Monday, October 20, 2014

But do you connect with anyone, my therapist asks.  Outside of a role?
Doesn't sound as if you exactly connected with your mother...
Well, we did.  It was a short visit.  We took a nice walk...
Route 81, I gesture, has a sign about it, 'depression, next 400 miles, ghosts of the past, shoulda, woulda, and coulda...'

I leave the appointment wondering about that.  Do you have anyone to really talk to?  Is it that you felt connected to a special someone but it all went horribly wrong, finding an apparent harshness that existed only on the social surface but which still caused a reaction to when you tried to open up further, both parties having, apparently, their insecurities...  the gloomy scars of that, a toughened thickened hide.  Anyway, I know pain, and the pain can come in the middle of the night awake on a fold out mattress, or during a long monotonous drive punctuated by un-zoned sprawl and industrial wastelands, pain that comes in spare time finding yourself alone, pain that comes in the downtime of a few days off.

I get back after returning the rental car, walking back over the bridge above Rock Creek, an uprooted tree along the bank of the stream down below, the Chinese construction project up ahead, one thing at a time.  I get ready to do some yoga, and something prompts me to open up  the Pema Chodron Compassion set and put the CD on, and it's about Tonglen meditation, breathing in, taking in the pain, taking it into the heart.  Not running away, not escaping into pleasure, but open and expanding the heart and taking it in.

There are mystical moments in history, and who can exactly say why they happen, the mystical ideas behind good governance, of the people, by the people, for the people.  Mom gives me a picture book--she has a lot of books--of the places Lincoln lived and travelled by, one a courthouse, somewhere out on the circuit ride.  One's sense is, he knew pain, he knew the suffering, personally, of humanity, over many things, and even of animal suffering.

One of those sleepless early mornings I read a Propublica piece about a Koch brother protege who is enjoying making a pretty good system of personal profit over the Charter Schools in North Carolina.  Here we have humanity, in all its suffering, in all its anxiety, and what we do is provide a public school system, buses to pick kids up so no one has to fret about getting their kids off to school, teachers, books, lunch, gym, the whole bit.  We do this for the common good, to help the least of us, to help everyone.  Something we hold sacred, and indeed we should!  And through some corruption of the system someone wants to make a profit out of this system?  And whenever we as a people have lodged reasonable critique of other nation's ways of doing things, one of the primary evils we would always note, at least back in the sanctity of grade school with an eye for the flag of the U.S. of A. we pledged allegiance to day in day out, was corruption, some party hack making a secretive profit over public monies.  Well, my friends, take to the polls.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

But there is an innate drive to wish to be heroic.  Male and female must know each other as such, certainly, the male, I think.  This is how it's done in countries that have not lost their culture.

And the thing that you fear is your self, the way you are.  Thus is courage relative, the learned managing of fear and anxiety.  The very worst thing you fear, that you must seek therapy turns out to be the very brave act that saves you, oddly enough, the thing that tests your will, from which you take the ultimate satisfying victory, which is self-acceptance, as if that were to come in spite of itself.

We all have our own individual tastes, habits, appetites, ways of doing things, and if we try to do all these things in the ways of other people, having made the false assumptions that such would be good for our own health, we battle ourselves.  The first act is to stand up for yourself, to pursue your own way of doing things.

Courage is relative.  An appointment, renting a car, planning a long drive, packing for a trip, engaging with other people, standing behind a bar for hours maintaining familiar company, just getting out of the apartment, walking across a bridge, all of that might take enormous real bravery for a particular individual.  To lead the life he leads, just as it is, might indeed be an incredible feat of valor, and perhaps people gravitate to the tasks that bring them to the edges of their comfort, walking a manageable line of fear, intuitively understanding that zone as a place of learning.

To know from inside is different from the outside view in, that perhaps even saying hi to a girl he likes takes a huge amount of doing.  No one might know enough to celebrate such victories.  The beauty of Quixote is his bravery to face the things that exist the way they do only in his mind, with all the emotional import of giants one must battle feeling very small against them.  What pains things caused him, what courage to surmount such obstacles, and how satisfying to him the moment of victory, even as no one else may have seen or understood.

So does one take psychological health and well-being on personal terms.  Thus the benefit of being listened to, an affirmation of all the things one does overcome, all the pains one suffers along the way and still managing to get something done, the day finished, the shift complete.

Would we assume an ease of everything for everyone?  For some, walking on open steel girders stories above ground is normal and everyday.

