I have these very old-fashioned romantic ideas writing & “the writing life” which probably stem at least in part from the fact that I was brought up right as a writer, by which I mean on a mountain in a brick building with mullioned windows & widow’s walks & various string instruments. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about cultivation, what is means to be cultivated, how it’s kind of a cult of fashion & fashioning & cultivation are so similar.


castles -- one reason why feudalism is rad


I learned to be a writer at an institution historically known for cultivating women. a cultivated woman is a very specific thing – for one, she is fashioned, & fashionable. she is self-sufficient in that she has been taught to organize a life of being cultivated. this is a very taxing task. to be cultivated requires ample time for lessons, for reflection, for hand-writing, mixing, dressing, promenading; set times to work the body, set times to work the mind, a balance between a state of constant perfection and a state of becoming-perfect.

I have thought a lot about my writing life, what my work requires of me & what I require of it. I decided to get an mfa even though I thought it was very ridiculous because it matched up with my ideas about the cultivated writer. like, the princess from a foreign land goes to the great palace of Learning. there she is met by a Master & lead, she is kept. her only responsibility is to cultivate her self, to fashion her work. she is a beautiful machine which produces beautiful machines which produce beauty.


some cultivated sweet briar ladies


one of the things that is essential for a writer’s development is to speak to the sun, or rather, to have the sun speak to them – mayakovsky & frank o’hara & donne can attest to this. an audience with the sun requires leisure time in the daylight. it is very difficult right now to have leisure time during the daylight when everyone is busy trying to have jobs/make $$$/read twitter/not get blown up/etc.


feudal fun in the sun


these were not issues for poets in feudal systems because they were kept to be brilliant & back then, people with $$$ & POWER realized that beauty was important & in fact fundamental to their $$$ & POWER. they realized that a beauty-producing machine works better in some pretty pasture or parapet wearing brocade, drinking wine, lusting, pining, riding, etc.

inside of academia it’s easy to forget that outside the well-wrought gates of Knowledge there is a shortage of both Masters & Paths. there are jobs to do & writers to do them but they require so much a different kind of cultivation; that is to say, a lily will not climb a trellis.


the castle where I am kept


in my writing life I like to wake up, yoga, take tea, ride, read, reflect, write with fountain pens, fall in love, bake bread, drink wine, light candles, & write – every day. I think it is important that some people are allowed to pass their time in such a way that the sublime is always within their reach, that at the end of each day there might be Beauty & Art.

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