It is the belief of some writers, some thinkers, some human beings, that there is nothing new under the sun or perhaps, to put their view more accurately, there is nothing new to say about the human condition. The greats of history, the Shakespeares and the Sophocleses have already said it inimitably, brilliantly. At best, it seems to me, this is only a partial truth. The historian, the critic, the autobiographer, among others, interprets and reinterprets the human condition and, although, the human condition has elements that stay the same(plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose)much changes. For, as it is said, you can not step into the same river twice. There is, then, much more to say, much more that is new. At least that, in summary, is my view.
“Original composition,” said Wordsworth speaking of poetry, does “infinitely less mischief.” Let us hope there is little mischief in my work. Perhaps I should have stuck with writing poetry which I have come to enjoy as a literary avocation in the last decade. Readers will certainly find little overt criticism of my work in my essays. I am an unknown and so little criticism has come my way.
I do not have that view of my writing which Arnold had of Wordsworth even though he loved and admired Wordsworth, namely, that this was poetry would have been richer, more complete and varied if he had read more books. Some of my creative power comes from my being in the right place at the right time, when there were the materials and the basis for the emergence of a Baha’i consciousness in world literature. Like Athens in the mid to late fifth century BC, the mid to late twentieth century provided the milieux for the glow of life and thought and for world literature to make its first major strides. I feel I have been, that I have happened along at the start. It was not the start of democracy, or the breakdown of the architecture of the Middle Ages and the first stirrings of modern science, that led to the literature of Sophocles or of Shakespeare, respectively, it was the start of a world literature and the first imprint of a new, a democratic theocracy, a vision with the future in its bones, that had just stuck its head above the ground and enshrined that priceless jewel, the world civilization, of which this infant Faith White had joined was “the sole begetter.”
By the time I began to write seriously I was not an expert scholar or highly qualified academic, not the serious student with that rich, deep and varied reading behind him that Arnold would have liked Wordsworth to possess. But for me that is not important; indeed, I think, like Shakespeare, some poets are better for the freshness and spontaneity they bring to ideas, to their poetry.
The absense of erudition is part of whatever fresh-air and delightful everyday idiom I bring to my work.