And once you accept yourself, realize your own fears and all you overcome, then you can relax and move on, doing something at least with grace and ease.

I managed to go face the things I feared time and time again, for years, and that's how I grew and finally came to accept myself.

I woke up tired today, a bit hungover.  The thought of a long drive ahead of me with a limited amount of vacation time, and bad weather, considerable, hanging over the route the whole way.  I'd worked some busy shifts the four previous nights and hadn't packed.  Around 12:30 the television, tuned to The Weather Channel, with grim news of green, yellow and red stretched on in a band, began to beep with a Tornado Warning, and then a high wind came ripping through, and that sort of settled the matter.  I postponed picking up the car rental, and finally walked up toward 5:00 across the Connecticut Avenue bridge to Enterprise and its good people and operation.  In the meantime I encountered birds in half bare trees after the front had passed through.  I might indeed fear roads, very reasonably, like Route 81 through Pennsylvania, a juggernaut of eighteen wheelers, monotonous ridge lines, long drops and climbs.  It helps me to observe the birds.  For animals know what we once did, before we had to be preoccupied by the routes of major roads and the like, which is that the land is connected, continuous, contiguous.

Any trip requires maps and proper turns, faith in vehicles, an knowledge of how to operate them.  To drive out onto the open road of 270 after The Beltway is quite a different experience than staying home, doing laundry, taking a nap.  Of course, one finds in himself a certain pleasant competency in driving, the memory, 'oh yes, I used to do this.'  But the bird's knowledge, that the land is connected, that one could first follow the valleys, then roll through farmland, navigate the outskirts of an unfamiliar city, follow the river, then make it over the next stretch that connects on the north-pointing valleys of the Finger Lakes, gives me the courage to plot a new route.  Things like packing now seem manageable, the basics of gear and clothing to keep the creature warm dry and comfortable, less broken into a myriad of little chores, did you do this, did you do that, are you ready to sign up for health insurance, what shoes will you bring, what are you forgetting.

I knew once a young lady for whom it took me a lot of courage to face.  And I wanted, subconsciously as much as anything, to show her that I had heroic stuff in me, and so I chose, again less than consciously, not the easiest and smoothest, nor the most suave kind of a path.  I was young and wanted to show her.  Really, you are far more bound to do courageous stuff in adult life more than the more protected states of youth, but I wanted to show her what I was made of, a natural facet of a natural creature that one cannot help.  I was like the bullfighter that stood on shaking feet but who still had the guts to stand in front of the charging animal even as he himself trembled, then of course leaving the ring as soon as they'll let him after discharging with his basic duties.  And other people, with exterior views upon him might have commented upon his style, his manner, his appearance, his choice of words, but to him the central fact was standing there, even in great fright, and getting over it.  And the whole thing, of course, prompted an emotion, all the emotions, a high of them, that said, 'wow, you had the guts to face that bull as it charged,' something his brain could ride on for a little while, the daredevil's pleasure, the overcoming of odds for another day.

Rest in thy victories, noble valant knight, Don Quixote, before moving on to other ones.  Something for the writers of the great epics of gallantry to write about.  One finds the match of his courage.

Monday, October 13, 2014

He wrote simply and cleanly about the experience of depression.  A fishing trip, camping by a river.  A compelling look at the psyche achieved through the reportage of objects.  The eye engaged.  The reader follows.  Trout holding on the pebbly bottom in the current by the pilings of a bridge, Nick looking down.  A certain starkness to it, loneliness.  There could be happier things to be doing, a stroll with your girl, or with your sister, who's on your side.  Okay, now what.  Keep busy, make camp, check things off one by one.  Time moving slowly, a literary innovation.  We follow along, even through complete avoidance, mutual with the author, until the end, just a quick peek, the line "fishing in the swamp would be tragic."  What does that even mean?  In our world we take care of things, going on-line, remembering a password.  What concrete landscape could we attach our inner lives to?  The mind messes with you, as any reader of words can plainly see, only, or best countered by the wisdom of an old writer, speaking through the context of Hamlet, "nothing is but thinking makes it so."  And you do see scale from the heights of a bridge.  The size of a fish, magnified by the watery lens, compared to our own sized bodies.  The fish sees things its own way, equally.

