As a young adolescent I wished to be a writer because writers were glamorous and sensual —I’m smiling an adopted-orphan smile as I write this. Writers lazed around places with colorful names as Chiang Mai and Rangoon inhaling opium in a yellow silk attire. They wet with wine their whistle in Saint Germaine and penetrated tabooed marshlands with faithful exotic girls or lived in the harbor of Casablanca blazing pot while languidly caressing a pet gazelle.
I was rare. Free souls are rare and they have no place they could stay in without getting tired of it. And of them. Of mundane folks with the ability to confuse inner peace with some sense of insensibility. A lifeless crowd in bondage shading the horizons. No, it’s not that they were bad. It’s that they were just obliged to pretend they were good. I didn’t want to be like that. I lived in an emotional black hole. All the same there was nowhere to go but everywhere, through the books, following the heart’s desire to fill the voids, the mind rolling under the constructed stars, an avid habit, a daily dose of daydreaming that healed the heart, soothed the soul, and strengthened the imagination. I was playing. I knew that. What I really longed wasn’t playing, but to play the game, to transform the acts of joy in just acts. You couldn’t make art out of good intentions.
I struggled and struggled to open a door between that world and myself, but the whole wall was an insurmountable illusion. And I finally did what everyone else does, neither taking life too seriously nor seeing it as merely grotesque, choosing a profession and practicing it, grabbing one’s share of the common cake, eating it and saying: It’s delicious!. A man who being responsive to artistic stimuli react to the reality of dreams as does the philosopher to the reality of existence; just observing closely, and trying to enjoy this observation. It wasn’t delicious. It was too much, and not enough. I was a circus aerialist bobbing on the tightwire, and I could fall off into a vortex devoid of reality at any moment.
I started travelling. The world became the book as people receded on the plain till I saw their specks dispersing. I travelled not to go anywhere, but to go. I travelled for travel’s sake, not intent on arriving. Ten thousand miles, ten thousand more, ten thousand times, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes, and the power and sense back into my life. Travelling the world over to find the beautiful, in search of those free souls, those you’d recognize because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them —hope is a most beautiful drug. But that was the glory of foreign travel. I didn’t want to know what people were talking about. Still today I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Your whole existence becomes a series of fascinating guesses. It has been the best part. Still it is.
I went all the way, otherwise why even start. I lost all mind and became soul. I spoke fire, laughed smoke, and madness spilled forth from my pores. Wine and a straitjacket, that pretty much sums it up. I explode like an artillery shell and I though all my bits will be found on the writing table. They didn’t. They didn’t because then I lost all soul and again became mind, an intellectual of shorts. And let’s face it, an intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way. In retrospect I know what happened. I was losing my soul and I knew it, and because I knew it I’ve still got a soul left to lose. I didn’t really go all the way, and those who escape hell never talk about it and nothing much bothers them after that. If you can so thoroughly dissect your children who are still to be born, you don’t get horny enough to actually father them. People who understand everything get no stories. Today I feel I waste enough time leaning on my elbow and thinking to myself: alright sucker, now what?
Nowadays practically everybody has half a mind to write a book —and does. In the name of being social, writers learn to ignore their natural instincts. Society keeps dictating do’s and don’ts which they keep obeying day in and day out. This is not writing. Great writers are immoral people, they live dishonestly. The text they write must prove to me that it deserves me. If this proof exists: is writing.
My view on writers? You see, I believe that you cannot be taught to write. You can be taught grammar and punctuation, but you cannot be taught to be a writer. That has to come from within. Poe was an alcoholic. Marlowe was killed by a man whom he was treacherously trying to stab. Cervantes was a sword-wielding fugitive from justice. Coleridge was a drug addict. Pope took money to keep a woman’s name out of a satire, then wrote a piece so that she could still be recognized. Chatterton killed himself. Byron was accused of incest. Bukowski, probably all these things altogether. Do you still want to be a writer —and if so, why?
I’m a writer (not really) – By Dugutigui