There’s some real parallels between this weird little memoir and say, The Yellow-Wallpaper. This is a diary from about 3 months in a 19 year old bent on literary fame living in Butte, Montana in 1901.
She mires in her isolation and her spiritual loneliness. She has visions of meeting with the devil himself were he to give her some sense of purpose and opportunity in the world. Well, she gets it, as this book shot her to fame and allowed her to live the Bohemian lifestyle she so sought after.
She’s a firebrand and she’s angry and she’s sad and she’s frustrated. She is so convinced of her own especial understanding of the world and her own genius because everyone around her is so convinced of the opposite.
It’s more interesting than good to read this book, but it does paint a sympathetic if not exactly heartfelt picture of a life. If I could say nothing else, she fought for what she wanted.
Here’s some samples:
“Some day the Devil will come to me and say: ‘Come with me.’
And I will answer: ‘Yes.’
And he will take me away with him to a place where it is wet and green–where the yellow, yellow sunshine falls on heaven-kissing hills, and misty, cloudy masses float over the valleys.
And for days I shall be happy–happy–happy!
For days! The Devil and I will love each other intensely, perfectly–for days! He will be incarnate, but he will not be a man. He will be the man-devil, and his soul will take mine to itself and they will be one–for days.”
“There is Something–I do not know it intellectually, but I feel it–I feel it–with my soul. It does not seem to reach down to me. It does not pity me. It does not look at me tenderly in my unhappiness.
My soul feels only that it is there.”
“I am a selfish, conceited, impudent little animal, it is true, but, after all, I am only one grand conglomeration of Wanting–and when some one comes over the barren hill to satisfy the wanting, I will be humble, humble in my triumph.”
“And so there you have my Portrayal. It is the record of three months of Nothingness. Those three months are very like the three months that preceded them, to be sure, and three that followed them–and like all the months that have come and gone with me, since time was. There is never anything different; nothing ever happens.”