“She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city.”
- Roman Payne (“The Wanderess”)
How this quote became so popular, I have no idea. I wrote it about one woman: The heroine of “The Wanderess,” Saskia; yet I wrote these lines to describe Saskia at her best—praising the qualities of a heroine that all women should strive to have, or keep if they have them. I wrote these lines to make Saskia be like a statue of Psyche or Demeter. The masculine sculptor doesn’t see rock when he carves Aphrodite. He sees before him the carving of the perfect feminine creature.
I was creating my ‘perfect feminine creature’ when I wrote about Saskia. She is completely wild and fearless in her dramatic performance of life. She knows that she may only have one life to live and that most people in her society wish to see her fail in her dream of living a fulfilled life. For if a woman acts and lives exactly as society wants her to live, she will never be truly happy, never fulfilled. For societies do not want girls and women to wander.
I am surprised that this quote became so famous, since I didn’t spend more than a few seconds writing it. It was written merely as three sentences in a novel. I didn’t write it to be a solitary poem. This quote that touches so many people is no more than an arrangement of twenty-four words in a book of three-hundred pages.
What touches me the most is when fans send me photos of tattoos they’ve had done of this quote—either a few words from it or the whole quote. The fact that these wonderful souls are willing to guard words that I’ve written on their precious skin for the rest of their lives makes me feel that what I am writing is worth something and not nothing. When I get depressed and feel the despair that haunts me from time to time, and cripples me, I look at these photos of these tattoos, and it helps me to think that what I am doing is important to some people, and it helps me to start writing again.
Am I a masculine version of the wanderess in this quote? Of course I am! I am wild and fearless, I am a wanderer who belongs to no city and to nobody; I am a drop of free water. I am—to cite one of my other quotes—“free as a bird. King of the world and laughing!”
(-Roman Payne, January 1, 2018, Marrakech, Morocco)
* * * Ask the novelist and poet who wrote this famous quote a question. Ask him anything at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/359352.Roman_Payne/questions
A treatise in favor of “mind and body” arts, antidepressant medications, psychotropic drugs, and scientific procedures to alter the human mind and change consciousness; as well as an article in favor of religious practice (of any and all faiths)
By Roman Payne
Why do so many humans invest a considerable portion of their fortunes on, and are so appreciative of, the advancements in neuroscience? It used to be assumed that the goal of neuroscientific studies were to cure dementia, Alzheimer’s, memory loss, and overall: to cheat death.
In 2016, however, we no longer kid ourselves privately or publicly. Today it is as acceptable to tell a stranger or a new acquaintance that you are on antidepressant drug or other psychotropic substances; or that you perform anything from yoga and meditation, to Catholic rituals or Muslim prayer.
Twenty-First Century literature, popular media in Western countries, and articles by learnéd scholars and the intelligentsia tend to agree that a fully-realized human being is someone who is not afraid to die. *
*Epicurus, for example, regarded “the unacknowledged fear of death and punishment as the primary cause of anxiety among human beings”; while Saint Augustine believed that “the fear of death makes a happy life impossible. […] The true, happy life,” Saint Augustine wrote, “requires immortality. The true life is one that is both everlasting and happy.” Scholars and writers from Plato onward wrote similar doctrines. Every man and woman may have “once have had” a fear of death. In fact, “almost all” humans feared death during childhood, and many later on. But those of us who live more or less: “contemplative lives”; those of us who devote part of each day to such activities as: introspection, self-improvement; philosophy, morality and religious practice, or the intake of pharmacological or natural psychotropic medicines, have either come to the point (and if they have not, they hopefully will, for such is the entire goal of everything from philosophy to magic to religion) where they are and can be considered “A fully-realized,” or a “flourishing,” adult.
A “flourishing” adult lives a “flourishing life”—(more specifically, a “eudaimonic” life).
(TO BE CONTINUED AFTER A FEW HOURS OF RESTFUL SLEEP)
I will always know the glory of the beautiful and rare,
as they will know security from labour and prayer.
As they will hear the laughter of the children they gave life,
I will know the torments of the song born under knife.
And to their girls, they will give,
while with their sons they’ll share;
where I will bear a song—a son!
The wife of despair.
One of the notebooks I used to outline my last novel, “The Wanderess”
…who said I’m neat ?? And God, what handwriting !!!!
I am so far away from civilization (viz., “places where they print books” …at least my books, in English). Here I am in my hideout bunker just outside of Paris; and Monsieur the Postman just paid me a visit… he brought me what I’ve been waiting years to see… paperback copies of my latest (and greatest) novel... “The Wanderess“…
First Page of The Wanderess (paperback version); published Nov 2013, chez Aesthete Press
…It is so beautiful! How I love paperback books!, much more than hardcover books. It is a format that began to flourish around the 4th Century AD… that’s when the “codex” began replacing the scroll. Now, 1700 years later they are trying to replace the codex with “Kindles.” I thought it would never work. Yet Kindle versions of my books are outselling the paperback versions 10 to 1!
So, for every one person who gets to enjoy my latest novel the way it was meant to be enjoyed, ten poor souls are reading my prose in inkless ink. It’s a shame. It’s enough to make me want to change professions. Maybe I’ll direct films… at least ugly VHS tape never replaced old-fashioned film.
Any ideas on how to make people give up their Kindle versions and read the paperback?