So whence this hard-to-explain bad consciousness of distracting a few imaginary readers from the shining path of true, worthy reading matter? What point to self-censorship in a time&age&place that seems well-nigh premised on the very idea that informational glut is one of our highest goods? Simple personal experience.
My medium-term [projected back- and forwards] of only feeding my mind to the finest written/intellectual produce have often gone quite horribly awry. I haven’t always read the best, far from it, think Virgo cluster. One explanation of course is that my taste by far is not yet refined enough, that I have listened to bad advice from well-meaning family and friends OR that I have been too lenient with my readerly self by indulging passing literary whims OR that I let myself be distracted by the ready availability of texts OR still other reasons that refuse to come to mind OR any&all combinations of supra. The net result would, I believe, always amount to the same: that I have wasted precious hours of my life on utter rubbish.
Examples? Power’s “On Stranger Tides”, which I convinced myself would teach me a few helpful lessons in clever plot-construction [which perhaps it has, even if I remain unable to apply them], though it is diverting and swash-buckling and what-have-you, it’s impossible to ignore how…powerless the language is / more or less, I am quite serious, every article I’ve ever read on Tagi-Online, which I would liken to substance-addiction to a very low-powered drug but keeps my “Need-to-know-world-news”-lobe appeased / “The Hesperides’ Tree” by Mosley, which was a truly painful experience after having looked 4ward to it for so long and after having been so singularly delighted by “Hopeful Monsters”, which I would have been much better off giving a second spin than chewing through that emaciated rehash [think “The Hangover”, xcept that there even the first installment turns sour after about 30mins] / The last quarter of “Black Man”; Dear Richard, what happened? Still love Takeshi Kovac though, don’t get it twisted / “Distant Star”, which somehow manages to be both brilliant and bullshit at the same time, meaning I’ll have to read it again, enabling me to write some gigantic post on the paradoxical in Bolano’s writing…speaking of which, I think it irritates quite a few people, including myself, how its nearly impossible to put one’s intellectual finger on why exactly one likes this late Chilean writer…Why, oh Why?! / The last third of Copeland’s “Player One” where the characters totally degenerate into bullhorns for his own triplegurgitated, undecided ideas about the technofetishized future of our species. In contrast to Wallace or Bolano or Auster, everything is exactly what it is, nothing remains inexplicable or mysterious or even just ambivalent. Anyway, the first two thirds move along at a brisk clip with a bevy of titillating concepts to keep your brain fizzing, though I suspect that this might be less so if you’ve read any of the man’s previous novels.
So I fear that with my own writing I add to amount of unfit, self-indulgent reading matter, that I become as much a co-culprit of the adipose distractosphere as those very writers from whom I would wish my malspent hours back. Yet, as obvious as shit and gold, it are exactly these unhappy forays into mediocrity, horse-shite and immemorable texts, the lowlands so to speak, against which the majestic range of writing brilliance rises onto which I climb, again and again, to so much mental exultation. You need a bit of the bad together with the good but how much bad is enough bad, will my type of bad be a valuable addition in the appreciation of coming good? Wouldn’t it be easier to just try and produce something good on my own? To these questions I as yet have no answer other than my continued delirious typings at the long end of days, the interminable chewing-gum hours between 10pm and 0am.
Then again there is a third angle [and most likely a fourth and fifth and a sixth and so on and so forth, etcetera, ad infinitum, endless bases to the endlessnesses of the observable universe]. That I do not need the mark of literary brilliance to justify my writings but instead the rubber-stamp of my own best, honest effort: sustained, implacable, renewed every few days against all odds of even the least bit of success, contrary to the possibility of even a single reader. The effort justifies itself in being expended conscientiously, end of story.
This brings me back to one of my favorite mental horses: oblivion, mortality, eternity. The idea that our eventual death and the possible melting into air/vacuum of everything that presently exists somehow invalidates our present-day efforts because they will not last for all times is, in my opinion, absurd. Things matter and mean and signify because we do them within the time given us and because, within that same temporal continuum, there is usually at least one person [for example ourselves] who is able to decode or even appreciate this meaningfulness. It is only in the absence of death or the specter of oblivion that our human achievements would become truly meaningless because, ultimately, it would not matter if we did them now or in a gazillion years and within the duration of eternity they would be repeated to no end becoming “shapeless events”, nihilistic simulacra of otherwise unique works/events/incidents. So, yea, I am permitted to write against the meaningful backdrop of my own appreciation and effort and mortality. Plus the positive reinforcement fed back by contemporary family and peers, however perfunctory or perfect their perusal. Enough with the self-justificatory explorations already.
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