“But I had less a sense of bursting out, I think, and more a sense of tuning in to my own transmission. Tuning out the influences, the static and interference. I didn’t get there by explosives. My whole understanding of it was that I could get it only by concentration.”
Interviewer: Do you think it has become easier for women to follow their vocations?
Rebecca West: I don’t know. It’s very hard. I’ve always found I’ve had too many family duties to enable me to write enough. I would have written much better and I would have written much more. Oh, men, whatever they may say, don’t really have any barrier between them and their craft, and certainly I had.
[Paris Review interview, 1981]
Reading this just now brought to mind something that Meredith Monk said last October in conversation with Blondes (google for the feature on Dummy, it’s a great read). Some years ago a conflicted student had asked her for advice and she had told him, “a creative life is a very lonely life.” Clearly this struck me but at the time I had naively assumed she meant in a romantic way. Now, having read the above, I realise the sacrifice is so much greater.