"My plan was to never get married. I was going to be an art monster instead. Women almost never become art monsters because art monsters only concern themselves with art, never mundane things. Nabokov didn’t even fold his umbrella. Vera licked his stamps for him."
from “Magic and Dread” by Jenny Offill, in the current Paris Review (#207).
i think about this all the time — to what extent this kind of monstrosity and selfishness is necessary for artists, to what extent it’s a little romantic fabrication that allows men to justify their carelessness, or cruelty, or just their unwillingness to deal with the boring quotidian life-making shit that women so often handle, as long as it can be linked to their art production — as long as it’s part of their praxis.
at any rate i don’t have it in me; i am beginning to sense that, for better or worse, i will always prioritize relationships — little mundane acts of love — over my work. this isn’t even something i’m necessarily proud of — i know i write so much less, and not as well, surrounded by friends, trying to love generously. but i only get one life, you know?
(i mean i guess DUH the solution is a trust fund — if i just had those 40 hrs/week back…)
Yeah, I mean, if women want to be art monsters they should do that, obviously, and I get why women being art monsters is transgressive and kind of awesome, but also… that is not a thing I ever want to be. I really hate the notion that creative work is necessarily done by people consumed by their own madness/genius, ethereal beings too aflame with the light of their etc. to lick a fucking stamp. Also like of course Nabokov could write Lolita, if he never had to concern his brain with anything remotely mundane, but I’m always so much more impressed with people who hold down regular jobs, who live whole, full, real lives engaged with other people and still manage to turn out good work. The flipside of being an art monster is always that you are, unavoidably, also kind of a helpless brat. As far as I’m concerned, if you can’t figure out how to take care of yourself and the people who love and support you, you are not a genius. You may be a master, but that’s not the same thing.