I’ve been completely immersed in reading La Bâtarde , by Violette Leduc, lately. I’ve had the book for a while, but never seemed to get around to starting it. Which is really crazy, because I have a good friend who’s been writing about her for years. Maybe I sensed that once I stepped into her world I would be completely absorbed. There’s something almost Proustien about it.
And it begs that old “what is art?” question. Why are we so taken with some works of art, be they paintings, films or novels, and not others? It certainly isn’t the subject, or even the style. It’s something else, altogether indefinable. The last time I was so blown away by an author was when I read Sybille Bedford for the first time. There’s a similarity between the two writers – they write over and over about their lives and people they have known, and you close the book with the feeling that you lived that life, that it was you who met that person described so briefly but with such acuity.
So here she is, as seen by me, of course. I was watching the Virgin Queen, when I started working on this, and, yes, there is a slight resemblance with Cate Blanchett that was not intentional It flatters Violette a bit, and I’m sure she’d appreciate that, as obsessed as she was with her own perceived ugliness.
Anyway, I found myself incessantly looking up her picture on internet, trying to work out who she was really. And so I drew her from a photograph, to exorcise her from my life in a way. And it sort of worked, except that now I have an incredible urge to read and draw Maurice Sachs, one of the people so beautifully described in her La Bâtarde. A suivre….