I might as well admit it: I had a fantastic orgy last week.
Book cravings attack me like other people feel the urge for chocolate. I’m overcome by an immense desire to read a certain book. I’ve had, at different times, infatuations with Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Plato. Last week I succumbed to Frankenstein. I could no longer wait. The need to read this book had to be satisfied there and then. I searched our bookshelves. No luck. I stopped work early, bought a new copy and devoured it in a single evening. What a night!
Tomorrow evening I will host the fifth Peirene Salon. I’ve bought cheeses (picture proof included!), cakes and baguettes. I’ve collected the chairs from my son’s school. And I am as nervous as if it were my first salon. You would have thought that I had never thrown a party before.
“Now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.” Frankenstein can’t bear to look at his own creation. He first attempts to run away and then spends the rest of his days trying to kill it. At the beginning however the monster behaves well. It only turns nasty on realizing that his creator doesn’t feel love.
I didn’t create a monster, I created a little book nymph with her Saturday salons. Every now and again, however, anxiety overwhelms me and I really don’t like Peirene any longer. “It’s too much” “ I can’t handle it” “That’s it, I am giving up.” Of course the trick is to accept the fear as part of the creative process. Embrace it. Sadly I am not into flower power huddle cuddles.
Frankenstein eventually was dragged onto the arctic ice by his monster, where he died a wretched death. I won’t let my nymph do that to me. Please, I am not such a drama queen. However there is a risk that I spend much of tomorrow being miserable company for my family as my mind is hijacked by two ghostly worries: I won’t be ready in time. And: No one will turn up.
Mary Shelly was 18 when she wrote her novel. Perhaps her protagonist had to be killed by his creation as the author herself battled to accept her own creativity. I am a few years older than Mary. I’ve had my fair share of wonderful (literary) orgies. I really ought to be able to pull myself together, look me nymph into the eyes and tell her, Be quiet. It will all be alright.
Or will it?