The influence of certain authors is so profound — or oppressive, depending on one’s perspective — that it’s impossible to write anything of substance after reading their work. It’s like this for me with Wallace Stevens. I was first introduced to his poems as a 15-year-old. I’ve produced nothing of value since.
It’s impossible to say anything of substance in a page. A sentence, perhaps two, is the ideal length for revelation.
It’s not true that I’ve failed to make an impact on other people. In fact, quite the opposite has happened: I’ve managed to disappoint everyone.
For years, I regretted having left only half-read the so-called “great books.” Now, I’m ashamed of the half I did read.
The only legitimate grudge is the one we hold against our own selves.
- Wilt under anxiety of entirely normal adult obligations.
- Contend with obvious vanity of deeply felt thoughts, ideas.
- Squander brief window reserved for restorative contemplative practice.
- Barely suppress urgent, poorly formed opinion on complex global issue.
- Disappoint self, others.
There’s no “free time,” per se. Only certain hours during which one might rediscover, incrementally, the woeful vanity of his favorite pastimes.