Sep 14, 2009

Time in the Woods - Day 8

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

-Henry David Thoreau, from Walden

No time in the woods would be complete without some mention of Theroux and his two-year stay alone at a small cabin on the shores of Walden Pond, near Concord, Mass.

Theroux didn't live as a hermit as he received visitors and went into town on a regular basis. Rather he wanted to distance himself from society so as to better understand it. He wanted to deliberately live a simpler existence as opposed to acquiescing to the materialistic lifestyle that the industrial revolution made popular. 

My time here wasn't inspired by Theroux, it was inspired by own my love for being in the woods. And although I only read a few segments of "Walden", I found it mostly plodding and sermonic, with occasional bursts of inspired prose like the quote above. Theroux didn't seem like much the party animal, that's for sure. A teetotaler with a distaste for new clothes, he's not the kind of guy you'd want as wingman for a night out in Manhattan. Nonetheless I do find fraternity with his desire to strip away the distractions of a materialistic lifestyle so as to allow room for other more important things to take it's place. (And yes, I am aware of the irony of using my iPhone to write aboutliving a less materialistic lifestyle.)

But enough of dead authors secretly yearning for a Bloomie's shopping spree. Last night was magical. With a chorus of ctickets and the gentle rustle of a cool breese in the trees overhead, thousands of stars twinkled through my silhouetted forest canopy. 

I have two more nights here. I am looking forward to going home yet I'm also enjoying the feeling of my internal critic losing it's power over my creative instincts. I'm not quite sure why, perhaps it's a "boot camp" thing where I had to be broken down by a sense of impending doom before I could break free of my critic's grasp. Perhaps it's Theroux's simple lifestyle making room for creative expression. In any case, I'm feeling a creative freedom that I haven't felt in a long time. It's still tenuous and a bit elusive, but when it comes the feeling is like a 40-pound pack being lifted off my shoulders.

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