Posts Tagged ‘The Recognitions’

In Jobs Begin Responsibilities

15 May


Delmore Schwartz


Originally published on May 15, 1996

You wrote:
Hope you don't consider this an invasion of your privacy, but while checking some screen names for work, I was curious to check on what your whole list of handles was.

I wrote: Well Steve, I suppose you are entitled to quote a tired old windbag recently heard around the Dollhouse, "Hey it's MY JOB!" And to paraphrase old Delmore Schwartz, "and in jobs begin responsibilities!"

DS was one of James Laughlin's original wonder boys, a saber-rattling drunk, poet, and hapless mad Jew, perhaps in that order. Sent several women to suicide and sanatariums. My own Betty Sue, however, earns her stars and stripes, a remarkably strong if somewhat unmotivated woman. Her life is basically her job. Pride of roof over head is the most dominant consoling factor, when analyzing my relationship to her remarkably strident loyalty, but I'm getting off track and still staring through dirty windows. Delmore wrote a short story that brought him a vigorous measure of fame from peers and critics called In Dreams Begin Responsibilities. Glad you picked up The Recognitions. Wish you'd complete it, but life's not a bike race unless you make it one, and you must follow your own pace, of course. No beer? Cracker jack, me neither, but then I have a non-fungible excuse. I'm too old, tired, and cranky already. Alcohol dries up the brain fluids. I often feel the chemical blahs, and must liquify with other chills to balance the death wish with the lust for living alternately flooding these low energy reserves with sleep and excitement for what's happening now at the Dollhouse, at odds with any remaining residue my own dreams and responsibilities can provide me.

Love to share, hate to waste. Not greedy, just discerning. If the guilty and the innocent share the same bedpan in the afterlife, why am I arguing this over that in the present one? But my list of handles? Now where did I put that thing...



"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""