“But the man who aims to speak as books enable, as synods use, as the fashion guides, and as interest commands, babbles. Let him hush.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Address to the Harvard Divinity School” (1838)
Long-time readers will recall my early intention to work at two levels here, to keep two separate books, like a dishonest accountant, issuing one sort of ‘stacks open to everyone —the exoteric ‘stacks—, in which I dole out the things I really think only in cautious droplets, as if my sincere beliefs were a high-potency medicine in an eye-dropper; and another sort of ‘stacks for paid subscribers —the esoteric ‘stacks—, in which I open the floodgates and say whatever I wish.
This was untenable, as the truth is I never really know what I actually think, and what I am just saying because I am inflated like a windsock by the invisible breezes of the Zeitgeist and the interminable chatter of “the They”. And whether it was my real voice or not, I always regretted not being able to project it as far as possible, and so I consistently opted to send what I had written to everyone, rather than to a restricted and privileged class from among my total readership.
I now find, however, that I would like to try out this intention for real, as there are indeed, upon further reflection, at least some things I prefer to say to a smaller audience. These concern, not least, my real views about “the writing life”.
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