Litkicks Message Board Archive

sensor writing / my life

Posted to Utterances

(sorry i can't react properly: the time-zones and lack of time - and: the more often I’m interrupted by ugly work during writing this, the longer it gets, sorry)

"sensor writing" is what Beat writing is for me -
since i was a teen (in the sixties)
living in the “diaspora” = in Germany,
then it was an all-feverish also exotic domain for me: (my strange “treasure”)
the writing of/about people who dared to live "free", together, discuss/LIVE longings, frustrations, in the glittering wide plains, giant cities of the USA, pondering about
"truth" "beauty/sensuality" "reality"(e.g. application of Marxist analysis)
instead of a grey everyday life of (only) work
and (for me:) laboratory studies (becoming a chemist)
under decadent Middleaged conditions (authoritarian, power cliques, etc.) –
we revolted with long hair and joints, new Rock music.
There seemed to be other worlds, the hippies, the underground people, lefty politics –
(allowed to be) sensitive compassionate AND wild / ho/armonically authentical
we learned how to live/love together instead of in split isolated doomed marriages,
sexual/sensual/intellectual/spiritual deadends.

And all these topics, “problems” with being “different”/sensitive-psychedelic searchers,
in “free” relationships, the “green” movement, meditations at the peaks, about the “Zen meanings” of life: all was already there with/in the Beats, even the whole bandwidth.
I read the rhythm with glowing ears on cold park-benches and scribbled notebooks (“Beaties”/diaries, thoughts, poems) since then, sometimes/how absurd/surreal in my otherwise technical contexts. It held my brain, spine, sex. A gauge / analysis.

Well, it was relativated over time, in this social context drawbacks and wounds had to be taken - and drugs took their toll - i always felt somehow like a "Ranger" taking/proposing the best of these worlds in the “scene”: (nearly) no drugs but free sensuality, the ability to survive, oppose, emancipate, political engagement, networks of communities.
Lefties and Beats had to learn that “feminism” gives life instead of reducing (macho) pleasures, yabyum, etc., being of course children of that historical phase – but they opened the view for discussing those topics at all, by advocating the vibes of sincere, eventful, exchanging life instead of adaptation / conformity; see, e.g., diPrima (“My life as a woman”, etc.).

After decades, I now ended up married, content (more or less, relatively……..), with a daughter (13) who ((slightly) retarded) still needs much care, and the biological frame has become (even) more apparent: ageing, the (negative/positive) effect of experience, some longterm frustrations, etc. – and much of the “network” gave way to “isolated pathways”,
making Litkicks even the more “addictive as crack”, filling just the gap.

And (as actually “planned” much earlier) I returned to reading the Beats, esp. Kerouac,
when 52 (actually had spared some of his work for that purpose): and I’m overwhelmed now per internet etc. what a giant response there is and how much has grown even since the 70’s…
And totally perplexed: HOW much the Beats, and now including Burroughs (who I couldn’t really manage earlier), still mean to me, above all and everything – and IN everything.
I can make the experiment: to read some other author, I can like the work – then I read some pages by Kerouac and (perhaps after shifting aside some “unripe” actionist passages, perhaps some remarks due to that historic phase) suddenly I’m on-line again: everything is there, not only parts (where for good or not I would have to make amendments to any other writing/views): the rhythm, the spell, the fanatism about this one and only life, pulsing, joyful, or desperate, underlyingly sad and directed by the arrow of time and death – the neural splendour of associativity, the enthusiasm of a searching mind, and the yearning to communicate this experience by sincere observation, spontaneous flowing from a (well-trained, never forget his years of feeding his stores in libraries) genius: to make it come from a true sensor, compassionate, daring sensitivity, not clever tricky masterful in style composition but “telling like it is”.

AND WHAT THE HELL SHOULD THERE BE MORE……("art" (ars longa, vita brevis..??)).
There’s no writing that really gets me for other reasons
maybe perhaps for a short time: if entertaining
but what could be really fascinating/completely involving
if not life itself:
I feel in resonance with Levi’s post about “Reality Lit” (Utterances 22.01.03),
and even can be amazed by poems like the “prufrock” (Utt., the same day) for tricky rhyme patterns, method, “colloquialism” – but again this would be just funny, entertaining for me - many things technical are superior to that – and if it wasn’t for that inherent connection to life’s vibes, the alluring drift that an insecure but life-impressed/already shaped loving mind experiences that is perfectly projected like in biomaterially real membranes of psychological functions, I would forget it.
(l’art pour l’art)
Also logical that this gets me, being a convinced natural scientist, “though” working for an Environmental Authority”. A probe for life.
And here the Beats are, to my opinion, masters, all of them in their individual as well as fascinatingly resonant ways: always linking the probed reality to an authentic longing (echoing in the reader) for love and explaining insight, trying “to reduce the traces of original sin” (Baudelaire), our insecurity in the network of transitoriness (Kerouac’s strewn-in (also social) “sadness”. This touches me especially, now coming of age, overlooking main parts of my life. Structuring; meta-vibes.

