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Do You Write or Think? Mr Nietzsche's Assessment of Your Dilemma.

(382 Posts)
onebatmotherofgoditschilly Mon 07-Jan-08 21:59:03

I had forgotten this:

"The literary woman, unsatisfied, agitated, desolate in heart and entrails, listening every minute with painful curiosity to the imperative which whispers from the depths of her organism "aut liberi aut libri [either children or books]."
—Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols

Ten years ago I would have turned the page with a sigh and a sneer.


SueBaroo Tue 08-Jan-08 09:12:32

OBM, I have that dilemma everyday grin

PrismManchip Tue 08-Jan-08 09:15:44

Very close to the bone, that.....
Who are the childless female authors?

littlelapin Tue 08-Jan-08 09:18:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Cappuccino Tue 08-Jan-08 09:21:10

is it the idea that we have to choose to create just one of them, and whatever we choose that'll do, or that once we have one we don't have time for the other?

if it's the former, it's as patronising as hell

PrismManchip Tue 08-Jan-08 09:23:44

Oh I interpreted it as the choice between having children or carrying on with your literary life - writing, reading, living like you are in a novel...

PrismManchip Tue 08-Jan-08 09:24:39

yes just as Capp said
I don't find it patronising tbh
Because I find it hard to be creative now my mind is all child child child

littlelapin Tue 08-Jan-08 09:26:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

littlelapin Tue 08-Jan-08 09:27:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SueBaroo Tue 08-Jan-08 09:30:37

It's not insurmountable, though. It's not an absolute choice.

Cappuccino Tue 08-Jan-08 09:31:22

you know I am always torn on this one

on the one hand I think it is shocking that women get the burden of childcare to the extent that they cannot explore their creativity to the full

on the other hand it makes me angry when women choose to define themselves through this dilemma

I recently discontinued my subscription to Mslexia and one of the least rational reasons for not wanting to read it was constantly reading the biographies provided by women who had had work accepted for publication in the magazine

they were all "Eloise writes stories in the morning before sorting out her family's socks and pottering in her garden"

there is no way that a man would write a biog which was so spineless and demonstrated so little commitment to being taken seriously as a writer

Anna8888 Tue 08-Jan-08 09:33:38

Except that raising children is an exceptionally creative endeavour... don't see the dilemma, personally.

Cappuccino Tue 08-Jan-08 09:34:34

are you trying to write a novel Anna? wink

PrismManchip Tue 08-Jan-08 09:37:12

No it is not an absolute choice, I know that (I write a bit, amateurishly). My brain is so full of "child" though, it's like living in a fog.
Yuk at the biogs. I always hate those little biogs that mention the children at all, so twee - I suppose though it's a way of saying "I work bloody hard and I want you to know it and be impressed that I can do this and bear the burden of childcare".

Twiglett Tue 08-Jan-08 09:40:03

actually I think what Nietzsche failed to grasp is that women are biologically and intrinsically different from man and that one needs to look at a woman over her entire life to make a point like this

Our childbearing years, if devoted to children allow us to create and mould life itself .. we can devote ourselves to this or we can split our creativity into more erudite pursuits as well

Then we have the benefit of the menopause when our bodies rewire themselves to allow our creativity to shine through, which biologically occurs at the time of the 'empty nest' (although not, these days, in fact) allowing our ability to bring our experiences and creativity to bear

Nietzshe .. bolleaux grin

PrismManchip Tue 08-Jan-08 09:41:34

Hooray for Twig!

SueBaroo Tue 08-Jan-08 09:41:49

I pour a lot of my creativity into mothering. But it isn't the same thing as writing, which generally requires space and quiet.

I don't think it's a choice between 'mothering and creativity'. It's a choice, at some points, between creativity through writing, and creativity through parenting.

Cappuccino Tue 08-Jan-08 09:42:57

Twig makes a good point

is Nietzsche falling into that old Jane Austen trap of thinking that women are only of any kind of interest when they are 'in their bloom'?

SueBaroo Tue 08-Jan-08 09:43:08

Nietzshe .. bolleaux


Quoted for truth. One of the funniest t-shirts I ever saw said

Nietzshe is dead.


teasle Tue 08-Jan-08 09:44:36

Remember Nietzsche went as mad as a fish- not to discount his huge body of writings or anything...

PrismManchip Tue 08-Jan-08 09:46:09

I just find the constant grasping for the idea or the word that is just out of reach so demoralising.
I have a degree in English Language, I used to not need a thesaurus - now I cannot finish a thought without either ds needing my attention or some intrusive thought about ds needing my attention.

Cappuccino Tue 08-Jan-08 09:48:01

I get what you mean Pruni but I felt even less creative when I was working as a journalist because my head was wired differently - get facts, present clearly, move on

so I don't really think it's necessarily just about childcare, but maybe more about making a mental commitment which is hard if you do anything else, child-related or not?

Anna8888 Tue 08-Jan-08 09:48:34

I write for a living - not novels, but there is a strong creative element. I hadn't done any writing proper for three years when I started again (in November) but I am finding that being a mother and seeing things through the eyes of my child is a huge help to the creative part of my writing wink

Cappuccino Tue 08-Jan-08 09:50:07

well then Anna you are living proof that Nietzsche was talking out of his behind then surely

PrismManchip Tue 08-Jan-08 09:50:15

Yes perhaps capp.
No definitely.
God I once had the opportunity pre-ds to go abroad for two months, all paid for, while dh worked, and just write.
I so wish it had worked out. (He got ill just before we left so it was cancelled.....)

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