Literary Life

Why this blog is no longer “literary”

4th St. office

There is a lie in the name of this blog. While it remains random and a blog, it is rarely literary in any sense of the word. There are more political, travel, and places posts than anything else. Because I am rarely literary in any sense of the word. I’m not sure when that happened, when my interest, my primary and supreme interest, in all things literary, as both observer and participant, began to fade.

I’m not doing a Philip Roth, or maybe I am, in a way. I still write, almost everyday, and I still read everyday — my favorite periodical reading remains “The New York Review of Books.” I read through every issue of “Paris Review,” and right now I’m reading the collection of William Styron’s letters. (Which depresses the shit out of me — the fact that real letter writing of literary quality has completely disappeared, never to be valued again.)

I’m old enough to do a Roth. Although the laurels he rests upon are rather greater than mine — compare the Empire State building with a bungalow. And maybe age explains it, as much as anything else.

But frankly, mostly, I just don’t care anymore.

Oh, I care about writing deeply, I care about reading deeply, and I adore the wall of books in my study. What I don’t care about these days is the industry — publishing. The industry I belonged to and that financially sustained me for almost three decades. (There are dozens of tirades to be found against the state of contemporary publishing scattered through this blog.) I started not caring all that much about publishing about the time I moved on from working in that room (above), when pen, paper, and typewriter got replaced by cyberspace activities, about the time the Internet so diluted the work of writing that it became trivial and common. What anybody can do is worthless. Art comes from the rare, like beauty.

Enough of that. Because I don’t care about these things.

I care about writing, the diurnal doing of it, and I care about being read … I have never written for its own sake, which always seemed to me akin to masturbating in a dark closet. I haven’t figured out yet just how I will make what I write accessible to readers. I will keep this blog, but maybe begin a new one that offers the writing I am ready to make public. Serially, like the old days.

notebook and pen

I still write this way.

Watch this space!

The day "Paul Collins" was started -- Colonia, Uruguay.

The day “Paul Collins” was started — Colonia, Uruguay.

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Categories: Literary Life, Writing

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