‘When writers find their friends, they hang on tight, and party hard.’ ~ Kelsey Osgood
Here they are. Groups of friends bound by a common cause, shared love and understanding of the craft through which they bonded and made merry, quarrelled and made amends, made headway, progress, a difference. They came together, these friends, to make a hell of a difference in every sense of the word, and blessed be they, for they were fortunate enough to come together.
My personal favorites in this wonderfully mad lot are the Lost Generation, especially Hemingway, specifically him, bittersweet fondness all over. His style annoys me as much as it delights me, his words confound me at every simple turning point, emphasis on simple, because, irony oh irony, his simplicity tends to be confusing, if not frustrating. Not always, but enough times to merit the criticism, and the sarcasm. Bittersweet on account of the forthcoming manner in which he wrote and the economic-slash-exhausting structure of his prose. His sadistic streak is most intriguing, the pinnacle of which rests on ever-present masochism and heroism. A self-inflicted odyssey by a self-appointed ring bearer whose penchant for drinking and adventure-seeking as a way of tolerating the world around him I have shared ever since I can remember, long before I knew what literary fiction was, let alone Hemingway. Hence the conflicted connection with the conflicted champion of the Lost Generation.
Then there’s the Beats. Who can discount the Beats with their stream of consciousness bravado and their free association hailstorms and their ungodly splicing of text ribbons into fathomless combinations of meaning? There they stand, on the threshold of a new perspective, inviting praise from the courageous and invective from the homunculi. Behold Jack Kerouac, the darkest lyrical hobo the world has known since Jesus Christ, what a torrent of an author, a persona as eloquent as he is relevant in current and future times; and William Burroughs, junkie extraordinaire and bug expert supreme; and Allen Ginsberg, Howl beast of the twilight. All of them beasts, creatures of a most curious era.
Then there’s the rest of them, outstanding and superlative in their own right. From Tolkien and his Middle-earth sagas (I can only bow to the profundity of his mind, the dedication to his work, and the universes he created) to the increasingly mythical and misunderstood Virginia Woolf (an incredibly sharp and vibrant spirit who revolutionized not just writing but also publishing — Woolf had her own press), there they stand, at the door of time, looking back at us, bands of friends with chemistry and a cause. There’s enough magnificence among them to go around a thousand lifetimes. Names for posterity, classics, their thoughts timeless and unceasingly relevant, unfailingly inspirational on every level imaginable.
Blessed be the authors, for they live and die alone, in the presence of others. They wade through the world isolated and hurt, angry and in awe of everything they see and touch and feel, crushed and resurrected every day of their lives, resurrected in the company of their creations, which they carry inside them, and among friends, resurrected, their precious few friends with whom they share the world, offering moments of redemption and a thing or two to say about how the script develops and the world progresses. They find solace among these friends and see fit to keep going, a reason to come back to life for one more day or two, and stick around long enough to put it down on paper, and consider the possibility of sticking around the next day, too, just in case there’s some more of that splendor to go around.
Blessed be the writers, for they transcribe life and death and everything in between, all of it subject to their convictions. Blessed be they, and blessed be their inner circles for the support and inspiration they provide.
Blessed be those who find their own tribes and make a difference in each other’s company, and party hard, hard till they drop.
From the bays of Pearl Coast,
Fish a ton of oysters, strike a shiny pearl.