Life rolls on
Your mind makes out the orange by seeing it, hearing it, touching it, smelling it, tasting it and thinking about it but without this mind, you call it, the orange would not be seen or heard or smelled or tasted or even mentally noticed, it's actually, that orange, depending on your mind to exist! Don't you see that? By itself it's a no-thing, it's really mental, it's seen only of your mind. In other words it's empty and awake.
― Jack Kerouac
I had a crap night's sleep.
I went to bed early (around 8.40 pm), thinking I'd get a good six hours of uninterrupted sleep and, instead, I was awake nearly all night and into the wee hours.
Before falling asleep, I'd spent a bit of time trying to find something to watch on Jack Kerouac ("Mr Kerouac"). Don't waste your time; if my initial investigation is anything to go by, there ain't much to see.
Why Mr Kerouac (which wasn't the correct spelling of his surname and it looks like his family may have had Cornish roots — close enough to Devon for my liking)? I haven't got a bloody clue. Isn't that strange? A guy whose work I barely know pops into my head and I'm now writing about him. Even stranger is the fact that I knew I'd bought "On The Road" and "The Dharma Bums" to read but they'd languished somewhere amongst the hundreds of books that litter the floor and shelves of ye old office.
What did I do at 4.50 am as I entered the office? You guessed it. Walk straight up to both books — they were practically barking my name. I think something or somebody is telling me something!
I know why, actually.
Or think I do.
It's the connection to writing. In my case, the faux attempts — you effing dilettante Summerhayes — to cast myself in that role for no other reason than..., well..., I've got no choice.
Oh yes you do!
No, you're right. I've got a putative blank sheet of paper (apparently) and it's up to me what I do with the rest of my life. All I need do is take some of that fire that still rages inside me and spill the ink. Simple, eh?
Don't worry, I'm not going to bullshit you with all that I'm going to do — it would be positively yawn-worthy. I'm just going to do it. In fact, if I look at my output over the last four or five weeks from my Brother 1350 typewriter, despite needing some heavy correction, I've got a good stack of poems — easily enough for a chapbook or something similar.
I know what you're thinking (not really but I need to say it), this guy's deluded at least to the extent that aged 52, knocking on bloody 80 😂, he's left it a bit late to want to be, let alone actually be, a writer. You're so right. But I don't care. All I can do is all I can do. And in case it needs saying for the nth time, I don't will any of this — it comes up and then my job is to capture the energy and run with it like I was running for my life. (I've done that in business a few times when things have literally been falling off the edge of a crumbling, mind-jarring cliff.)
Of course, as is the way with our disposition and internal wiring, I could just as easily sit with what's arising, say nothing (that would make a nice change!) and wait to see if I feel so inclined next week. I might; but then again, I don't feel that far away from the discipline that's needed to at least get one book written or even a few. All it requires is me to find the time each day and write a set number of words — 1,000 seems like a decent number.
Now, what I will write about is a moot point. I've had a few goes and mostly what I wrote about was...myself 😂. Na, na. I mean, in all seriousness, it comes out like a dry-as-sawdust memoir. It still might but what I sense is that I need to weave together something of my life, if only to help me and, perhaps my family, make sense of my previous seeking for success et al. only to be replaced with a desperate sense of disappointment and then...well, perhaps, that story is still to be written. All I'll say is that despite my writing often being repetitious, I do feel a desperate need to write about the f* up world of work, our treatment of the earth and grief and loss.
One last thing. I've got a lot of pens. Hopefully, now, I'll be able to do something with them, given that I like writing in longhand. But better still, perhaps I ought to write and pin to my wall a great big sign that says: