Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Self Analysis? What's That?


Below is an attempted reply to a recent query from a fellow writer and longtime online friend.

I wrote:

So you tell me you are a coffee-shop habitue?

Yikes! But there are people sitting around you there. How can you write, or even think, while surrounded by chattering, nattering, coffee-drinking people?

As for myself, I need solitude. I must do all my writing alone. I thought every writer must do so. I am not particularly antisocial, not in my own estimation; I am more of an 'outlier,' I suppose you could say.

You asked me if what you had written to me in your previous note made any sense to me. And you opined that it did.

Well, yes, it makes sense to me, of course it makes sense to me, about as much as anything else in this helter skelter world makes sense to me. Although, until you asked me directly, I probably would not have said so.

You wrote that you'd come to feel from me a deep sense of regret, of sadness sometimes masked by gruffness... and of course the regret is there, it's there in most of us, I suspect. But gruffness? No. I don't think so. I don't recognize gruffness ever emanating from me, unless you mean the rough and tough defensive demeanor I spread about, like the sporadic distant warning cough of the male African lion that covers his tendency toward timidity with seemingly callous contempt in a raucous attempt to hide his inner fears -- as we humans are wont to do.

But I digress. (Of course I digress. I constantly digress.)

Or do I?

You chide me for wasting my time sitting and staring day after day at old TV reruns instead of using that (precious?) time to write of serious things. And I wonder why. Why should you care how I spend my time? (No, I don't wholly swallow your avowed premise of mere self-interest.)

Why on Earth should I willingly enter through the self-forbidden gates of Hell on Earth?

Why should I wish to rake through the sunken muck and dredge up memories of old suppressed afflictions? Those many, many wounds, most of them self-inflicted? Let them lie. Too painful. Why should I want to mine that putrid pit containing the deeply buried ores of grief and pain? Hurts too much. Leave it. Let it all remain dormant within its temporary crypt until it eventually slips away from those hidden regions wherein such filthy sins belong, and move on into some final eternity of blessed oblivion.

There are some things I cannot say. Not properly. It takes too much wisdom, and too much plain and simple courage. There are things I should not write about. For the same reason.

But let me think upon it.


After several re-readings, the above seems, even to me, to be but a self-conscious bit of foggy-minded doggerel. And by doggerel, I mean: loosely styled and irregular in measure, not for its burlesque or comic effect, but by my careful choice of words -- words which are clearly marked by triviality and inferiority.

It was not originally intended to be.


A Washington Post article about love that I was reading yesterday at one point spoke of a romcom and since I had no idea what a romcom was I looked it up.

A romcom, according to The Urban Dictionary, is a romantic comedy. Why conflate those two words? Why form one word from two? For convenience? For economy?

For the sake of saving energy while exchanging information verbally?

I would suggest that the creation of the word romcom came about when someone thought it clever enough to spread it among acquaintances so that they would see how terribly clever was this coiner of new words. To puff up his or her self-esteem, don't ya' know?

Now why, you might ask me, are you, an old has-been, reading about love?

Well, you might ask, but please do not expect a racy or provocative answer.

I'm doing research for a difficult piece I am attempting to write.

That's all.



Born February 15, 1927
Died on May 29, 2008.


Also Born On This Day

Galileo Galilei


"Half of analysis is anal."
--Marty Indik

1 comment:

  1. Should? No one should do anything.

    Rake through painful memories? No need to do so, not unless avoidance prevents a person from writing with self-confidence and honesty, and encourages self-doubt. After all, much of pain is funny.

    Foggy-minded doggerel? There you go again. Each time I come close, my writing comes closer. Each time I retreat, my writing moves farther away.

    I care that Carver, Hemingway, Sarton and Chambers spent time writing well. Because they entertain me and help me learn.