Oh, to write. Who or what to write like? The answer is easy; like you. You’re the only voice you can be. You can try and be someone else but you’ll always fall short. This immediately reads as if it’s a cliche, but it’s so overwhelmingly true. So true in fact I thought I had to try and explain my version of it for you.
Some days I think, “Ok, I’ll wait until I have a Phd. to write ‘my book’. Obtain that piece of paper to validate my intelligence so I can write about matters that are deep and challenging, conceptual and far out. Things that make people’s brains tingle and hurt. Expose what no one can see. Those things that are hidden behind a thin veneer that no one’s removing. That’s the things I’ll write about. I’ll be like Gary Leech, Noam Chomsky, Adam Smith, Alexis De Tocquville, and John Pilger combined. I’ll be super smart, cutting edge fresh and old, classical and contemporary all at once.
“When I get my Phd.”
Then other days, I think, “Wait a minute, what about just fucking doing it?! Just writing about life as you see it, feel it, breath it and see it? You can climb a mountain and take people every step of the way. Or of course you could just sit at home get drunk and play with yourself and write about that. Confessional, deep, puzzling, funny, sad. That human edge. Talk about the mundane and the magical. I don’t need a Phd to do that. Did Charles Bukowski have a Phd? No! What about Jack Kerouac, or Hunter S Thompson? Yeah I’ll be a Beat writer. Stream of conscious. That’s the way I’ll do it!”
“When my conscious is streaming.”
Then I start reading some of the great philosophers; Seneca, Epicurus, Plato or the beautiful emperor Marcus Aurelius and I think “What does it matter? Why am I trying to be anything? One should never try too overtly to do any one thing, as if it does not come naturally, you could well be barking up the wrong tree… Or something like that.
If I could just invite them all around for dinner, we’d get drunk, sing songs, inspire each other, fight and laugh. Spill our wine and make a grand mess but know that it was all worth it as we were there in the moment. Yet, most likely we’d all go home and write about it. Unless of course it wasn’t revealing in the slightest, which in that case we’d likely continue with our lives, dead or alive, poetically, philosophically, journalistically.
I feel the main concern is doubt. Whether I’m writing about the entrenched inequality of our neoliberal capitalist new world ordered globalized military industrial-complex, or writing about what it’s like falling asleep next to my wife, it’s always hard to judge or know if anyone cares. In all honesty, it shouldn’t matter, but it does. My mum and my wife are my biggest fans. I guess that’s all I need.
If there’s anyone else feeling even remotely like that then I’m sending you a big literary hug. May the poems of Wordsworth guide you in your walks, the insanity of Samuel Beckett fill your happy swilling evenings and the revelatory streams of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, coupled with Alain De Botton’s simplistically laid out complexity guide you in your knowing.
But most importantly, that you follow you.