Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I'd never heard of before today of Liane de Pougy, but she is the type of woman good to take a vacation observing because she has no cringe at all, no vibe of "excuse me for living."

That's so rare in a US woman it's rather grand to see what it's like, even from afar. Perhaps especially from afar, as she is so very good at getting what she wants that I, for example, would need new skills to stand up in her prescence.

from "My Blue Notebooks" by Liane de Pougy about living in Paris 1919-1941, from her journals. This book was given to me by one of those wise free boxes that live outside some San Francisco used bookstores.

Speaking of her husband, Georges

"I really can't stand any more of this dismal, bad-tempered, discontented, hostile, and disapproving spirit of contradiction. When he assured me of his profound and faithful love I ended with these true and concilliating words: ' I don't mind about your love, just give me a little sympathy and kindness. That is what I need and that is what my conduct, bearing and my efforts have earned me.' Sympathy and kindness! These two words contain the whole secret of domestic happiness."

She offers two lessons. Her words are right about sympathy and kindness which I bet, from this journal entry alone, she was better at demanding than offering. And her demandingness is a good lesson in the possiblities of taking at least a little more space and not always making room for others when making room isn't needed, even for kindness.

I wonder what the music would sound like made by a band called Sympathy and Kindness. Or if there was a pop music movement called Sympathy and Kindness, what that would be like. One way would be to make it sound like the opposite, like garbage cans rolling down Mount Everest and fighting all the way.

But what would Sympathy and Kindness music sound like if it meant it and were good?

There would be much space made by the music to finish one's thoughts and feelings. Whether they were perfect or not, whether they were like what has happened before, sympathy and kindness music would build air and heart room to follow them through to the tiny new world they naturally make or the large one.

Love means safe room and lots of it.

I read the whole book and liked the author less and less. I at first liked her openly demanding to be taken care of, a change from the usual woman thing.

But her lifestyle was in fact decadent, which is Latin for decaying, and the decay started to show.

She went to Jean Cocteau's place to help him get drugs, and he was a mess, his place was a mess, seriously no fun. Cocteau was enormously talented and did some great stuff, but not as much, I think, if he had stayed tune by being conscious and if had stayed tune by not dying young.

I got tired of De Pougy's raging selfishness, but still thought there was something to learn from it. She always had a divan or two around to collapse onto and rest.

She gave a big party, and arranged with a friend to have a divan available in the friend's apartment onanother floor of her apartment building so she could leave the party and rest in comfort and style, then go back.

About the time I was reading "My Blue Notebooks" I read the plaque at the Bessie Carmichal School that told of her hard working life making sure that kids who had a worse life in general had a better that average life at school.

I want women who live like that to remember to have divans around and rest gloriously and a lot, and then go back to the healing.