23 November 2015

Simple and Free

(from my journal, April 2015)

I enjoyed five minutes of fame, reading at the Creative Nonfiction Collective Conference open mic at the library downtown, before attending the opening event at Open Space, and blending with the masses of other writers, all jostling between our day jobs to earn a ray of public acclaim, or even bare acknowledgement, to validate the hours, months, decades, lifetimes of struggle to bring words into pleasing arrangements, and place them before the open maw of the reading public. Gatekeeper teeth barring entry, however, to all but the one percent who are lucky, talented, connected or charismatic enough to chance upon the secret access code.

In the meantime, I continue… simple and free, before taxes, before death, before Facebook. I once worshipped the improvisational license of the Beats, and now find it characterized in the literary press as “suffer[ing] from the hectic spasmodic urgency of Beat sentimentality.” So I take that impulse to the streets, as it were, jamming with the gang in the well-equipped garage, and call it a hobby: simple and free.

Only one editing job done in the last two weeks: a worrisome trend, if I want to be rich and busy, but I don’t. I’d rather keep life… simple and free. So I continue chipping away at the reconstruction of a flawed first novel, making way in its turn for the magnum opus, HyperLife, a sprawling chronicle which, in typical fashion, straddles the unpopular gulf between genres, nay whole universes of book categorization, fiction and nonfiction. Which messes even with the age-old linearity of narrative, by virtue of the hyper-, that virus in our collective present day which sends us scurrying from snippet to tweet, from post to soundbite, from share to like, hopping tabs of inboxes and subsidiary apps, tweaking profiles and vetting comments, jostling for a dollop of the pie, jostling ever faster, vibrating till the waves of collective activity mount in tidal force, fractally compounding, leaping in quantum flux to a singularity that pins itself to the end of the current breath, the moment at hand: simple and free.

In this enterprise, by doing, I am undoing. Clearing the decks, stowing all cargo below, so that what is left to do is simply to arrange the chairs, for a sunset concerto, in the middle of the ocean, becalmed, content.