I'm coming a little unglued. I feel the world changing underfoot as fast as I can take a step. Americans are sort of cute when they're scared, don't you think?
Things have been tough lately for dreamers. They say dreaming is dead, no one does it anymore. It's not dead it's just that it's been forgotten, removed from our language. Nobody teaches it so nobody knows it exists. The dreamer is banished to obscurity. Well, I'm trying to change all that, and I hope you are too. By dreaming, every day. Dreaming with our hands and dreaming with our minds. Our planet is facing the greatest problems it's ever faced, ever. So whatever you do, don't be bored. This is absolutely the most exciting time we could have possibly hoped to be alive. And things are just starting.
-Waking Life (2001)
Of course I'm grateful to have a job. Everybody needs money. That's why they call it money. As far as jobs go, it could be a lot worse. The two kids I share an office with are some of the nicest people I could have hoped for. They are my ying and yang. The company is laid back and relaxed. Yeah they make fun of my raw food and call me rabbit, but they also circle around the head of lettuce curiously, like children pulled into it's power even if they don't know why yet. So it's not unbearable.
The only unbearable thing is that nothing is unbearable.
It's just unfortunate. I don't want to spend 30 hours a week helping somebody else make money selling sports equipment, and every morning when I have to get out of bed and go to work I want to run screaming through the streets, pull my hair out and chew on shards of broken glass.
I employ all sorts of tricks. On some days I pretend like I'm a slave to a cybernetic multi conglomerate corporation, that I'm strapped down to the seat and there's a tube in my brain that harvests information directly into the computer's mainframe. It forces me to sit at the keyboard all day and spew bullshit copy out of my fingers about how much better the consumer's life would be if they only had this Four Square Oh Brother! Purple Rain Parka. As you can imagine, the game is terribly unfun and I grow weary.
I found this thing called LibriVox with amateur recordings of literature in the public domain, and I thought, Aha! This is the key. I figured out that if I listened to two hours of Ulysses every day, I could finish the book in about a month and a half. I warmed up with some poetry, and dear God, don't listen to Prufrock when all you want is to escape your unfortunate circumstance. "Do I dare disturb the universe?" YES oh God yes, get me out of this place, and then you go groping blindly in the dark for a 10 story window to crash out of, to hit the pavement running with smoke billowing out behind you due to such breakneck speeds - except your office has no windows. No, I don't dare disturb the universe. I sell kayaks.
It's just that I'm so close. I can taste it. I have a real job in the fall, something I really want to do. I have a story being published next month. I need new, loftier ambitions.
I'd like to be a custodian this summer. It's the most peaceful job I've ever had. Cleaning toilets, one after another, a long porcelain line like so many beaded pearls = the epitome of zen. I'd like to teach little kids how to read outside on picnic tables. I could farm. I miss overalls. Yes. I'd like to be a farmer.
It sounds like bullshit, doesn't it? I might as well say I want to be a catcher in the rye.
Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.
J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Interview with Author Erik Marshall
1 month ago