The Art of Midlife: Courage and Creative Living for Women

By Linda N. Edelstein | Go to book overview

years when pleasing everyone else fades in significance as we realize the impossibility of the task.

Virginia Woolf watched her mythical novelist:

I saw, but hoped that she did not see, the bishops and the deans, the doctors and the professors, the patriarchs and the pedagogues all at her shouting warning and advice. You can't do this and you shan't do that! Fellows and scholars only allowed on the grass! Ladies not permitted without a letter of introduction! . . . So they kept at her like the crowd at a fence on the race-course. . . . If you stop to curse, you are lost, I said to her; equally, if you stop to laugh. . . . Think only of the jump, I implored her, as if I had put the whole of my money on her back; and she went over it like a bird. But there was another fence beyond that and a fence beyond that. Whether she had the staying power I was doubtful, for the clapping and the crying were fraying to the nerves. But she did her best.34


NOTES
1
Ernst Kris and Lawrence Kubie both wrote on this topic. Ernst Kris, ( 1975), Selected papers of Ernst Kris ( New Haven and London: Yale University Press), pp. 473-93; Lawrence Kubie, ( 1961), Neurotic distortions of the creative process ( New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, The Noonday Press). There are other theories of the creative process, but this chapter relies mainly on the theoretical underpinnings described by Lawrence Kubie.
2
Kubie, Neurotic distortions, p. 27.
5
Arthur Koestler, ( 1964), The act of creation ( New York: The Macmillan Company), p. 120. Koestler wrote that the "act of wrenching away an object or concept from its habitual context and seeing it in a new context is . . . an essential part of the creative process" (p. 529).
6
Pincus Noy, ( 1984-85), Originality and creativity, Annual of Psychoanalysis 12-13:423.
7
Kubie, Neurotic distortions, p. 54; Kris, Selected papers, p. 485.
8
Phyllis Greenacre, ( 1957), The childhood of the artist, in Psychoanalytic Study of the Child 12 ( New York: International Universities Press), p. 58. Noy agrees with Greenacre's description of art as not narcissistic for creative scientists and artists.
9
Carl Jung, ( 1971), The stages of life, in Joseph Campbell (Ed.), The portable Jung ( New York: Viking), p. 10. Original work published 1931.
13
Bernice Neugarten, ( 1968a), Adult personality: Toward a psychology of the life cycle, in B. Neugarten (Ed.), Middle age and aging ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press), pp. 137-47.
14
Jung, The stages of life, p. 15.
16
Florine Livson, ( 1976), Patterns of personality development in middle-aged

-66-

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