Great thiught provoking article as always dear Hannah,

I studied History of Art amongst my boffin years and it really made me think, I only had one large tome about an Italian rennaisance woman painter. Much saught after and with such a shocking and sad story to tell. She was brutally raped and of course had to carry that vile event with her .

Which also brought me to the awful fact that still, today so many of us are not as free as men to roam without vigilance. Its sad because there are really so many wonderful guys out there, its just as women we dont know which ones are safe.

I am 64 and still have to deal with leering unwelcome attention in taxis, at a cafe or even just popping in to see a matineee on my own.

Not always of course but it rather sours my private revelry where I do not wish to engage with unknown old blokes!

From a life time of daft cat calls and all the rest, I have learned how to live alongside this blasted nuisance at best, blasted real danger at worse.

When I was 15 I won a local poetry contest back in 1973 , the local rag interviewed me and I was all puffed up and ready to prate on about poetry etc etc,

The first question the ( male ) interviwer asked was " how does it feel to be a female writer?"

And life has pretty much been defined by that type of question in most aspects of my career

Sad to see its still very much a work in progress for us gals!

Thought provoking as always... also your water colours are lovely Hannah... more of Babs please ( mind the police dont arrrest her for being naked up there in Montmartre!)

Expand full comment

Karen!! I always love when you write. I think the artist you talk about is Artemisia Gentileschi -- she's featured in the book. Kate has been reading it too.

Thank you for sharing those experiences. I still often get questions like "How did YOU end up writing for the newspaper?"/ "Wow, that's a well-known newspaper!"/"How do you know about that political event?" etc etc.

Merci about the watercolours. Babsy in her birthday suit sends you a 'arooo roof'

Expand full comment
Jan 16, 2023Liked by Hannah Meltzer

Hi Hannah - happy new year. Really enjoyed the 'pain' theme. Still an issue of great sorrow for me, that a country that is about 15 miles away, at its nearest point, from La Belle France can't even begin to make an authentic French baguette ! Or at least I have never found anywhere, here, that can. Food and the streets of Paris, that you write so eloquently about, have reminded me of my student days sleeping rough under the bridge by Notre Dame, on the left bank, with friends, hanging out at Shakespeare and Co. and living off 'flan', baguettes and some sort of liquid cheese spread and, occasionally Tunisian sandwiches from the street vendors [no-one had any money in those days c.1971]. Happy days! Keep well.

Expand full comment

Happy New Year Steve! Hope you're doing well. I wonder what the liquid cheese was! How was Shakespeare and Co. in those days? Full of characters, I bet. Thanks very much for sharing that memory, I can really picture it. Take care!

Expand full comment
Jan 15, 2023Liked by Hannah Meltzer

Another great read, thanks Hannah. Also, being new (and clearly not reading the description properly!), I didn't realise you included paintings. Stunning work.

I love that phrase and notion of embracing "an architecture of time". I'm going to hold onto that. In fact, I've been determined to make 2023 a year of engaging more in distraction free processes, especially reading.

I was at a friend's birthday on Saturday night and we were sat around outside enjoying the balmy Melbourne weather when I noticed a stack of phones facedown on the table with beer bottles placed on top of them. Enquiring what was going on, a friend informed me it was to prevent people from using their phones when they should instead be socialising. Although it's somewhat sad to think that we need to go to this extent, I was warmed by this gesture of self-awareness and how much we are often tethered to our devices.

Have a great week!

Expand full comment

Thank you very much for reading and for writing back! Glad you like the paintings too.

Yes, the book is so interesting, I really recommend it.

I like the beer strategy, more fun than old-fashioned airplane mode! (Although I hope everyone's phones were ok).

Thanks again for writing and have a lovely week

Expand full comment