Wednesday, April 04, 2012


The German author, Friedrich Traugott Gubler, once said of his friend, the Austrian writer Joseph Roth, that 'Roth should always be sad; the sadder he is, the better he writes.'  Now that comment may or may not have been true, I wasn't lucky enough to be alive at the time Roth was, and so I didn't get to know him, and it is very difficult some 80 years after his death to read his most well written passages and divine the mood behind them. In many ways, that makes me sad, I think me and Herr Roth would have gotten along like a house on fire. Of course he had talent, and I don't but I think we could have overcome that problem over several glasses of schnapps.

Which is to say that Roth was a raging alcoholic, and it would eventually be his undoing, but that is a post for a later day. I have recently read his collected letters, and therefore, being the impressionable sort, you can expect at least two more "Joseph Roth" posts sometime in the future. I have read quite a bit of Roth's writings, and I have also read Stefan Zweig's writing. Roth and Zweig were friends, and frequent correspondents, and many of the letters in the book I read are their letters back and forth to one another. It was mentioned by the editor of the book that Roth was 10 times the writer that Zweig was, and that Zweig acknowledged that. If that is the case, and I have no reason to doubt its truth, then Roth must have been one HELL of a writer, because I've been moved to tears by the brilliance of Zweig's prose on more than one occasion.  Yes, even I can weep when I am 'inspired' or in this case humbled. Reading 'true' writers can be a very humbling experience. Guys would can take the most mundane of situations, or words and turn them into something that should be inscribed in the annals of history for all of the world to read.

The quote about Roth and his sadness being his inspiration led me to thinking, something that usually pains me, but in this case it pained me even more. I have a sneaky suspicion that it might be true about me as well. If I write well at all, which is of course open to debate, I think it happens when I am saddest. Which, luckily for me, has happened a lot lately. Also, in an abundance of good fortune, even when I am blessed with a respite of happiness, I have several sources of sadness on which to draw. Sources that can, without even really trying, make the black clouds reappear in my brief sunny day. I don't know if these sources are doing it on purpose, and I certainly hope they aren't, but I am not sure. All I am sure about it that when I tap them sadness flows like beer from a keg. And like real beer, I drink this 'beer of sadness' down to the dregs. It makes for many a maudlin evening spent downing drinks with the several 'shifts' of my friends required to keep me company over the course of a night.

I had hopes of shedding this sadness that makes me a 'better writer' but after a considerable time spent alone, and thinking about it, I don't think I can. I think that perhaps, I am stuck with it, whether I want it or not. I also think that for the most part it is exactly one person's fault. Mine own. There should be, in theory, a way to shed this sadness. After all, if I made it, or allow it to happen, then who better to fix it, or to stop it from happening. I am not the swiftest horse in the stable, but I figure I would at least be on the board in that race, but I cannot for the life of me, fix this.

Of course, maybe fixing it isn't really the point. I am sure there are some pretty pills that could help, or maybe I need to find Jesus, or get out of the house into the sun more often.  All of this things might help, they might fix me, if that is possible, or they might not. I am sure that, in theory, I should at least try, but in the fixing of me, isn't something going to be lost? The sad part of me, the part that might be the part writing this 'pity party' (for I am sure I know people that will call it that) might be eradicated, wiped out as it where. If that were to happen, it might be the best thing to have ever happened to me (though, sadly I think that the best thing to have happened to me as already happened, and I missed it, and/or pissed it away).

Happy me, jolly me, if he were to come into an almost full time existence, might be a lot of fun to be around. Hell, he might even be a lot of fun to BE, but would it be the same me? The 'me' that is still here in my 'lime tree bower', doing the math and having the numbers not match, and wondering if the candle is really worth the game. That 'me' the one that most of my 'friends' know, the one that can always be on call for a quick pint or five, the one that is typing this (I hope) decent blog post about himself, would cease to be. Out of existence like the dodo bird, of which I have a lot in common by the way.  Perhaps this latest sadness shall pass, as several have in the past. But, in their passing, these saddnesses have each left a bruise or two on the black thing in my centre that passes for my soul.

Those bruises, as we shall call them, never actually fully heal. In many ways, calling them bruises is a misnomer, they should be called marks. Each of those marks stands for something, usually something of import, something that should have been and wasn't or, (worse maybe) something that was and shouldn't have been. It makes little difference to the small soul I possess, all it knows is that it has been inevitably changed, and probably not for the better.  Eventually, and probably sooner rather than later, these marks will 'cover up' my entire soul. It will become indistinguishable, and will probably just drown in a sea of sadness. However, it hasn't yet, and considering I am probably past the half way point of my life, this could be considered a positive sign. Here's hoping. 


Cynnie said...

Sadness sucks .. I only have two emotions ( usually ) happiness and rage

tideliar said...

Scars on the soul

just another woman in the world said...

I don't think that we are defined by "the sadness" totally, but your special talent still remains even if/when the sadness goes away.

That is of course, if the sadness is more like a depression rather than "an inspirational sadness that pops up every once in awhile". Ah well, what's in a name?