But of course, this blog note is different from the letters that Keats and Woolf wrote: it's not for your eyes only. Anyone can open this envelope, though I think not many people do. Nonetheless, here the letter sits, with the world's address on it.
When I glance at other literary blogs, my why-bother cloud often thickens. So often they seem to function as public slates for early-draft work, or diatribes against writers whom the blog owner dislikes, or self-promotion, or repetitive musings on the politics of success . . . and God knows I have done every one of these things myself--except for posting early-draft work, an approach to publication that I find unbearable, but only because I am so private about raw, tender, new pieces.
None of these tendencies is necessarily bad, or wrong, or foolish: really, they may, as a trend, be good insofar as they staunch a kind of communal loneliness, as they battle against the futility under which every artist labors in the back rooms of her own mind. I know about that battle against futility. As a serious writer who is also nearly invisible, I often undergo frantic surges of anxiety about marketing myself, about making myself look like a "real writer," as if real has any definition at all.
So today, in my why-bother state, I'm trying to remember that what does have definition is my daily interaction with this word, and now this word, and now this word, which I am typing out to you on my silver lapdesk, which hums on the scratched cherry table in my bedroom, which fills the attic space of my little red house in the snow-ridden woods. This is a terrible approach to self-marketing, and not even very interesting as prose, which is why the why-bother mood overcomes me, but, like all block-headed obsessives, I keep trundling along.