An Embarrassing Exercise in Self-Congratulations

January 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

As 2012 drew to its inevitable close, like many others I grew reflective. This year I hit . . . let’s call it, ‘a rough patch’. No reason to rehearse the details here.  I bring it up only to say I’m a little surprised I was as productive as I was. Lots of people are most creative when under emotional or physical duress. For the most part, this is not true of me. This may surprise those who know me, and perhaps even those who read me, but the writing of mine I like best comes from a kind of perverse joy. When I cannot mine this joy, when it is overtaken by pain or depression, writing becomes a still-born labor.

Which is to say, I was a little surprised when I looked at my year’s work and found pages and paragraphs I really quite liked. I feared the worst and put off the task of even looking until today, the first day of 2013. Below are the posts I noticed along the way, the ones that stood out as things I still stand behind. Thanks for reading, my friends.

1) “Now is the time to set aside childish things: bad decisions await.” — I wrote a fair number of these types of letters this year. I liked this one in particular.

And while much of contemporary Western life likely is as well, at least from the perspective of the well-read, they being the ones with a sensibility & perspective that goes beyond the immediacy of the moment & all manner of perceived needs & outrage when these are not met, who have not lost their taste for “the enemy’s” blood so much as they have the confidence to know where to begin biting, the criminality of the American higher education system seems the one easiest for me to avoid.

2) “Shall I finish this?” — The obligatory post about dreams.

3) “askew, like a question mark” — An exception to the rule that depression & pain cannot be proper inspirations.

4) “the undigested kernels in our steaming piles of ​bildung” — A perhaps ‘too-clever’ title, with a perhaps imprecise phrase about “fucking & fighting,” but one that still informs the background of a lot of my current thoughts.

5) And there were the Excerpts from a Work in Progress. My favorites being (a) “Southern smells move slowly”; (b) “Our Father who art absent”; (c) “confession is always, too, a creation“; and (d) “you are never so invisible as when you are as terrified of the escape as you are of the capture.

6) Ah, and yes, there were posts on the deliriously dark writing of Djuna Barnes & Thomas Browne.

(7) And, fitting to end a list such as this, “Latter days tend to color those to come and those long ago gone.”

For to see more in life than life itself is prepared or able to offer, which may be as good a definition of creativity as I’m capable, is to set oneself up mostly for failure, all on the off chance that occasionally, in glimpses, these often in hindsight, after the moment has passed, our moment of life even, in the vicariousness of another’s remembrance, a value that is no longer so simple as a wage earned or a price paid.

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