[Geri had her knee surgery this morning.  It went well and she’s already home and sleeping off the rest of her anaesthesia.  While sitting in the waiting room of the Cleveland Clinic’s surgery center somewhere on the cusp of Amherst and Vermilion, Ohio, I wrote the following in my pocket journal:]

I just read text 169 of Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet and it expresses well much of what I’ve been feeling lately re writing.
    It’s hard for me to focus and write what I want because I keep listening to others’ conversations.  But since what I want to say regards the worthlessness of my writing, I suppose I shouldn’t be so bothered that I’m not writing it — at least if I mean it (I think I do) and I’m right (what is right?).
    I would like to buy a beverage, but am afraid to leave the waiting room in case they call my name.

[And the following is text 169 of Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet, as translated into English by Richard Zenith and published by Penguin Classics:]

    Page by page I slowly and lucidly reread everything I’ve written, and I find that it’s all worthless and should have been left unwritten. The things we achieve, whether empires or sentences, have (because they’ve been achieved) the worst aspect of real things: the fact they’re perishable. But that’s not what worries or grieves me about these pages as I reread them now, in these idle moments. What grieves me is that it wasn’t worth my trouble to write them, and the time I spent doing it earned me nothing but the illusion, now shattered, that it was worth doing. 

    Whatever we pursue, we pursue for the sake of an ambition, but either we never realize the ambition, and we’re poor, or think we’ve realized it and we’re rich fools. 

    What grieves me is that my best is no good, and that another whom I dream of, if he existed, would have done it better. Everything we do , in art or in life, is the imperfect copy of what we thought of doing. It belies the notion of inner as well as of outer perfection; it falls short not only of the standard it should meet but also of the standard we thought it could meet. We’re hollow on the inside as well as on the outside, pariahs in our expectations and in our realizations. 

    With what power of the solitary human soul I produced page after reclusive page, living syllable by syllable the false magic, not of what I wrote, but of what I thought I was writing! As if under an ironic sorcerer’s spell, I imagined myself the poet of my prose, in the winged moments when it welled up in me – swifter than the strokes of my pen – like an illusory revenge against the insults of life! And today, rereading, I see my dolls bursting, the straw coming out of their torn seams, eviscerated without ever having been…

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