Making a Slight Effort

I suppose it should go without saying that sometimes, I just don’t feel like writing. Facing up to that particular form of petulance is one thing when 90% of your job involves churning out words; in that instance, it’s somewhat easier to overcome your stubbornness when you have a simple choice between getting something on the page, thus earning your keep; and indulging your mood, quickly resulting in an inability to pay the rent. It’s an entirely different sort of dilemma when you’re just scribbling for your own personal enjoyment and occasional fulfillment, as is the case with this blog.

Well, I’m attempting with this post, however halfheartedly, to resist my laziness; I have no desire whatsoever to look at a computer screen, much less release an effusion of praise for Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle, Book 2: A Man in Love. It’s not that I don’t think the book deserves it; hell, the best way to describe its five-star magic is by quoting one of its lines, wherein a friend of KOK tells him that he (Knausgaard) “can spend twenty pages describing a trip to the bathroom and hold [his] readers spellbound.”* (It’s the truth!) It’s just that, once I get started, I’ll feel as if I’ve sold both the book and myself short by merely whipping out a few lines that do nothing more than point the reader in the general direction of– instead of give careful explanation of– the joy and addiction experienced when making my way through six hundred pages of writing that’s inexplicably alluring. Maybe the inability to pinpoint just why My Struggle sucks me in, and why its hold is so tenacious that it’s a real battle with my own will to pull myself away, is the problem; I don’t want to break the lovely whole apart in an attempt to figure out just which component/s make this aggregate more than a self-involved inspection of one’s own life.

And so I won’t: just go out and read it. Everyone who’s taken me up on that piece of advice has fallen into the same delighted fixation that I have.

In my time spent not writing, I’ve been listening to a disturbing amount of Sixto Rodriguez and Nick Drake. I don’t know what this all implies about my state of mind, other than the fact that it’s firmly lodged right now in the ’70s, and refuses to be evicted even by the occasional appearance of an embarrassingly cheesy horn or string riff. Maybe it’s just the appropriate musical accompaniment for the struggle to maintain hope in the midst of bleak midwinter; maybe it’s just a passing mood. Either way, no big deal.

Well, that was that: a tiny bit of resistance against fingers and brain on writerly strike. I’ll take it as a hopeful sign that I’ll soon get this show back on the road.

     

* Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Struggle. Book Two: A Man in Love, translated by Don Bartlett (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013), 124.

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