Friday, January 28, 2011

WHY 'LITERARY GREATNESS'?

With all the new folks signing up for my blog and on my facebook, many of whom have advanced degrees in English and Literature and so on, I told my wife that sooner or later someone was going to recognize me for the fraud that I am. Well, that has finally happened. A woman took a look at this blog and had this to say, "Do you know how much of a prat you sound?" She asked that I never darken her facebook wall again. Of this blog specifically she said "... it sounds like a lot of male ego boasting, with some intelligent words flowered around it, trying to make a point over some vague topic, when there is none." Then, "Take your head out of your arse and learn some humility."

Well, I have to agree with everything she said. I am a male, and therefore what ego I have must be male and if it be ego, it boasts. I have spent years and years trying to learn humility, and life has beaten me down to such an extent that you would think humility would be natural by now. But, and it is this I am sure she is picking up on, I don't think I am yet completely humble.

Further, my topic 'is' vague. I am trying to write this blog from the eye of the creative experience, which means I am learning as I write along, and my hope is that the reader of this blog will find something useful in it also. I am working on my life's masterpiece, which also probably lacks humility. (The very act of trying to achieve greatness is probably not very humble). But, having said that, I am trying to hold myself to a certain standard. This means that I read Tolstoy and Shakespeare and Dostoevsky and Eliot and etc., and out of my experience of writing, and out of my reading, I am trying to establish what is 'Literary Greatness'. I may never attain it. I am humble enough to admit that. But I am going to try, even if that is not very humble.

When I offered to quit writing as penance for my crimes, this woman thought that might be a bit much. I have been writing since I was twelve, so I'm happy she didn't pull the plug on my efforts. Now I am tempted to say something cute and cutting to get back at her - to retaliate for her blow against my huge male ego. But then I remember the saying, "When you go seeking revenge, dig two graves." The fact is, I am somewhat less than perfect and I hope you forgive me that. But the fact is, also, I seek your comments both positive and negative.

There was a time when a writer could write. Period. "A writer writes," is the saying. But now a writer must write and edit and promote and market and be all things to all people. I make no apologies for being less than stellar in all these areas. I know deep in my heart of hearts that the only thing I can do, as Churchill used to say, is to "KBO - Keep Bumbling On." I will do just that until there are no more readers interested in what I have to say.

Thanks for reading. Jim

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