Monday, November 15, 2010

Why Thoreau can jump in that pond....

"How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live." ~Henry David Thoreau, Journal, 19 August 1851

I wrote a paper on Thoreau in high school -- basically explaining why and how I thought he was such an ass. I got a C-. So maybe my prose wasn't yet refined, but I stick with the sentiment.

This reminds me of Gennoway's Death of Fiction, published by Mother Jones last winter. I wrote a heated response to Gennoways. You can find it here.

Basically, I'm annoyed by men who think you've got to go out and live and, only then, can one know enough to write. What about the within? What about sex and death and disease which surround us? What about wanting? And hating? What about the world of the mind -- sometimes it's all we have? What about those stitched to beds -- that fevered mind can glow like no other...

And isn't Thoreau vain? Living for the self and shut away from things like -- sex, death, disease? I miss the part of the book where he sucks the marrow from the bones of life. When was that exactly? At the pond, on the little path?

We all live. We all ache. We all haul around our heavy hearts -- no matter how far we travel or not.