provenance: unknown

Unexpected guru

Yesterday I was sitting outside in front of my house (on the phone, actually) when the mailman drove up. The box is at the street, but he came up the driveway; there was not one, but three packages, and they wouldn’t all fit in the box. Usually he just kind of stuffs them in there anyway, or puts them on top, or in a plastic bag hanging from the whatever-it’s-called that pinches the little door-thing on the box closed — and once in the winter he drove up the driveway but stopped and instead of getting out just dropped some package out the window onto the ground next to his car and backed right out and drove off — but maybe he saw me outside, or maybe yesterday he just felt like making the little extra effort to bring the stuff to the house.

Anyway, so the mailman drives up, and I walk over to greet him and relieve him of his charges. And it takes him a minute or two to gather all three packages, two of which need to be scanned by some little label-reader he has, and we make some small talk.

“You should try driving on the wrong side of the car some day,” he says, referring to his minivan (which has the steering wheel in the usual place, and presumably something so he can operate the pedals from the passenger side, where he sat while driving). “You have to drive a little crazy, in order to get anywhere.”

August 3, 2004, 12:45 PM ET. TB/Comments? (0)

Pragmatics

If one loathes mediocrity — as one should, of course — it behooves one to fail to realize just how much work the alternative entails.

February 24, 2004, 12:31 AM ET. TB/Comments? (0)

Hello, '04

What's this — a new year? Why, so. And is that worthy of comment? Well, no, not particularly — it's just another day, more or less — but then, what is "worthy of comment," really?

I suppose it's rather rare that you greet a new year feeling like things are just how you want them to be. (Assuming, of course, you think about such things.) But this one seems a season of particularly acute discontent, for me — and, it occurs to me, that is a good thing, actually, that it is acute. Because certain absences, certain lacks I now feel are so clearly defined — so pronounced, and in such fine resolution. What an opportunity that is, to actually know, really know, what you want next.

Here's to life — both what we have already, and what we still pursue. Happy new year.

January 1, 2004, 12:47 AM ET. TB/Comments? (0)

The peril of self-publishing

So I’ve been pretty quiet for a while. I had no idea I would be so silent, so long. And I have no idea if it will continue, or not. No idea at all.

I mean, I know it’s up to me. Boy do I know it. That’s why I haven’t, until now, written about not writing: All there was to say was, I’m doing other things right now. And I guess my two greatest aversions in writing here are to talking about myself for my own sake, and to stating the obvious.… So I found I had nothing to say about my silence.

I’m still not sure there’s anything to say, but at some point silence communicates something by itself, and that I do not intend. That is, despite my lack of activity here, I have not abandoned this project, not in any real way. I still ponder things to write, and even start writing them, all the time; and I feel like I could finish one or two or four at any moment. Not that I seem to be all that likely to, judging from my recent trend, but I don’t really know.

In any case, if there is something to say, it’s this: The freedom to stop — or to continue — is one of those essential aspects that makes self-publishing what it is. If a person does it, you know it’s because they decided to, because they want to, for their own reasons. This is great when it works. It means everyone is not just a craftsman, but an artist; we are all following our own muse. Quality is a matter of degree, not of kind. And, yes, it is sad when it fails — but it is not sad that it fails. It has to fail, sometimes; it’s how you know it’s genuine.

As for me, personally, I suspect — this is sort of a hunch, really — I’ll be more or less distracted from my efforts here until sometime this coming spring. Life is interesting, right now, but rather unsettled — there is a very good but very new person in it, the probability of a new location, and, most of all, the feeling that it is time for new things. So I have much to do, and to figure out — it feels almost as if I have everything to figure out, all over again (though in a good way) — and no idea how much energy and focus I will have left over for the other projects I also hope to pursue. No idea at all, really.

We will see.

November 21, 2003, 11:28 PM ET. TB/Comments? (2)


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