Without the strength to “burn it all now,” committing writing instead to zip disc

Whenever I contemplate taking action to save my writing in some semi-permanent fashion, I hear two quarreling voices:

–Not only did Kafka not save his writing, says the first voice, Kafka asked for his writing to be destroyed after his death, so your writing must be very special indeed if you propose now to make all these back up files! And not just Kafka, but many others, whose faith has concerned something less conservative, have left it entirely in the hands of readers and publishers and in the strength of their ideas, to determine what shall endure of their work.

–But wouldn’t you feel stupid, says the second voice, to wake up one morning and, still alive, find all your writing had vanished? For perhaps not all of that time you spent writing has been wasted, and now there is no proof whatsoever of your stylistic excesses! If you are really a strong enough person to enjoy or endure such a loss, you should be a strong enough person to take it into your own hands and burn it all down now, if it’s even possible!

(Ay and now there is the rub, the second voice adds, after some rumination, the second voice being very much the sort that will say “there’s the rub”; for it is perhaps as impossible to destroy what’s on the internet as it is to save what’s on it. One can only curate. On the internet, perhaps only a few abstruse, highly technical matters will, after all, prove to have really occurred.)

–Now recently a third voice, which I’m calling the voice of experience, I have heard speaking somewhat in this vein: it is not in you to be as noble as Kafka but it is in you to avoid feeling excessively stupid for the things you might do or neglect to do. So let us not have more of the same from you, pursuing what you think of as the noble while achieving what it is universally understood as stupid; let us just do that thing that is commended by common sense, and make some backup files.

Well, I have been attending to that voice of experience lately and studiously creating backup files of whatever work I see the slightest reason to preserve –of which there is not too much, I must say– and in the process making catalogues of a sort of the old posts I’ve made here for later reference. This is the point of this present post — as an alert that those old post “catalogues” or inventories, are coming.


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