All artists should get jobs.
This is the only way to create
enough idleness in order to think.
Blankness, indifference, unresponsiveness,
aloofness, these are
the subjects of great interest- because
their existence prevents everything
from existing. Vapid enthusiasms which
spring from a shallow root cover over
this pervasive tendency only slightly-
the way air freshener briefly covers
over an utter lack of freshness in
Alchemy of writing: the boundary
between public and private obliterated.
The falseness of Stevens' concept of
the artist's "radiantly productive
I have a greater and greater
dread of noodling around as a
way of producing any quantity of
I am talking about writing that consists of
what are essentially long winded answers to
questions nobody has asked.
The person asking the question is
the writer. But why not look for
the answers in a book
or in a conversation with another
person? Granted, the answers are
inconclusive but the process is
soothing. A kind of harmony comes
out of this. Yes- but it still
sounds like a lot of noodling around,
though very pleasant noodling around.
I presented my new theory of writing
to T. (my wife). She is skeptical.
She sees no harm in "warming up."
But, I tell her, what you are
calling a "warm up" I
am calling "noodling around" &
this noodling around
while appearing to evidence some
momentum, actually slows me down
in the long run because when I reread
the work I feel it has been done
by some alien being I can't
recognize. Now that I think of it,
that is probably exactly what I liked
about doing this sort of thing in the
past. The writing would look like a
foreign language because it felt
so distant from what I was actually
thinking of doing. But T. is skeptical.
I say that convinces me even more
because it seems that I have
worked out an idea that is very
custom-made to my own needs.
It sounds like a
rationalization- but I
think I have to have this with
writing because it is not available
*anywhere else*. This gets to the
core of what I want for myself
out of the process of writing.
A friend of mine
fequently complains about writing which
is nothing more than writing about
writing. I seem to be interested in
this much more than him. How not to
talk about a thing most frequently
thought about when doing it? I see the
avoidance of this as an intense
form of self-destructiveness. The
dependence on indirectness & allegory
is a poison that slowly murders
culture. It is an escape to
the fairly obvious from the completely
As soon as I see that a
quantity of writing has
anything more than the barest
scaffolding I get bored
with it.[And being a little bit
bored is like being a
little bit dead. (crossed out
in the notebook)]
When writers talk too little about themselves
in their work it is as uninteresting
as when they talk too much
about themselves in conversation. Either
way, when they are unselfconscious
about it, it is intolerable.
This is a certain type of naive and unrepentant
self-absorption that feels homicidal
If I have to depend on
inspiration, the rest of the
time I have suffocation.
What is the difference between
being interested in something and
being skeptical about it? If you
agree with something or
recognize it well, you look
& smile & listen & put your mind
on something else.
If it is publishable, it is