I have just finished reading Susan Sonntag's Reborn (Journals & Notebooks 1947-1963) and Charles Bukowski's Women. And I’ve never enjoyed a cocktail of books as much. Both completely different, both equally fantastic and both perfectly complementing each other. Sontag is a must read for any young (female) intellectual. The book shows a woman who chooses to become an intellectual and who works on this project with incredible self-discipline and austerity. She is rational, she is constructing, she is determined. She is analyzing. She is a brain, wishing to be more of a heart/soul. She is voluntarily locked inside of her elitist world of US and European intellectuals. And very confused about her homosexuality and continuously intellectualizing sexuality. What touched me personally was seeing that all of us who write go through same fights and conversations with ourselves. It is a never-ending feeling of guilt, of not working enough, of not being disciplined enough, of not being good enough:
“From now on I’m going to write every bloody thing that comes into my head.
A kind of foolish pride which comes from dieting on high culture for too long.
I have diarrhea of the mouth and constipation of the type-writer.
I don’t care if it’s lousy. The only way to learn how to write is to write.
The excuse that what one is contemplating isn’t good enough.”
Bukowski on the other hand is ..... Bukowski. The opposite of Sontag. Locked in his own world of alcohol, drugs, sex and his own writing. Avoiding intellectuals and despising anything to do with them. She is a brain looking for her soul and he is a dick looking for his. While she is trying to grab the world around her and understand it and construct it, he is locking himself away from the world around him, trying not to understand but to feel it and destruct it. Unfortunately only sexually.
When I started reading Sonntag, I found it too boring so I put her away. Few weeks later I started reading Bukowski which I also found a bit... uninteresting. But then I discovered the mix: I literally mixed the two books while I was reading them, jumping from one to the other. They started speaking to each other, each picking a different part of my brain.
And this was exciting!
So now I 'm wondering how to turn into a book-tender and always know which books to mix for the maximum effect….