Lost Heroes

Like most people - I hope! - I had a series of revelations as a young man, spurred on by reading fiction. One of these great, life changing revelations for me came from reading Jack Kerouac. Worlds opened before me, possibilities. But even more so, a template: The writer who's life is their art. Kerouac - and all the Beats - used their lives as the source for everything they created. In fact, I would suspect many of them lived their lives with this in mind - life as the canvas, the blank page, the clay to be molded. It's life itself that's the work of fiction, to be consciously crafted by the artist.

I dug all this, big time, and fully incorporated it into my life, for many years. To not such good results.

But, now, I am free of Kerouac - I read the very same books that once moved me, and I'm bored, or tired of the constant self-focus. It's all so much flim-flam, especially Kerouac. Much of his writing I find now to simply be bad - which is still a shock, since I once held him in such esteem.

Not to say I still haven't taken a great deal from these books, these lives, these experiences. But, as they say - moving on! Onwards and upwards! And I would remind any impressionable young people who are under the romantic sway of the Beats and Kerouac in specific, to always remember how Brave Jack ended - living the last decade of his life with his Mom, drinking, to finally die on the toilet, alone. The end. Great story, right?

Now, I'm ALSO of the mindset that the artist's life is completely irrelevant to their art, or a Leader's life, or a Hero's life, or anyone who makes a mark on greater humanity. Does it matter if they were cowards? Drunks? Cheats? As time goes by, all those things wash away, and all that remains are the deeds, the acts that still resonate over time. Great battles, stirring victories, sublime works of art - these things go on, enriching new generations. The person themselves.... irrelevant.

Did I contradict myself? Maybe, and it's allowed. Regardless, and only personally, I feel a great weight off my back to be freed of heroes - all heroes. They're just people, and as I've learned from the lowest place to the highest, none of us has any clue what's going on. Just bumbling and stumbling. And so you could subscribe to the philosophy of "It's better to burn out than to fade away", but I guess all I'll say to that is: Make sure it counts. Often - most of the time? - it won't. And if it won't count, is it really worth throwing your life away after some youth inspired dream?


Also, theme:
More to come, with more contradictions.

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