Monday, 16 November 2009

Dear Diary... why can't a woman be more like a man?


Have been immersed for the last half hour in my 16-year-old self; and now wondering, is a hardback diary the same as a blog? I definitely didn't want anyone to read my diary at the time -- and a good thing too, it's hideously embarrassing, overflowing with flighty romance, then plunging into bouts of gloom -- and yet I seemed to be writing it as much for the diary as for myself; or rather, the diary as an object appeared to be a safe place for me to air my thoughts, but also a comforting listener.
Three decades ago, on Thursday November 16th, I was studying Macbeth at school, reading Camus on the bus, and watching 'Pygmalion' for the umpteenth time, while working as a theatre usherette, tearing tickets and selling ice-creams. 'I'm getting a bit sick of Pymalion', I wrote, plaintively, 'and the ending always seems unsatisfactory -- I'm too romantic.'
I did not quote Professor Higgins; but now, with hindsight, it seems to me that I should have done so, and taken note of these lines in particular:
'I find that the moment I let a woman make friends with me, she becomes jealous, exacting, suspicious, and a damned nuisance. I find that the moment I let myself make friends with a woman, I become selfish and tyrannical. Women upset everything. When you let them into your life, you find that the woman is driving at one thing and you're driving at another...I suppose the woman wants to live her own life; and the man wants to live his; and each tries to drag the other on to the wrong track. One wants to go north and the other south; and the result is that both have to go east, though they both hate the east wind.'
At the time, I was far too busy spinning around in a whirlwind to take note of which way the wind was blowing...
PS. I don't really think a woman should be more like a man; and Professor Higgins is no more my dream date now than he was when I was 17. But GBS nevertheless worth attending to, particularly for a romantic teenager of whatever age.

12 comments:

oxford-reader said...

I love the fact you've rediscovered your diaries. It's like a whole world has opened up!

In terms of diaries and blogs, I think it depends on what sort of blog you're writing. Before my book one, I had one that was supposedly charting my life after undergrad. Having just looked back at 2007, I see today is the day I finally found employment after searching for four months. However, that post is outside the norm, as most others were concerned with the madness my life took, and the various annoyances and insanities my mother presented me with. I have this to say about her on 30th November 2007 'Yesterday, I was sitting watching Middlemarch, because I am making a cookery book for a christmas present for a friend, and mum was watching bits of it. At the point Rufus Sewell is striding towards Dorothea with a look of determined passion on his face, my mother exclaimed 'Oh, what a lovely garden.''

I suppose the point I'm trying to make (very badly, and narcissisticly) is that a diary is written purely for oneself (unless one is a politician with an eye on posterity) and therefore it is filled with things one would never say outloud, whereas a blog is written with a public (whoever they may be, and whether one knows them or not) in mind, and therefore is more critically formed.

I remember someone in the creative writing MA at UEA stating that she would never blog, because the publicly displayed writing could always go back and be altered(spelling, meaning etc) and that was what 'real authors' could never do. I didn't hit her, but I wish I had!

I imagine Kathryn Sutherland would have a bit to say about blogs and diaries.

P.S. I love those lines of Professor Higgins!

Justine Picardie said...

V. thoughtful -- thank you for your comment. Love the story about Middlemarch and your mother!

Sarah Standalone said...

I love that Middlemarch comment too. The Chinese proverb that states if you want happiness for an hour have a drink, for a year fall in love, forever take up gardening - something to that effect, but you would have to be over a certain age to notice only the garden if it had Rufus Sewell striding through it!!

kairu said...

I remember watching Middlemarch when I was fifteen, and we all swooned during that scene with Rufus Sewell in the garden. Likewise during Cold Comfort Farm, when Mr. Neck comes to visit Flora and sees Seth for the first time. It's rare (for me, anyway) for a heartthrob of my youth to remain so some fourteen years later, but Rufus Sewell has and probably always will. Think I'll go watch Much Ado About Nothing (the chemistry between Sewell and Shirley Henderson just about cracks the screen, or maybe it's that voice of hers) this afternoon, as I'm sick and have the day off from work.

I remember trying to read Pygmalion as a teenager - I forget why I - and thinking it was dreadfully dry and dusty. Only recently I discovered the lovely film adaptation starring Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller. Perhaps I will make that part of my sick-day film-watching.

Sarah Standalone said...

I love the scene in Much Ado when Rufus turns up at the church in his Shakespearean type cross dressing outfit, if it's wrong to fancy a man so much in heels, eye liner and nail varnish I don't want to be right....

Sorry Justine, where were we? Right, diaries and blogs...

Knitting Out Loud said...

Wow. Wonderful Chinese proverb. I find no reference to Sewell being in a movie of Much Ado? He was in The Taming of the Shrew in Shakespeare revisited, not the best one of that bunch. Must see Middlemarch again. Wendy Hiller is extremely charming in everything she does. And the man/woman thing: we seem to be getting more like each other, which I think is good. Being past menopause helps (why? you're more yourself or something, not sure - but you can still like Rupert Sewell, it's rather nice). Always had a soft spot for GBS.

kairu said...

Oops! I meant Taming of the Shrew! So sorry...

My dvd of Middlemarch has just arrived, must watch it again, and resist fast-forwarding to the end.

oxford-reader said...

For more Rufus Sewell action (I'm sorry, I seem to be a bad incfluence) you really should watch 'A Knight's Tale'. He's at his simmering, nasty best there. And it has Heath Ledger, James Purefoy (be still my beating heart) and Paul Bettany. Sigh, work calls - must have a Rufus Sewell fest soon ....

kevinhil123 said...

a lady cant be like a man because she cant be soo intelligent !!! (no offense )

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