Budding Writer, 1979: Mediocre and disorganized

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A white-tail deer visits a backyard in Southbury, Connecticut, April 4, 2021. By Howard Fielding. Offered under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

Everyone has good days and bad days. I don’t know if this is more true of writers, but this struggling writer was having one of the latter on this date 44 years ago:

Another grey day, and I am very low right now … I got underway late today and went into town to pick up the application form for the Assistant Dean of Freshmen position. …

Back here, I filled out the application and resume, then wrote requesting to be removed from consideration for the Ass’t to Dean of Faculty position, for which I really feel both unsuited and ill-equipped. I added about 500 mediocre and disorganized words to “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” then suffered a write-out, a listlessness and apathy.

Journal, Volume II
4 April 1979

I tried to distract myself by reading some short stories by John Cheever, for whom I was “overcoming my disappointment,” and Anaïs Nin. Even the high erotica of Delta of Venus (hey, it was a gift from my future fiancée!) did little to curb my mood.

Soon, however, this turned into a listless, apathetic yet upset, worthless depression that I was unable to shake for the rest of the evening. Perhaps I’m merely tired from lack of sleep. Perhaps I’m homesick. Perhaps I’m lonely, or afraid — afraid of staying up here, of applying for the deanship, of applying for work in publishing, of “returning to the womb,” of being forever doomed to being a mediocre writer instead of a mediocre writer. Or mediocre lawyer, for that matter. Perhaps I disappoint myself. Perhaps …


But God works in mysterious ways, as I’d see the next day. Tune in tomorrow.

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