This morning, I finished re-reading Black Milk by Elif Shafak. The first time I read it was in February this year when I was vacationing in Kerala. Back then it took me 5 hours to finish it. This time I savoured it much longer. I have come to the conclusion that this is a book I will keep re-reading for many years to come. Although it talks at length about women writers and motherhood (both of which I am not, yet) I can’t help but be blown away by so many things she says in it. I think it’s a very valuable book because it is a single go-to place for the lives of some very prominent and diverse women writers. It discusses their lives holistically – their lovers, husbands (sometimes both at the same time) children and their absence, craft, struggles, and especially their strength to live and love the way they did. Yes, there is always love.
As an unmarried, single girl, after reading this book, I wish that in some other life I were Zelda Fitzgerald or some such momentous woman writer. Maybe, like Zelda herself, I’d be a woman who loved with great passion until it killed her, was loved by a man with ferocity that he wrote his books for her, who also wrote till her hands bled, and then died alone in a sterilised hospital, and is yet remembered. Of course, I would love only the shiny bits – the fame, fortune, gift of storytelling, love of a lifetime, and even remembrance. But what’s a story that isn’t smeared with pain and heartache, with spiralling down and breaking apart, with losing and wrenching? A complete circle. That would be a life worth living, a woman worth being, and a writer worth talking about.
In another life.
I want a trouble-maker for a lover,
blood spiller, blood drinker,
a Heart of Flame,
who quarrels with the sky and fights with fate,
who burns like fire on the rushing sea.
More about Black Milk can be found on Bookhad, here.