with whom shall I parley for everlasting youth? — demons, or angels?
Up early, in the middle of the night, all outside dark. Writing. Times like this I’m glad to have my own place. Massive Attack playing on the stereo, fierce and insistent and melancholy; lights steady. Spent most of Sunday night settling various projects, went to bed early yesterday; and now I’m awake and enjoying the silence passing, drink in hand, books at my side. It’s good to have time.
I’m thinking of the kids tonight, the way they pour hours and hours into the things they do: rock climbing, dance, football. I’m going to hear the choir perform later; they’ve just taken second place in yet another international competition, over in Venice. All those hours of work, all that drilling, just for the joy of it; just for one perfect song, one perfect show. That, and the company of friends. The ephemerality of it, leaving nothing behind — perhaps a little sad, but beautiful.
Makes you wonder why they stop eventually, the way so many have. They do what they do in the glory and flower of their youth, while at the same time juggling studies, family, a million other things. Then all that suddenly gone, remaining just a memory, as they become yet another batch of someone else’s cubicle slaves; and slowly they start to forget.
I don’t want that future for them, for any of us. Those of us who make, write, sing, craft, play. I don’t want that future for musicians or sportsmen, for writers or speakers, for all their young dreams. There has got to be another way.
Just the way it is, I’ve heard it said. By parents, teachers, all the people who tell them what life is supposed to be like. When they’re young they’re supposed to focus on their studies. Once they graduate they’re supposed to suddenly find someone, get married, settle down, have children, devote themselves to raising families, sacrifice themselves to their jobs. Once in a while a binge of travel, the occasional night class, and shopping, endless shopping for things they neither want nor need. Forgetting all the magic of creation, the energy of now; all the way through to retirement, when the best years of their lives have passed them by, when all the power and fire and energy of their youth is gone.
I think this is bullshit. I don’t believe in any of it, will not sacrifice these children on society’s altar. I know that in the end it is not up to me, but even so — this endless sacrifice of generation upon generation — what’s it all for? Human life should be lived in the now, should be glorious, no matter who you are, where you are, no matter when. There has got to be another way. And I intend to find it.