Depression.  Seems like an abstract term.  Touchy-feely.  Not real.  Molly-coddling.  Shrug and soldier on.  Arms distance.  How would you know you're depressed when you have only your own inner experiences to go on.  What indicator, what litmus test?  You started to read slowly.  You're being a drama queen.  How do you take the term out of the superstitions, out of the unreal, to let it take it's honest claim?  What level of it?  Garden variety, harmless, something you're in some control over, through diet and exercise.

Lincoln had it.  One of the better books I've read, about his melancholy.  You could see where words too, making meaning, would have its attraction for him.  "The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.  Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, this mighty scourge of war might speedily pass away."  Half way through life, lost politically, looking for meaning, finding it in something, the half free, half slave house divided against it self thing.  A depression would grow in you a certain weary kindness.  An equal kindly view, considerate of the struggles of life, aimed evenly at the workmen and washerwomen, leaf blower crewmen and cleaning ladies, bum restaurant drop-outs, tavern people, mail recipients.  The crafty cockiness fading to a creaturely understanding, how does it feel to move one's bones.

A walk home from the therapist on an overcast day for Christopher Columbus.  Eliot's Preludes in the mind.  "Six o'clock, the burnt out ends of smoky days."

Writing about depression is not solipsism, nor self-enchantment, not Narcissism.  A great equalizer.  Similar to facing mortality.  To get out of the woods and to help others becomes something of the same thing.

That year, yes, it left a legacy.  The year depression came.  When literature gained a more crucial importance for me, a scientific effort over territory I knew, when the instinct of affection toward anything embraced the quality of a sadness to it, the quality of anything being fun being a private matter.  When the meaning of things expanded.  When the notion of any particular concept, say that of college leading to success, became enshrouded, one having to ask, but what is success anyway, what constitutes it, a cloud of seriousness come drifting in over all things.  Art was about exploring the dark true states of the mind, about acknowledging them, about removing the candy coating from daily existence.   One needed no special event, no grade school textbook tension, man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. himself, to feel the tension of survival.  And it seemed like there wasn't much but a few poets and philosophers attempting at least to make sense, to make shape of the basic subtext to human life, the nakedness, the unhappiness, the wish to sleep, the stress, the varying moods.  For if we adults are in fact as children then who amongst us can bring us comfort and guidance?  And we are children.

Home acknowledges homelessness, love acknowledges the saddest most unprotected vulnerable mode of emotional lives, everything with a point involves pointlessness, work acknowledges a desire for employment at all other things, on and on.

Is this the voice Melville tried to summon, through Ahab, of 'striking through the mask,' the wound giving purpose?  Yet, we probably wouldn't say that Ahab is 'a sweet guy,' no, but Melville is for creating him for us, (an act for which he was not particularly rewarded, the readers of the day, modernized, not wanting to look at such a portrait, whereas in Shakespeare's time it would have been different.)

My own opening depression coincided with my study of literature, with Twain, with Sherwood Anderson, and then that little book of Hemingway from early in his career, In Our Time.  And then what was shrugged off to the side in the daily politeness of society and the sort of fraternity world of college, life taken lightly, find the group to which you belong, was exposed as real and true and the essence of life.  Mind-blowing, as they say, the darkness of Dostoevsky coming to a golden leafy campus of thinkers and movers and shakers.  Works which were not thinking at all, but observational, with a wild raw energy, capable of transporting.  It was as if one were suddenly commanded to stop and listen to what the Old Testament took for God, the commands not being so sanguine and pleasant.

Literature was a way of naming all this, such things.  Literature was like returning to what whales were actually saying to each other, freed from the forced conversations, from the forced thoughts of the human mind thinking it could be intelligent enough to figure everything out in such terms.  Literature was a returning to the things one could not say, an admission, an honesty, therefore a great relief, even as literature is never really tacitly shared, or at least often beyond a like in daily life, outside of the safe preserves.  "I like Hemingway," what does that mean anyway?

Perhaps to acknowledge such things awakens us to the need to take care of organic being we walk around in, opening us to the practice of yoga and its spiritual meditative breath and energy flow aspects, thus easing the troubled and troubling quality of mind.

But it will always remain somewhat awkward, uncomfortable perhaps, for some, to admit, to reveal, to explore the nervous anxious side, the 'depressed' side of the emotional life.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Years later you come to realize the real obscenity.  For whatever reason, the grain of sand that stuck in the craw to become a pearl, the part of the not having sex, yes of course, most largely his fault, which goes without saying, but the tease part of the flirt ended up hurting, the matter's addressing postponed, the slow spiraling demoralization, the utter bratty ridiculousness of it, that came as a repeated shock to the system... the tear in his own heart between knowing one thing and in his own way acting upon it but constantly being told another thing.  Well, it's a matter of the well-off self-confident nobility to figure out, not some poor college professor's son still waiting on his plans.  Trying to be polite, trying to mind his manners, to keep his dignity and continue his form of cool, the sting of cruelty, what are you going to do?

