This past week several readers of these columns have asked about my absence of late. The honest answer is that there are times when the well runs a bit dry and one’s enthusiasm for forcing words on to the page wanes.
It is not the same thing as writer’s block. I write every day, usually in a journal that I have kept now for well over thirty years. I kidded my son once that I would leave him hardly any cash at all, but a wealth of journals for him to read and share with my grandchildren.
His tongue in check retort: “Are they worth anything, Dad?”
I opined that if they are of any value it has been mostly to me and, should he wish, their value to him is the inside story of my life and thoughts.
At present I am working on another book, a second collection of essays, and much of the material springs from these journal scribblings. Reading through them I am often reminded of what I really think about something. There are plenty of thoughts best left concealed between the pages of the blue, thinly lined, cloth-bound chemistry notebook that is my preferred journal. I believe that if one is to share thoughts with the external world they should be both genuine and of some interest to others. Otherwise, it is best to keep them concealed in the mind’s closet where they belong.
One of my gripes with today’s perpetual barrage of chatting via the web and other forms of technology is that the bulk of it is utterly useless, ill conceived and all too often accusatory or hurtful. One might characterize this as the age of ad hominenism (my word). Far too many of us act, seemingly gleefully, as ideological attack dogs. Civil discourse has given way to personal attacks of all sorts leveled against individuals whose only crime is to think differently from someone else.