In My Craft or Sullen Art

Writing is hard. Fighting is much easier, in a way; if you train hard and win, you progress. With writing, you can work assiduously, but ‘success’ (finding an audience) seems to come down to ‘market forces’, or whatever else governs publication. The simple fact of all this, however, is that it’s whinging. Both are arts; styles of asceticism and require sincere, selfless dedication.

The impulse to quit is grounded in vanity. When I need a righteous kick in the pants, Dylan Thomas is the man I go to see.

In my craft or sullen art

Exercised in the still night
When only the moon rages
And the lovers lie abed
With all their griefs in their arms,
I labour by singing light
Not for ambition or bread
Or the strut and trade of charms
On the ivory stages
But for the common wages
Of their most secret heart.
Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages
Nor for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the griefs of the ages,
Who pay no praise or wages
Nor heed my craft or art.
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