Writing and Living Wild
No I don’t mean in the vein of Jack Kerouac, who you can see portrayed with Neal Cassady (Dean Moriarty) in the movie On The Road, just out now, a sad, even tragic display of adolescent narcissism, even though it resulted finally in a groundbreaking, brilliant book. But was Kerouac’s book worth all those broken lives, broken promises, betrayals, overdoses, alcoholic stupor and early deaths? History is full of-larger-than life characters striding the world stage with steam pouring out of their ears and sometimes a masterpiece or two to show for their gargantuan energy. It’s a sobering fact that creative people often burn out, and even self-destruct in an obsessive frenzy that, especially since the advent of Romanticism in the 18th. Century, has frequently been considered essential for creativity.
Is it necessary, though, to burn like a fuse wire in order to be given utterly to life? I don’t think so. A leaf holds nothing back when it finally falls from the tree. It is wholly given to the wind that floats it free. There is a wildness and a passion in that freedom, in the abandon to life as it is. Jane Hirshfield, in her poem Lake and Maple, says that:
In the still heart,
That refuses nothing,
The world is twice-born.
The stillness Hirshfield refers to shimmers with life. Eliot reminds us that
Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance…
This stillness too is a kind of passion, one full of intensity in its quietness. It’s the vibrant ground of everything that is, including your own mind. That’s the kind of wildness I want. The one that lets me fall back into the great open spaces behind all my strategies and thinking; that lets me attend and give voice to the muse that is always whispering if only I have ears to hear. That, I believe, is where the world is twice-born.
Here is THE LINK to his whole newsletter if you are intrigued.
- Ripeness, by Jane Hirshfield (skyeblaine.wordpress.com)
- Film Review: Walter Salles shares his gritty take on Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’ (indieethos.wordpress.com)
- Movie Mention: On the Road (shannonathompson.com)