Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Advertisement for my Birthday

Like many another vain, empty, bullying body of our time, I have been running for president these last ten years in the privacy of my mind, and it occurs to me that I am less close now than when I began. Defeat has left my nature divided, my sense of timing is eccentric, and I contain within myself the bitter exhaustions of an old man, and the cocky arguments of a bright boy. So I am everything but my proper age of thirty-six, and anger has brought me to the edge of the brutal.

Norman Mailer
Advertisements for Myself

It's my birthday today. I am now thirty-seven. Things are looking up.


Kirby Olson said...

Happy birthday! And thank your lucky stars you're not Norman Mailer.

soren buhl said...

question: do modernists ever really get older? Congratulations,

Thomas Basbøll said...

Thanks, Søren and Kirby.

Yes, I've put Mauberley ("l'an trentuniesme de son eage", Palinurus ("anyone over 35 who has nothing teach you...") and now Mailer behind me (never wholly behind me.) One is thankful indeed.

To the modernist "all ages are contemporaneous" (Pound). But as an individual you are always trying to "become your own contemporary" (Kierkegaard, I think). I think, as Mailer says, here in the middle thirties, most of us are too young AND too old. "Getting older" (growing up, if you will) also means getting younger. You have to approach the problem from both ends, let's say. You're trying to land the thing. At least I am.

Nicholas Manning said...

Happy b-day Thomas!

I don't know if one should try to "become one's own contemporary" in the kierkegaardian sense. Isn't that what Auden said happened to Yeats when he died?