Let me preface today’s whining with an apology to the several readers who have sent me gifts of money over the last three months. I thought donations had dried up entirely, since I hadn’t been notified of a single one, in all that time. Upon investigating with the help of my brilliant son, I found that no, Messrs PayPal had simply changed their reporting procedure (yet again), requiring me to visit their website to get such vital information. The same son has now taught me how to get into my own account, by computer (the only possible way). I now find that I owe thanks and acknowledgements to many kind souls. I am also, as usual, fallen behind general email, which never abated. (And snailmail, too.) There are queries in there more than a month old, which I couldn’t think how to answer when they first arrived. Forgive me, gentle readers, for as you must have reasoned already, I am a clown and an … idler.
Meanwhile, rich or poor, I will continue to upload these strange Idleposts to my anti-blog almost every day. It may be noticed that I failed the last two days. To those interested or amused, let me explain that I try to write something every day (but Sundays), and when nothing appears, it is not necessarily because I am lazy. More likely, I wrote something ill-humoured, or exceptionally stoopid, and decided to kill it. Then couldn’t write something else.
I also like to kill old Idleposts, when I happen to re-read them.
Perhaps I am not alone in another foible. I mentioned car horns, back-up wailers, and fire-alarm testing in my previous post. I could add the constant excruciating noise from construction sites, including counter-productive home improvement schemes. And then, what comes from the current iteration of ghetto blasters. And, angry people, shouting obscenities at each other in the street below me. I have excellent hearing, but a mind that can be arrested by loud, viciously ugly, sounds. I’d be useless as a soldier.
Wallace Stevens touched on this, circa 1935:
Poet, be seated at the piano.
Play the present, its hoo-hoo-hoo,
Its shoo-shoo-shoo, its ric-a-nic,
Its envious cachinnation.
If they throw stones upon the roof
While you practice arpeggios,
It is because they carry down the stairs
A body in rags.
Be seated at the piano. …
In adolescence, I read somewhere (probably in the biography by Aldington) that D. H. Lawrence could write in any environment and circumstance at all. No amount of noise could distract him. I have since decided that Lawrence is the sort of writer who should have been dissuaded; but learnt that Mozart had the same capacity. And many others, of whom I am not one.
But the world is the world. “Adapt, or die,” as a boss once told me.
He hated whiners. In theory, so do I.