And Writing These Words I Am Making A Commitment To Both of Us


I told myself I would, beginning today, write a blog post every day. Not always inspired. As if by forcing myself to recognize the instrumentality of language I could somehow institute some kind of style or process which will transcend that instrumentality even as it makes use of it.

Lots of times I’ve “produced something every day” and fallen well short of that goal. Once I paid someone money to anticipate my failure ($20). Usually I continue until I feel like I’ve exhausted the medium, finished whatever it is I was working on, or accomplished what I wanted to accomplish. Or become bored, just plain bored. Because of the interior action that those mantras are meant to stimulate, there’s no value in putting something “up” that I did not write that day. So you wouldn’t think that I would do that, but I do. And weirdly, often, at that advanced stage of moribundity, it does count, in the quickly atrophying organ that I will by then be calling my brain.

Anyway, I had a post like that in my head earlier this afternoon, while I was taking a shower. Then I drove to Orangeville and then I put up a post on The Town Crier and then I surfed the internet (mainly The Classical). Then I forgot whatever it is I was going to write (it was going to be pretty good, believe me). Now my brain feels vaguely “stretched” and “stunted.” I have to write something about The Hunger Games (books and movies) before I forget to (I have lots of notes). But before that I think I need to read. It is usually the antidote to feeling like I cannot write. When Hemingway talks about always needing to “recharge,” via reading, I think that is what he meant.


(An aside: I feel like there is too much writing, not enough reading “in the culture generally.” This is probably an idiotic statement. But if writing is a way of understanding what you think, as it is often said, reading is where you go to learn how to think. It is how you attain the raw materials that you will assemble when writing. Isn’t that the real failure of the current literary economy? There are so few paying jobs, especially well paying jobs, that reading must take a backseat to writing, endless writing. I don’t make a lot of money from my writing. From “journalism” and “criticism” I have made exactly nothing. So I’m not the best person to ask about, let alone speak to, this. But what has stopped me, to this point, from making more concerted efforts to earn money from my writing is the weird feeling that I will have to give up reading.

((Aside number two: Give up reading? There’s so much else in my life that I could give up before reading. Reading is something that you make time for, that you absolutely have to make time for, if you have any interest in writing. Right? Right?

(((Aside number three: What the fuck do I know? Why even digress?

((((Aside number four: Maybe it is precisely the lapses in confidence represented by these asides that working steadily is meant to combat. (Yes.) ))))

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