We need to write imagining that no one will ever read us, because that liberates you, because that frees you from the public’s necessity for correct grammar and appropriate punctuation; that frees you from the enslavement to decent words and appropriate imagery; that frees you from the expectations of people who have previously deemed you to be a good writer, a fantastic writer, a decent writer whatever. We need to imagine that nobody’s reading us.
Pick up that paper and spit it out. Let the music ring out from whatever instrument you have clothed in dust in your messy room and let your heart break before your monitor, your notebook, your friend, whatever you have. What liberates you is the very thing that the appropriateness of society loathes and rejects; humanity is a very subtle prison you see. Every artist needs aloneness to liberate himself. Every artist needs to bleed out the manners and acts of decency that have been cultivated within him by the people he has dearly loved. You need to walk to the places that no one else has dared to tread, you need to find the courage to let your heart bleed when nobody is watching. That’s the hypocrisy of most men you see; they love to bleed, poets love to bleed, painters love to bleed, but they do it only when everyone’s watching. You need to do it when nobody’s watching, that’s the point of liberation that lasts forever, free of time, free of yourself, free of everything.
They’ve created art schools to imprison the few of us who are remaining; don’t go to art school, don’t let that little part of you that is still alive be converted into political vomit and embroidered literature in the museums of the world. Don’t destroy yourself sweetheart. Don’t go to art school. Look at me, a young man who already sounds a hundred years old. School destroys you. Don’t go there. Instead, go to the Himalayas, go someplace faraway, let your heart break into a million pieces when you meet the reality of loneliness in a city that is home to more than a million people. Don’t go to art school, go to the places that you are afraid will kill you. Don’t go to Paris, or Rome, or New York City, or Tokyo. People have been going there all their lives. They’ve been telling us the same old stories; they’ve been regurgitating the same old tales of cultural excreta that every honest man has grown to become tired of. Don’t go to those places. Go somewhere else, anywhere, but those places. Go to the places that you know will kill you.
So many people are sitting before their monitors and begging their minds to shut up for one minute so that they can complete a verse of poetry. Don’t ask it to shut up, transform it, transmute it. Let your confusion become your art. Let your writer’s block become your novel. Let your dysfunctions become your orgasms and your tragedies become your redemptions. Don’t believe in god, believe in yourself. So many people have believed in god; god is yesterday’s delight. Today, you are your delight.
If you write a novel in fourteen days, they won’t believe you; if you spread it over fourteen years, they’ll put you on a pedestal and praise the work that you supposedly strived to complete at all odds, even though your heart kept forcing you to go the other way; if you write a song when you feel no pain, they won’t get it; if you take too much LSD and tell them life is beautiful, they’ll tell you your high; nobody wants to touch roses that have thorns, nobody wants to kiss a woman whose lips are dry, nobody wants gold that doesn’t shine, and nobody wants to be told otherwise. Everybody wants numbers, reason, and solid facts and if you ask them to play with you, they’ll call you a child. That’s why, learning to bleed when nobody’s watching is the artist’s great abode, his temple hidden from the impurities of the perfect world. Don’t listen to them; if you have to go to school, go to school, if you have to love a woman, love her like there’s no other, and when the time comes to meet your broken heart, drink your whisky, smoke your weed, drop your acid, and be on your way whistling on to a new tomorrow that offers something newer than yesterday. Nothing sticks and everything moves like frames on a movie screen; if you have to get a job, get it, work it, lose it. It seems to matter a great deal now, but when you’re facing death a few seconds away, if you’ve let nothing stick, you’ll greet it like an old familiar friend, and that will be your moment of liberation. What everyone considers their damnation, will be your liberation.
Don’t go to art school, go somewhere else. Contradict yourself, cheat yourself, hurt yourself. But in the midst of the chaos, remain honorable. Not perfectly honest, or kind, compassionate, or honorable in a cheap noble kind of way; remain honorable to yourself, that will take you across the fire to the sunshine that you so desperately seek.
Go away now, to that crazy place, that’s not Rome, or Paris, or New York city. Go away to that place you’re afraid will kill you; and when you’re back, I’ll be waiting for you, here, on the other side.