Another party with not a single available woman, few women even to talk benignly to, another Saturday shift being a loser covering for someone...

Friday, October 10, 2014

But a lot of people are bullies when you think about tit.  I can see why someone with food allergies would be sensitive, and if you don't bully people they'll bully you.  The one time a girl liked me at the restaurant, said I was kinda cute, well, after a long night, and almost leaving my wallet in the cab, we get to her place, and I look around, note she has a cat, and just as we're about to get comfortable on the couch, she straightens up and says I must be gay.  Jesus Christ.  There I am, so close, and she's like 'it would have happened by now already,' that circular logic people have.  But, but...  nope, ended up walking home feeling like what the...  You can't win, my friend.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

"How are you?  How did your week go?"

"Well, Monday went well.  After our session, which was a good one I thought, I walked down to the bike shop to pick up my old steed, and it was so nice riding back from 14th Street.  It's such a good feeling being on a bike.  But anyway, the next day was the anniversary of my father's birthday, so that was a hard day.  Monday night was hard enough with the jazz night, so anyway, by the time I was ready to go to work, I wished I had more time.  But I got to the woods, got off my bike, called my dad's Patricia and we had a nice talk.  'I still talk to him,' she said, 'but he doesn't answer me.'  Sweet lady.  I stopped at the stream for a moment, looked up at the trees, though of him, and then I called my mom.  And she was great.  She said she was sorry she was so hard on him, but how that's what wives do...

"But she said an interesting thing.  As I'm walking up the road behind Dumbarton Oaks, which was that my brother would always speak for me.  She said, that's why we got you that punching bag, because he was always bullying you.  And I said how he was kind to me, protective, all that sort of stuff, but it's always been hard to talk, you know, if I think about it, around him.  Like once I was talking in the kitchen looking out the sliding glass door at the bird feeder and the apple tree about how it would be nice if we could go back to old fashioned cars and horse and buggies, and got rid of all the polluting mechanized modern stuff, and there he was like a debate team, older, smarter, well spoken, picking my arguments apart how ridiculous I was, when really it was just one of those intuitive poetic thoughts that comes out of your bloodstream as you look at a budding apple tree, just one of those errant thoughts.  I mean, it may have been what I believed in, and indeed looking at it now forty years later, maybe I wasn't so completely off.  Look at biodynamic vineyards, and foresting with oxen...  Global warming...  But I remember feeling stupid, and taking my arguments away and sitting by the stream or something and didn't talk about it again.

"But I said to my mom, yes, it was like when we were having dinner at the restaurant with our cousin and Bob and he was talking about the Tour and actually riding the Tourmalet with his buddies and he totally took it over and he's not ridden a bike in twenty years...  I mean, I appreciate he's interested in it, that we can talk about it.  In a way, yes, it's good to have a spokesman, a strong eloquent voice, but you know...  There I go, off to college.  And I have to talk for myself.  Speak up.  What do I want.  How do I say it.  And maybe by then that sort of being cowed by a bigger stronger handsome funny engaging guy sort of led me off into the ways I would express myself.  Like with my guitar, or out in nature on my bike going past cows and cornfields and ridges above towns.  Or, yeah, when I wrote.  Early on I was a decent writer.  And once I even made a speech about being a scholar for a high school assembly for the honor society, saying everyone was a scholar as long as you're curious.  Anyway...  Yeah, I wrote this piece about the reservoir down the road, the town didn't use it anymore, and the water was green and there was a heron that would come, and dusk when the bats would come out after the kingfishers, my Walden Pond, and my teacher came to me and said it was really good and got it published in the high school paper...  One of my few triumphs in life, ha ha ha.

"But I was doing a good job at it, speaking up for myself.  I had lots of friends, became buddies with guys from the classes above me, doing well as far as the courses I was taking...  you know, finding myself.  Doing all the things you're supposed to be doing.... And then came the split, moving out of the house, parents going off on their own, different apartments, my mom having to figure it all out.  Stuff you have to accept.  All for the best.  We had good times.  Now move on, it's different now, and then people don't talk anymore.

