Craft or Sullen Art

Blog Post
Writing is an exercise in frustration. It presumes that what we have to say carries with it a sense of independent gravity and meaning. But it usually doesn’t and there’s the rub. One writes not only for the satisfaction of having written but also for the satisfaction of having been read.

A lady who lived in an actual convent in an obscure corner of an obscure town used to edit my work. She’s dead now, which means that I can’t impose on her anymore — but I don’t think that she considered it an imposition at all. She did the same for my friend WoFat, who came to know her as I did. A remarkable woman with a generous spirit who lost her battle with cancer a couple of years ago.

Dylan Thomas put it this way (below) when writing of writing.  I wish that I had his way with a pen. Maybe I need to become an alcoholic. There’s something about Irish blood and whiskey that leads to profound poetry. (WoFat – think of Wild Bill and Bushmills – same thing)
In my craft or sullen art
Exercised in the still night
When only the moon rages
And the lovers lie abed
With all their griefs in their arms,
I labour by singing light
Not for ambition or bread
Or the strut and trade of charms
On the ivory stages
But for the common wages
Of their most secret heart.

Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages
Nor for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the griefs of the ages,
Who pay no praise or wages
Nor heed my craft or art.

24 thoughts on “Craft or Sullen Art

  1. When the ideas hit, you just have to write them until you're done. That's why none of us gets much sleep.

  2. Who says that my brain hasn't exploded? I do work with my hands, but it's illegal to do it outside of a war zone.

  3. Of course. It makes sense when you're referring to the "Prince of Darkness". If Tom was alive today, he'd be shocked that the woman is not Asian. Other than that, he'd agree with me (and you) that it's a natural conclusion to a misspent life.

  4. The whisky dulls the pain and allows the inner madman (or mad woman) to spill ink on the page. It was once ink, now it's electrons on a screen, which is not nearly so prosaic but it amounts to the same thing.

  5. The only way that it would make more sense would be if he lived in a cave in Laos, surrounded by religious statues and several local whores.

  6. There's something about Irish blood and whiskey that leads to profound poetry. … and atrocious hangovers.

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