Not long ago, I made some noise to the effect that my accomplishments up to this point might seem meager to some, but dammit, they were mine.
This prompted a mild (compared to what he’s capable of) rebuke from Francis W. Porretto, who used the dreaded word “settling,” and probably had nothing to do with this Jack Baruth statement:
We’re on this planet for a limited time, each of it. There’s time to do something memorable. Build, design, write. You don’t need to be beautiful to be interesting. Look at me. I’m the ugliest fucking guy in central Ohio, which is saying a lot. No woman has ever sincerely called me handsome. When they say it, they mean “interesting”. Sometimes interesting is good enough. Look: you’re reading this and it isn’t because I have pretty eyes. It’s not too late to be somebody, to do something. I’d like to write a great book before I die. Maybe it won’t be great. But I’ll try. I will rage against the dying of the light, I promise. I will create and I will put forth effort in genuinely human areas like music and I encourage you to do the same thing, to be more than somebody who eats and talks about eating and floats in a blithe bubble of meaningless self-esteem. I’m going to keep trying, no matter how discouraging the results are.
And I remember my brother on his deathbed, reading me the Riot Act according to Dylan Thomas in approximately that same tone, and I figure I have now been properly scolded.