I am sitting at my desk, staring up at a huge metaphorical pile of paper. The next draft of Tragédie.
I returned to my office after a few weeks away to find this, hurriedly scribbled in my own handwriting:
I do not transgress. I transcend.
I’ve been writing in the voice of Julie d’Aubigny for so long, it seems she is now leaving notes for me.
I’ve read everything from detailed architectural plans of 17th century theatres to historical analyses of cross-dressing in literature to academic arguments about the Baroque.
Today I read another yet article* which suddenly made a whole lot of things abundantly clear. I love how that happens.
I’m torn between recording the process and theory, and focusing on the fiction.
But I will go tackle the redraft.
This is how I want it to be:
- An entertaining romp
- A heartbreaking tragedy
- A riff on celebrity, on gender, on queer, on redemption
- A picaresque, a song, an elegy, an aria
- Theatre on the page. Or possibly cinema.
- A rakish hat, a swirling cloak, a flashing blade.
Most of all, I want people to know about the real Mademoiselle de Maupin, even if she is viewed through lenses of my making.
Yes. There’s lots going on there. But I want you to be able to read it without knowing all the theory behind it, want it to fly on invisible strings. I want it to burst out of its formal structure and out of its historical context. I want you to laugh and wonder and pity her. I want it to be a ripping yarn.
I want it to be worthy of her.
[Rolls up sleeves.]
Best get to it, then.
* ‘Crossing Borders with Mademoiselle de Richelieu: Fiction, Gender, and the Problem of Authenticity’, Carolyn Woodward, Eighteenth Century Fiction, Volume 16, Issue 4, McMaster University, 2004.