“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)
New Wanderess Literary Tour & Writers’ Workshop Launches in the Mediterranean
Head to Croatia this summer to live the life of a wanderer or wanderess and create your own story in the process. For a few select weeks this summer, a maximum of six passengers (per week) are invited to spend seven days with Roman Payne, the author of “The Wanderess,” exploring the Adriatic Sea aboard the luxury sailing yacht, “Gold One.”
Fans of “The Wanderess” will enjoy literary discussions with its author, while writers of all levels will receive expert guidance to help them advance on their own manuscripts. “It is a sailing adventure meant to inspire and set your creativity free,” says Payne, “and by the end of the week, I will make sure you are on your way towards finishing your novel!”
His novel, “The Wanderess,” is highly-praised for its exceptional literary quality. It has influenced everything from pop music in America, to film in England, to Bollywood and Fashion Week in India. Payne’s poetry is considered first-class and has inspired thousands (people around the world even tattoo his words on their bodies!)
The Roman Payne literary cruise dispatches from the Croatian city of Split, and offers some of the best sailing in the world (Croatia is home to over 1,000 islands!). Passengers also visit Italy on the tour.
For those who love wining and dining in addition to literature, Wanderess Tours offer something doubly-delightful: the best quality natural foods and exotic delicacies (truffles, saffron, gourmet cheeses), together with the inexpensive cost of buying direct from the farmer at the village market. Each port city that you stop at, the Gold One drops anchor and you’ll have the pleasure of exploring city sights, shopping, and buying the freshest ingredients for your daily meals which you may prepare yourself on board in the yacht’s gourmet kitchen. If spectacular wines help your creativity and inspiration, you are in luck: Croatia, the birthplace of Zinfandel, has some of the best wines on earth. Sample some aboard to add festivity to your literary adventure.
Other activities besides the literary discussions and writers’ workshops include sunbathing, swimming, and kite surfing. There are double cabins available. The cost is 1,300€ per person. To book a week’s Wanderess Tour, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
My poetry and my novel “The Wanderess” has made the news in Billboard Magazine:) …The world-famous pop-star, Halsey (a young singer who read and was inspired by “The Wanderess” before she became famous last year) She was inspired to the point that she said to the press that she developed the qualities that made her famous because of my writing). Halsey based her song “Hurricane” (with its Exclusive Premiere promoted here on Billboard Magazine) on my book, “The Wanderess.”
I just read: One of her new songs is currently #1 on the “top 10 songs and albums on the iTunes Store.” Not bad ;)
I am thankful for all of the photos I have received from women around the world who tattoo words from my books and poems, or simply inscribe the title of my novel The Wanderess anywhere from their breasts to their dimples of Venus; or on their wrists, ankles, and toes.
A special ‘Thank You’ to this young woman (below) who sent me this testimony of her body’s permanent appreciation of my art. I only hope that she doesn’t grow to hate me before her skin withers from age and dies.
…In any case, by tattooing my words on your delicate self, I am obliged to love you for your entire life, you realize… to answer all of your letters (though otherwise I almost never answer readers’ letters [simply because I am lazy]). Yet now, I am obliged, you understand, to treat you always with profound kindness, replying with courtesy to every message you send me. For I would never forgive myself if a woman started to hate one of her body parts because she found out just how selfish, idle and monstrous the author of her tattoo is in real life. So for you, My Loves, I will offer my eternal affection, and I will pretend that I am a good person – God forbid you should learn that my soul is dirty and I am only “slightly” better than the Devil.
COMMENTS FOR ROMAN PAYNE? PLEASE FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW:
Very few novels are published with titles like: ‘The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Woman.’ While writers of coming-of-age novels about young men have a well-worn, established path to follow in the centuries-old genre of the: “Bildungsroman.” This German word, made popular by writers such as Goethe, refers to a “tale of initiation” where a boy, through worldly experience—usually involving solitary travel—becomes a mature man who is successful in the world. Female initiation tales in novels are much more rare, and when we do see them, they almost never involve solitary travel. A girl who has travelled alone has always risked experiencing social taboos—and still does, even in our “enlightened” 21st Century.
But a “girl travelling alone” is the subject and setting of the story in Roman Payne’s new novel, The Wanderess, which was published this month (November 2013) chez Aesthete Press. The Wanderess—Payne coined the word “wanderess” as the feminine form of “wanderer”—tells the story of “Saskia,” who begins the novel as a girl, and finishes as a young woman. Upon the death of her family, she inherits an income which allows her complete independence throughout her teenage years. This income far from consoles her. As she doesn’t need to work, nor aspire to the ambitions her—no longer living—family expects of her, she must ask herself: “what we are alive for?”… Her temporary answer is to search for the best friend she had while at boarding school in London, who now could be anywhere in Europe.
Like any great novel, there is a great romance. It begins when Saskia’s life gets tangled with the life of an adventurer (Saul), whose pursuit of pleasure and fortune gets tangled with the quest of this “Wanderess” for her long-lost friend and her own fortune. From the back cover description: “The two find themselves on a picaresque path that leads them through Spain, France, Italy and beyond; their adventures weaving them deeper and deeper into a web of jealous passion, intrigue, betrayal, and finally, murder.”
Payne admits that writing this, his fifth novel, wasn’t easy: “I already wrote a novel of initiation [Cities and Countries] about a young man’s solitary travels, adventures, and his coming-of-age; but The Wanderess is my first book where the hero is female. I obviously have no life experience in that role, yet the women who have read the advanced copies are unanimously positive. They expressed their delight and say that Saskia is lovable, convincing, and a highly-successful character.
About the Author: Roman Payne, born January 31, 1977 in Seattle, USA, is an American expatriate literary-fiction novelist. He left America in 1999 and currently lives in Paris. His novels are highly poetic, romantic and literary. They focus on the lives of dreamers and wanderers who travel (usually throughout Europe) looking for the meaning of their lives and of the world. You can meet him on Instagram at: @novelistromanpayne, join him on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/novelistromanpayne, or follow his blog at: https://novelistromanpayne.wordpress.com.