Through the Flower was my first book (I've since published nine others). I was inspired to write it by the writer and diarist, Anais Nin, who was a mentor to me in the early seventies. My hope was that it would aid young women artists in their development and that reading about my struggles might help them avoid some of the pitfalls that were so painful to me. I also hoped to spare them the anguish of 'reinventing the wheel", which my studies in women's history had taught me was done again and again by women, specifically because we have not had access to our foremothers' experience and achievements-one consequence of the fact that we still learn both history and art history from a male-centered bias with insufficient inclusion of women's achievements.
I must admit that when I re-read Through the Flower, I winced at some of the unabashed honesty; at the same time, I am glad that my youthful self had the courage to speak so directly about my life and work. I doubt that I could recapture the candor that allowed this book to reflect such unabashed confidence that the world would accept revelations so lacking in self-consciousness. And yet, it is precisely this lack that helps give the book its flavor, the flavor of the seventies, when so many of us believed that we could change the world for the better, a goal that has been-as one of my friends put it-'mugged by reality". And yet, better an overly idealistic hope that the world could be reshaped for the better than a cynical acceptance of the status quo. At least we tried-and I'm still trying. Perhaps I'm just too old now to change.
Judy Chicago 2005