Thursday, June 25, 2015

June 25: Tedious, Why I Write, Louise Gluck, "The Couple in the Park"

At first, the job in itself, as an illustrator, was not so hard as tedious, his hours spent with some rather dull assignments. . . 

Ives finally takes a full-time job with the Mannis Advertising Agency when he's a young husband and father.  He realizes he has to give up his artistic ambitions to be a struggling painter for more pragmatic ambitions:  a steady income and health insurance.  It's a choice many artistic people are forced to make.  Not everybody wants to live the life of William Faulkner or Vincent van Gogh.

Many years ago, I realized that I needed to alter my expectations.  I had a pregnant wife and was a part-time book store clerk and adjunct English instructor.  Everything about my life was unstable, transient.  I needed to provide for my family.  Do I sometimes play the game of "what if"?  Of course.  I sometimes feel like an absolute failure in the game of life.

Tonight, my book club met.  We read My One and Only Bomb Shelter, a collection of stories by my friend and colleague, John Smolens.  John is a fantastic writer and one of the most humble, articulate writers I know.  Every time I talk to him, invite him to my house, he reminds me why I write.  John quite matter-of-factly says that writing has saved his life, kept him sane through a lot of difficult times.  Writing helps him understand the world.

I don't have much to add to his answer.  I write because not to write would be something akin to death.  I think any writer would agree with John, including Louise Gluck.

And Saint Marty.

The Couple in the Park

by:  Louise Gluck

A man walks alone in the park and beside him a woman walks, also alone.  How does one know?  It is as though a line exists between them, like a line on a playing field.  And yet, in a photograph they might appear a married couple, weary of each other and of the many winters they have endured together.  At another time, they might be strangers about to meet by accident.  She drops her book; stooping to pick it up, she touches, by accident, his hand and her heart springs open like a child's music box.  And out of the box comes a little ballerina made of wood.  I have created this, the man thinks; though she can only whirl in place, still she is a dancer of some kind, not simply a block of wood.  This must explain the puzzling music coming from the trees.

Not really willing to lose an ear for my art just yet...

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