This Writing Life (con.)

Among my favorite reactions to my writing was the guy who launched a thread at the old Comics Journal message board: “Why Do You Keep Publishing Articles By Bob Levin?”
It meant, I realized, that not only had I written something he hated, but that I had written it so distinctively that he could connect it to something I had written months before which he’d also hated.
Which meant I had a style and approach – an identity – going for me.
Now I’ve had another emphatic line drawn.
“Bob Levin is a great finisher,” wrote a First of the Month responder about my recent “Fox and Foes” (Nov. 12, 2017), a piece in which I had reflected upon a 45-year-old, barely-known memoir by Stanley Robinson, a Chicago police officer:“His pieces always end well…,” that responder wrote. “I’ve learned to trust Levin’s process.”
This one made me smile. It recognized that I can sometimes take a circuitous route to arrive at where I’m going, a route which, in this case, began with my musings about literary style and ended, 3000-words later, linking to contemporary headlines which had been nowhere in my original contemplations. In fact, when I’d learned of Robinson’s book, I’d known I wanted to write something about it, but I did not know what that could be. In fact, when I began writing, I still did not know. It was only when I reached the last line, I thought, AHA!
The point is that it does not take much to firm up one’s resolve to keep doing what one believes is worth doing, as both my recent responder and that forgotten poster firmed up me.