January 29, 2022

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Patricia Highsmith Lived Extravagantly, and Took Copious Notes

Patricia Highsmith Lived Extravagantly, and Took Copious Notes

She appreciated to exit within the morning and purchase brioche and croissants for lovers nonetheless in mattress. She wrote, “Life has no pleasure equal to that of the second underneath the bathe, singing, with an exquisite lady ready in her mattress within the subsequent room.”

She stored her diaries — she knew they’d be revealed in the future — in French, German and different languages, partly to grasp these languages and partly to repel prying eyes.

By day Highsmith pegged away at her writing. By evening she pegged away at her gin.

She was a strong and systematic drinker. She began younger. “The world and its martinis are mine!” she wrote in an ebullient 1945 entry. She experiences having 5 earlier than dinner with Jane Bowles and being sick. Twice she mentions having seven martinis at a single sitting — as soon as earlier than, throughout and after a lunch, and as soon as at dinner.

“I’m wondering if any second surpasses that of the second martini at lunch, when the waiters are attentive, when all life, the long run, the world appears good and gilded (it issues under no circumstances whom one is with, male or feminine, sure or no),” she wrote.

She thought exhausting about alcohol and its position within the inventive course of. Writers drink as a result of “they have to change their identities 1,000,000 occasions of their writing,” she mentioned. “That is tiring, however ingesting does it routinely for them. One second they’re a king, the subsequent a assassin, a jaded dilettante, a passionate and forsaken lover; different folks really choose to remain the identical particular person, keep on the identical aircraft, on a regular basis.”

Regardless of hangovers, occasional blackouts and some embarrassing scenes, she took extra from gin, she reckons, than it took from her. “With out liquor I might have married a uninteresting clod, Roger, and had what known as a standard life.”

Highsmith was drawn to worst-case eventualities and blacker-than-black themes. Graham Greene referred to as her “the poet of apprehension.” Her characters appear, like these in Shirley Jackson’s story “The Lottery,” prepared to choose up a rock.

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