I just got back from the PCA in Vegas and I thought this was an interesting connection.
“Your editor has asked me to give you some practical advice about the kind of labour involved in planning and executing a book of the kind I have just published – a work of some 80,000 words about a fellow-author whose name is D. H. Lawrence. I would not normally be willing to give such advice since no writer’s method of work can be of much value to another: a method is an emanation of a personality.”
So starts an article in the April 26th issue of the Times Literary Supplement (TLS) written by Anthony Burgess, (“John Anthony Burgess Wilson, FRSL, who published under the name Anthony Burgess, was an English writer and composer. Although Burgess was predominantly a comic writer, his dystopian satire, A Clockwork Orange remains his best-known novel.”)
The short piece centers around how he went about to write a book about – D.H. Lawrence, the English writer, and poet who is is best known for his book, Lady Chatterley’s Lover. A challenge indeed.
But this is a cigar blog and if you substitute a few words in the very first paragraph, you will see that what I’m eluding to is quite succinct and right on the dime.
The sentence that stood out was “ . . . since no writer’s method of work can be of much value to another: a method is an emanation of a personality.” My point. No blender’s method of producing is of any value to another blender: ergo, a “method is an emanation of a personality.” The clincher – we, us, humans, blenders, sales reps, manufacturers, rollers, distributors, and on and on and on hold value because we, us, deez, dem, and doze all are distinct identities with intricate thoughts that will only be attached intellectually to the individual.
In short – Unique!
Burgess goes on to say, “Indeed, there are times when the author who has accepted a commission to write a book, who has completed his research, and who may even have composed a rough draft, finds himself unable to push through the task to the end.”
In short, so close yet so far. The blender has it, he knows he has it, but what he does not possess is the temerity to toss aside the criticism and go for broke.
Which leads us to the belief that time, energy, and most importantly, money has been rolled into a miniature funeral pyre and burned out of existence. Burgess goes on to say that, “(t)here is no other trade in the world that offers such time wasting and such frustration.” Ah, but he did not consider the cigar maker.
In fact, when this article republished in the April 26th issue was written in 1986, Mr. Burgess is quoted writing, “We’re living in an age when books (cigars) go out of print (production) with terrible speed – one of the curses of an epoch in which too many books (cigars) are published (produced), warehouse space is short, and publishers (manufacturers) concentrate on the new rather than the worthy.” How bloody true a statement has ever to be written.
Yet, new brands are coming out of Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Brazil with blazing speed. Not a logical step to stem the tide of saturation. Or even a thought of what the FDA will decide to do – whose wheels are already in motion like the bulldozers in The Medicine Man without a whit of concern of the damage that is being done as long as the land is cleared (read until the cigar industry is abolished).
Know this, if you plan on producing a cigar, don’t do your homework – make the cigar. Despite the emphasis on the fact that this article in TLS concentrates on literature – it alludes to the cigar industry. He closes by writing, “All the research in the world won’t help you if you lack the flame of conviction. Every book you write is fundamentally about you. And it is your peculiar uniqueness, good or bad, that the world wants.”
In short, if you lack the passion, every cigar, every blend, every vitola is “fundamentally about you.” He continues, and take this to heart, “it is your particular uniqueness, good or bad, that the world wants.”
So just do it and damn the opinions of others, the squeamish – and the FDA!