fake/ the woman upstairs

‘It occurred to me, not for the first time, that Lili's world was not so different from my dioramas, or even from Sirena's installations: you took a tiny portion of the earth and made it yours, but really what you wanted was for someone else – ideally, a grown-up, because a grown-up matters, has authority, but is also not the same as you – to come and see, to get it, and thereby, somehow, to get you; and all of this, surely, so that you might ultimately feel less alone on the planet. And what was also true was that I was happy to be in Lili's hidden lair – more than happy, I was honored – but after a few minutes I wanted to get out of it. I wanted to lift the blanket and climb back into the room and stretch my limbs and leave the dollies and their crumbs and their thimble-cups of cold tea (with milk, if you please) behind, and go back to my grown-up friends and their conversation. For fifteen of the twenty minutes I stayed in there, I was humoring her.
       And this was why, I told myself, I didn't want to show my art to anyone, even though showing it had always, from the beginning, been a large part of the point: I didn't want to show it because I didn't want to be humored. I didn't want anybody to feel they had to say nice things, or say anything at all, because I could tell they were fake, I could always tell, and I hated it. I didn't want anybody to tell me it wasn't any good – just as Lili would have been shocked if I'd said such a thing to her: these were not the terms of her world at all – and I didn't particularly want anyone to tell me it was good, either. I just wanted to be got, and I didn't trust that I would be.’ p69-70

Claire Messud, The Woman Upstairs

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