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Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Writer's Life 4/28 - Muses


Seth Lipsky devotes an op-ed piece in today's NY Post to someone I've probably often seen but never heard of. Here's the gist of it, pared and edited by yours truly: "June will mark the 125th anniversary of the birth of Audrey Munson, the greatest artist’s muse of the 20th — or maybe any — century. New York boasts at least 15 statues of her, including two flanking the entrance of the Brooklyn Museum. Statues of Munson personify the city’s glory. Wearing gold-plated robes she stands atop the municipal building as Civic Fame, the largest statue of a woman in the city save for the Statue of Liberty. As the goddess Pomona, Munson stands at Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza. As Columbia Triumphant, she’s atop the memorial to the USS Maine. She’s Alma Mater in Columbia University’s quad. Munson reclines in the little park at 106th and Broadway, in a memorial to Macy’s owner Isidor Straus and his wife Ida. On the Titanic, Ida spurned a lifeboat and chose to go down with her husband. The Frick’s fa├žade features Munson, the New York Public Library too. The Metropolitan Museum has two statues, as does the Fireman’s Memorial in Riverside Park. Not only did she inspire our greatest sculptors but she did so in a daring and groundbreaking way. She was the first woman ever to appear fully unclothed in a non-pornographic movie (the print has apparently been lost). She posed as the Setting Sun, Commerce, Liberty (on the half-dollar) and Autumn. Yet what about representations of real women? Among the hundreds of statues in the city only five are of actual, non-allegorical women: Joan of Arc, Eleanor Roosevelt, Golda Meir, Gertrude Stein and Harriet Tubman. Central Park features statues of 22 men but not one (non-fictional) woman. A recent video about Munson refers to her as the 'most visible person never seen.' Did her invisibility as a person contribute to her descent into madness? That began when, according to some accounts, Munson fled the advances of her landlord, who then murdered his wife so he could be free to pursue the muse. He was convicted, and hung himself to avoid the chair. Munson’s downward spiral is chronicled in a new biography by James Bone. She failed at suicide and was, at 40, committed to an upstate asylum, where she lived more than 60 years, dying in 1996 at the age of 104. During her years of madness she dabbled in race theory and blamed her troubles on Jews. My own view is that shouldn’t stop the Brooklyn Museum — or any other — from honoring her someday, as Munson’s errors coincided with her illness. The art she inspired will abide for centuries."
I've had muses, two in particular. Here's how Munson looked in real life:


ABC's Nashville has recaptured me, at least through one of its multiple story lines -- 16-year-old Maddy's attempt to free herself of parental control. The legal term the writers have been using is "Emancipation." Most of the rest of the series is relying on soap-like, change partners plots, which is fine but old hat. One aspect I've been anticipating is an all-out smackdown -- or worse -- between Layla and Juliette. Of course, since Hollywood is dominated by liberals, Will's fight as the only openly gay country artist goes beyond a call for tolerance and acceptance, begging approval. I know that's the way society is headed, but it still gives me the creeps to see men kissing the way men and women do. And the thought of buggering -- yikes!

My thanks to the two kind folks who bought books in Russian, the only sales of the day. Wish I had one for every complaint about the cold I heard the past couple of sessions.
Vic's Short Works: http://tinyurl.com/jy55pzc
Vic's 5th Novel: http://tinyurl.com/okxkwh5Vic's 4th novel: tinyurl.com/bszwlxh
Vic's 3rd Novel: http://tinyurl.com/7e9jty3
Vic's Short Story on Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/k95k3nx
Vic's Short Story Collection: http://www.tiny.cc/Oycgb
Vic's 2nd Novel: http://tiny.cc/0iHLb Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/kx3d3uf
Vic's 1st Novel: http://tinyurl.com/l84h63j

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