Location: Cheshire, Connecticut, United States

devilishly handsome, screamingly funny, overly modest

Sunday, November 20, 2005


I think the chief obstacle to my becoming a great writer is that the disasters in my life are too prosaic. It's not that they're not big enough, or cataclysmic enough, or even complicated enough, it's just that the solutions don't involve the type of aesthetic thought process that makes for great literature. My life is too involved to be Seinfeld, but not contorted enough to be Tolstoy.

Cancer is a perfect example. EVERYBODY gets cancer. I've had it twice, once in a rather large melanoma and more recently (5 months ago) diagnosed in a malignant lymph node. This should have led to terrific tragic drama, with all my family and friends wringing their hands over me and my courageous fight against the forces of the Pale Horse. But no, the surgeon said that the melanoma wasn't deep enough to worry about. After my lymph node operation, my oncologist had the nerve to tell me that although my bone marrow held a few malignant cells, they were of avery slow growth variety and I probably wouldn't be affected for 15 or 20 years, if ever. No treatment, no sympathetic beautiful women weeping at my candle-lit bedside, no DRAMA, not even pathos.
How can great prose come from that?

Technology, also, has robbed me of heroic death. 6 years ago, I was diagnosed with secondary-type diabetes. My biologic father had died of diabetic complications at age 53 many years ago. This could have led to a variety of tragic consequences: blindness, loss of extremities, even death. These potential results are naturally hard on the body, what a great stimulation for tragic and moving prose. But , once again I'm denied this literary benefit. Science has invented Glucophage. I take a couple of pills a day and poof, no tragedy. For 6 years my glucose number has actually remained below average. My limbs are intact, my eyes have somehow IMPROVED, I can't catch a break.

I've been told by some that this kind of thinking, especially if spoken aloud, will arouse the wrath of the gods for my hubris. My wife, among these "some", runs out of the room covering her ears when I go off on a rant like this. Maybe, he says slyly, if I can't have tragedy I can at least foment melodrama.

I'm off to play in traffic. See if anybody here can figure out why I love high-risk activity. Toughto figure, huh? Later.


Blogger Holly said...

I think the outlook that such trying circumstances potentially give us on life - like seeing it through new eyes - and the ability to gain new wisdom that gives us the solid basis for literary beauty... inner peace that comes from accepting that you've been chosen because of the strength you may not have yet realized you possess.

Sometimes, when we stop trying so hard, creativity sneaks up on us - and in that we find a certain kind of peace.

Take advantage of your uncanny sense of humor- it's refreshing and people often like it. And also, it's not an easy skill to master, so don't underestimate yourself so. Some people have it and some don't. You do... so smile... and write, write, write!

8:10 PM  

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