The downside of posting anything away from my home library is that I usually will not have the book on hand that I want to reference. Of course, who I am to deny La Belle Dame Muse (aka La Belle Dame sans Merci) when she calls?–that bossy slut. Somewhere in Cyril Connolley’s The Unquiet Grave–a book that I will continue to reread and treasure until my dying day, he notes that while we may enjoy, for example, the work of Baudelaire or Rimbaud, most of us do not want to put in the suffering that is required to produce such material.
While I do not think that, on an artistic plane, suffering inevitably leads to great art (I know too many people who have suffered and have nothing to show for it) or that great art can be produced only in a realm of suffering (I think Bach was a pretty content dude), I do believe that the best and most insightful art springs from the fountain of suffering.
While stories abound of dedicated writers who have been able to balance work, family, and their craft, I am neither that dedicated nor that capable. My wage-earning position is teaching English and philosophy–to the extent that one can teach either. Both fields require more than Scantron tests and lectures that come straight from a textbook. I try to engage students and encourage them to think and then speak after thinking. Then, there is the grading. Laborious. For as much of myself as I do put into teaching, I do not believe that I am particularly gifted at it, and I definitely do not believe that it is my vocation.
My only vocation is to write. As such, as I see my career as a type of competition. I see my students, as much as I do appreciate many (not most) of them, as leeches. However, a man needs to pay bills. *insert how-can-I-complain-about-having-a-job-when-so-many-would-kill-to- have-what-I-have-? type comment*
Throughout my struggles with faith, women, family, friends, and despair, writing has been the consistent procedure to make sense–or, at least, to process all of the aforementioned. This being the case, how much am I willing to let go because of it?
I think, to a significant degree, this blog played a deleterious role in my last relationship, but I would not take back what I have written, for writing is when I feel I am being the most authentic version of myself and giving the world the only thing I can give it somewhat decently–my words.
Still, I wish I had the courage to throw everything away for the sake of my writing. I wish I had the courage to quit my job, collect my retirement, and move to some place with few distractions, knowing that I could live on my pittance of a pulled retirement for a few months. That would force me to write on a deadline what I think I still have in me to produce. Whatever would happen to me after that would be immaterial. At least I could I leave to an uncaring world the only thing that I have left to leave it.