I had an idea.
It started with a thought about how little time I’m able to give to my blog. There was probably some jealousy in there about the success of other people’s blogs. That was fomented in a growing awareness of my advancing age and proportionally increasing history of accomplishing mostly nothing.
I do have a collection of excuses though. There’s a decently old song (aged as songs age) by the Barenaked Ladies called “Never Do Anything.” It’s pretty clever and applicable; you should look it up. The Barenaked Ladies are one of my favorite bands. Most of the songs that earned them fame are well-written and plucky. The rest of the songs on their albums are similarly well written. Some are better written. Many are plucky. Some are so poignant and earnest as to make me cry. All of this information is provided for free, and will be explained in a moment.
One of the most common excuses I have is that writing takes so much time and is so difficult. I deftly combine the Romantic Movement’s “Agony of Influence,” Luther’s anfechtungen, an affinity for classical literature, and perfectionism bordering on obsessive compulsive disorder. When my wife and I used to exchange e-mails while dating, I would spend twelve hours on a three paragraph message to which she would respond with one paragraph written in twelve seconds. I sometimes think that the world and I relate in roughly the same way.
And so to break the habit of spending three weeks on each post but remaining unsatisfied with it, I’ve decided to spend thirty minutes on each post, and post every day. At least for a while. Perhaps this will be good and healthy. Likely not. In my mind I’m seeing the look my wife will give me when she reads this.
Her many expressions are one of the joys of being married to her.
Either way, I’m speeding up my writing process by the general expedient of not deleting things. Oh, I’ll fix such typos as I find them–for example I just misspelled “typos” as “types”–but that’s not what I mean. An example of what I mean is that bit about the Barenaked Ladies above. After I had written it, I thought to myself, “Self, why would you include all this?”
And then I answered, “Because I’ve already typed it.”
Hopefully I will not go down in history with the sort of infamy earned by the man who said, “What I have written, I have written.”
When I originally thought of this idea, I thought it might be fun to provide a list of topics I thought might come up as I wrote hastily in the coming weeks and months. (There are only so many things I can discuss quickly.) Then after I decide I’ve had enough of this project, I could look back on the list and see how accurate it was. I suspect this is the sort of game that only I find entertaining.
In any event, I don’t really have that list anymore. I can’t even think of it. What I have is a list of heresies that I’ve recently encountered and that I would like somehow to combat. I suspect that this sounds even less entertaining to most people. Alas, if I were to write from my heart, disputation with heresy is bound to emerge. And somewhere in there I would dispute about the utter nonsense of the phrase “if I were to write from my heart.”
Not deleting things is difficult. See earlier mention of perfectionism.
Let me end this with a quote from G. K. Chesterton, one that I just discovered on the internet. I’m usually suspicious of the internet, and am slightly suspicious about this quote. I’ve read most of Chesterton, or at least I think I have. (The man was so prolific as to require a better word than prolific; there may yet be vast libraries of his material which I haven’t discovered.) I can’t place this particular quote though. (This may be a fault with my memory, too). Nevertheless it sounds like something he would say.
Strike that, it’s apparently from an essay in a collection of his called On Lying In Bed and Other Essays. (See, perfectionist.) Here’s the quote, which is apparently about Samuel Johnson:
“[Johnson] understood (what so many faultlessly polite people do not understand) that a stiff apology is a second insult. He understood that the injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt.”