Sunday, August 17, 2008

Writer's Block

Never had it, for which I am grateful. Let me say, right up front, that I take no credit for being free from that worst of illnesses; I have a newspaper column due today and this could be the time I strike out.

It has to be a terrible thing to be sitting there looking at a blank sheet of paper (or virtual paper on your screen), with a deadline hanging over your head like the sword of Damocles.

We digress here: Dionysius overheard the young man Damocles envying his good fortune. "Very well," said the ruler. "If you think my position is so enviable, you may change places with me for a day." As Damocles sat feasting in the palace, he happened to glance upward and was horrified to see a sharp sword hanging above him by a single thread. Dionysius said, "I came to power by violence, and I have many enemies. My life is in as much danger as yours is at this moment." To feel that the sword of Damocles is hanging over you is to have a sense of anxiety, of impending doom.

I was just reading an obituary in the NY Times about Bill Bonanno, the #2 member of his family’s crime operation, who was always just one bullet away from The Judgement Seat, not a very good place to be when you have been, well, the #2 member of a crime family. That’s the ultimate sword of Damocles.

He got three columns; no writer’s block there.


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