We were surprised to learn that the longest gap between entries in this blog has alarmed some regular readers. (… Sorry, truly …) Someone dear and close — though physically remote — wrote in a state of high alarm seeking reassurance that all was well with us, having forgotten the alert we posted a few weeks ago about the likelihood of other, more pressing demands making it impossible to keep to our old, loose timetable, publishing roughly once a week or every ten days.
There must be a blog visitor or two who thinks that the shock on which we pegged our last entry had turned our typing fingers into useless icicles exactly like the glassy fangs hanging over our front porch all last week. Oh, … and we did have every intention of returning promptly to expand on our exclamation, there, about A. O. Scott’s conception of Steve Jobs as no mere uber-entrepreneur-aesthete but creator of The All — The All-and-All, even. Yet no sooner had we posted in haste than we repented, realising that anything we said would only be repeating reasoning and revelations in earlier entries (on 25 October 2011 and 1 November 2011 ).
The New York Times, by the way, has just redeemed itself — or made up for its temporarily addled film critic’s hyperbole with a calm, well-judged analysis of the fate of the latest Jobs biopic in a Nick Bilton column. Its disclosures about Silicon Valley machinations related to the portrayal of a local hero are worth a close read. (‘”Steve Jobs” Flops at the Box Office and Silicon Valley Cheers‘)
… Has our post-Gutenberg (p-G to friends) hiatus ended? No. We see no change in the pattern of chronic upheavals — moving house, for instance, across hundreds of miles, over several weeks (nearly losing our marbles, every last one, along the way).
Naturally, other scribblers’ reactions to changes in environment and circumstances have been of keen interest, lately. Think back to our post starring Beatrice and Sidney Webb and the Maharaja of Chhatarpur. Presences, absences and surroundings have subtle effects on the most salient requirement, which Beatrice pinpointed in a lament about her inability to keep up her diary during a three-week sojourn in Scotland in which she and Sidney — her impossibly perfect campaigning and writing collaborator — were never apart:
When Sidney is with me I cannot talk to the other self with whom I commune when I am alone — ‘it’ ceases to be present and only reappears when he becomes absent.
She was of course referring to idiosyncratic writing from and of herself, and not the kinds that can be done in partnership — journalism, and (in her day) pamphleteering, or any other fact- and argument-driven nonfiction.
The financially uncompensated keyboard tapping that keeps p-G alive has become more difficult to justify with projects closer to conversations with ‘it’ starved for attention in the recent, seemingly neverending, chaos.
We can only promise to return unpredictably, when we can — though the pressure from inspiration about p-G-related topics fighting to get out and march in lines of text can be intense enough to make us feel for head bulges.
… That word, bulge. … From time to time it reminds us of the ecstasy of watching our elders-and-betters in a long-ago senior school production of Oscar Wilde’s most scintillating, deliciously subversive and wise play, beneath a witty-glittery surface — old even then, but treated undeservingly, now, as a dated Victorian comedy of manners, a relic. Who could ever forget The Importance of Being Earnest? … There is no point in summarising a plot that can be googled in instants, so we offer only a prod or two for the memory of anyone else who knows and loves it. … That brilliantly named governess, Miss Prism, who actually lost one of the characters, Jack, in a handbag at London’s Victoria Station — when he was an orphaned baby. … We cannot remember whether the drama includes the babyhood of someone else, a someone called Algy (Algernon) Moncrieff — any allusions to the time when he had yet to emerge, and wonder whether it was Oscar’s classic that inspired this poem-let as lovely as a tree by an unknown poet:
Algy met a bear,
The bear was bulgy,
The bulge was Algy.
A re-reading is overdue. We have downloaded the play from Project Gutenberg for our next nano-break … and hope to return sooner than later to let Algy …. oops! we mean, p-G, out to play.