Woman Pissing

When we think of prototypical artists, we think of, say, Picasso, who made work quickly, easily, effervescently. On the contrary, in Woman Pissing, a literary collage that takes its title from a raunchy Picasso painting, Elizabeth Cooperman celebrates artists-particularly twentieth-century women artists-who have struggled with debilitating self-doubt and uncertainty. At the same time, Cooperman grapples with her own questions of creativity, womanhood, and motherhood, considering her decade-long struggle to finish writing her own book and realizing that she has failed to perform one of the most fundamental creative acts-bearing a child. Woman Pissing is composed of roughly one hundred short prose “paintings” that converge around questions of creativity and fecundity. As the book unfolds it builds a larger metaphor about creativity, and the concerns of artistry and motherhood begin to entwine. The author comes to terms with self-doubt, inefficiency, frustration, and a nonlinear, circuitous process and proposes that these methods might be antidotes to the aggressive bravura and Picassian overconfidence of ego-driven art.