The interior nature of labour is such that it can only occur as a slow-time activity. One can intend to write a poem, but one cannot ignite the required creativity by sheer force of will. Instead, one must combine intention with leisure. One must take a step back, cultivate one’s skill with patience and lay the groundwork for inspiration to arrive. As Hyde explains, “For the slow labour of realizing a potential gift the artist must retreat to those Bohemias, halfway between the slums and the library, where life is not counted by the clock and where the talented may be sure they will be ignored until that time, if it ever comes, when their gifts are viable enough to be set free and survive in the world.”
Like Douglas, I’ve also had a case of the solar idiocy lately. Hot weather always does that to me. A long string of ninety-degree days doing physical work in a building without air conditioning leaves a fellow feeling pretty wiped out at the end of the day. I think there’s also an awkward age where you’re old enough to know that there’s nothing new to be said, but not old enough to have cheerfully forgotten that you’ve already said it all before. Most of all, as I’ve said before, we live in a politically fundamentalist culture right now which has drowned out general-interest conversation, or intimidated it into silence. A derivative scribbler like me relies on a vibrant online ecosystem for inspiration, and the current one more resembles a toxic waste dump.
These things come and go. I won’t always be overworked and brain-dead, and the culture won’t always be quite this stupid. But in the meantime, speaking of conversation, consider this something of an open thread for anyone inclined to step out of the shadows and say hello. Whenever I look at the site stats, I’m always surprised to see how many non-bots are here reading what I write. Some of you I’ve “met,” but most of you are ghostly presences. I appreciate your respectful silence, but I’m also curious. Where are you from? What do you like to read? What are your hobbies, besides reading second-rate blogs? Are you killing time at work, or do you hang around for the book recommendations? Which of the eighty-seven genders are you? The floor is yours.