"And somewhere along comes this beautiful girl.  Just someone I wanted to be with, on all levels, a huge kick just to sit next too.  And you know, you feel it when you want to talk to someone.  It's like beneath, just beneath your skin, your hide, beneath the fascia, the layer of fat, the thickness that grows over you, just beneath the surface there is this vibrant electric being.  Like the spiritual essence of who you are.

"And we all live in coffin-like boxes, like wooden boxes, and we try to be polite and silent and say just the appropriate things, but it's like there's this light, and it escapes out of us.  You can't help it.  Maybe it comes out as light, as beams one might intuitively sense, like when you want to hold someone's hand or just touch it.  Or maybe it comes out as a few squeezed words choked out, not many, but having to hold a lot of meaning, expressive.  All the things you want to say.  You want the time, the opportunity, the right place, the right way, the right circumstances to say them.  You can even think, I need a million bucks first, and then I'll say them, but there's this inner body of man...   And you have to express things somehow.  And that's why I like writing English papers, like, taking apart a poem line by line, because that was getting close to the source of light and all.  All that vibrating twirling energy just below the surface...  Eliot's 'infinitely gentle infinitely suffering thing...'  It comes out as bitten lips and sore eyes and sad looks down toward the ground, just as much as it comes out in the normal hunky dory way.  A million different ways.  Intuitively understood, no matter how you might try to block it or the understanding part.  Everyone is going to get it, sooner or later.

"And that's my great failure.  Before that even I guess I was so frustrated, like missing all my chances with her, fucking them all up, by accident really, I couldn't even write papers anymore.  I couldn't write her, I couldn't talk to her, couldn't run into her, couldn't even see her in the dining hall, all if I were some sort of a creep, like I was ogling her or doing something inappropriate.  Which I wasn't...  Just couldn't talk, didn't have my brother around to speak for me, and he's always understood me so I can't complain.  That's how I came out into the world, being completely shut-down.  Not being able to speak for myself, not able to say, 'hey, would you like to for a walk...'  I'd try, and I felt we'd established enough to speak openly and honestly, but she would shut me down.

"I even remember saying to her once over the phone, when she proposed meeting for lunch so she could explain the situation to me, how I never say anything anyway...   Hmm.

"So how the hell would I ever be able to express myself, to even figure out what I wanted to do now with my life, all along with the silent electric inner being just below the surface kind of wanting to cry out in some like animal pain.  And the few words I said, like, 'crazy to bring flowers to a beautiful girl' would repeat themselves in my idiot head as I went about the daily crap I had to deal with keeping some rotten shitty job way beneath me making no protest just sort of accepting, lying down with dogs, getting fleas.  Taking my goodness and my body of light to go and stand in front of people, wait on them, talk to them.  Because I didn't know what else to do.

"It helped to read the Gospels.  That bit about not hiding your light under a basket, the wedding party, the groom...  So that's why I wrote a book, with a spiritual element in it, because reading The Brother's Karamazov helped me somehow, like, this is life, you have to express yourself, even if it's all gone to hell for me and it will never be right.  It has such a strong inner form, so it has to have an outer form, even if it's like anonymous or something.

"God, at the end of a week putting up with it all I just want to lay down and not get up, just nap like Jesus did, now all that light you have being banded into a sort of substitute life, no longer any girl to express it to, the personal wish and desire so sadly gone, so abandoned, left like an old drive-in movie theater to be overgrown by grass and fall apart, so all your left is sort of Jesus mutterings, as if you could really help the world or had a single teaching that made any sense.  Cold comfort...

"I just feel so awful.   But I did my job as a writer.  Just didn't get me anywhere."

I crossed my legs, looked back at her, reached over and took a sip of water from my red cup.

"Yes, sometimes I sleep all day, and then I'll wake up finally, and I wonder about that spiritual being caught in the cage, how he can never say much to defend himself.  It's like he feels it's just him, that's all I am, the body of light, doesn't own anything, hasn't achieved anything, so conventionally what does he deserve?  He's not making a hundred thousand dollars a year, what could he possibly do to provide for anybody, and all he can seem to do is sell his own labor for food and health insurance.  That's what you get for honoring that inner being.

