Yesterday, I expressed concern about my suddenly being inspired after a several-years' long writing break to start up again by writing at least 20 lines a day after recalling how Harry Mathews (in Stendhal's footsteps) wrote "20 lines a day, genius or not." I was worried about something I thought Stendhal had written. Turns out, it was Balzac. Here's a choice bit from his Physiology of Marriage: "Pay no attention to her murmurs, her cries, her pains; Nature has made her for our use and for bearing everything: children, sorrows, blows, and pains inflicted by man. Do not accuse yourself of hardness. In all the codes of so-called civilized nations, man has written the laws that ranged woman's destiny under this bloody epigraph: Vae victis! Woe to the weak!" I mean, who wants to be inspired by that guy? What woman writer, today, should be happy about taking writing advice from him? Relieved, for now, to have remembered this morning that it wasn't Stendhal who wrote that, I've nonetheless decided two things: (1) I still need to read Stendhal, and (2) I'm also going to read the rest of that Balzac. I have my reasons. (Mostly, they're related to that "Women & Power" syllabus I mentioned yesterday.) Anyway, so there I was last night, annoyed with ol' Vae Victus & Co., scrutinizing my bookshelves. I stopped at my stack of Virginia Woolf titles, and I plucked out her diary thinking maybe I'd discover within some glittering piece of writing advice (not "man" to "man," but "woman" to "woman"). Instead, I opened to January 4, 1915, which begins: "I do not like the Jewish voice; I do not like the Jewish laugh." Shocked, I Googled and learned that yes, in fact, despite being married to Leonard (he was Jewish), Virginia Woolf was antisemitic elsewhere in her nonfiction and in her fiction as well. There is a decent amount of coverage out there, if you look for it, but I particularly enjoyed making my way through Jenny Singer's response in The Schmooze: Your Jewish Pop Culture Fix. Yet, Singer ends with: "happy birthday, anyway! We still love you all the way to the lighthouse and back." Really? We do? But should we? I haven't yet formulated a conclusion I'm capable of sharing here, publicly (for now, I believe my role is to continue informing myself by listening to and reading others' ongoing discussions and debates about art and artists), but I will end this post with the compelling and convincing words of Roxane Gay, which I have been thinking about quite a bit ever since I read her article in Marie Claire a few days ago. In this article, titled "Can I Enjoy the Art but Denounce the Artist?" she says: "I no longer struggle with artistic legacies. . . . There are all kinds of creative people who are brilliant and original and enigmatic and capable of treating others with respect. There is no scarcity of creative genius, and that is the artistic work we can and should turn to instead."