As far as the writing itself is concerned it takes next to no time at all. Much too much is written every day of our lives. We are overwhelmed by it. But when at times we see through the welter of evasive or interested patter, when by chance we penetrate to some moving detail of a life, there is always time to bang out a few pages.The thing isn’t to find the time for it – we waste hours every day doing absolutely nothing at all – the difficulty is to catch the evasive life of the thing, to phrase the words in such a way that stereotype will yield a moment of insight.
I never thought I would have a favorite poet, but I do. William Carlos Williams’ Stillness:
Heavy white rooves
sloping west and east
under the fast darkening sky:What have I to say to you
that you may whisper it to them
in the night?Round you
is a great smouldering distance
on all sides
that engulfs you
in utter loneliness.Lean above their beds tonight
snow covered rooves;
feel them stirring warmly within
and say — nothing.
The train has stopped. There are no announcements. The signs inform us that the 18% who drop out need 100% of our help and that you will go to jail if you resell your guns. A wide-eyed woman searches her phone for another song while a bearded fat devil licks cheesy-fry grease from his fingers and a gaunt man, new accounting textbooks on his knees, speaks too loudly into his phone, declaring his price and promising to be there soon.
The train has stopped.
Today is your time for measured reflection. During this, the last of the seven stages before this apocalypse, you must learn to accept the reality of your situation. Acceptance doesn’t mean happiness, but rather a way forward…even though the world is going to end. There is no better guide than Martin Luther King Jr. His final speech in Memphis, Tennessee (April 3, 1968) is an incredible collection of ideas and moments, all of it delivered without notes. Another reason that I’m happy to live in this period is that we have been forced to a point where we’re going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demand didn’t force them to do it. Survival demands that we grapple with them. Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it’s nonviolence or nonexistence. He was assassinated the following morning.
Watch My Dinner with Andre, written by Wallace Shawn and directed by Louis Malle. Two men talk over dinner, just that, but remarkable so, reminding us that a good story just needs to be told. I wouldn’t put on an electric blanket for any reason. First, I’d be worried if I get electrocuted. No, I don’t trust technology. But I mean, the main thing, Wally, is that I think that kind of comfort just separates you from reality in a very direct way. Read the poetry of William Carlos Williams. Yes, poetry! He was a doctor by trade, which provides great insight into the good old human condition. It is almost impossible to state what one in fact believes, because it is almost impossible to hold a belief and to define it at the same time. It’s time. Take stock of your life. Are you good? Until tomorrow then.