I am reblogging this post of mine from ’17. These sentiments and suspicions still hold. These have, however, assumed a greater pertinence now that I am awaiting a child. I possess no stubborn hope that I–or anyone whom I currently know–will amount to anything that anyone reading blog archives years from now (what an amusing image) will want to memorialize–unless we can serve as virtual tiles in a mosaic of mediocrity and decline. I do hope, to the extent that I must to keep despair at bay, that I can prepare my child to flourish in a world in which all categories stand to be rediscovered because they are all being forgotten.
We are a generation of clowns and jokers performing during the intermission. A flummoxed flux facing the farce as it finds itself fleeing an afflicted entrance and flowing into an absurd exit.
I read Cyril Connolly’s The Unquiet Grave like I once used to read my book of Catholic prayers–often and everywhere. He writes, ” Three requisites for a work of art: validity of the myth, vigour of belief, intensity of vocation.”
What reigning and sovereign myths do we still collectively hold apart from some vague sense of the democratic value of the individual?
Vigo(u)r of belief? The only belief that we still vigorously share is some nebulous notion of individual rights.
As for vocation, a belief that one can be called unto something would require the relational idea that there is one who calls and directs and gives accordingly. Even those who do accept this premise may chafe…
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Doesn’t Connolly contradict himself here? The assertion that the only reason to write is to produce a masterpiece perhaps sits rather uneasily with his implication that the true work of art stems from authentic vision and deep conviction. The first of these dicta seems to imply that the production of a masterpiece is an act of will, the second that the masterpiece seems to rise organically and perhaps unbidden from one’s apprehension of truth. Or—so long as one apprehends the truth—can one reel off masterpieces at will?
The main reason to write is to communicate, though Samuel Johnson once said, “No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.” Connolly’s universe consists of masterpieces and things that should not have been written. That is an odd view of literature.
No! Connolly certainly does not! And if you truly believe that, you are a fool, just like the rest of them! Stick to making you tapestries, and leave us all alone!
It pains me that I am unable to respond to so articulate and persuasive a rejoinder. Perhaps if you restated your objection to my post I could provide a response worthy of your careful critique.
Okay, that response deserves an “lol.”
The tapestries you weave out of conceit and deceit! That is what I am talking about! You know what? At first, I was excited for this to be a forum to exchange intellectual currency but since then, it has turned in to a total mock fest, and I’m sick of it!
So cogent and eloquent a rejoinder leaves me utterly unable to reply. Let me here acknowledge your forensic superiority and cry “Uncle!”