Djuna Barnes came from a free love family and some of her early experiences with older men and women were unwanted (the sexual contact with her grandma is just freaky). Barnes’s directs rage at her free love family, in her play, ‘The Antiphon’. I put the strike through on ‘love’ because Barnes became a recluse and the end of her life is depressing.
Barnes was bisexual and may have been an uneasy lesbian; considering this one statement “I am not a lesbian; I just loved Thelma.” Boyish was probably Barnes’ favorite type, considering her professed love for Thelma Wood. Some women can stay boyish for a long time. Wood is best described as a female gigolo; her bisexual love apparently came with dollar signs.
Lesbian sex offers intimacy without the risks of pregnancy and Barnes considered motherhood repulsive. Socialist dreams gave her an, ‘art before money’ attitude, and probably is the reason that her, “Ladies Almanack’ seem scathing; the book is about Natalie Clifford Barney’s ‘society for lesbian love.’ Barnes did not have issues with the sex, in the free love movement, but I’m don’t believe she cared much for shallow love. When Thelma Wood chose the rich heiress over the love Barnes offered—she obviously became depressed and reclusive. Money issues may play a part in the scathing elements of the “Ladies Almanack’.
Barnes obviously saw women as sex objects, but her free love family may have damaged her. She resented being powerless and I suspect the six-foot Thelma Wood was rare type of woman that she preferred. I used the movie poster for Berserk! and alluded to Mommie Dearest in the title because the two movies concern Joan Crawford and awful mother-daughter relationships; which, is also seen in Barnes’ life and her play, ‘The Antiphon’.
Natalie Clifford Barney’s appears to be the Ringmistress of her lesbian society; which, interests me because they fit my cult profile; thus, the ‘Ladies Almanack” by Barnes interests me. Barnes’ artwork is similar to Aubrey Beardsley‘s work and I like that style, but I don’t get any pleasure out of her sad story. I’m somewhat confused by her being somewhat of a LBGT icon because I’m certain she would mock people who thought such a thing. The poor woman wanted an endearing mother figure and only found Mommie Dearest and the Ringmistress. I’m trying to find inspiration on how to mentally damage one of my characters and I see elements in Barnes’ life.