Confessions Of A Non-Famous Writer
It is no small feat to work on something for twelve years, and to be able to say, at the end of that time, that nothing has been accomplished. Many people attempt such miracles in their own spare time, and fail, having wound up accomplishing something purely by accident.
As of today, I am officially bringing this blog to an end. Over the past twelve years, I have tried to set down in writing a particular vision of the world, based on the pleasures and possibilities of art and culture, and informed by political and ethical concerns. Deep down, I always assumed that this blog would either catch fire or lead me toward some kind of ongoing freelance writing gig. For many years now, I have donated to this blog every drop of blood I could spare for my writing. And the amazing thing is that nothing, at all, has happened, aside from the creation of an archive to which I cannot possibly tend, and that exceeds (by a lot) my own ability to remember and recycle ideas and material — when the restless cycles of our popular culture make them relevant once again.
The one exception to this closure is the novel, Retreat, in which I still heartily believe. I am happy to say that Retreat is a better novel than most of the novels that I read, and therefore I am looking forward to continuing my work on it. I don’t expect it to go anywhere, as a work of art, nor will it outlive me…but at least I’ll have fun re-reading it, and I’ll continue to publish it here, along with any other creative writing that I do. To those of you who feel that I should have stuck to creative writing from the beginning, and never sullied my hands with cultural criticism, all I can say is that clearly you do not suffer as much as I do when you read The New Yorker and have to put up with Sasha Frere-Jones and the rest of them.
This has been a year marked by disappointment and error, following a year of desperation and trauma. I find myself thinking a lot about what will outlive me, and I am bemused by the possibility that this blog will continue to persist in cyberspace forever. I say “bemused” because it feels as if the blog’s existence, and archive, represents some kind of legacy, when for all practical purposes it does not.
I am not resigning from this blog out of principle…principle has nothing to do with it. If the blog suddenly did catch fire, due to some bizarre historical unlikelihood, then I would be delighted to write for it again. But at some point in his life every man must look at what he has been doing, for twelve uninterrupted years, and ask himself if it is worthwhile. In this case, clearly, the answer is no. My garden is elsewhere. My princess is in another castle. The urgency I thought I perceived, in what I was doing, was a figment of my own imagination.
And all that urgency is very well — but let us cultivate our gardens. I cannot tell you how much joy it will give me not to bother “tagging” this post with tags of any kind.
Dear readers, for all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.