose revival of traditional handicrafts inspired Maria to embroider and to execute pokerwork.Apple Trees in Bloom 1899
Between 1887 and 1889 she began to collect folk art. Landscape art remained her favourite genre. She was inspired to plein air painting by Elena Polenova.View from the Old House’s Window
Maira Yakunchikova died on December 27, 1902 near Geneva, Switzerland. She was just 32 years old.Reflection of an intimate world
The Terrace – 1899
Street with snow in Meudon, 1893
THE SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR EFFECT
“I am incapable of conceiving infinity, and yet I do not accept finity.”
SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR, AN EXISTENTIALIST FEMINIST
I was 15 when I discovered Simone de Beauvoir, who was already a well-known writer and avant-garde philosopher. An article about her life story in the daily newspaper triggered a tremendous curiosity in me. When I finished reading I literally went straight to my local library – along with the bookshop this was my favourite place to spend time – hoping I was able to find some of her books on the dusty shelves.
Before I continue, allow me to make a brief introduction. Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir (1908-1986) was a French writer, intellectual, political activist, feminist, social theorist, existentialist and philosopher. Imagine the mid-twentieth century, a woman and intellectual making a living as a writer. And although she never thought of herself being a philosopher, her work made a significant impact on the further development of both feminist existentialism and feminist theory.
THE DISCOVERY OF HER AUTOBIOGRAPHY
The first book I read was “ Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter”. I was intrigued, hooked to this story about a Bourgeois girl, pushed into isolation after a long but successful struggle freeing herself from a strict catholic upbringing. Simone wrote this first autobiography in 1958. It describes her rebellion against the narrow mindedness of the world around her. She dedicated herself to intellectual labour and so managed to escape what was otherwise predestined.
INTELLECTUALLY ATTRACTED TO SIMONE
Although I was raised in a liberal Jewish family so my situation was very different from hers, I took Simone as inspiration and dedicated myself to studying and literature. I decided I would become the new Simone, would go and live in Paris, become a philosopher and polyglot going from one cafe to another where I would meet interesting young writers, artists and poets. Talking all night about art, music, philosophy and most importantly literature.
Here I went to university to study literature which later on also allowed me to continue my research abroad. At some point, I ended up living in Paris for a while. But I, did not meet the interesting people Simone so vividly describes in her books. Then again as a poor student studies and work always had to take precedence over leisure. It was OK, the limited-time I had left I certainly enjoyed myself.
ESCAPE INTO SIMONE’S WORLD
Nowadays on rare occasions, whenever I feel the need to escape daily reality Simone’s novels are still there for me. That is when I go back for a moment in time, being that 15-year-old girl again, even if just so briefly; full of innocence and big dreams, believing that I am free to do whatever I want, as a woman and as a valued member of society.
I thank you, Simone de Beauvoir, for keeping me company all these years.
Monique Lucy Weberink
Las Palmas, 4th of May 2020Simone de Beauvoir
A confinement in body …not in soul.
What started 5 weeks ago as a horrible time for me due to the Coronavirus and being in confinement turned out to be a useful period I really needed without even knowing it.
Of course the reason for this lockdown is awful and I feel really sad thinking about all the victims who lost their lives, in solitude even. I feel scared about the economical consequences as well.
However personally, this period of solitude has given me the opportunity to step back and think about the meaning of my own life. Who am I really, what do I want and what is important to me?
Unquestionably I love to eat in restaurants but now I cook wonderful meals and sit for hours at the table with my husband and son, having interesting conversations. Really listening to each other.
I like to travel, but actually I was a bit tired of all the traveling lately. Now I sit on the sofa with masterpieces by Tolstoy, Dostojevsky and Proust and I travel to all these places I have never been with them as my guides. I am not just traveling geographically but as well in time. How wonderful this is!
Now I have the time to play with my cats (and with my husband!) I do not forget to water all my plants, I sit on my balcony and I really enjoy the rays of sunshine. I look through photo albums and I relive my youth.
Actually I start to feel more relaxed and when the lockdown is over, I am not going to shop or dine outside, I will go to the beach with my husband and son, to see the sun fall into the sea.
Just the three of us.
Las Palmas, April 21th 2020
A QUOTE BY JEAN DE LA FONTAINE
“L’absence est le plus grand de tous les maux”
(Absence is the greatest of all evils)
Jean de la Fontaine (1621-1695)
WHO WAS JEAN DE LA FONTAINE?
Jean de La Fontaine was a French fabulist and one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century. He is known above all for his Fables, which provided a model for subsequent fabulists across Europe and numerous alternative versions in France, as well as in French regional languages.
Federico Garcia Lorca
“Let there be a landscape of open eyes and bitter wounds on fire. No one is sleeping in this world. No one, no one. I have said it before.”
Who was Federico Garcia Lorca?
Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca, known as Federico García Lorca; (5 June 1898 – 19 August 1936), was a Spanish poet, playwright, and theatre director.
García Lorca achieved international recognition as an emblematic member of the Generation of ’27, a group consisting of mostly poets who introduced the tenets of European movements (such as symbolism, futurism, and surrealism) into Spanish literature.
He was executed by Nationalist forces at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. His body has never been found. (source wikipedia)The Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca
What does the American writer James Baldwin think about reading?…
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.”
~ James Baldwin (1924-1987)
Who was James Baldwin?
James Arthur Baldwin was an American novelist, playwright, and activist. His essays, as collected in Notes of a Native Son, explore intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-20th-century America. (source wikipedia)
The importance of Literature, James Baldwin
Some quotes by writer Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986)
“I wish that every human life might be pure transparent freedom.”
“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.”
Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir was a French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist and social theorist. Though she did not consider herself a philosopher, she had a significant influence on both feminist existentialism and feminist theory.