A month ago Courage sent me this essay. I clicked it open and seeing it’s length, put it off to read some other time. Courage pestered me again and again, “Have you read it yet? I think you will really like it.” And each time I said, “I’ll get to it, I’ll get to it.” Finally one afternoon at work I printed it out and despite a barrage of phone calls and emails and errands, managed to read it there at my desk and once again when I got home in the quiet of my room.
To be sure I don’t relate in the way another famous writer would relate, but this will be, like my beloved Hopper paintings, one of those pieces that I refer to again and again. It so clearly captures those paradoxically personal yet universal convictions.
“…let me make a general observation — the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise. This philosophy fitted on to my early adult life, when I saw the improbable, implausible, often the “impossible,” come true. (Maybe Fitzgerald is talking about assumptions…) Life was something you dominated if you were any good. Life yielded easily to intelligence and effort, or to what proportion could be mustered of both. It seemed a romantic business to be a successful literary man — you were not ever going to be as famous as a movie star, but what note you had was probably longer-lived; you were never going to have the power of a man of strong political or religious convictions but you were certainly more independent. Of course within the practice of your trade you were forever unsatisfied — but I for one, would not have chosen any other.”
With the New Year just around the corner, I want to lay out some groundwork for the coming year. This may be a foolish thing to do – a setting-up for blogging failure, of which I always feel at the edge, despite the increasing number of “drafts” that are populating my post list. Of 116 posts, 99 are “published,” which means 17 posts are languishing offstage. How many of those will ever see the light of cyberspace? It’s hard to say. I have not deleted them because I earnestly envision their completion, but really, are any of these “stories” or “vignettes” or “thoughts” ever completed? I go back to reread some and always end up tweaking them: adding, subtracting, streamlining, fleshing-out. Though of my few readers, who goes back to reread those edits?
Or worse than foolish, it may be too late. I began this blog a little under two years ago (Very Highbrow will turn two on February 17, 2012) and averaged one post per week, a shoddy rate for someone who claims to write often. But I think that’s my problem. I do write often, hence all the damn drafts, but I don’t publish often because I wanted this blog to be different from my older, more blather-filled blogs (of teenaged me). I wanted people to read only “finished” works. And because of this self-applied pressure to “finish” the post before posting and being stuck on certain drafts and then leaving the blog alone for weeks at a time, whatever interest I could hold slowly trickled away.
Perhaps the groundwork I speak of is more about loosening the reins. Not that there will be more blather on this blog, but certainly more room for me to post more often, “finished” posts or just a fleeting thought.