13-01-07

Edmund White, Jay McInerney, Mark Alexander Boyd


De Amerikaanse schrijver en essayist Edmund White werd geboren op 13 januari 1940 in Cincinnati. Hij is sinds 1998 docent voor creatief schrijven aan Princeton University. Na langere tijd in Rome en New York verbleven te hebben werkte hij vanaf het begin van de jaren zeventig als redacteur voor de literatuurtijdschriften "The Saturday Review" en "Horizon". Samen met zes andere homosexuele auteurs richtte hij de literaire groep "Violet Quill" op. Leden van deze groep waren Christopher Cox, Robert Ferro, Michael Grumley, Andrew Holleran, Felice Picano en George Whitmore. Nadat talrijke homo’s (waaronder ook vier leden van deze groep) aan aids waren gestorven zag White zich als een overlevende die zijn tijdgenoten verloren heeft. Hij heeft bekend gemaakt zelf ook HIV-positief te zijn. Na zijn eerste boeken „Forgetting Elena" (1973) en „Nocturnes for the King of Naples” (1978) verscheen in 1982 als eerste deel in een autobiografische reeks “A Boy's Own Story”. Na dit boek volgden “The Beautiful Room Is Empty” (1988),  The Farewell Symphony “(1998) en “The Married Man” (2000). White publiceerde ook twee biografieen, over Jean Genet en Marcel Proust. In 1994 verscheen “The Burning Library: Writings on Art, Politics and Sexuality 1969-1993”, een verzameling van zijn essays. In "Out of the closet onto the bookshelf", een essay uit 1991 schreef White dat hij als jongeman maar twee boeken met een homosexueel thema had kunnen vinden: "Tod in Venedig" van Thomas Mann en de biografie van Nijinsky, geschreven door diens vrouw. Hij beschoude de kijk op homsexualiteit in allebei de boeken als uiterst negatief. Dat hij er aan heeft bijgedragen daar verandering in te brengen ziet hij als grote verdienste van de generatie schrijvers, waartoe hij zelf ook behoord. Edmund White ontving in 1982 de "Award for Literature" van de American Academy of Arts and Letters en in 1994 de "National Book Critics Circle Award" voor zijn biografie over Genet.

Uit  My Lives

"In the mid-1950s, when I was fourteen or fifteen, I told my mother I was homosexual: that was the word, back then, homosexual, in its full satanic majesty, cloaked in ether fumes, a combination of evil and sickness.

Of course I'd learned the word from her. She was a psychologist. Throughout my early childhood, she'd been studying part-time for a master's degree in child psychology. Since I was not only her son but also her best friend, she confided everything she was learning about me -- her live-in guinea pig -- to me. For instance, I was enrolled in an 'experimental' kindergarten run by Dr. Arlett, my mother's mentor in the department of child psychology at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Arlett, however, decided after just one semester that I was 'too altruistic' to continue in the school. I was dismissed. I suspect that she meant I was weirdly responsive to the moods of the female teachers-in-training, for whom I manifested a sugary, fake concern, just as I'd learned to do with my mother. No doubt I was judged to be an unhealthy influence on the other kids. But my mother, who chose against all evidence to interpret my vices as virtues, my defeats as victories, decided that what Dr. Arlett really meant was that I was too advanced spiritually, too mature, to hang back in the shallows with my coevals.

My reward was a return to loneliness. We lived at the end of a lane in a small, rented Tudor house. My older sister, who disliked me, was attending Miss Daugherty's School for Girls; she sometimes brought friends home, but she didn't let them play with me. I played alone -- or talked to my mother when she wasn't at school or studying.

My mother was intensely spiritual; at least she spoke often of her inner life and said she prayed, though I never saw her pray. She'd been brought up a Baptist in Texas, but she'd converted to Christian Science, initially to please my father but later out of a genuine affinity with the thinking of Mary Baker Eddy. Like Mrs. Eddy, my mother denied the existence of evil (except as it was embodied by my father's mistress) and believed in thinking mightily positive thoughts. She had a pantheistic, nearly Hindu conviction that every living creature was sacred and God a wave cresting out of, then dissolving back into, Universal Mind. When my mother was distraught, which occurred on a daily basis, she found consolation in bourbon and Eddy's Science and Health and Key to the Scriptures. My mother dismissed Mrs. Eddy's hostility to medicine as an ideal beyond our grasp given our current state of imperfect evolution.

She also detected signs in me of a great soul and highly advanced spirituality."

