If you intend to maintain any sort of long-term artistic endeavor, it's probably wise to avoid any sort of familial constraints. This means freeing yourself of not only such encumbrances of choice as spouse, children and close friends, but also more difficult-to-evade anchors as parents, siblings, cousins and unexpunged childhood acquaintances.
All these are fine in their place, which is a well-adjusted and largely unremarkable life. But each is a hindrance to creating the Great American Novel, a respected collection of symphonies, or a well-crafted blog about dogs. If you want to accomplish anything great, fly solo. And be damn surly about it.
This is not news to anyone. You, or if not you, then you, in the second row, probably know more stories than you'd care to recount, or would care to recount if you were still awake, about yer Beethovens, yer Faulkners, yer Picassos, who made all kinds of wonderful stuff but were as fun to be around as a skunk with a sneezing fit. And yet, hackneyed and Hockneyed though it may be, it's true to the bone.
If you doubt this for a moment, you have only to look at Fox News. Nightly, daily, in the crepuscule and the glare of noonday, sniveling scriveners like Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and the whimpering rentboy Glenn Beck spin far-fetched fictions of socialist annihilation and tours of apology to the descendents of the same rapt audience that curled up bug-eyed and sucked its thumbs to Orson Welles's broadcast of H.G. Wells's War of the Worlds. Think these folks could sustain such a barrage of pure invention if they loved anybody? If anybody loved them? If any of them had so much as a favorite cockroach with which to share an inner thought and a beer?
Not a chance. And odious though they be, and they be plenty odious, I have a small, sneaking admiration for their ability to sustain the effort lo these many years.
It's an ability I envy. I, loathsome and repellant though I be, and I be plenty of both (ask anybody; I thought I was OK till I asked around), haven't been able to make this effort. This miserable little blog has been interrupted more times than I'd care to count since last fall, and pretty much full-time since January, by a series of "Yes,dear"s addressed to various wives, sons, daughters and dogs with perfectly legitimate concerns of the sort that crop up in any family and require urgent attention that elbows the blog aside. Real life, with all its annoyances, trumps the joys of blogging for each little minute it rears its head. And the minutes are lined up like lemmings at spring tide.
So anyway, I'm almost apologizing for having written neither doodly nor squat for months, nor provided pictures for even longer. It'd be a real apology, but I'm going to exonerate myself whether you like it or not. I've got the wife, the kids, the dogs, and they're not going anywhere that they've told me about. I'm not abandoning the blog, and I'd like to tell you what marvelous things I've got planned, but I just don't know what ogres lurk over the horizon. I ain't writ lately, and I hope to write soon, and add some of the drawings I hope add some interest to the drivel I write.
But I've got no guarantees. You want great imaginative screeds, tune in Fox. Let me know if they say anything interesting. I won't be watching. I've got, whether I want it or not, a life.