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walkalone

The Stab of Doubt

I ought to be able to predict it now. It immediately follows achievement, or the satisfaction that comes from achievement. I'm not saying it's without merit. We were book shopping in Peterborough yesterday; as I read back cover blurbs of the volumes privileged to be in the "3 for the price of 2" offer, it seemed that what sells is anything but English middle class ordinariness. Which is ironic, or maybe not, considering the majority of book buyers, or at least the people I observed in the shop.

But I'm not discovering anything new there, am I? One reason people read is to escape, not confront or contemplate situations like their own. Vitae Lampada is a book about English middle class characters, not solving a murder, or thrust into exotic locales, or time travelling. They're just dealing with their own lives, answering the existential questions (well, making suggestions).

My comfort is David Galenson's book "Old Masters and Young Geniuses" which suggests two creative processes: one whose ideas affect the style of the work, and one whose ideas work with existing styles to present something new. Since Galenson reckons that artists of the latter persuasion experience more self-doubt, and produce their better work later in their lives, I am hoping like you wouldn't believe that this explains me.

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January 2015

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