The question for me was not, then, how does one read to write, but how does one read to live? I conceived early on the conviction that one should lead one’s life as if one were the protagonist of an epic novel, with the outcome predetermined and chapter after chapter of edifying, traumatic and exhilarating events to be suffered through. Since the end is known in advance, one must try to experience as much as possible in the brief time allotted.
The protagonist of “The Death of Ivan Il’ich” died moaning, in agony, overcome with the realization that he had wasted his days on earth following social conventions. He lacked l’esprit frondeur, and he paid for it. Conventions now are hardly less pervasive than they were in Tolstoy’s day; we’re pressured to start a career, build our résumé, earn a certain amount of money, and so forth. But remember: None of us gets out of here alive. So don’t fear risks. Rebel. Be bold, try hard, and embrace adversity; let both success and failure provide you with unique material for your writing, let them give you a life different enough to be worth writing about.
- Jeffrey Tayler
As you can tell from what I write on this blog, I try not to limit myself to a single subject, writing about whatever happens to cross through my brain on a given day. Given the time demands of work, kids, family, energy-level and other interests, this is often just a quick cut and paste of a quote or something else that caught my eye or is floating around in my head. I sure wish I had the time and energy to live my life like Tayler describes, because I’m sure it would be a lot of fun but also would lead to me having much more (and better!) ideas for writing.