Bring It On Home

It’s spring. Life is stirring again. But first, there must be mud, at least in Maine. And then there are the pigheaded strips of snow that refuse to trot off.

Darwin and his Beagle, it’s lonely being a writer. Not the physical solitude (I’m equipped for that), but the loneliness of never knowing. I probably shouldn’t have read Adam Phillips’ Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life. Instead of inspiring me to greater heights of sufferance, I can’t nudge free the idea that I’m missing out on something.

And what do I feel like I’m missing out on? A gang of one’s own (instead of a room); John Ashbery talking to himself; a lovely coterie of friends; more involvement in the literary world (although I don’t even know what shape that should take); a vintage pair of jeans; a book deal.

“We make sense of our lives in order to be free not to have to make sense.”

My life at times feels like a boat in dead waters: waiting to get an agent to love me through the leafy vines; waiting for the sun to go supernova; waiting to hear if there is water on Mars; waiting for a physicist to find the God particle. If only it could be just Waiting For Godot. Why can’t I get a Golden Ticket like Charlie? “I never thought my life could be anything but catastrophe….”

But as King Lear told me the other night, “The art of our necessities is strange.” But the night before that, Mad Cyril told me: “The future is simply a ship in a bottle waiting for the right wave to let you out.”

What has happened to universities and the academic life? Send me off to American Idol with a song in my mediocre heart, but aren’t universities and colleges the Land for the Lotus Eaters? I thought it was the last refuge for exiles, eccentrics, the obsessed, thinkers, libertines, seekers, the disaffected, the lonely, those who don’t wanna grow up, those who fled the working world with Ginsberg’s Howl in their veins, those whose backs were pushed up against the wall by the world and who hopped over it into some cerebral paradise. How did all this professionalism and success and play the bonny tenured prof come about? Shouldn’t universities be letting misfits and miscreants and the mad teach the bright young things of the future?

Why is it that the middle class always work like dogs and yet never have anything to show for it but debt and mortgages and exhaustion and unfulfilled dreams? I don’t want that. I want the Alexandria Quartet in my backyard. I want the sun and moon to pass over my writing desk. And I want to someday go to Bruges as a hitman.

I have gone on long enough. I must get back to my bean field. If I don’t, somebody will think me a curmudgeon in the prime of life. I’m not that irascible. I just have this thing called life breathing down my neck all the time.


Life on Earth (Part 42)

Afternoon gov. How’s life on planet Earth? Not bad, not bad. Shame about the Olympics, though. Isn’t there some hint of intelligent life in the vast expanse of space who’s got bigger eggs to devil? But the Old Blighty isn’t doing bad. Got itself 24 Gold medals for the mantelpiece right next to the photos of Enid Blyton and Oswald Mosley.

But have you seen those photos of Mars from the Red Rover? Crikey. I hope we find life there. Cause then we can start downloading people. Plus, if we do find life, it will be Jaffa Cakes and bread puddin’, since it might stop us from thinking we are the Crumpets in the cosmos.

Just imagine it! Here we all are, stuck in our little teapot in our solar system, when out from the gamma rays steps the mothership like the Virgin Mary with a sentient life form suckling at her breast. And amid all the teabagging and sugar and spooning, this alien life simply scoffs, flashes us some indecipherable innuendos, flies off, and leaves us nothing but the recipe for turtle soup.

Actually, if we do find evidence of life on Mars, it might suggest that life is a hobo, travelling the galaxies, slumming from planet to planet in search of the next cheap thrill. I mean, I don’t see why life couldn’t have started billions of light years away and like a cosmic biker (think Easy Rider) slowly rode its way through galaxies, having these wonderful holidays, until the planet died and then hopping back on its bike and riding off as distant suns set behind it and new suns and planets beckoned, until, wham, bam, thank you martian, life ended up on Earth, worn-out, but trailing stardust and possibilities. Because life is very patient, isn’t it? Has to be when your only friend is evolution.