Monday, May 10, 2010

Cowardice or Inability?

The long philosophical poem that Wordsworth spent 20 years preparing to write remained largely unattempted. When he was seventy, Wordsworth remarked that Thomas Gray "had undertaken something beyond his powers to accomplish. And that is my case."

Another version of this sentiment comes from Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers: "knowing you had it in you and you never let it out / is worse than blowing any engine or any wreck you'll ever have."

I'm really, really sick of researching 18th-century agrarian rhetoric. I've been hip deep in sheep dip for nine months, and I estimate that I've plowed through 50,000 pages of agricultural pamphlets, books, and periodical pieces. Enough already. It's time to start writing.

I have to read the collected works of Arthur Young this week--another 5,000 pages in his "Communications to the Board of Agriculture." Then, I'll outline and start composing.

I just hope all the research wasn't merely a convenient, chicken-shit way to procrastinate.

(Note the THREE farming metaphors here. Pretty damn slick, I'd say....)

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