In a casual throw-away line in my previous post, I said I should maybe try a Rumpelstiltskin or Baba Yaga sequence next, and the idea has grown on me since then. The Orpheus sequence was written as a fairly androcentric one, simply because the artist/muse thing seems to be such an androcentric issue, and it helped me think about some issues in a fairly uncluttered way. After all, the guy’s side of the story is so familiar, and there was quite enough newness in what I wrote without going completely off-piste.
Also it’s still a given in some levels of cultural thinking that male experience is normative for human. It’s quite easy to assume that artist/doctor/traveller is male, and, in liberal quarters, that women can play too, now we’re liberated. And we do, some of us. We read ‘poet’ and we identify completely with the experience and understanding and where poetry is the thing, not gender, why not? Of course Orpheus is me as much as all those guys, and I’m not pretending I don’t have some of those illusions and pretensions either.
But sometimes the experience is different. It’s not just biology or society or circumstances. Women’s work , women’s stories, women’s maturation happen across different territory, not all of it domestic. But then domestic is also interesting is it not? I am thinking seriously about all the girl fairy-tales – not just the reinterpreted ones, but the ones where girls are always centre-stage, and marriage is not the only outcome – Vassilisa the Beautiful, Cap O’Rushes, Mother Holle. There is a lot that will bear thinking about, not only the mother-daughter relationship – I’m not convinced anyone needs to write any more about that – but sisters and neighbours and communities of women.
This will probably take quite a while. I am planning a new stage in the lúcháir project, which involves learning a whole bunch of stuff about photo-editing and HTML that I never expected to have to deal with, and family events and politics are claiming more of my attention than usual.
Watch out for The Wave on 5th December.