Photo Credit: Slim Aarons
Truman Capote in his Brooklyn Heights apartment, 1958.
Truman thought that to be alcoholic was the only requisite to being a writer
Silly boy, he got it all wrong and ended up both alcoholic and depressed and not a writer, as, Truman discovered that
When alcoholism is simply not enough anymore
Depression is the ultimate self-indulgence
Writing the ultimate happiness
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne was one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance, known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre, and commonly thought of as the father of modern skepticism. Of which:
“On the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom.”
Arthur Christopher Benson (24 April 1862 – 17 June 1925) was an English essayist, poet, and author and the 28th Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge. From Mr. Benson–true words for all of us who found school stultifying in terminus. Of which:
”I am sure it is one’s duty as a teacher to try to show boys that no opinions, no tastes, no emotions are worth much unless they are one’s own. I suffered acutely as a boy from the lack of being shown this.”
John Daniel Begg, born at Washington, 4th January, 1952. Of which:
“With all the remarkable words to use in the English language, well, why not just let’s use all of them?”
Since I was a wee lad, people of all sorts have told me that I had some sort of gift, or the other, with words. A novelist I was to be, I suspect.
Or an orator maybe—pray God not that—as that suggests something to do with politics, an avocation that Frank Roosevelt’s mother, Sara, unconstrained by the burdens of public opinion and tart-tongued as few today are, most correctly described as being no fit job for a white man.
I guess friends and foes alike were correct then, as now, in my autumn years, I have discovered that I am, I like being and others like and in equal measure laud and applaud, an essayist.
All along, I’d thought that with old age would come my grand classic novels. Yet, I find that an essayist can have, in a brief bit, a similar freedom and effect—perhaps even more so.
When I arise in the morning, I go about the city and, noticing things that catch my fancy write about them and dutifully quote others who have written on topics germane to my whimsical discoveries.
Today, I had a chat of many colors and hues with an old school lad, Billy, of whom I am inordinate fond, but likewise frustrated as he is a lawyer and, as with all the men in that line, oftentimes “simply too busy to talk.” I wonder what these boys are so busy doing.
Billy did give me a moment today and we discussed essay writing and how to make money from it. My word!! Hard times have come a knockin’ here.
Since early youth, I’ve gotten a severe headache and become despondent by talk of money as my Nana maternal drummed into me that “talk of money is both boring and impolite, a dreadful combination of negatives.”
Billy did get a bit of a laugh from my observation that both the novelist and essayist are the freest man on earth as we can, flick of the wrist; simply kill people we don’t like. It’s a remarkably fun exercise. Remarkably.
I said “Billy, for instance, if I do not like you and I am a novelist or an essayist, I simply create a character just like you and kill you without any legal ramifications whatsoever—consider all the dismal briefs filing and courtroom vaudeville acts that would spare you.”
My dears, consider how much delight we can all have with such fully free rein to dispatch, embarrass, mock, even seduce the pretty young wives, of our foes. And likewise of course, to be pleasant to people if you happen to wake up the right side in the morning.
In this physically beautiful yet ambiently nauseating village of my birth, men speak of who is powerful and who is not in Mr. Ferris’ Wheel this day at Washington, but who could debate the supreme power of simply being able to kill your enemies in a page or two, without any legal ramifications whatsoever?
Yes, the novelist can do away with any number of nettlesome creatures in his life—but it often takes him many pages to do so. But, ah!!–the essayist can do the very same thing with a slight touch of the keys!!
Who here reading doesn’t daily think to himself “I could just shoot that girl?” We all do, all day long, many times.
When one lives in the singularly rarefied world of literary invention—think it and, hey presto– it is done! Such freedom! Such immense latitude to form the world in one’s image and likeness!!
As boys, Billy and I were told that Plato was far more than a foundation philosopher—he was likewise an essayist and a sort of novelist. Brief essays can accomplish the precise result as do longer novels, but get to do so very quickly.
One of the more amusing Washington cottage industries is the cribbing of other men’s work and calling it one’s own. I know personally any number of men who do nothing else but crib.
They are paid, not well, but adequately, for cribbing and, some days, I am asked, “John, not for attribution but mano y mano—do you think Chris is a good writer—yes or no please?”
This question perplexes me, even irritates, and as we are in the midst of our Lenten time and are anticipating the resurrection of our Lord on Easter morning. I must tell the unvarnished truth—so I answer “how the devil do I know—to my best knowledge, he’s never written anything.”
Perhaps it was with Chris in mind that our Montaigne wrote:~~
“I quote others only to better express myself.”~~
- The rich man ought not be taxed at all~~he ought be compelled to employ and train the poor man~~directly~~
~~In sunshine and in shadow~~I hold tight to the Republican view of time and money~~I write night and day~~yet~~while impecunious~~I am vastly overpaid~~in that taking pay to do what I love is unfair~~to my employer~~in a fair system~~under such circumstances~~I should pay him~~not he me~~I am far, far too old a man to be sexually confused~~praise Jesus~~but I am yet young enough to be politically confused~~is anyone not~~in an absolute sense~~I am a Catholic Royalist~~in a practical sense~~I am a Classical Liberal~~a Gaullist~~a Bonapartist~~an American Nationalist Republican~~in either sense~~my head is soon for the chopping block~~to hasten my interlude with Madame La Guillotine~~I write without fear~and without favor of~any man~~~Non Sibi~~Finis Origine Pendet~~~Κύριε ἐλέησον~~
Rejoice and Glad!!
~The Original Angry Bird~~The Catholic University of America Screaming Red Cardinal Mascot~~
~~EX LIBRIS~~~~THEOS EK MĒCHANĒS~~
Saturday, le 27th February,~Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi,2014 Website: http://johndanielbegg.wordpress.com
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