This voice of the unhappy critic is like an earwig. Guns are blazing in the blogosphere, trolls under bridges, and pot shots fired from just over the hill, but the neighbors are having a house warming party, and we’re going over there in a little while, though watching silent people talking from my kitchen window across the way, standing at the coffee-maker, seems like probably the real event, for me. “Most people don’t know what you are talking about here, you know. They start to read, and then they go, what is this guy saying?” I’ve been told that if I don’t get another approach, I can’t expect to communicate with people. Yeah, I hear this voice all the time! And what do I do? Disregard it utterly. It’s snipers. People like to hear the sound of their own voices, what’s wrong with that? I get along with myself swimmingly, Jack. People understand me very well; first off, they know I am talking to them, and they forgive me any excesses, or flaws in my delivery. I have such a fan base, I only need to get to them, and the point of the whole exercise is only to deliver some compelling thought, which I don’t own. I don’t own my own thoughts, Jack. But I own up to them, see? Once the thought shows up, it’s all a performance. The unaccountable thief is knowingly in possession of somebody else’s stuff, and therefore doomed. I am waiting to be arrested, I am a receiver. It’s like when a letter gets delivered to your house that is addressed to the person who lives one street over at the same number. What do you do? You get on your horse and gallop over there and make sure that person, to whom the letter is addressed, gets it, even if it is just a monthly statement from his stock broker. On my horse, I can’t help my imagination. I’ve got earmuffs and stock brokers, working at the base level. I should be able to direct the package, and make sure it arrives. I mean we have lived here for twenty years. The whole time the weather has been here and now, if you see what I mean. Year after year, in the radical present moment. Different from anything in history. So there is much wind and sun in my discourse. Nobody ever saw this pale sun and these impossibly thin snowflakes, that I see hit my heels as I walk, and erase the street. You are walking backwards, that much is certain. In this neighborhood everything is only resolved in grey, if that, and now it is just a little colder than expected. I feel this in the arching straps on my shoulders, as I hang from the sky, being an incipient archangel. I know these moods are what cause the secret identities people have. I am paying off some debts, since I don’t feel like I am in the middle of life anymore. Somehow I got on the other side of that middle, even though it was never understood what it was. Wonder when that happened? That’s a new ecstasy. This might just be the heyday of a doubt I have always had–that I wasn’t really alive, yet. If you keep waiting to be alive, having to keep your eyes on the far horizon, waiting for life to really begin–then, one day you are on the other side . . . galloping in the realm of what doesn’t happen. I could see myself as the very one who maintained an intense consciousness. Probably half my writing is about the process of writing, like this very note. And that is not spurious. So if we are always battening down the hatches, is that not part of life? Getting ready. “Where is the objective text?” someone wants to know. How quarrelsome! I do have some early unpublished novels, and reams of poetry. Consider that distinction in The Writer’s Imperative between an author and a critic. The voice of the unhappy critic is an earwig. Read that. Reread this.

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