Great Author: No, trust me… Every day I wake up in a state of anguish. That girl I can't get out of my mind, the stupid things I did twenty five years ago… I don't know, I felt like we had a bond, psychic, physically telepathic. But on earth, the real earth, I made this horrible series of blunders, out of shyness or arrogance, out of stupidity, out of foolishness, out of the typical college age drinking at the time… And because of that the circumstance would be an accurate picture of what I did with all that opportunity. I don't know what devils possessed me. Maybe it wasn't a good idea to be an English major? I don't know. And even no one in my family was helpful. "You stalked her." Well, maybe that was true, but I really tried my best not to, because she was hard to read, one way or another, and when I held myself back, as if responding to the charge, those are exactly the times that I regret, the things that haunt me over and over… Or, "you drank too much." Well, I know that. I don't think my brother's encouragement in that field was much a help. Then it's over. You move away, and I will say your, I mean mine, life goes nowhere, and the thing bleeds over onto everything else. Relationships… What the hell, can't I just get rid of it, can't I just forget about the whole thing? Why'd I turn out to be such a bad kid? Stalking her… I brought her flowers at the end of the school year. And at reunions I blew my chances being distracted by my selfish friends and acquaintances, such that the shame came over me again. Reunions go by quickly. I know, I'm not great at 'making things happen.' That is how the world works, isn't it. Just got to be pushy. Being a New Yorker, she knew that. And here was I some dumb hillbilly, son of a Theosophist biology professor out of the Nineteenth Century, gentle ideals. I let him down too. And I let the whole place down, fine as it is, a place of doing. So every day, what do you do? You get up, or try to, make green tea, maybe do a little yoga just to take care of the tradesman's body, eat a meaty breakfast and kind of just hole up, the writing bunker, the nocturnal life, trying to have a Zen space amidst the modern clutter of stereo, flat screen TV… "Find what wind serves an honest mind…" That's Donne, I don't know why it came to mind… "Go and Catch a Falling Star?" Kind of a misogynist poem, a modern might say. I don't mean to offend anyone. But I know somehow, like my Dad, I should have been a great educator, or maybe in some strange missing parallel universe sort of way, maybe I am, in a, well, ha ha, very subtle way. And maybe, like a movie I just saw, an Italian film I found for free on late night cable, Corpo Celeste, there's that vision of Christ, from an old priest in an abandoned hill town, as someone tortured by the faithless completely unimaginative idiots, thus bringing to life His angered refrains about the generation, and also His great visible anger at the Temple. That was, maybe now I get it, something my dad said to me, that Christ was not meek and peaceful, but that He came with a sword, angry at the current order. Now I get it, Dad. I shouldn't have gone meekly, even though that is a radical thought. One that probably wouldn't get one very far anyway. But then Christ, you know, being the Son of God, can't really control Himself… Does that sound like too much self-justification, or, what do they call it, rationalizing? I don't know. But anyway, it seems in a way Jesus Christ can't really control his reactions. Thus we almost want to shout at Him to be shrewder about saving Himself, and that's just one instance. But this is the very source, the well of His wisdom, the things we keep, the words of His we save, the things He says to the Pharisees, the 'render unto Caesar' stuff… So we can't really tell Him to be quiet or be a bit more cautious, or tell Him to maybe take a weekend off from it, with all this heavy prophecy stuff falling into place, "Jesus, you know, maybe it would be a better idea if we all went golfing this afternoon…" Maybe that's what it was, in a way, even though the thought doesn't satisfy one very much in the face of palpable feelings of a severed life, one that, you know, should have gone this way, into all those successful things, but instead turned into agony… or a kind of service far more humble than one with any sort of Ego or self-pride would think much of.
Did Christ have a girlfriend and then He fucked it up? (Some things even He couldn't control.) And maybe even that soreness kind of drove Him, to be the sort of weirdo… Within something here is the reason why I avoid social occasions and sit here in silence and attempt to write really what just comes to mind. And it's not the happy 'blue-eyed' pleasant poetry of ways to happy thoughts one writes, with the hope of some romantic ending like you'd try to tack on at the end of a story that has no end. It's not like cognitive therapy is going to come along and change me and transform the way my mind works, either, though I realize depression is exacerbated by certain fruitless activities that are often work-related. "Good employee," crap. "Come meet us out for a drink," yeah right.
So would I have a greater appreciation of a Kerouac, his radical nature, his belief witnessed in his work of how great profound wisdom can come from within, though maybe he was wrong for feeling that he needed to see all that craziness and all those Saturday nights and Dean Moriarty car rides. But from him too people want a cuddly vision of something that will make them happy, and this is not what authors are really about, I'm afraid. Kerouac's vision was great and noble and sad and meant to be closer to deeper reality than this world here we live in. Maybe there could even be some moral commandments lying within? No, that's probably a stretch. Do we want our artists to be happy and contented types? Would it discredit them in our eyes if we found them burdened by unhappy things? "Why read that miserable bastard? Let him go to sea on that miserable ship with Ahab."
Look at the crap that always sells. Be virtual heroes and great sexy people living in a land of adventure, solving crime, saving the U.S. Like the Devil himself, you might say, now that I think about it, speaking to Jesus, offering him glorious vision. Jesus simply turns to him… "Ouch," sayeth Satan, and is indeed obliged to go away. Or maybe better, "you're right."
I know, it's not all bad. Sometimes some radical things do get out there. Inexplicably. Maybe I'm just grumpy from having to work another Saturday night. Am I entitled enough to think of Christian unhappiness and how that does change the world for the better?
Anything you write is going to be flawed. Something about it will be barely tolerable. A writer has no control over that, one good thought hidden in organic matter that then maybe needs to be discarded. Even claims that the thought is good, those too are suspect.
Glorious writer's life… Larkin was good at capturing that, the staring out of windows, the nighttime, the lethargy, the directionlessness, the bystander-to-life quality… Freaky old English dude who understood himself. And how in life, it's better to have a job than not have one. Go figure that, a writer saying that, when he'd rather have six hours every day to ply his secret real trade, separate from the secretary with the beehive hair and the phone. In the end, you have faith, because it's healthy, some strange animal core, like a wolf's thick skull, so that jaws could tear meat. Larkin rode his bicycle to abandoned churches on weekends, with his overcoat. Magnificent chap. Honest. Not lying in your face about all the crap and consumer stuff. And it's like he invented a new form of writing, almost, went into territory even Shakespeare rarely entered, except in Hamlet, to which an inner voice says, 'well, hey, that's a little too weird, don't you think, admitting that; they'll know it's you.' Marvelous stuff, with a music about it.
Too tired to lift a finger today, sore, bit of a headache from the wine I drank when I came home, while I rode my bike on the stand in front of the television to ease the adrenaline out of my system.