In the garret

Quiet days sitting at a desk I return to old habits. I browse the net, as most people do too, but unlike most I end up on sites where I can read feature articles and essays. I love reading these things, inquiring into subjects I’m either interested in or curious about, challenging my knowledge on arcane subjects and the lives of people I know of, but not a lot of.

I’ve just finished reading an article on Bertolt Brecht’s erotic poetry, which was surprisingly good. On the poetry theme read an article yesterday on Clive James recent work. I’m reading a piece on the Marquis de Sade now, and yesterday a fantastic essay on Herman Melville. I read about philosophy, about influential people I’ve never heard of until I read about them (James Laughlin, L.E. Sissman), about the nature of confession, history, biology, science, philology, and so on.

I like knowing, I like learning, I like wondering. I read these things and I find my inner dimensions enlarge. A part of me, probably some inner literary garret, feels a kind of excited anticipation. I connect on a wavelength that seems otherwise unused. I never read any of these things without feeling as if I am somehow connected. It’s not my world, but I feel something like an ancestral memory. This is where I belong. This, perhaps, is what I should do, or should be.

There are times in my druthers when I wish I had have known enough to follow that path. Journalism would have been an easy option for me, but more adventurous would have been education. I can’t see myself as a teacher, but a university lecturer? Certainly. Put me in a tweed jacket with elbow patches, an office overstuffed with books and an adoring series of students waiting on every sage utterance and that’s me in an alternative reality. Write my books on the side, make the odd public utterance and that might have been my ideal life (which I’m probably living somewhere in the multiverse).

I’m not really wistful about this. It’s not a missed opportunity. I’m here, now, and all of that is a long way off, but I figure there’s time still, and a decent will to go with it. I’ll never be a university man, but I can write – and express that part of me idling its time in garret.


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