A most unusual “guide,” The Erotic Fire of the Unattainable: Aphorisms on Love, Art and the Vicissitudes of Life reveals what women never really say about themselves – what they feel, what they know, about men, their futures, fame, hunches, talent, the ocean, sex, aging. It is what they want to hear articulated about their own feelings but perhaps never had the courage to admit to themselves – and what men have always wanted to know. The narrator travels, rebels, has made mistakes, and looks into all the vicissitudes of life intently and intensely.
Written in short aphorisms, the style is poetic in that each pensée is short and provocative, although not oblique or metaphoric as in poetry. Each aphorism flows into the next and enters the soul, rather like a piece of music made of thoughts and feelings, building in one’s head.
Gay Walley follows the inner life of a woman through the narrative of outside events: getting past a divorce to a man she loved, and still loves. Their marriage didn’t work because they were both too on fire with their own pasts. Meanwhile, she is involved with another man and not quite sure how to move forward.
She also writes about her relationship to her art: where art is nowadays in this commercial culture, and what one must give to one’s art for it to be alive. All this is juxtaposed with the vicissitudes of making money and existing in the corporate world.
A little like today’s Anais Nin, Gay Walley touches on the inner feelings of a woman who loves and writes and is affected by all around her, including place, desire, the importance of rebellion, spirituality and more.
The title springs from the concept that eroticism is tied to living one’s life, not to the person, and that the erotic fire is often in the seeking, the imagination, not the having.