I’ve been listening a lot to Patton Oswalt lately. He cracks me up and I need the laughter.
He has this bit about how he knows he’s gotten old because he doesn’t hate any music any more. He said, there is music he likes and then there is music he just doesn’t listen to. And that’s where it ends. Then he goes on to say that when he was younger, there was music that he ‘hated’. HATED. He would go on wild rants and raise his blood pressure and talk about who’s selling out and who’s honing their craft and who is bullshit and who’s a genius. Backing up all his claims, of course, with his wonderful Oswalt perceptions.
I was thinking about that this morning and of course one thought began to flow into another. The new whirl of thoughts drifted to my time spent in Colorado. It’s today’s weather that brings on these new thoughts. It’s a cool gray morning, with slow, low clouds. A lot of the trees in the neighborhood have given up their harvest of leaves, others are still working on losing them. I see the light dusting of snow on the mountains beyond my window.
Of course thoughts of Colorado lead me to think about all that I wrote while I was there. In Colorado I wrote like a mad woman every moment that was available. It wasn’t so much Colorado that inspired the writing, but my youth and circumstances. I was finished with college, there were no more papers or studying to be done. So with all that free time, I was able to concentrate on the words.
I wrote with a sense of urgency then; when I was younger. As if the words would leave me at any moment. As if every word I wrote was going to be my last. I wrote as if I needed a shot of whiskey after each paragraph, a smoke break between illuminating phrasing. I wrote as if I were losing my soul, as if I were plugged into some new generation. As if I had been born on Kerouac’s Road. I wrote as if my very marrow was weeping.
I miss writing that way.
Of course, that urgency, that youthful focus has been replaced by a husband and a kid and a job and the daily task of taking care of more than just my own self. Dare I say that urgency has been replaced by the wisdom of age.
And that’s the way it should be. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been yearning for that hysterical, focus to come back. But that focus and hysteria didn’t have the cultivation and lessons that have come with age.
I’m sure another ten years from now I’ll yearn for the way I write now.
Today, however, I am inspired by past memories. And I’ll take it.