Ever reflective and tender, Keats, in a letter to his love Fanny Brawne,
“If I should die,” said I to myself, “I have left no immortal work behind me—nothing to make my friends proud of my memory—but I have lov’d the principle of beauty in all things, and if I had had time I would have made myself remember’d.” (Feb. 1820)
Love the principle of beauty in all things, writer.
Have you left it too late for your writing? Too late in the day? Too late in your life?
No. Not conceivable.
Marcus Aurelius says, “Many grains of incense fall on the same altar: one sooner, another later—it makes no difference.”
Write now, writer.
For Volume IV of his Philosophical Dictionary, Voltaire wrote an entry for ‘End of the World’.
The greater part of the Greek philosophers held the universe to be eternal both with respect to commencement and duration. But as to this petty portion of the world or universe, this globe of stone and earth and water, of minerals and vapors, which we inhabit, it was somewhat difficult to form an opinion; it was, however, deemed very destructible. It was even said that it had been destroyed more than once, and would be destroyed again.
Let this set you free, writer. The end of the world will come again, and then again. Let it come. Hasten it with your words if you dare.
Horace advised in, Letters to Piso, that once we have written we let our work rest. “Put your parchment in the closet and keep it back till the ninth year.”
While these lines (386-390, Art of Poetry) are often interpreted as guidance towards quality, they also highlight the proper length of a thing (with a dash of Horace’s characteristic mockery).
A breath is half a chorus. Twelve hours turns a tide from high to low. A carronade is much shorter than a long gun.
The time it takes to write our work is as long as it takes. Speed is not admirable.
Side-step imposed narratives about writer’s block by casting time as part of the writing. The value of the Sun King’s soup tureen is the price that someone is willing to pay for it. The value is set by the act of payment.
The time it takes to write our work is the time it takes. The time we give is part of the writing, not a measure of the work nor a ruling of ourselves as failing or otherwise.
… Siquid tamen olim
scripseris, in Maeci descendat iudicis auris
et patris et nostras, nonumque prematur in annum
membranis intus positis; delere licebit
quod non edideris; nescit uox missa reuerti.