It has become almost cliché among sentient people to agree with old T.S Eliot, with the startling realization that what you have been thinking for years has already been well explored by somebody else. But better.
"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."
Afer fifty years of writing, performing, caurousing, whoring, I am something like a mole with a very tender nose. Seems nobody ever told me to go around! But one is mole-like, and it seems that there are certainly burrowing tendencies, probably the result of the last world war, where you had to dig, dig, dig, or be exploded.
When I wrote my European wartime novel, The Black Icon, I was blissfully unaware that the writing of that book was just the first step of a journey, easily, of ten thousand miles, with no real goal in sight, save that of one book, then another, then another probably to show how good I thought I was.
But I found over the years, possibly agreeing with old Willie Maughan, that there was only one book in me, and the second, third and fourth was just burrowing around.
After fifty years, I think I have come to he end of my tunnel. Like a Kafkaesque character drawn by my once-pen pal, Willie Elder in Mad Magazine, "YOU'VE DUG YOUR LAST HOLE, MOLE!
Seems today, I am right back where I first began with writing what my creative writing prof had said was one brilliant flash in the pan, THE BLACK ICON.
Jesus. Hundreds of thousands of wasted words, the babysitting with your toddler son tugging at the paper in your typewriter, the years of surely masochistic starvation where you had quit a perfectly good paying job the humiliation over what was probably deliberate failure just to experience what that was like.
The answer surely lies in humour, whereTV ole boy Jethro says to the rich artist, "You're supposed to suffer if you're an artist.
"Well, you're sure going to suffer when you find out some drunk backhoe operator loaded a ton of sand into your kidney-shaped swiming pool."
I've had the houses and I've had the pools, but there was this almost adolescent artist thing. "Have I, have I, have I made the grade?"
Too young to know I had made it, made it very early, and now like the nervous amateur thespian who only had two lines to say, "Hark! Cannon! I have ended up,at the end of my rope, like that nervous actor, blurting out, "What the fuck was that?"
After fifty years, I am back where I started.
It is time to again republish my only decent work, THE BLACK ICON.
All the rest, it seems, was sturn und drang, storm and stress.