by Joe Buonfiglio


That’s kind of an odd phrase, don’t you think? Meaning “to quit,” this idiom originates from the world of boxing.  From the side, a boxer’s “cornerman” coach or trainer can literally throw the towel used to clean blood and sweat off the pugilist’s face during the course of a prizefight into the ring to signal the fighter has had enough.  He quits.  The fight is over.

It used to be a sponge in the old days. “Throwing in the sponge,” however, seems even weirder to me … and significantly more disgusting.

Anyway, I’ve been wondering of late if it is time for me to throw in the towel, idiomatically speaking. No, I’m not talking suicide here (although, with me that is never completely off the table).  I’m talking professionally.

Has my literary vocation simply run its course?

Empires rise. Empires fall.  Is it time to take my writing quill and lay it to rest beside the bones of Caesar — or perhaps more appropriately, the bones of Douglas Adams?

I used to feel as I imagined God did; creating something from nothing, out of not much more than the spark of an idea and the sheer force of my mind.

But now?

Is there more pain than pleasure derived from starting my day staring at the blank page? Is writing becoming more selling than literary craft?  What if I just woke up one day and stopped doing it.  Quit.  Threw in the towel.

Would anyone care?

Would anyone even notice?

This isn’t merely a pity party. A person reaches a stage of his or her life where, with more days behind them than in front of them, they wonder if they’re on track or so far off the mark that a course correction may be out of the question.

Too many bad decisions.

Too many vices and self-indulgences.

Too many doughnuts.

And that got me to thinking; what other things could I be doing with my life if I wasn’t writing … this … this blog, right now?

Sure, I could be out on the road in search of coffee and doughnuts, or even circumstance that rewarded my shaved primate fetish. But, is that enough?  Wouldn’t it take more to get me to abandon the calling of a lifetime?

I suppose I could hunt down, torture and ultimately murder Beppo, the clubfoot circus clown. That might not only be fun, but serve to end the tortured nightmares that have plagued me since the days of my youth.

I could fulfill my dream of selling fresh bait out of the back of a 1972 Dodge Dart to help out needy anglers on piers and docks across this great nation of ours.

Practicing my erotic massage technique on the corpse of a clubfooted circus clown I just happen to be in possession of could be good for a few hours a day.

I could spend hours and hours and hours on social media such as Facebook and Twitter.


I do that now. And that’s writing, technically, so I’d probably have to stop doing that.

I always thought being a baker might be nice. Perhaps I could become a Danish pastry chef.  That’s a Danish-pastry chef, not a Danish pastry-chef.  Not to knock the Danes, but I’m not moving all the way to Denmark just to get a flakier crust for some culinary hobby I engaged in on a whim in order to—  Oh, fuck it.  I can buy goddamn pastries in bulk at Costco, for Christ’s sake.  It’s certainly not a valid reason to give up writing.

What if I took an artistically tangential approach and became an urban-wildlife photographer. I could waste away hour after hour taking snaps of statue-defiling pigeons and their various defecation methodologies, or thoroughly exam squirrel nuts in all their nuanced—

I just wrote a whole blog, didn’t I?

I just wrote a whole blog piece based on the premise that I would no longer write blog pieces, didn’t I?

SON OF A BITCH!  This isn’t a vocation, it’s a goddamn addiction!

Well, no sir!  Not me, brother!  I’m no literary junkie.  I can stop anytime I want.


Just because I wrote this damn thing, doesn’t mean I have to post it. That’s right. I’m in control of my destiny.  I simply won’t allow the fucker to see the light of digital day.  Let it lay fallow, for all I care.  Let it rot on the vine.

Nope, I am simply not going to po


© 2016 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

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