Fear of Flying by Erica Jong

Valerie’s review of Fear of Flying

Literary allusions I must get to the bottom of: Sade’s Justine
Who is Julien Sorel?
Count Vronsky?
What’s good about GB Shaw?
Yiddish words: shikes, shagetz, tzatzka
german: sturm und drang
who are Konrad Lornze, Lionel Tiger, Robert Ardrey, Madeline Gray?
the golden bough?
the perfumed garden?
Tucci? Friedman?
Love w/out Fear?
Coming of Age in Samoa
Van de Velde
Francis Ponge – prose poet?

Would give Fear of Flying to all my girlfriends to read. I have felt, questioned/wondered a lot of what she wrote about, that is, whether relationships with men are what keep us together; marriage being a friend in a cruel world, child-bearing (is it the be-all, end-all?), lust for travel, to  understand the human mind through psychoanalysis – fear of writing, submitting work, and the impulsiveness! Erica Jong and I have the same birthday. Headstrong Aries, ha. So I gave my copy to Jess, who will probably like it too.

“There is nothing fiercer than a failed artist. The energy remains, but, having no outlet, it implodes in a great black fart of rage which smokes up all the inner windows of the soul. Horrible as successful artists often are, there is nothing crueler or more vain than a failed artist.”

Mike’s response to Valerie’s review

I have not read, nor do I have a damn clue what this is. My brain wants to think it’s heard of it, but I do that a lot so as to not appear stupid.

I can’t help you with any of those allusions. Do you go through and research all these things? You’re dedicated and probably much smarter than me for it. If my phone is nearby I might type something into Google Search. That’s the most I can hope for. I don’t know, I guess I see those things as an added bonus. If you get them, then great, but if not, oh well. If you need to understand them to get the text then the author hasn’t done her job. Truthfully, I probably won’t learn enough in the small research I’ll do to make anything really click anyways.

“There is nothing fiercer than a failed artist…” It seems to me that she’s talking about one who has given up their art. Even the unsuccessful but still producing have an outlet. I know I can become pretty insufferable if I take too long off. All my shit stays piled in my body instead of the (electronic) page.

I used to think about what it meant to be female too much and have wondered all those same things, (Before the flame wars start in our very very very popular comments section, let me say that I kinda have to figure out what it means to be me before I can figure out what it means to be a woman. Love yourself before loving someone else and all that shit) which means I’m curious about reading this, I think. Typing that emasculated me a bit. Maybe I won’t read it. Or maybe I’ll just read in the privacy of my own bed only.

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