Even though I feel alienated from the literati (who themselves are alienated from so many things) I do keep a book of Cyril Connoly by my bed. This evening I was reminded about something he said about masterpieces. I found the quote:
“The true function of a writer is to produce a masterpiece, no other task is of any consequence.”
Why was I reminded? Because I logged into Facebook for five minutes, of course. If a masterpiece is cruiser then “social media” is a bunch of torpedoes, or let’s says prayers:
“Pray dear Sir, do NOT do, or create, anything great, memorable or astonishing. But do tell us how you feel, and have you seen our new collection of cool emoticons…?”
This is like Eden with snakes hanging from the trees and one single apple. If it was different to withstand temptation back then, how is it now?
The answer, the solution is radical. One must be radical, not “social”, at least not how Facebook would define the word. No, radical as Jesus, Huysmans or Papini were. Not giving a shit about fashion, trends and search engine optimization.
Connoly puts it well and has to much to say to authors. Here is a bittersweet bouquet:
“A writer is in danger of allowing his talent to dull who lets more than a year go past without finding himself in his rightful place of composition, the small single unluxurious retreat of the twentieth century, the hotel bedroom.”
In this true life of Cyril Connoly keeps me company tonight, as I perhaps will keep somebody company a hundred years hence.
“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”
“Art is made by the alone for the alone.”
“Slums may well be breeding-grounds of crime, but middle-class suburbs are incubators of apathy and delirium.”
“The artist secretes nostalgia around life.”
Yes, this is one of those nights. But let’s close with a wistfully romantic thought, before I go back to writing a masterpiece.
“There are only three things which make life worth living: to be writing a tolerably good book, to be in a dinner party of six, and to be traveling south with someone whom your conscience permits you to love.”