January 06, 2004

A Random Stream of Thoughts

WE ARE HAVING ONE of those maddening moments in life; one could perhaps call it a mid-life crisis, except we do not care to think of the consequences should this prove to be the median of our existence. In any event, it all began with a thought which flashed through our mind a few days ago; and as it continues to trouble our sleep, we shall give it some consideration tonight.

The thought in question? Ah, it was a true jumble of things; one of those wonderful flashes of activity which strike at an odd hour of the day. It dealt with the ideas of creative work and one's commitment to it; how that interplays with our modern society; the risk-reward concept and modern economic theory. But we'll try to make that clearer:

We admire those who devote themselves fully to the creative disciplines in life. Our trouble, because we have eschewed the risk that entails, is that we have not done so. One part of us pursues our writing while the other part stays solidly in the modern world. Hence, our fear is that we will not succeed in either sphere.

Now, there are some who might call that first realm the "world of the artist" -- we do not, primarily because we consider it inexact. Creative types are all different in temperment; the souls of writers, poets, musicians, actors, painters, sculptors, and photographers are not generally interchangeable. And as a writer, we most certainly do not think we are an artist in any sense of the word.

But what is not different about creative types is that they all have passion; they have a hunger; they have a drive to pursue their craft no matter what. It is a passion that we believe we also have; but as of late, it has seemed to wax and wane as time goes on.

For we often find ourselves drawn to the harder world; the world of figures and theories; the world of finance and economics. We feel as if we have so much yet to learn and not enough time in which to do it; and we further feel that it is our duty to do that.

We were once told -- we say modestly -- that we were quite sophisticated. But the fellow who told us that left out the natural counter-argument; that despite all our worldly knowledge, he himself could steamroll us in a New York minute when it came to the savvy he himself possesses.

But can we succeed in that worldly realm while still keeping up our writing at the pace we do? For at the end of the day, it is what we truly love, what we breathe day in and day out, for which we have a passion so intense we spend most of our waking life wrestling with the written language.

We can't say we have an answer to that question. Perhaps what we need to do is simply do a rebalancing in our private life: keeping one eye on the skies above and the other at the ground ahead of us. Because we enjoy writing with our all heart and soul; but we know that we can't ignore all else either.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at January 6, 2004 12:30 AM | TrackBack

Benjamin - some words from H.L. Mencken you may find of interest in regards to your lament/question.

"I do not believe it is possible for a man to write more in a day of 10 hours--that is, more of the best that is in him, more than is genuinely worth writing--than he writes in a day of three hours. The view to the contrary, so common among young authors, is a great delusion. It is grounded upon the error of assuming that creative work is a mere matter of time. It is, in fact, nothing of the sort; it is merely a matter purely of ideas. The more good ideas, the better the artist."

From a Mencken column entitled "The Trade of Letters" which was originally published in "The Chicago Tribune," December 28, 1924

Posted by: John Venlet at January 6, 2004 07:59 AM

I think I've commented at your blogspot site before, but this may be the first time that I've ever been to your weblog at this website. I've had you blogrolled for awhile... That link is likely still to your old blogspot site, though. I guess it should be changed.

Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Aakash at January 6, 2004 09:19 PM