I’ve been very poetic this week and have stormed ahead with a few new poems. I’ve done one as a tribute to Maya Angelou which I may well do at the next Pinggk, and a couple on sexism including one called Il Giocondo (the male version of La Gioconda, and I’m sure you all know what that refers to) – and this prose poem, which was pretty much off the cuff:
The house breathes. ‘He is writing again.’ The door is closed, the bowl of soup grows cold on the floor. This is our joy. I wash up, plumb the toilet, say my prayers. Then I pick up my pen and start to write. As a matter of course.
He has the passport to paradise; the ‘get out of kitchen free’ card. Where do I get one of those?’
This is about the fact that the prevailing idea we have about genius is a male one; of a man who can work all day and possibly all night on his art because he has people (usually women) servicing his life. Meals appear, clothes are washed, the garden is dug and the dishes cleansed. But there’s the rub: the artist also, according to this model, has a tendency to go off the rails. He may drink or take drugs; he may lose his marbles in various ways. And it is my contention that if said man were to take some time in the day to do some gardening, or cooking, or washing up, or whatever daily tasks need doing, it would ground him. It would keep him in touch with physical, everyday reality and he would be much less likely to go off the rails. Not only that, it would free up the women around him to pursue their art too.
I’ve taken to writing poetry first thing in the morning in the sunlounge (or conservatory as Mark calls it). It’s warm and sunny in there and a great place for writing – I’ve even set up my desk in there now so I can continue to work on my memoir and my novel. Both are coming on well, thanks partly to the fact that Mark does all the cooking and lots of the shopping.
PS and ‘la gioconda’ is the alternative title of the Mona Lisa. But you knew that…