What a Quixotic correspondence! Isn't that just like you! Unable to find a home in Comanche, or Duster, or Desdemona, or Rising Star, or Sipe Springs, you take up with spirits of the larger world. Lawsy, I hope the letters are read by someone outside those pawky little critics, all writing for one another and careful to say nothing that's not already well accepted (however dubious).
Just let me give you one little example from a lady critic (they are all ladies). It is me she was talking about when she wrote that I at different times in my life present myself as "a devout Catholic, an antipapist, a left-wing radical, a segregationist, an ascetic artist, a freewheeling bohemian, and a proper southern lady." --Now go back and read that quotation again, and see if you can figure it.
Of course you can. The lady is matching "opposites," don't you see? Your devout Catholic, as we all know, is the antithesis of your antipapist. This writer is counting on an audience just as innocent as she is of church history, with its dynamic of papal-council tension. By the same hackneyed token, all left-wing radicals are of course against segregation, don't you know? And you find no ascetic artist among the bohemian set, for goodness' sake no proper southern ladies! Her sentence structure relies on those neat little boxes you buy off-the-shelf at the university co-op. Peer review never faults such standard method when approving publication or promotion. If these people judge me to be a writer, then I despair of an enduring reputation. They all huddle together, have to, to keep their jobs.
That is why I do not pursue writing as a career. I have indeed at different times in my life had different conceptions of the goals and purpose of writing, but they were never careerist. With "Maria Concepçion" I want only to create art. If one of my characters may reveal something of my own attitudes at the time, why, those are the paints on my palette. Toward the end of my life I do come more to agree with Cicero: I think I have something to say. Well, who has a better right than the artist? Who has a greater obligation than the artist?
So it is my opinion that great art--the classic, to use your lingo--must have tendenz. However authoritarian the transitory form of government, it is ultimately with the people that the welfare of the people lies, be it material or spiritual. The overwhelming gravitation of evil in this world does not derive from the mass of the people. The actively evil, the depraved, oh they teem llike maggots, but they draw their power from the inertia of the masses who are ever so well-intentioned, , or who gladly imagine themselves to be so. This is what I have tried to say to these people. Let the critics call it tendentious, let them give preference to the artsy short stories of my younger years, but then they are just looking to their careers. I have higher responsibilities.
At least I made a stab at it in this world here below. You could have come on out of Texas with me, but you just sat there on your high horse, out on your high hill, waiting for them to call you down as their savior, or whatever. You got your comedown, I got my comeuppance. You say I lie, I just wish we might lie together again. I lie at Indian Creek and you over at Weaver Cemetery on the Sabana.
Love and kisses,
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