April 12, 2010

A Post I Already Regret

I know I'll be sorry that I published this. To hell with it.

I've seen quite a few recent postings on various blogs dealing with the question of whether we should support "the troops," and concerned with what sorts of judgments we should make about soldiers and lower-level members of the military (as distinguished from those who fashion policy). A little less than a year ago, I wrote about some of these questions in detail: "No, I Do Not Support 'The Troops'."

I've followed a reciprocal link policy above. None of the recent posts mentions my earlier article, so I've returned the favor. Yes, I'm bitter, petty and nasty! I'm always a bargain that way. I try to economize.

In fact, I'm actually not all that bitter or even angry any longer. Disappointed, certainly, and I definitely feel anger from time to time. But then, I consider that it's entirely possible the earlier piece was mainly shit, so people are right to have forgotten it entirely. I find that much easier to make my peace with than another possibility: it's good, but that fact makes absolutely no difference.

The article about "the troops" mentions a related still earlier piece that remains among my favorites: "Against Annihilation of the Spirit: Let Us All Become Cowards." I still think that contains some good writing, apart from the specific content (which I continue to think is both true and important).

While I'm at it, I'll mention two other articles that are special favorites of mine. They don't concern politics for the most part, although together they tell you everything that I consider most important about my perspective and what motivates all my writing. They are: "For Maria Callas, Now and Always: All Things Are Connected," and "Flecks of Light, Points of Understanding, and the Gift of Sight." The final paragraphs of the latter article explain how the broader issues I discuss connect to the narrower political issues addressed in many of my posts. Those two articles mean a great deal to me personally; they were noticed by very few people when they were first published, and that's never changed. There were three notable exceptions, including two wonderful emails I received about the "Flecks of Light" essay, and one post that I discussed in, "Cultivate Your Sense of Wonder, and Live Ecstatically."

Those readers who characterize my writing as doom-laden and despairing in terms of its deepest wellsprings and what I consider my most important "message" (a term I loathe as applied to my own work) should read that last-linked article, probably more than once. I've long planned to explain the causes of certain common kinds of distortions that occur in many people's reactions to works of art, other individuals, and events of all kinds (including political events); who knows if I'll have time to get to all that now. I'll simply say that to characterize me as a person ultimately counseling despair and pessimism -- and I've read and heard a number of people who say that reading me makes them "want to kill" themselves -- represents a gross misreading of my work. The themes discussed in the Maria Callas essay, in "Flecks of Light" and in the "Live Ecstatically" piece have stood at the heart of my writing for years now. (Here's another example, from January 2007: "Let Us All Become Artists Unto Ourselves." Please pay special attention to the brief remarks from Harold Clurman at the conclusion of that essay.) When I urge people to "Live Ecstatically" and some individuals react to my writing in general with thoughts of the attractiveness of suicide, the problem is not mine. Much more about these issues another time, if I manage to get to it.

Well. That's enough of feeling sorry for myself. I'll go back to cleaning up my shit (speaking literally now, not figuratively, for those who unfortunately follow the details of my physical deterioration), and taking some more pills to minimize the physical pain.

And I'll think further about the essays I'm planning. I can't wait to complete some more very difficult articles, so that they can be read by a few hundred people, and then completely forgotten. (For those pretentious, self-important poseurs who will accuse me of not being a "real writer" at this point -- for "real writers" write only for themselves, doncha know, because "real writers," including all famous and revered ones, never worried about money or whether their work would find an audience [that's sarcasm, for the cranially-impaired among you] -- please note that I write primarily, although certainly not solely, for myself. I discuss that issue in "Flecks of Light." If I didn't write in very significant part for myself, I would have stopped altogether three or four years ago.)

Yet at this point, I must acknowledge that I consider it extremely unlikely that this can continue much longer. I don't view that prospect with alarm or sadness now. It took me some time, but I have made my peace with that. I consider it no great loss, for anyone else or for me.

So I'll be back with some additional lousy, forgettable articles ... whenever.

(You should, of course, feel completely free to mock and deride this post, as I know some people will. Don't bother sending emails, though; as I said recently, I've stopped reading email altogether for the time being. My favorites shall always remain those that say, in one way or another: "You've been threatening to die for a couple of years now. Either do it or shut up about it, you whining, useless, self-pitying piece of crap." Oh, yes: I've received some emails that say almost exactly that -- and some that say precisely that.

How long did you think someone would be able to stand it? And you think I should keep writing despite all of that? Some of you still take my breath away, so immense is your denial and lack of empathy.

But I still might have some writing left in me, if only because I can do almost nothing else. Oh, one more thing: allowing for ten or perhaps twenty exceptions, to hell with you.)