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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Life is for Loving: Yr Life that is. Kerouac's No. 4

Be in love with yr life

As I did some research (and being a writer, I just LOVE research. Sure, I hear you scoff) on this, Kerouac's No. 4 Technique, I was astonished to see the number of conversations happening across the 'net on the topic. More specifically I was looking at the idea of 'love vs being in love'; many others are thinking about this question too. So many heartfelt, clearly thought out and expressed ideas took my breath away. Thanks to those people.

At the end of my research I've come to the conclusion that love is love. You know? But being in love is thought to be either that early falling, the intense emotion that goes with that first attraction (to a lover or whoever), or it is an intensity you can grow into over time, after that initial attraction gets labelled love and so it goes from there.

But this is a tip for writers, so let's keep it in mind shall we? Being in love with life. No, sorry YOUR life (or as Kerouac put it, yr life) most likely means saying YES to it all. It all being the ups, downs, quiet times, good times, bad times, fun times, poverty times, riches times. All times. And places that you find yourself in, or have chosen to be in, for good or ill, as the expression goes.

It means a full on, emotionally committed engagement with all that your life is and what it brings to you. Isn't this what writers do? I guess if they are really writers they do: they really dig life. Or as Robert Heinlein wrote in Stranger in a Strange Land, really and truly grok the whole deal.

You don't need me to tell you that life stinks sometimes. And it's hard to think about loving (or being in love with) those bits. Life can occasionally (or even often) be a real downer, and it can be hard to imagine just why or how we could love it at those times. Actually, anyone who has read Kerouac, will see how much of his life wasn't exactly a bed of roses or something easy to fall in love with. But, again those same readers (this one included) will also say that it is clear he was in love or loved his life. He just dug it. Yes?

Whatever my research told me, I know that for most of us, 'being in love' is a romantic notion, most often attached to a lover, girl or boyfriend. We sure don't talk about being in love with our cats do we? Mind you. Looking now at one of mine (Lofi is his name: a variant on Lofa which is Tongan for love by the way) curled up on his favourite paddling blanket on the end of the sofa, I could begin to wonder if it is possible. But, whatever, we usually only 'fall in love' in that romantic sense. Still 'romantic' does have other meanings than that which we associate with lovers loving., marriage and all that. That's a subject for another lifetime I think.

No, maybe it isn't . Maybe that's what Kerouac is saying: marry your life. Now that's a thought isn't it? Follow the link for the meaning of grok: it seems to me to be a lot like that intuitive (as opposed to all this intellectualised, researched stuff about the subject) understanding most of us have of being in love. And, as for the relevance to writing and writers (and to other creatives). Well, as it says on that entry in Wikipedia:

...a grokked concept (in this case your life) becomes part of the person
who contributes to its evolution by improving the doctrine, perpetuating the
myth, espousing the belief, adding detail to the social plan, refining the idea
or proofing the theory.



Sounds pretty much what we do, don't you think?

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