laupäev, veebruar 02, 2013

the lonely crowd


I have just finished The Voice is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac. It's a biography that digs into the American author's French Canadian roots. And, the thing is, I understand the author as he is portrayed, and I think that a lot of us do. Here is a man who could never be fully American, as his first language was French, and who, once he left his hometown to attend Columbia University, could never again be from Lowell, Massachusetts. He was at once too French to be American, too American to be French, too Lowell to glide with ease among New York's intelligentsia, too worldly to reconnect with his factory town roots.

I am attending a cousin's wedding here in New York, got to visit the beach where I played as a child. It's a homecoming. The beach that night was black and cold, but the lights of the houses were just as I had left them almost 30 years before. Nothing has changed there, but I have changed, and yet am still fundamentally the same. In Viljandi, moving between the hard-drinking-smoking white trash and folk hipsters, I will return to the same base dynamic. Even the globetrottingest most dissident Estonian hipsters are still Estonians, and to espouse Estonianness is to spend one's life before the mirror.  In Estonia, bar fights become "rebellions," lonely tsarist poets become icons of national literature.

Molehill, meet mountain.

Still, I am happy to be going back. I am happy to be going anywhere. I've got a pretty good reading list set up for my return: Dos Passos Manhattan Transfer, e.e. cummings' EIMI, and, of course, Jack London, the other Big Jack. I also have Anais Nin's Delta of Venus. Pity me, the few female writers I most connect with are Nin and Tina Fey. Also setting up my music website, though it needs much improvement. Astonished to find I created, with help, listenable music. Got a new book coming out called Missionary Position. Still looking for a publisher for Montreal Demons/The Demons of Montreal. Doing light rewrites in brief passings. Amazing how eight or nine months can help you see things for what they are, and bring out those great motifs and ideas with a brilliant shine.

There are many other things going on too, but those I cannot reveal to you, at least not this time.

5 kommentaari:

Marko ütles ...

Once it's out of the bottle, there's no putting it back in there. Once you open those curious-murky boxes in your head, wide open they will stay. The art of living, in my opinion, in first hand is the art of learning to live with yourself. Once you master that, everything else becomes secondary, a long list of side notes. Yet, there is this yearning ...

Marko ütles ...

Hmm, Jack London's White Fang was one of my childhood favorite. Did you know he was self educated working class. An outcast, a wonderer. One of those pioneers who made it all from scratch.

Why do you restrict yourself with binge drinking bohemians, in Viljandi? I know Estonians are very private people, but for sure you could penetrate some other circles. And there are others out there. Just don't let the down sides get to you, look out for the positives, therapy plenty of these too.

Liivimaa parim ratsutaja ütles ...

So interesting to read these thoughts ...

I feel the same way when I visit my old stomping grounds ... nothing has changed. Although everyone claims that they have.

I have precious little to talk about with my "homies". We have completely and utterly changed. Their manners make me take deep breath so often and constantly remind me to forgive, understand, to be tolerant and gracious, to focus on the good. It is a chore. The atmosphere of this constant air of mutual disrespect is very challenging and I have to control my temper there a lot.

Very interesting how this compares to your experiences. It keeps giving me constant fascination. Makes me analyze myself very deeply. Maybe Estonia IS the best place on Earth and it is me who is completely effed up. I do allow that thought. Keeps me situationally aware.

Marko ütles ...

But LPR, haven't you ever thought that if something works for some, it doesn't necessarily work for others. One size does not fit all. Some like London, I hate it. Some hate Scotland, I remain neutral. Do you know what I mean? There is no universal measure to say, oh this place is a dump or this is uber cool. It's all subjective. Viljandi is for me my ground zero. A little scabby? Sure. But also charming, in its unique way.

Unknown ütles ...

With dedication to Marko:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WD5I9DTO9m8