Saturday, November 08, 2014


I work in two organic gardens. I get paid $10 per hour. It's hard work. I can't say that I really like this kind of work very much.

If I was a successful writer, I would not be doing this hard labor.

If I was a successful writer, I would have a modest income from that work, from the sale of my books, and from my weekly column in a national publication.

I would do some gardening work, but only as a volunteer, only for my own pleasure and good health, not for money. Oh, that would be wonderful.

If I was a successful writer, I would have an office or study dedicated to writing -- with a desk and chair and good lamp, with an ample shelf of books, with a semi-easy chair for reading. A place to work. A place that was mine. And that would be wonderful too.

If I was a successful writer, I would be going to Los Angeles every month -- to have lunch with my editor, or to give a reading at some club or college.

It seems like no more than an idle day dream, and that I must toil in the garden and earn my living by the sweat of my brow all the days of my life. Such longing and lamentations!

1 comment:

Alan Archibald said...

Even if it was an oversight, I love the fact that you titled this post "Sucess." Calls to mind two of my favorite quotations; the first from William James,the second from Thomas Merton. "The moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess 'Success.' That - with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word 'success' - is our national disease." I recommend the James' webpage at "Thomas Merton was once asked to write a chapter for a book entitled "Secrets of Success." He replied: "If it so happened that I had once written a best-seller, this was a pure accident, due to inattention and naivete, and I would take very good care never to do the same again. If I had a message for my contemporaries, I said, it was surely this: Be anything you like, be madmen, drunks, and bastards of every shape and
form, but at all costs avoid one thing: success."" Merton overstates the case but it's a great use of hyperbole - especially from a revered Catholic priest. I've put together a useful Merton page at