Jean Rhys Contest
There was mention of Jean Rhys in a comment recently here at htmlgiant and it made me think of her. When I was a wee lass, like 19 to 24 or so, I was obsessed with Jean Rhys (and other stuff). I read all of her novels, (that didn’t take very long), all of her short stories, even wierd fragments, her unfinished autobiography, and then I did two sort of wierd things: read a biography of her (well, maybe that is not so wierd) and painted a painting of her from the picture of the cover of the biography, Jean Rhys: Life and Work by Carole Angier.
After that biography, I did not read another biography for maybe ten years. The experience was THAT disturbing. In fact, I vowed never to read a biography of any of my heros again. I have since relaxed that rule- I have mellowed with age, like many do–but man, what a defining moment. I was so horrified with Jean Rhys and so heartbroken at what she was really like as a human being. I felt-robbed. Now, as I’ve gotten older and more realistic as to how weak and troubled most human beings are, I feel less disturbed by Rhys. Still disturbed, but less so. To give you an idea of what I am talking about, here is an excerpt from Jean Rhys: Life and Work:
And sometimes she snapped. Then she hit him as she’d hit Leslie (note: her previous husband); and like Leslie he pretended that something else had happened.
Once, at least he couldn’t pretend, because Jean attacked him so loudly the neighbors heard her….for after it Max (note: current husband) was more in the hospital than out of it. The Woodwards took over; together with the doctor they had Max removed and taken to hospital.
That’s right, people: Jean Rhys beat the crap out of her husbands. Maybe that doesn’t bum you out, but it bummed me out so severely, I didn’t read anything about any of my heros for TEN YEARS. Anyway, this post relates also to a fun discussion that occurred in the recent Joyce Carol Oates post- what happens when someone you love (even if you don’t know them) disappoints you beyond belief? Here is the contest: In the comment section, write a brief story of putting-someone-on-a-pedestal and then feeling like your heart got ripped out when you realize, he/she is, bascially, an awful person. I’ll send you my Jean Rhys painting, if I can find it, and some books. So, maybe, just some books. This does not have to be about writers, but it can be. It’s just about wanting to hear your stories of disappointment!
Tags: jean rhys