Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fourth quarter

I'm sufficiently engaged in business that October 1 still means the start of the fourth quarter. In publishing it's usually the quarter that makes or breaks the year. You track the profit-and-loss statements of the book or journal or imprint or division or company in question throughout the year, but it doesn't get serious until now. All the weakness you see in the beginning of the year will surely be rectified by the end, and your reputation/pride/bonus/continued employment(?) will be secured.
That P&Ls are often misleading, full of accruals and bookkeeping tricks and errors, makes little difference. Your life has been measured, and found prosperous, or wanting.
The world seems to have little time for the continuum of life. We're much more interested in discrete things. December 31 is so very different from January 1. At midnight of your birthday you're no longer special. Every four or eight years, on January 20, a President becomes a nobody. Around five o'clock people get antsy, start looking at their watches, think about a drink and some dinner, no matter how long they've been retired.
I guess life is a bit scary when it can't be captured - it just goes along, with or without you.
When I get too wrapped up in measurements and minutes, I like to look at Maine's waters, its unchanging lakes, its clear rivers, the tides that ebb and flow unsupervised by charts and clocks. That's where my hope and security should lie. Thank God they flow along without me. In Maine I keep my watch in my pocket.

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