One of the great joys of being a writer came to me when I read an essay of mine called, “Meltdown” at City Lights bookstore in San Francisco. Famous for the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, and the Beat Poets, City Lights looks and feels like a punk rocker at a prom–a little dangerous and anarchic–but dead sexy, too. It’s the bad boy of bookstores you want to give yourself to.
Writing, it seems to me, involves some danger. A willingness to write wild, to go off trail.
The poet Allen Ginsberg who first performed his famous work “Howl” at City Lights wrote, “Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” When we write from a place of intense imagination we cease to be conventional– our words are illuminated, luminescent, aglow with moonlight and madness.
How do we follow that inner moonlight? We write fast, we write furious. We stalk an idea into the deep, dark forest, trusting only to our intuition. We learn to howl our truth on to the page, however strange. We don’t give a damn for being liked, and everything for truth. When I wrote “Meltdown” I broke with all conventions. I mixed memoir with nature writing, I used science and poetry. I was consumed by a need to get the words on the page.
So put on a feather hat, dance beneath the stars, put aside every thought of how you will be regarded–and don’t hide your beautiful madness. Just write!