Tomorrow, another one of poet Tallis Steelyard’s intriguing adventures will hit the virtual shelves. In honor of the event, here he is to talk about the life of a literary critic:
It is true that looking back I have had an interesting career. Indeed there is much I have achieved that I can look back upon with a sense of modest pride. There are very few incidents I feel disinclined to recall to mind and few about which I feel any real shame. But because I feel a duty to a younger generation of poets and other writers, I believe it behoves me to set aside my regrets, my mortification, and tell the plain unvarnished story. You see, I too have dabbled in literary criticism; I have dipped my pen in its unhallowed waters.
Now I don’t want anyone to assume that I did this because I was pandering to some unfathomable malevolence within my nature. No I did it for the most honourable of all reasons; we needed the money.
On reflection, one sees that within the life of even a great artist there are times which appear designed purely to test your mettle. This was one. Shena had not been well, she had caught something she just couldn’t seem to shake off, and she spent much of the winter confined to the barge. This meant that our income dropped considerably, we were faced with having to heat the barge during the day, and what reserves we had were waning rapidly. I had attempted to take her place dealing with the shore combers, but frankly I never made a tenth of what Shena did, and what I did make was purely because some of their number took pity on me and shared my desire to see her fit and well and back at work.