actualization of the potential form

life writing writing life …

Daphne Marlatt
“writing in order to be”
In Sp/elles: Poetry by Canadian Women edited by Judith Fitzgerald

perhaps the motivation behind the push to new forms is the need to find a way of writing the unprescribed, the not-already-scripted, that other women recognize as their unwritten too – a coming-into-being we participate in. this is not writing to demonstrate one is a writer & can follow the form, this is not mastery in the sense that “good form” implies (indeed we have no equivalent in the feminine for that term “mastery.”) what we can’t name we still call into being, by round-about means, from the far edges of the already-written – this is writing in order to be


Introduction by Theodore Ziolkowski to Herman Hesse Autobiographical Writings

In the Pedagogic Province that provides the scene for Herman Hesse’s last novel, The Glass Bead Game (1943), the students are required each year to submit a “Life” – a fictitious autobiography set in any period of the past the writer may choose. Through writing these Lives the students learn “to regard their own persons as masks, as the transitory garb of an entelechy.” These compositions, in which the students enjoy complete freedom of invention and expression, often afford “astonishingly clear insight into the intellectual and moral state of the authors.” Accordingly, the fictional narrator of Hesse’s novel includes three Lives composed by the Magister Ludi, Joseph Knecht, suggesting that they represent “possibly the most valuable part of our book.”


What would it be like to write, in either English or French, a “Life” of a woman writer in 1980s Canada? Begin by reading Reading life writing : an anthology edited by Marlene Kadar.

And so for day 2616

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