And the Beats as charismatic messengers of a flaming vision / meaning (compare my post/s in Flamage etc.): had so much effect (in)directly, not only in flowerpower times, but for living together in communities, sexual liberation, environmental movements (though Kerouac already saw the sad decline for nature, and Snyder was more competent for that sector), psychological emancipation, "alternative" behavior, health and spiritual aspects:
of course, on this system’s ground: much was alienated, put into commerce, degenerated, put to esoterics etc. – but a reference system was created, time-honored, perhaps prepared / moulded historically by this system’s dynamic anyway (and Kerouac suffered), we don’t even know perhaps how different the world would be – without the Beats, say: that historic phase….their proponents.
(btw: in “Deliberate Prose” Ginsberg himself (who else LOL, the “manager”) gives a listing of all the achievements..)

And since there is no MORE:
I think it’s not appropriate to say that their naivety is now out-raced by something “deeper” “newer” ? (I read that even in a book about American literature history, the “new” trends being Kathy Acker, cyber texts ..) There CANNOT be something wrong/outdated o.e., (the same) with any “philosophical system”, tool, dynamic ansatz that at least fulfills certain requirements measured against its axiomatic context…just maybe I cannot follow the idea, or I am attracted by others, or the same method now, under changed conditions, would lead to different applications, consequences…: For the Beats, all those issues are discussed readily in Litkicks: relationship to women, possibility of decentralization, drinking behavior, the author’s life and his/her work, philosophical implications, together a complete sytem of thought…- SO there is no “other” reality (and each philosophy worthy by definition is “right” in its axiomatic derivation, self-consistent).
For me the Beat writing fulfills the requirements also for a complete philosophy, AND the specific ways of presentation, being the appropriate tool, for these times: The whole spectrum from Kerouac/di Prima/Corso over Lamantia/Ginsberg/McClure to Snyder/Whalen and strange symbolic-vision Underground-context Burroughs (who I come to recognize/enjoy more and more in his lively humor while reading Jennie Skerl’s collection of his receptions “At the front”) (and surroundings like Ferlinghetti, Saroyan, many more) – somehow is just my language, thrills me to the spine/gets the point, entrances me strangely – as You say “liberates” me - though I didn’t hit the road so much (but also Kerouac actually was rather a shy observer, and Catholic – I share that heritage) - giving me signs/answers on and on, arguing for active involvement, sensual intensity as well as for a background of Buddhist ecstasy and insights, and approving my ways to feel “some of the dharma” associatively when simply being in everyday contexts, e.g. when contemplating historic man by the sound of autumn leaves .., with the basis of science (Kerouac stressed that), just because, perhaps, suddenly my brain store turns to that association / perception.
And they are representing all of my states of inner (and also “outer”) conflict: from "religious" to "sexual", psychology/behavior to politics, painting several scenarios of vibrating enthusiastic AND philosophically sound worlds; usually for me: the Kerouacian picture "wins", but the others of the Beats also "feed my head". Lifeline.
And every moment is “eternal”; another message, way to see life, wonder, investigate. Change, perceive, interact. Liquid.
A lust in life, a reality for fighting and learning, a vision to try to be silent and fair in the face of death.

So may others be more fashionable, more “modern” (?) ((who would be that ?), for a chosen philosophical framework/method this could only mean that it is applied to modified substrates, but the tool, the dynamics itself remains “true” (or the reader may get to another “belief”(ring of Nathan/Lessing), hopefully aware of society’s alienating brainwashing trends of illusion). And this is valid for the Beat writing. And the Beats also explained that all we can ever do is try – to do this plain open, show the searching process, the quest itself, all its doubt, authentic, which is more than artistic glamour.
And for me it compensates for drawbacks in the fine dress, the style – maybe also because I’m too much of a layman in that. And too much beauty in words, in harmony, in tricky wonder makes me suspicious, I at least prefer raw grammar, the beauty may radiate from the inherent (logic / authenticity) of life, the compassion with / the explanation for the “common mortal man”. Free.

And even as far as “style” is concerned: doesn’t even Kerouac in Good Blonde (in the essays about spontaneous prose and the “born writers”) say more about his method, challenge “more” creativity than (though beautiful) (also sincereity-)craving Carver, e.g., in the essays on writing and re-writing (and the views of Gardner) in “Call me if you need me”, but o.k., he’s so good, down to earth .. and Kerouac “naive”-chaotic. But how much he actually must have worked to pre-program in his mind stylistic options from so many sources, sensitive, ambitious, getting desperate.
As far as I know, all of the Beats didn’t “re-invent the wheel” by refusing to listen, learn, collect the tools of the trade (compare your/pelerine’s post to the Flamage board, 14.01.03), say by assuming only a “typical” libertinarian do-it-yourself approach to poetics.
In the contrary, their writing may not be so “new” in purpose (even a bit of “non scholae sed vitae discimus”, as I said, some beat-addressed basic “problems” are old as humanity/original sin) but given in a presentation / application of the thought drive adequate to this phase of being / ref.consciousness up to nowadays – and even provoked (a remarkable and honorful difference it seems to many other more modern/stylistic writing) a broad-spectred analysis / attention w/r to philosophical baseline, meaning, even intentional rhetorics (of revolt), influence (not only) on a generation: the bop apocalypse, buddhism and the beat generation, the spontaneous poetics as a lyrical form/ref.content, forrest beatniks and urban thoreaus (the “nature” section), and other justified even “theological” interpretations, typically above all w/r to the searching Catholic Kerouac. There simply is “more” in the Beats, so much that there can’t be more than the Beats, only maybe a differently constructed mental building serving the (same ?) purpose …
Quite rightly so. And i’m going with this all, and it’s enough and satisfying.

Beats, thanks for the decades, the variety – and even …..for Litkicks..!