But who, and what, then, is the Bohemian? you may ask. Define him at once, or we find it more difficult to tell who is not a Bohemian than who is.
Well then, I proceed to my definition:
A Bohemian is a man with literary or artistic tastes and an incurable proclivity to debt
My own opinion...is that women are not fit for Bohemians. They are flowers too delicate for the violent extremes of the Bohemian climate. They can't stand the ups and downs. When women have to pass from luxury to privation (positive or comparative) they are in danger either of losing their temper, or of going to the bad altogether. Moreover, it is difficult for a woman, without some loss of delicacy, to be very unconventional and that is just what a Bohemian is apt to be....
~ Charles Astor Bristed, A New Theory on Bohemians, The Knickerbocker, 1861
Allllrrriiigggghhhhhttttt. So one of my tasks with which I have been charged (by myself - meaning that I, myself, have given myself a charge) during this year of transformation, is to find and read other blogs, and to develop some kind of repartee with said blog creators - to encourage, support, and edify each other, if you will.
However, as I have suspected all along, I am somewhat of a solitary species. I am seeking other women who write, who nurture a bit of the bohemian in themselves. The description of bohemianism, as described above, seems to capture the essence of my personality - except the "...a Bohemian is a man..." part. I am something of a dusty bohemian facing the winter of my life: literary, artistic tastes, living in some kind of a garret that's been jazzed up with old, tattered watercolors and threadbare velvets on the windows - and the proclivity to debt - yeah, that's me. (I've also been the worst-case-scenario girl in the bohemian-identification entry, above; I've gone "to the bad altogether" when I was younger and had more energy. And actually, there is a lot to be said for the bad altogether, in that it's not all together all that bad. But it's a lot of work. And not appropriate after the half-century mark.)
I have been looking - and I mean really looking - to find like-minded women, around my age, with whom to share this blogging experience. Bohemianism is not required - nor is a proclivity to debt. I'd like to find a certain laissez-faire attitude, a polished literary flair with a smidge of brazen. Women of wit with an interest in spelunking the depths of life's meaning. Dark, scary places, if need be. Golden, mountain-top places, too. That seems like an appropriate strata to explore. But I'm also hoping to read a wide variety of interesting blogs by anybody, of any age. Blogs that are thoughtful and well-written. But it's a big ether-world and there's lots of stuff to sort through, and I am searching for something pretty specific, here.
I am not interested in people who have causes to promote, banners to wave, political axes to grind. Please, no red hats with purple feathers. No kundalini-awakened acolytes of the goddess. Just good reads.
So far, I haven't found much that resonates.
I have found a Christian romance writer who home schools six children. I found a blog featuring a group women my age who dress in tutus and funny glasses, and every year, mind you, go to Burning Man and take pictures of men's penises, and then the women dance around, in faux-libertine-like poses. Methinks they try too hard.
I found a group of women truckers who blog....but, no. Just - no. There are lots of women-who-live-with-cats-plural blogs, or w.w.l.w.dogs blogs. I found a blog about magickal manifesting (the attendant two-day conference that will provide step-by-step instructions is $1500). These are all fine blogs - all of them. But they are too far outside my locus of intent.
And I'm discouraged. Really, I am. I'm not looking for a clan or a club or a kitschy twist on my grandma years. I don't want to read blogs by women who use the words rant, rave, or muse in their blog's description. I don't want anything shabby, or chic, or blog pages that play a soulful country tune while I'm reading. If I see one more post with a glamour shot of Elizabeth Taylor I think I shall crack like mommy's old ming vase. I don't want to read the blogs of young girls who describe their club-hopping escapades, or scrapbookers who are stay-at-home-moms with shopping addictions. I don't want to see pages and pages of photos lifted from magazines and pasted under a blog title. And they, with good reason, would not want to read my blog.
I am grateful to have the time and luxury to pursue my goals - through reading and soul-searching and writing. Imagine the mindless hell that those little darlings faced in the picture above (our grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and those before them). Too delicate for the bohemian life, indeed.
Imagine it in their day. To make have a chicken sandwich, they had to: chop wood, light the stove, catch a chicken in the yard, kill it, let it exsanguinate while they made bread, let the bread rise while they plucked and gutted the chicken, bake the bread, haul the water in which to cook the chicken, take some eggs, make the damn mayonnaise or eat plain chicken on plain bread. Jeezuz. Give me an opium pipe and a stiff shot of absinthe. Now they were freakin' warrior women. Just getting through one day took the kind of gravitas most of us cannot even imagine. Next to that kind of life, bohemian is real smooth and easy.
Just as water (and whine) seeks its own level, I'm looking for some like-minded women who are writing. I'm seekin' my peeps. Women who are a bit bohemian - even better.
Tonight - just a few minutes ago, I bumped into Gina Barreca's blog, Snow White Doesn't Live Here Anymore, on the Psychology Today website.
And now I can sleep.