I, William Blake

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November 13, 2017 by Jason Phillips

I don’t often write anything without myself being very present in the piece. I. Me. Who?

Shelley (I think) made a case for the Author to be invisible, if he can truly disappear from the work, then this is a sign of true art. I (me again, hi) think this could also be the case for sanity. If we can disappear from our own narrative, and look out into he world and see it for what it is, with, as Blake put it, the doors of perception cleansed, it may well be the end of neuroses.

Bukowski, and all of my favourite authors, they all seemed to be trapped in a kind of living hell. And the more I devour their, immediate, egocentric, hilarious and twisted writings the more I (or i?) am attracted to the hellish worlds they inhabit. It’s putting the me at the centre of everything, that makes the art so beautiful and relatable, but appears to be the cause of their suffering. I just finished one of Buk’s stunning books of poetry, ‘You Get So Alone at Times it Just Makes Sense’. He can’t escape himself. The entire book is written in lower case. Except the for one word ‘I’. Is this what Gonzo is? Is this beat poetry. Separating the self from the everything else. Why am I so attracted to this. It could be a sign I inhabit this psychological limbo of pain and separateness myself.

All these writers, and many of our most loved musicians and artists, end up alcoholics, womanisers or blowing their brains out. Do we need to go this far into the darkness to create something with the power and beauty of bukowski? Do we need to live in this despair in order to mine the diamonds of beautiful prose?

Maybe we need to be journeymen and all go to the darkside, but the ultimate goal has to be to transcend that hell, to, ultimately, transcend the I?

But is art art without our very own perception, our unique angle? How then, can we remove the I, surely this is the end of art. And, the end of insanity? Is art crystallised insanity? Preserving, holding on to, what was. Isn’t the very essence of sanity letting go?

What if after journeying through the dark land of limbo, alone, clutching our dark crystallised pain, for years, we then meet the Great Corblynau, disguised as a beggar or simple tradesman. And this is the test. If we are willing to hand it over, we can go. We not only leave this bitter land, we leave ourselves. We are gone from the pain. When we meet the Corblynae, in unsuspecting guise, we hand him the dark crystal. And then he takes the crystal and drags our body into his fiery ice lake, drags it to the bottom and lets it turn to dust. And we are set free.

Our soul drifts, with its new lightness, to the realm of nothingness. This is Enlightenment. This is becoming everything and nothing. This is letting go . Of the pain. Of the I. There is nothing to be done.

Maybe I love Buk so much because I recognise his journey. His pain. I wonder, though, did he let it all go at the crucial moment. Or is he burning in the pits of self flagellation, clutching his dark crystal of me-ness for ever more.



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