Last Artist: Bohemianism in early 21st Century Australia – ‘Weaving life story myths into history’
‘How can I write an intertextual fictocritical autrebiography about my life in a community of artists living in Brisbane in the mid 2000s, exploring ways Bohemianism was alive in the people’s behaviour and attitudes towards the practice of art?’
Where did this research question and interest come from? Why do I care so much about Bohemianism? What is a Bohemian anyway?
Welcome to my writing blog whoever you may be. I’m fascinated by the strange, ephemeral phenomena known as B/bohemianism, and consequently I have found myself in the midst of a creative writing PhD on the subject. No doubt I will edge toward a thorough understanding of the ‘B/b’ word through my research, but this site is designed as more of a reflective journal of my research process rather than an information resource, so apologies in advance if you are looking for detailed brain food in that respect. I hope to publish a post once a month with insights into the stage I’m at on my journey.
Watercolor by Henri Lévis (1849)
You might be wondering about the picture above? It’s of the Café Momus – a place that no longer exists unfortunately, except in the sketches of Henry Murger’s ‘Bohemians of the Latin Quarter’ (1851). The info below has been pilfered and pasted here for your reading pleasure:
I am sitting at my desk. I can hear the soft buzzing quiet of night time, the sound that has become so familiar to me over the years. The night is a soft bed, a hamlet of shadows where I am alone with my thoughts and the thoughts and lives of so many others – it is where writers meet. Apart from other, disembodied writers, the only company I have is the occasional gecko or spider and the dull purr of the kettle which is boiled repeatedly over the hours.
Who will I meet in the days and nights in the coming years through my studies? What will I learn? Where will I go in my mind’s eye and in real life? I am conscious of fear hanging about me. Fear of beginning again, of working upwards from down below, and most importantly, of having to work exceedingly hard to get where I’m going. Writing is not easy. Most days I don’t feel I ever write well. Most days each word is like my chisel chipping away at an enormous stone. Why do I bother? Because I want to see the sculpture underneath the stone. I want to see what’s been buried and why. At other times, writing feels like channelling an elusive cosmic force which is in control. I must write at those times even though I don’t want to. Writing is, for me anyway, one of the most difficult things a person can do. But I have no choice. Something keeps me coming back to the page – I should probably be thankful – but more often than not, I resent whatever it is keeps me chained to this desk, tapping away in the still, soft nights.
Words beget words – this is a space for me to reflect on my research, the pitfalls, frustrations and obstacles as well as the elations and breakthroughs. This is an electronic diary of sorts which will serve as a kind of trail of breadcrumbs – I can look back and clearly see where I began. Though this journey began years before now, I feel now is definitely the beginning of a new and exciting stage.
Below is an image of Leonor Fini who is, according to blogger ‘MessyNessy’ the ‘Forgotten Bohemian Queen of the Paris Art World’:
Do yourself a favour and check out her work here:
If, like me, you’re enthralled by the ‘B/b’ word, or are interested in the process of writing and PhD research, please send me a message with your views and opinions and knowledge. I’d love to hear from you!
The paths of Bohemia are waiting. Here’s a map to give you some idea of where my studies may take me:
The Lark, Number 12, March 1, 1896 (San Francisco)