goading and whipping the muse

this man used to be quite an
interesting writer
he was able to say brisk and
refreshing things.
I suggested to the editors and
the critics that he was one to
be watched
and also that he had hardly been
noticed
and that he certainly should be.
this writer used some of my
remarks as blurbs for his
books, which I didn’t
mind.
all of his books were little
chapbooks, 12 to 16
pages.
in mimeo.
they came out at a
rapid rate,
perhaps two or three a
year.
the problem was that each
chapbook seemed a little weaker
than the one which preceded
it.
but he continued to use my old
blurbs.
my wife noticed the change
too.
“what’s happened to ———-‘s
writing?” she asked me.
“he’s doing too much of it, he’s
pushing it out, forcing it.”
“this stuff is bad, you ought to
tell him to stop using your
blurbs.”
“I can’t do that, I just wish he
wouldn’t write so much.”
“well, you do, you write all the
time.”
“with me,” I told her, “it’s
different.”

yesterday I received another of his
little chapbooks
with his delicate scrawl on the
title page, signed.
this one was totally
flat.
the words just fell down on the
pages
dead.

where had he gone?

too much ambition.
too much just doing it for the sake
of doing it.
just not waiting for the words to
pile up inside and then
exploding of their own
volition.

I decided to take a whole week
off,
just shut the computer off,
forget the whole damned silly
business.

as I said, that was
yesterday.