Sancho Panza Literary Society Letter
The Sancho Panza Literary Society
By Joseph M. Reynolds
I had been wondering for a while if there would come a time when I had written enough so that I could feel contented to just not do it anymore. I don’t know if I wished for it exactly, but it was a tantalizing concept of success—to just retire from letters having done my part for both the discourse, and more pressingly, my own ego. It might feel liberating, I thought, to watch the snow fall obliquely from the window of a house on an uneventful street where nobody went mad, or to go win at poker, or to birdie the 18th hole, or to God forbid even read the greatness of another, and then be able to close my eyes afterwards, without that gnawing, grating, life-shortening mixture of vigor, anxiety, and vengeance against one’s self that comes from the need to respond to all philosophical prompting; from the need to write, or to fancy one’s self a writer.
It was a stupid question. It was an even stupider ambition. We can’t. We can’t. We can’t. I write it as an incantation because it as transfixing as it is rigidly true. We don’t punch clocks. We don’t settle questions. We don’t become accomplished. We don’t live in the past even when it’s the only thing we ever talk about, or care about for that matter. Instead, we just sort of continue on in our uncertainties, in our beseeching and borderline embarrassing need to be part of it all, and in our alternating poverties of wealth or quiet or spirit—all the while covertly proud of ourselves for subjecting ourselves to it, all the while happy that the sources of our unhappiness are so worthwhile, even if opaque. I’ve never met a real writer that wasn’t happy, at least every once in a while, and the ones that tell you differently are poseurs trying to punch that clock that we know can’t be punched.
I am happy now. Welcome to New Square, and The Sancho Panza Literary Society. I’d call the issues a phenomenal collection of voice and pathos, but that really isn’t the point at all. You’ll like some of the pieces and you won’t like some of the others. But I hope you’ll argue about all of them, and come back next season to argue about the next group, and send us your own writing so we can argue about it. And if you want to send us all the money in your pocket too…well then, we’ll begrudgingly accept.