I attended a reading by a Charles Bernstein tonight and while principally bored I left the room almost giddy, convinced that I may be one of the greatest writers of all time.
Now, what does this mean? It means what it says. What I do I do certainly, even as I know nothing of what else I might do. Of course I have no connection with anyone hardly or anything really, self-publishing now for years. I care only for the work of friends, as I care only for my friends, because I like them and I want them to be happy. I have no influence, no students, no critics, no effect. No nothing. In this my generosity of spirit is beyond reckoning.
I hear a Charles Bernstein read and have no reference points. I do not think to compare and have no motivation to wonder at this or that, past, present, or future. I do not say Rosebud. I hear the work and am unimpressed and largely uninterested. I have no qualms and no position to support. A man performs. Time goes on. Tick tock. I am without critics or chorus. I could not be happier.
My greatness is this: I will write and my writing will either disappear from the face of the earth or not, and it is all the same to me. I do not care one way or the other. I wouldn't know how to care. I am sure that I used to care, but it has been a long time now, and I am very far down a road that opens to fields that have no sign or hint of that sort of emotion or consideration. My factors are otherwise employed. This is a revolution.
I cannot entertain except by accident or occurrence. And as to profit or position...hah! All I can see is the work I do, the machine on which I type. I have no office, no facility, no co-heirs, no investiture. There is this, then there is this, then there is this again.
I should explain myself better, but after all, that would be a kind of failure for which I simply do not have time nor the inclination to indulge. I have lost the flavor of half-measures.
So, I may be very great, and it means exactly to me what it means if I am very, very insignificant. Not worth the time to ignore. Yes, both states are equally satisfying - the latter perhaps more so. Yes, I am sure of it. To disappear without a trace. What could be more sublime. And the only way to demonstrate what I mean is to say it in this way, and to state further, if you doubt me, well, look to yourself first, then think about what I am saying. Do that. Attend to your own matters. Look busy. We have a right to a full account.