I am re-reading one of my favourite stories, Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener.” I first received this brilliant tale over the radio years ago and have since gone back to read it a number of times, as I return to much of Melville’s work. Melville, Eliot and Stevenson have a modern sound to my ear. I feel as if they are talking to me directly. I am sure that as a writer I learn from them, although I do not deliberately or consciously analyze how they do what they do. I’d rather just take in the experience.
I think I have also learned as a writer after breaking the wrist of my dominant hand in a mid-February skating tumble. I wanted to keep writing but my brain would not work properly. Part of it seemed to have gotten fractured along with the radius and ulna. Still, I put in my time, although not nearly as much as usual. I typed and printed with the non-dominant hand, producing nothing of consequence. After ten minutes I was ready for a nap. It was a drag. It’s still kind of a drag, as typing two-handed hurts and likely will for a while to come. Same for writing by hand.
But here’s the thing. I’ve looked at the stuff I wrote during the broken-brain period. Now that I am more lucid and energetic, I find I can actually do something with some of that stuff.
So it seems to me, it’s worth the effort to keep going, even if tentatively, awkardly and in pain. Somehow I am getting somewhere as a writer by muddling through, just as I get somewhere as a writer by reading “Bartleby.” Not sure how. Not sure I care how.