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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Friday, October 23, 2015


I believe certain things are under my direct and conscious control. For example, at certain point I decided I wanted to weigh 155 pounds, rather than 164, so now, after some months, I do. This could be a false belief (I don't know!) but you would have a hard time convincing me of it. I believe I could weigh 150 lbs or 145 if I wanted, or 180. There are limits at either end, but it's up to me how much I want to weigh within those limits.

I know this is heresy, since a lot of people seems to believe that their weight is as fixed as their height, even when these very same people try to modify their weight in largely ineffectual ways.


I want you to try to touch your knees together. (Ok. You were probably successful at that.)

Now I want you to touch your knees together. (Don't make an attempt at it, simply do it.)

What is the difference there? In the second case, you take out that intermediate step of making the attempt at doing it. That turns something remarkably simple into something overly complicated.

Trying to go to the gym effectively means NOT GOING there. I suppose if the police stopped you on the way and arrested you then you would have made a failed attempt to go the gym, but otherwise you simply did not go. So people who try to do things like this are setting themselves up for failure.


I could say that my fallow periods were the fault of other people preventing me from writing or publishing. This would be a lie, though. I simply did not write. I did not try to write and fail. I simply didn't do it. It's fine because I still published more than you did over my career (unless you are in the small percentage of people who've published more). It might even be true that I am correct in not have written another book or two, that those books would have been redundant. Nevertheless, there is nobody else responsible.

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