Thoughts . . . by Mark Rich

. . . scribbled . . . scrawled . . . trimmed . . . typewritten . . . grubbed up . . . squeezed from circumstance . . .

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


... a good word for the dominating force in most lives. If you are a writer you grapple with exigencies not only to pick them up and deal with them but to put them down with freer mind, so that you may take a few moments to put pencil to paper.

If you are an unwise writer then you force more exigencies upon yourself than you really need -- say, by buying a house, digging a garden, becoming interested in some matter of endlessly opening possibility such as literary history or antiques or winemaking ... or by taking on a day job that requires some mental and physical commitment.

Any one of these takings-on of exigency might do in, dowse or drown the creative spirit. On the other hand, it seems that the taking on of exigency is not to be distinguished from engagement with the world.

This leads to a conundrum. To be a writer you must disengage yourself from the world with which you must be engaged: for your mind must be free, to write.

In essence, you, whose life is writing, must disengage yourself from whatever it is that is your life.

Is it possible to balance the two? -- the engagement with the disengagement?

Of course not. You lack the strength. Your world weighs more than you do.

Since you are part of it, your world includes your full weight. You, on the other hand, include within you only a tiny part of your world, and so command only a fraction of its weight.

Exigencies are the weight of your world.

You might see yourself as an Atlas, bearing up the globe and by so doing being a fixed part of that world. On occasion you feel moved to try balancing that vast burden upon just one hand -- even if only for a moment ... just long enough to seize a pencil with your briefly free hand, to scrawl your name somewhere, anywhere ...

Cheers ...