Saturday morning and I’m at Caffe Medici on the Drag, the spot that would be my de facto office if I lived in Austin. Not a vacation — I’ve been doing research at the library and will need to shift gears before long to work on my column for next week. At the moment, though, it seems like an occasion to do something with Counter-Statement, which I set up a couple of months ago and have left to the gnawing of the digital mice ever since. Still no routine with Quick Study, but at least there have been a few posts there over the same period.
Then again, the almost complete absence of an audience has its advantages. Apart from the column, I’ve done very little work for publication over the past few years, though public speaking has taken up a bit of the slack. I’ve been as negligent as ever in promoting the column. In short, my sense of being involved in an essentially public activity has, if not necessarily declined, at any rate mutated. With the column and when at the podium, I have a reasonably clear sense of who’s paying attention, with the corresponding rewards of paycheck and applause. But otherwise, it’s been writing for the drawer (notebooks on reading, mostly) and for ghosts, since a number of readers who were important to me are now departed.
This is not a complaint, just a reckoning with circumstances that serve, only too readily, to rationalize hesitation and uncertainty about how to continue. (For “to continue,” read “to start again,” since it always comes down to that.) But the difference between reticence and sloth is partly one of degree, and anyway, “On s’engage et puis… on voit.”