 

WHITE
Edmund White (
Cincinnati, 13 januari 1940)

 

De Amerikaanse schrijver John Barrett - Jay - McInerney werd geboren op 13 januari 1955 in Hartford, Connecticut. Hij schreef o.a.: Bright Lights, Big City, Ransom, Story of My Life, Brightness Falls, en The Last of the Savages. Hij verzorgde de editie van The Penguin Book of New American Voices en was ook de auteur van het draaiboek voor de verfilming van Bright Lights, Big City in 1988. Zijn laatste roman is The Good Life uit 2006. Daarnaast schrijft hij columns over wijn in House & Garden. McInerney’s loopbaan begon met Bright Lights, Big City (ook de titel van een beroemde blues song van Jimmy Reed).Toen de roman in 1984 uitkwam was hij uniek in zijn beschrijving van de cocaïne scene. McInerney was een representant van een nieuwe generatie schrijvers die in de media de aanduiding “Brat Pack” meekreeg. Na dit debuut begonnen de uitgevers te zoeken naar meer werk dat ging over jonge mensen in een grootstedelijke omgeving. Zo werd ook Bret Easton Ellis' Less Than Zero aangeprezen als navolging van McInerney’s voorbeeld. De auteur heeft sindsdien geworsteld met zijn imago van zowel auteur als  protagonist van Bright Lights, Big City.

 

Uit: The Good Life

 

“Summer used to be as endless as the ocean when she was a girl and her family rented the gray shingled cottage on Nantucket. Now, she found it hard to believe she was already back in Manhattan and the kids were in school and she was already racing home, late again, feeling guilty that she'd lingered over a drink with Casey Reynes. The kids had been home for hours after their first day in first grade, and she had yet to hear about it.

 

Women blamed themselves; men blamed anything but.

 

This was Corrine's interpretation of the guilt nipping at her high heels as she cantered up Hudson Street from the subway, passing the hand-lettered sign in the window of their Chinese takeout: FRESHLY GROUNDED COFFEE. Guilt about leaving the kids for so long, about not helping Russell with dinner, about attempting to restart her long-dormant professional life. Oh, to be grounded herself.

 

Seven-fifteen by her watch. Still attuned to the languorous rhythm of the summer?they'd just closed up the house in Sagaponack four days ago?she'd barely had time to kiss the kids good-bye this morning and now the guests would be arriving at any minute, Russell frenzied with cooking and child care.

 

Bad mother, bad wife, bad hostess. Bad.

 

When she had yearned to be a mother, imagining what it would be like to be a parent, it had been easy to conjure the joy . . . the scenes of tenderness, the Pieta moments. What you don't picture are the guilt and the fear that take up residence at the front of your brain, like evil twins you didn't bargain for. Fear because you're always worried about what might go wrong, especially if your kids were born, as hers were, three months early. You can never forget the sight of them those first few days, intubated under glass, veined eggshell skulls and pink writhing limbs?the image stays with you even as they grow, reminding you of just how fragile these creatures are, how flimsy your own defenses. And guilt because you can never possibly do enough. There's never enough time. No matter how much love and attention you lavish on them, you're always afraid that it will never be enough.”

 

 

Jay_Mc
Jay McInerney (Hartford, 13 januari 1955)

 

De Schotse dichter Mark Alexander Boyd werd geboren op 13 januarri 1562. Zijn vader Robert kwam uit Pinkell, Carrick in Ayrshire. Boyd verliet Schotland en ging als jonge man naar Frankrijk. Daar studeerde hij burgerlijk recht en nam hij deel aan de godsdienstoorlogen aan de kant van de katholieken. Hij publiceerde twee bundels met Latijnse gedichten in 1590 en 1592 toen hij in het Zuidwesten van Frankrijk verbleef. Pas aan het eind van zijn leven keerde hij naar Schotland terug. Hij is nu nog vooral bekend door het volgende sonnet in de Schotse taal, dat aan hem wordt toegeschreven.

Sonet

FRA bank to bank, fra wood to wood I rin,
    Ourhailit with my feeble fantasie;
    Like til a leaf that fallis from a tree,
Or til a reed ourblawin with the win.
Twa gods guides me: the ane of tham is blin,
    Yea and a bairn brocht up in vanitie;
    The next a wife ingenrit of the sea,
And lichter nor a dauphin with her fin.
Unhappy is the man for evermair
    That tills the sand and sawis in the air;
    But twice unhappier is he, I lairn,
That feidis in his hairt a mad desire,
And follows on a woman throw the fire,
    Led by a blind and teachit by a bairn.

 

 

 

 

blairquhanCastle
Mark Alexander Boyd (13 januari
1562 – 10 april 1601)
Blairquhan Castle, Ayrshire

 

 

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