"I wonder, is the only way out for the psyche, whatever you want to call it, to honor it, and by honoring it do you find yourself getting really serious and saying to those who deserve it, 'Thou hypocrite, enough,' and going down that path, and where does that one end up?  Do you knock over the money changer's tables, do you sit down like the Buddha under a tree, what?  Will they throw you into the funny farm and toss away the key, for taking things too personally, as it were.  I don't know."

Monday, October 6, 2014

It's a rite of passage, something we all must go through as writers, as human beings.  You've written your first book.  And then comes the crisis of faith, the low self-esteem, the self-questioning, 'was it worth it,' or simply, 'why?'   You put forth an enormous literary effort, largely on instinct, as a bird knows how to build a nest.  And then what?  Of course the world takes little notice.  (It is interesting to note the few who do take note, who do provide support.)  That's how it is.

That you finished the book turns out to make no practical difference in your life.  The twenty you earn in yearly royalties versus the one hundred extra you have to spend to do your taxes on-line...  You have the same sort of job you've had while writing the first, and it's just as hard, if not harder, just as uncertain, and all this too can eat away at the positive force that you bring to the task of writing.  It's no one's fault.  Few can take the time out of a busy day to realize the achievement, not having the terms, unless they too see themselves searching for meaning and spiritual fulfillment and the calm as yoga brings calm.

For pretty much all of us now it's head down.  We have time only for the things we know are good writing.  Those of us who grew up in houses with bookshelves are bound to have a broader sense of tastes, but all writers must fight for attention in the bandwidth allowed written works, which creates a hyper competition, one that does not favor good old simple honest spiritual exploration.  Literature has to be culturally supported, an age old value so deeply rooted as Nordic saga and Celtic bard.

For the writer of first novels, there is the sense of having opened up personal and private matters as a framework of the story.  Did you open up too much?  There's the tendency toward shame, oddly enough, even as you are carrying through with your dreams to be something, in the same way a person aspires to be and then becomes an astronaut, a doctor, a philosopher, a deep sea diver.  You had a vision, from deep within, and you carried it out in adverse conditions over time, and you knew that the work had succeeded on the basic terms you in an act of faith set out with.  The story represents a spiritual quest, how could it not, an attempt to find meaning.

Is it that the worries, the particular ones caused by the artistic pursuit, different from other careers in aspects, the fears of insecure futures become the seed, the background turmoil for the continuation of the spiritual quest that will fuel the next literary endeavor, as if the ashes of the first effort is the necessary condition to move forward.  And the next work itself must represent an impossible mountain, requiring the finding of things you knew in some way secret unto yourself, the things you don't know you have in you...  But what are those things, and what are the conditions that allow that way forward?  Must one change himself, or not change?  Or, how, to what degree, what exactly?  What new belief system must he raise, taking from what he knows, his sense of how he really should proceed, which to him might be in many ways represented by becoming a better Buddhist philosopher, accepting the very things most difficult to accept, but which due to the keenness and deep insight of the artistic vision must be undertaken, painful as it may be.

Are you then come to destroy, to cast the unclean elements from the temple, getting down to serious business.

A first step in my writing world was to not be too upset with the kid I wrote about, my actions of a previous time long ago.  To continue to be wasn't good for my health anyway, it caused me stress and the stress caused aging.  Further, no magic wand was going to save me.  Nothing to right the wrongs.  No Winter's Tale fantasy of things fixed after years.  I had to accept, and take the ways of people and things as as they were.  And as far as that kid I wrote about, the things of his were the things of a writer, and that too is a large part of writing, having the proper personality for it, the appropriate habits, the right kind of nobility and decency and noble failure, almost if you weren't in some metaphorical way like Lincoln going through a civil war, so that the house would not be divided against itself.  A writer is a writer, and on good days he writes, and he is often circumspect and internal, appearing slow and quiet as far as action.

I still think of my father's thoughts on the concept of the Treason of the Clerics, the effects of academic specialization.  By the same standards as the academic world, now a writer needs the same kind of conspicuous success; he/she has to write too well, a master of a created genre, in doing so losing the gifts of a generalist, one with the depths of spirit.  The result of which is the heaviness of genre over form, over content, over heart and soul.  Specialty literature speaking to a particular experience and even celebrated as such.  An exaggerated shard of a human being who displays only one side of himself, easy for market label, the specialist who no longer understands his specialty on a fundamental level, a skilled negotiator preaching his own vital importance but no longer seeing the shape of humanity and the world.  The treason is found in many professional forms.  The generalist eats shit.

This is why some of us don't intend to be particularly good stylistic writers.