Sunday, February 24, 2008

It has been said...

...or probably has, that being a journalist or critic, or a writer of any kind, is a career adopted to make sense of always being restless and uncomfortable; perpetually unsatisfied. You can claim to be a "generalist" or even a dilettante if you want to be cheeky. But what happens when writing itself is one of the things that hasn't panned out? What do you move on to from there? Perhaps to nothing special, which is what G.H. Hardy says the vast majority of people settle for. To whatever course happens along. Which in practical terms means not trying to steer a particular course or make choices.

But it's awfully hard to opt for that except as a pose when you've been infected with (or have inherited) the nagging idea that there must be something special; that if you have the sensibility to recognize it nothing else will do. I think of it as related to the impulse that translates as good taste: when I look at the various options I have an instinct for the one that is truly the best. And if that means that if you can't afford the movie camera you know to be the best, and therefore don't buy any, this supposed talent is not exactly a blessing.