Sunday, August 24, 2014

On not blogging. As in taking a long break from it.

Calm down.
Don't panic.
I am not going anywhere.
I will continue to blog.
Breathing easier now?

There are people who strum their air guitars and imagine themselves to be rock stars. You know a few of them, right?  I can relate to them--by reading, thinking, blogging, and writing op-eds, I imagine I am a writer.  I know my claim to being a writer is as ridiculous as those lunatics pretending to be Eric Clapton.  But, hey, we do whatever that gets us through life.

If I pretend that I am a writer, then I suppose I can also pretend that I have writer's block?  Or that I should take a break from this imaginary qualification in order to get some fresh and original insights?

But, I suppose the best thing about this Walter Mitty alter ego is that I don't ever run out of material to write about.  I mean, think about what you have read until now.  Isn't all that nothing but a truck load of bovine refuse?

Real writers have serious issues because they have reputations to defend.  I don't have any reputation.  No honor and all oblivion.  No wonder that at some point writers quit. For some it is earlier than for others.  Even a celebrated writer like Philip Roth called it quits:
My work happened also to be undoable. Morning after morning for 50 years, I faced the next page defenseless and unprepared. Writing for me was a feat of self-preservation. If I did not do it, I would die. So I did it. Obstinacy, not talent, saved my life. It was also my good luck that happiness didn’t matter to me and I had no compassion for myself. Though why such a task should have fallen to me I have no idea. Maybe writing protected me against even worse menace.
Now? Now I am a bird sprung from a cage instead of (to reverse Kafka’s famous conundrum) a bird in search of a cage. The horror of being caged has lost its thrill. It is now truly a great relief, something close to a sublime experience, to have nothing more to worry about than death.
At least Roth did that after decades of quality writing, unlike:
After “Joe Gould’s Secret,” Joseph Mitchell published nothing new in his remaining 31 years. E.M. Forster published no more novels between “A Passage to India” and his death 46 years later. And then there were those hall of fame figures: J.D. Salinger, who published nothing for the last half of his life, and Harper Lee, whose post-Mockingbird silence should be enough to canonize her, the patron saint of not-artists of any discipline.
Not a problem for us fakes. We can keep going for a long, long time.

So, my dear reader, take it easy--I am not quitting anytime until, well, you know!


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