I will not Reason & Compare: my business is to Create.
- Wm. Blake, Jerusalem
* * *
To read Blake is to encounter the voice in the whirlwind, the whirlwind and voice being the same, the force of each twinned to the creation of a new, third, thing. It is dizzying, unsettled, prone to shifts that only made sense in William's mind: a universe made complete with the same unknowing and profound mystery in the blank spaces as the universe we barely acknowledge when we pay our bills and rake leaves. William is always asking us to catch up - not to him, never that, but to the whirlwind of our own genius, the emanation of our spirit, the power of our bodies, our will to create.
William is fire itself.
* * *
To be fucked, as the term is used here, is to be outside the flow of things: your life, the community, the marketplace, the houses of the holy. Any thing man has created and institutionalized in order that trains run on time, garbage is picked up, property inherited, marriage codified, debts incurred and paid, commerce conducted is, at its root, an attempt to bring order out of chaos. And this is an absolute good when it delivers clean water, fresh food, wise governance, and justice to the day in and day out of living together. However, when that absolute good is used to enforce compliance beyond the mutual respect for common law and common decency, when it becomes a prophecy of how you are allowed to live, where you can live, the work you are to do, the expectations you are to meet it becomes an albatross and its effect is gutting.
The choices set before you are straightforward enough: follow the path, read the sign and some day you'll own a home as big as a house; or rebel, chafe and be excluded from the great swim of things. And, in truth, you needn't even rebel in order to wind up lost and fucked and stuck. All that needs to happen is to lose faith in yourself to know how to put one foot in front of the other, to fear the experience of failing, to sacrifice your beauty for those who do not see it in you, but whom you desperately hope will.
William says elsewhere:
The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects with Gods or Geniuses, calling them by the names and adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities, nations, and whatever their enlarged & numerous senses could perceive. And particularly they studied the genius of each city & country, placing it under its mental deity;
Till a system was formed, which some took advantage of & enslav'd the vulgar by attempting to realize or abstract the mental deities from their objects: thus began Priesthood; Choosing forms of worship from poetic tales. And at length they pronounc'd that the Gods had order'd such things.
Thus men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast.
* * *
William is always asking his reader to catch up, to catch fire, to let go of religion so one might know God, to abandon commerce so one might be rich, to forgo all but the power, the creative power of your genius. He believed a life come alive to it's Ancient Self could only produce freedom from slavery. For he believed such emanations, such productions were part of the original fire, the ancient fire buried under the detritus of rules and commandments and banker's laws, that burned with the genius of the first spark.
He was mad.
He died penniless.
He thought sex an excellent pastime.
He invented a process of printing to suit his needs.
He was a self-taught writer and painter.
He created forms and books and images no one had ever seen.
He built a mythos to answer his questions.
He did not reason or compare, but only create.
The question I ask you is this:
What have you created with your life?
Take a minute before you answer. Don't compare yourself to William, or me, or any last motherfucker you know. Answer this as only you can. It may take days before you hear the answer. Maybe years. Answer it only when you are past reason and comparison. Answer it by your doings. Answer it only when you need no answer.
Expect poison from standing water.