For me, one of Facebook’s on-going pleasures, and this is coming from a former Facebook doubter and critic turned addict, is getting status updates by the great writer Richard Bausch, who I met at Bread Loaf. I’m sure he doesn’t remember me, or the rather hilarious hour we spent sipping whiskey together around a campfire, but something tells me Richard has been making impressions on people who he won’t remember a hell of a lot longer than I’ve been alive. Either way, I’m pretty sure Richard wouldn’t mind me sharing his wisdom from a recent status, in which he writes:
“One of the most endearing things about all the writers I know–and I know a lot of them of course–is that not one of them has any material ambitions. They want money of course because they need it, but when they get it they use it mostly to buy one thing: Time. That’s all any of them want. To be able to purchase a little Time from the world’s daily demands, and they want that time, all of them that I know, for one reason. To work. No material matter comes close to that for them. I think that’s a wonderful thing. And when the various kinds of wrangling and petty quarrels and vanities arise that come from being human and trying to do something very hard in a world that is mostly indifferent–well, I try to remember that. It’s something very beautiful about us that we all share: that sweet almost child-like quality of wanting from the world only a little time to keep doing this thing we love so much that even when it tortures us we long to be there in it and with it.”
You know that feeling when you hear something or read something and the sensation is that the speaker/creator has literally opened up your brain and surgically removed something you feel very deeply and then said it in a way that surpasses your own expressive capabilities and makes you understand that thing you felt even more deeply than you thought you did? This was kind of like that for me. I guess that’s the point of art, huh?
I figure since I’m borrowing Richard’s words, I should plug his wonderful book of short stories I read recently. His stories will yank on your humanity. They will humble you with their simple power. They will clarify things you’ve been wondering about.