12.19.2001

jon and i are reading great writers and at the same instant, reading about great writers, and we are finding that it is impossible, yet not, to be in their company, and yet here is jon telling me that i should write everyday when i get up in the morning and make it my full time occupation, so that i can hope to achieve, one day, the company of steinbeck (the aforementioned great writer that jon is reading about), with all his honesty he was reaching for, and evidently found, and then with salinger (my dear favorite) with all his mystery, and again too, honesty. how else do you describe a clarity of emotion in literature? salinger is truly amazing in his achievements. the great american writer among us, it's surely true. certainly of the latter half of the twentieth century at least. his achievements - like i said, clarity of emotion in literature, yet without the bogging down of a literary style. there is an absence of modesty, yet an absence of arrogance as well. there is a straightforwardness, a directness about the literature not weighted down with literature. and surely i cannot ever hope to achieve these heights - my honesty is me only. there is no clue into a childhood or out of it here, merely a mentioning repeatedly of the problems of the artist as such and the striving for and the reaching to of greatness, of some hallmark of achievement. there is no mention made, however, of the path, merely the struggle itself. and shouldn't i, the artist, be trying to articulate the path, the paragon of being human? isn't that the ultimate goal? does there need to be an ultimate goal at all? am i not a supporter of the hallmark of storytelling? haven't i always believed in the straight story, as it may be, with it's tiny twists and turns and the absence of arrogance, the straight story more valuable than a encyclopedia of anecdotes, but a story - just a simple, straightforward story. i believe in these stories. i am an advocate of these stories. it's just i've no idea of how to tell them. i know not what the story is. i have no method of pounding it out when i do not see the future in the eyes of these characters, when i have not lived a life filled at all with much of anything, let alone something worth writing home about. what haunts me? the process of my journey haunts me. the journey itself. the end of this journey. i've been frightened of death all my life. how can i write about that? what is there in it? no, don't answer, i'm sure i'll find it on my own and as i make mention of the tiny things that plague me, i'm certain i'll find my own answers hidden in the questions, just as i may have already done. if you ask the correct questions, in the correct, accidental order, you'll find your answers hidden inside yourself. it's almost always true. certainly in matters of the heart, or matters of the obvious, as the case may be. i find it to be true all the time. once i start talking about something, out loud or on paper - once i start to articulate the problem of my heart, the confusion of my brain - everything suddenly clears and i find in my explanations the truth that was hidden from me, i usually articulate exactly what i wanted to know, without needing any input at all. which again brings us to psychology and why it is a crock of shit - because if we just laid on couches in our own living rooms and talked out loud about our problems, we'd probably eventually find all the answers we ever searched for right in the creases of our tongue and the forming of our lips. psychologists merely usher this process along by asking those correct questions in the correct order. all of the answers to your confusion lay behind the mask of the obvious, the costume of the apparent. you are responsible for your own unburying, just as i am responsible for my own greatness.

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