“It’s more important to concentrate on what you want to say to yourself and your friends. Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness. Take [William Carlos] Williams: until he was 50 or 60, he was a local nut from Paterson, New Jersey, as far as the literary world was concerned. He went half a century without real recognition except among his friends and peers.
“You say what you want to say when you don’t care who’s listening. If you’re grasping to get your own voice, you’re making a strained attempt to talk, so it’s a matter of just listening to yourself as you sound when you’re talking about something that’s intensely important to you.”
Now I’m not student of Ginsberg, but I suspect that people – especially bloggers – are likely to lift his message of personal authenticity out of context and plunk it down into a rationalized excess of capitalism, materialism and greed. Our tendency to use a quote as a writing prompt without demanding context is a reflection of that lack of critical thinking that leads to a life more yoked and harnessed than one might imagine. I can only imagine what the homeschooling bloggers do with this prompt. Yikes.
No one can accuse me of hiding my madness, that’s for sure. But I never really thought about my inner moonlight before today. What I like about that analogy is that it is concrete and grounded – moonlight is here and now, not a distant star. It is the light that is closest to us, even if it is reflected from the sun. But it still guides us and thus, is real to our lived experiences. It is a force of nature and something we should trust.
I suppose blogging via moonlight would mean not worrying about clicks, comments, shares and analytics. It certainly rejects the nation of link bait. But it implies or perhaps requires attention to form and substance and style grounded in who we actually are and what we actually value. Do I blog like that? Not really, I think. I am a little too haphazard and inattentive to grammar. I’m not consciously rejecting the rules because I’m just not paying attention. I think that’s a different thing. I don’t have my own writing style per se. Maybe I’m getting too hung up on the fact that he was a poet who invented a new beat?
The good thing is that the quote inspired me to do some reading and learn something about Ginsberg, then gave me the impetus to write something. The writer’s block is dissipating. I think I’ll enjoy tonight’s moonlight with Ledcat (and maybe a #PSL)