this cup is half full, fer cryin' out loud

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I’m rather depressed these days. It’s been years since anything I’ve done has turned out successfully—with a few rare exceptions—and I’m falling into the thing which afflicted you a couple of years ago—a failure of the will, shall we say. My ambitions seem far beyond my talents, and light-years beyond the vicissitudes of my character, and I think of this enormous novel I’m now starting, which could well take ten years, and if done properly, it must be unpublishable except in green-backed French “dirty” editions, and I’ll be middle-aged when it’s done, and somehow I just don’t believe in myself the way I used to, and indeed, worst of all, it doesn’t even seem terribly important. I’m beginning to have the tolerance of the defeated—people I would have despised a few years ago now seem bearable—after all, I say to myself, I haven’t done very well with all the luck I had, and perhaps I do wrong to judge them. Naturally these states proliferate. The desire to work recedes, and as it recedes one welcomes the depression of not working which increases the difficulty to begin work again, and it gets to be a drag. You know I think of these miserable years since the war and how everyone I know has been diminished by it, their rebellion tempered, their caution swollen to cowardice, their malice to hatred, until the worst of all is that I get close at times to thinking that perhaps we have overrated the possibilities of people, and then life becomes dreary indeed. Forgive the tirade. You have your depression, I have mine (I too am smoking again). . . . Now, of course, all this is every artist’s anguish—so many of us could have been geniuses if everything had worked out right—