——If I am gauging what I write with an eye as to how it is eventually read by distant  readers, who are separated from these sentences in time, by the circumstance of my being unknown to them, though I address them nevertheless, it is with the most careful, self-critical eye–more, I think, than ever I would employ should fortune already have granted me throngs of fans and flatterers.  How’s that?
——Indeed, the latter situation (throngs of fans and flatterers, so phrased) is difficult and distasteful to imagine. I am so dedicatedly obscure, I seek refuge in reflections that I can tell are the most far-flung, most secretly held–and yet, perforce the most rewarding once put forth. My elite readers are, like me, protected from conflict, say, with received literary opinions and territorial squabbles. This may be assumed to be the prideful stance of any unknown writer, really. He is one who is more careful, writes more with an eye towards his eventual status, writes in an important sense more as if he were actually being read, than the famous guy who has unfortunately gained worldly approval, and therefore finds himself wholly free–and unsupervised.
——Success, I figure, has had that effect on him, and he is at sea, precisely in terms of his reputation. For it, his reputation, it is increasingly clear to him, is an insignificant achievement. He knows he can be replaced, and that that is what surely awaits him. Success, I have reckoned, is surely the first step toward one’s eventual eclipse. One can feel the encroachment, and the resentment of the audience will find a place in his heart. Aha! It becomes obvious to the public author, obvious he has no effect on anything. His naive fantasies, of being an effective public figure of some type, having been made foolish, the author, who also knows (in his heart) that it was undeserved, premature!, though he did have talent, now faces the prospect of having to maintain his reputation. And this strictly on the basis of his own guesswork, while having to plan, and agonize over the plan, of another damn book.
——Whereas, look at the contrast! The knowledge that one is unwatched, that one is addressing an unlocated audience, whose faculties for comprehension and whose imaginations are preternaturally superior;  and yet the knowledge that one is commissioned, however that is to play out–this will make the incipient historical author, like me, alert in the production of what is truly readable, what flows and ignites the mind. . . .   And I will elaborate pointedly even in reference to my own condition, setting the crisis of communication in profound terms only. For I hold their attention, these future readers, precisely on this profound issue of how it is that I was not heard in my own time. It is, I will say, the discrepancy that makes the author in the first place, makes his speaking seem to himself a necessity. Because that is the dramatic condition of talking in a mystery.
——What if, in a changed world, I awoke and had an audience waiting with baited breath for every script rolled out?  My readers!–flushed with anticipation, they are lining up for the next installment, nudging each other in line.  I imagine this, and then I realize I am so superior in my attitude, I would always be dissatisfied with any public that I was supposedly reaching. Seriously, would I start issuing fluid commandments, like red meat to a starving public? I think not, I would declare it to be relative–the attention I was now receiving. Oh, I would say, I’ve had experience of this kind of thing, at various times in my life I have suffered this attention, and survived it. I would be tempted to outwit this fate, and, deviously, go back to my old notebooks, the original and unresolved jottings in the void, and re-issue them, though worked over, in a jubilant second draft.

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