Friday, September 23, 2011

The Art of Loving



I'm just a supahstah every 6 months or so after I've gone downtown, gotten books from the library, and then am sitting around on a park bench trying to avoid going home!

Last March, a Japanese girl asked to take my picture while I was on a bench reading. Today, some Arabic guy wanted an iPhone shot. The latter not as cool as a girl with an actual camera! (Something about iPhones and swarthy guys just seems cheesy. While Japanese girls and 35mm conversely signify... ART!) :)

My original intention today was just to take some books back. Had no idea of anything else to get, but ended up -- as usual -- with some stuff I'm looking forward to:

Sedaris/Handler/Cynthia Lennon on John for fun.

Goethe's "The Sorrows of Young Werther" (published in 1774) just to know what the big suicide fad as the result of that book was all about!

"Leaving New York: Writers Look Back" (wow, the fact that there's a sad genre of LEAVING New York might help my own being sad at leaving).

"The Night Club Era" (1933, by a reporter on the NYC club scene in the '20s) and "The Blood Countess" (1995 by Andrei Codrescu of NPR) --- about the 16th-century Hungarian countess who murdered dozens of virgins in order to bathe in their blood and maintain her youth... Both of these for screenplays I've been thinking about for years: Joan Crawford's early years in NYC and Elizabeth of Bathory just for her own evil's sake. Hey, if I'm in such a bad, bad mood lately about succubi, might as well channel it.

Finally, "The Art of Loving" (1956) by Erich Fromm. Found on Sylvia Plath's night-table after her suicide. But, oh, there's more... According to the FRIENDLY bio "Lover of Unreason" about Assia Wevill (the woman who "stole" Ted Hughes from Plath)... After Plath killed herself, Assia installed herself in the same flat. Not only did she live in the same flat, but she also, curiously, took over some of Plath's books. In PLATH'S very own copy of "The Art of Loving," which Plath had inscribed "Sylvia Plath, Court Green, 9 November 1962," Assia wrote her OWN name and "Sept. 63." And, according to the FRIENDLY Assia bio, Assia underlined the following quote:

Some mothers, Fromm wrote, "want to keep the child, the adolescent, the man, with them; he should not be able to breathe, but through them; not able to love, except on a superficial sexual level -- degrading all other women." Was Assia thinking of Edith Hughes as the cause of Ted's sudden reluctance to include her in his life?

Um... don't know about Assia's perception of Ted's mother, but... is there something just a little weird about Assia signing her own name in the dead wife Sylvia Plath's book and then underlining stuff in said book owned by dead wife? The more I read about Assia, the more I disrespect her. Ted Hughes once wrote of Sylvia Plath: "She had character." Assia, on the other hand, had no character whatsoever. By all accounts: Someone to fuck, but not to trust.

Can't wait to read and learn from the text that inspired two such great loving relationships!

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