By Erica Jong
Any Woman's Blues, first released in 1990, is a story of dependancy and narcissism-the dual obsessions of ourage. World-famous people singer Leila Sand emerged from the sixties and seventies with addictions to medications and booze. Leila's most recent dependancy is to a more youthful guy who leaves her sexually ecstatic yet emotionally bereft. The orgasmic frenzies trump the betrayals, so she retains coming again for extra.
ultimately, Leila frees herself by means of studying the principles of affection, the Twelve Steps, and the main to Serenity in an odyssey that takes her from AA conferences to dens of sin, events with "names" worthy losing, and erotic gondola rides.
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He was an aging prep school boy from the East, playing at cowboy for a summer, but I didn’t know that. Under the Grand Tetons (or Big Tits, as the French so bluntly called them), on the wildflower-studded greensward made by the great Snake River, he looked as authentic as any cowboy, riding his nag. At least he looked authentic to this cowgirl from the canyons of New York, who wanted him to ride her. I had come to this most beautiful part of the world (Moose, Wyoming) to shed an old love affair, there where the elk shed their antlers, and he was a passionate twenty-five and I an even more passionate thirty-nine, moseying through fields of Indian paintbrushes, blue lupine, and black-eyed Susans on my old cayuse.
But I also remember a great sadness in her eyes and a vulnerability that troubled and surprised me. I never had met anyone that vulnerable except for the poet Anne Sexton (another reader in our series and, in fact, our stellar attraction that year), and I could not quite make sense of the bravado of Ms. Wing’s writing and the vulnerability of her persona. It was as if the two halves of herself had not yet come together; and indeed it is still hard for me to associate the fragile young writer I met in 1973 with the woman of the world who piloted her own plane, had numerous lovers, and lived as hard as she wrote, taking the Hemingwayesque ideal of the novelist and appropriating it for the whole female sex.
Las Vegas. Another woman. It’s all the same flight. The man I love has constructed a museum to macho in my garage. Power saw. Punching bag. Motorcycle. Barbells. I love him in part because I cannot tame the wild creature that dwells inside him. For this is another paradox of the sexes: whatever we love in the other we seek to kill. My love is a con man, a hustler, a cowboy, a cocksman, an addict, an artist, a fancy dancer, a dandy. He has no fixed address. O. box, sometimes an answering service, sometimes a number that no one answers, sometimes an address he’s just made up.
Any Woman's Blues: A Novel of Obsession by Erica Jong