Marginalia, no.188

There is at least as great perfection in developing an empty theme as in sustaining a weighty one.

~ Montaigne, ‘Of Presumption’ (Essays II,17)

Cold comfort. The only book I ever really wanted to write was Moby Dick. Unfortunately, it’s been done. In the ‘Fossil Whale’ chapter, Melville staggers under the weight of his subject matter: “Unconsciously my chirography expands into placard capitals. Give me a condor’s quill! Give me Vesuvius’ crater for an inkstand! Friends, hold my arms!” No one, he says, could write a truly great book on the insubstantial flea. Becalmed in the doldrums of endless half-hearted revision, my own novel begins to taste like chalky hardtack, but I’m no nearer the whale. Some insect has just bitten my arm.

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1 Comment

Filed under Marginalia

One response to “Marginalia, no.188

  1. johnlmalone

    quirky. I liked it very much. I love the concept of the only book I ever wanted to write. Nice twist in the ending

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