Thursday, January 03, 2008

Bohemia: Where Art, Angst, Love and Stong Coffee Meet

I'm reading Bohemia by Herbert Gold again and while it doesn't quite affect me the way it did upon first reading (all young and starry eyed I wanted to embody every iota of the words he spoke, its a more of a quick lighthearted read than I remembered) it does still create in me a certain longing for a time I've never known, as well as the urge to run back to Tiny Cup (neighborhood coffee house) and knock around a few Big Ideas with friends.
My whitewashed monk's roost has gradually become stuffed with the debris of life. Books, music, painting, prints, files, clothes I didn't wear yesterday or even the day before that' carbon copies, notebooks, the poetry I won't publish, journals, and income-tax records. Yet when I arrived in San Francisco, I came stripped to the bone--two barracks bags and the intention to live on pure spirit. (I may have meant nerve.) What stuck in my mind about Walden, which I had read like the Torah, was Thoreau spying a hobo crossing a field with all his possession in two sacks. And Thoreau was filled with pity, because the hobo still had to carry those two sacks.

It's easy to cry "Simplify! Simplify!" Complications are inexorable, inexorable. My formerly monkish roost now has children's drawings on the walls...I couldn't escape the common destiny, thank God

Nevertheless, Thoreau's impulse toward purity, spirit and lonely nerve provides an enduring subtext to American ambition. It's one of the most moving nostalgias we keep amid all the noise and hustle.
I'd been talking a lot about simplified living with all my friends but it seems now returning from my trip I've only made my life more cluttered with things than when I began. It seems life is like that, I'd lost nearly everything only to find it slowly filled up with new people and new belongings and new dramas. Coming across this in the book was kind of a reminder how life will always create new things to fill up the voids. No matter how much I'm always trying to let go.



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