I know you don't want to read a column that's downright depressing.
Neither do I. I don't even want to write it, which is why I may not even read it myself when it's done. Assuming I do write it.
From the moment of the genesis of what loosely passes for my first thought, to the dotting of the last "i" and the crossing of the last "t", writing a column is a process covering three days or more depending on the intricacy of the column itself. This one should take about a week.
During that time I'm irritable, impatient and generally not fit to be included in polite company. That's when OH has her card club in and me my poker buddies.
Ask any writer of any note and they'll tell you the same thing. Read an account of Hemingway's life and what he was like and why no woman could live with him. Evidently he was okay to sleep with, which is another mark of creativity. Peruse Henry Miller's autobiography of his younger years as a writer in Paris, recorded in graphic detail in his trilogy "Sexus, Nexus and Plexus" to see how his "social" life was impacted by the strain of the creative process.
There is ample evidence of the impact of the stress of writing on the sanity of columnists in particular. I refer you to the weekly musings of Randy Simms and Ryan Cleary specifically. You may not be regular readers of these people but their columns do form a useful balance to your weekly diet of "the view". If you have to ask how or why, perhaps you'd be better off not knowing. They may have a different view.
Because I use a word-recognition program with which to write my columns and novels (you didn't know I wrote novels? My dear, you might want to look up "The Seventh Day", my most successful novel to date. You might want to contact Breakwater Books if you can't find a copy anywhere else) any extraneous noise in the vicinity for me and my computer interferes with the ultra sensitive built-in microphone. Consequently, people have to speak in whispers when I am at work, which is pretty well most of the day.
This has a tendency to impact negatively on both the normal workings of the household and the frame of mind of the persons making up that household, to wit OH, Son, daily visitors such as three grandchildren, Daughter Number Two and Son in Law Number One.
It's depressing to me to realize how little appreciation great writers get in their lifetime. Oh sure, they went to the Globe theater in droves to see Shakespeare's latest production. They flocked to hear Charles Dickens' lectures when he toured the States. Mark Twain was popular in San Francisco. And Dr. Seuss is well-known even among parents. The rest of us might not exist if we had to depend on our writing alone.
I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but it seems to me I am one hell of a bargain. That's only in my view, of course, and the view of distressingly few others. But that's okay. One of those days I will receive my due - posthumously. Then I'm going to buy an island in the Caribbean and haunt it.
You have to admit this is downright depressing. But hang on. I'm not finished yet. Given the number of "works" on my desk in mid-creation, that would be a good inscription for my tombstone - "Finished at last."
Today I received another low blow. As most of you know, given the number of birthday cards I receive each year, September is the month of my birth. I was idly leafing through online foolishness when it struck me that other unheralded literary bright lights might also have found their way into this world around the same time. So I decided to see who might have joined me on the celebrity list.
It wasn't exactly overflowing with the Kerouacs or the Victor Hugos of the literary world. No one with whom I could share a creative thought or compare depressions or money earned.
The really depressing news of the summer for me has to do with my brand-new van. It was bought in December. Through the dealership in Toronto where I bought my first 14 years ago. It was delivered here in May about three months late. Didn't mind that too much because who wants to involve borrowing around Newfoundland roads in midwinter? When spring came on, that was a bit of a different matter.
But from almost the first day we had problems, especially with the lift that puts me into the van and takes me out again. Finally it got the point where we couldn't count on the damn thing to function at all and demanded action from the dealer. By the time they agreed to send someone down from Toronto to address the problem, one of the best summers in many years was over and down and we had been housebound.
Anyway, on the third week in August this technician - really nice fellow - arrived went to work and after four days, ably assisted by my son and son-in-law, he pronounced everything ready to rock and went back to the big T.O. That was on Saturday.
On Sunday we got up and went to church for the first time in practically all summer, came out of church, got into the van and the doors, electrically connected to the lift, would not close. My two boys once again got on the phone to the technician in Toronto who again told them what to do, they did it and got the doors working well enough for us to go to St. John's for my niece's wedding last weekend.
All of this is for a van that cost a ruddy fortune and is still not in proper working order.
Look, I know there are worse things. As the old fellow said, "At least you've still got your health, and relatively speaking he's right. Lots of people don't and I wouldn't want to change places with them for anything. So all in all, things are not that bad. I could be dead.
And then all of you would be really depressed.