A couple of weeks ago, I was at a presentation from a young entrepreneur explaining her app for making meetings more efficient. She was introduced by her sponsor, a middle-aged man, who said that he invested in small, promising ventures, such as hers, as a way to earn enough money to be able to live the dream and buy a yacht. Admitting that clearly, as he was here, he hadn’t achieved it yet. He then went and sat at the side, looking very much like a man who doesn’t have a yacht.
I know what he means. I have a tendency to defer my current happiness on the basis that something big will occur in the future. Getting published, for instance. Which raises the question, why do I write if this is not going to happen? (A statistical likelihood.) What is the present pleasure?
I recently started playing guitar again. Dusted off and restrung (the guitar, not me) I have really enjoyed it. I find that I am at a level to play a basic version of Bach’s ‘O Haupt voll Blut and Wunden,’ (the one Paul Simon adapted for ‘American Tune’). Believe me, I have no ambitions to play this in public. It is doubtful that crowds would fill St Martin’s in the Fields to hear P. Gapper’s faltering versions of Easy Baroque Pieces for Classical Guitar. But playing each chord of Bach’s magnificent progression is a great joy.
It is said that this is the way to live life. As if you are singing a song, enjoying each note rather than rushing to the end.
Try telling that to my laptop. I am in yet another period of struggle with my writing. But there are moments of pleasure, and over all, the sense of achievement makes it worth it.
During the recent debate over Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize for Literature, an online contributor said something to the effect that the decision made her wonder about the point of writing novels. Even suggesting she might give up. I suspect her argument was about feeling devalued, but there was also something about the importance of an end point to give your work worth.
For me, then, I have to decide, does the pleasure come from the simple act of writing, or am I sitting in the corner waiting for a yacht?