Perhaps I snapped. Maybe I over-reacted. Maybe I was impulsive or temporarily disconnected from usual reason when I kicked college and my internship and my part-time job and cashed the student-loan refund and took off for Columbus, Ohio. I’m still not absolute on why I took off but this I do know: I was sick of it, sick of feeling like I was being pulled along by someone else’s string, as if everything I did were not my mindful decisions but decided for me, by someone else. Who? I don’t know. But I couldn’t stand it, the way I felt grounded to dust by the machinations of society, remolded by the gears and spit out like a number in an equation.
They told me I read too many books.
They told me I watched too much news.
Everyone was right. Because when I had it figured out I split. I was living in south Jersey at the time, attending the second university of my college career. I was there for journalism and I wasn’t doing much work, spending more time in the library reading Schopenhauer and Nietzsche and anthologies on free will. That’s what I was after. And after twenty-two years (that was my age) of searching I came to the conclusion that the only reason, the only meaning and point and purpose of not just life but the Universe as a whole, was freedom. To be free. Infinite. And from looking around it was obvious that society had become a restrictive force on free will. And if the point of life is to be free, then to be human means to be free, and if someone or something is to lessen your freedom, that person or thing is lessening your humanity, your worth as a human being.
I’m pretty sure that’s what snapped my nerve.
I decided to drop out of school, to write for myself instead of an editor or a mass media company. I needed a place to live. The college house I’d been living in was too much a distraction, too many opportunities to get trashed and stoned and lazy and right when I was most desperate and about to fly to California a good friend from years back texted me out of the blue. I hadn’t heard from him in years. ‘Hey wats goin on? I’m looking for a roommate.‘ I immediately bought a bus ticket to Columbus, Ohio. Coincidentally enough, and I didn’t notice this until I was reading the newspaper on the bus, but the day I’d left was 11/11/11, and on the front page of that issue of USA Today was an article on the numerological significance of the number eleven. Eleven is considered a door, said the article, representing new beginnings and new pathways. 11/11/11, continued the article, was the tri-fecta of that. And so it was.
I spent the next few months in relative poverty having spent the student loan refund on mostly alcohol. I was a recluse then, spending all my time working out the novel I wanted to use to explain this idea of freedom and the Universe (it was very vaguely explained in this About page). Eventually I had to get a job and though this cut into my writing time I still made decent progress. Ultimately I burned the first draft and when the smoke alarm went off used the cheap rum to douse it out. I’ll rewrite it eventually.
In May I went hitchhiking. I almost lost my mind. It was only from Ohio to North Carolina but I almost died, twice, and it was the most enthralling, skin-tingling, mind numbing and soul freeing experience I could have ever imagined it to be and since then, despite almost dying (twice), I’ve been hooked. I’ve also decided to write a book about this trip, and the novel should be up here in the Spring. I went hitchhiking again in October, this time making it out to Los Angeles, and this trip has been the basis of the Reason to Run stories.
What I’ve done to myself, for better or worse, is removed myself from the system. I view society as a machine run by wicked humans and every time I turn on the news I find this view corroborated. I’m going to write, and I am going to travel — all else be damned. I’m going to keep hitchhiking and continue vagabonding and live the life of a poor saintly human and for now on, instead of playing along in the rat race of consumerism that never ends and only feeds the uber-wealthy, I’m going to be happy, and I’m going to chase my dreams.
So what is this blog? Why it is nothing more than the unfortunate decision to make public my life as I try and find my way as a young writer. Will I find literary accomplishment? Or will I fade to the forgotten mists of literary obscurity? Well, I can only strive for the former and this sorry blog is going to lay it all out. So go ahead, come along for the trip if you can stomach it. It’s not going to be easy, freedom never is… and that’s just what I’m after.
** All material here found, unless noted otherwise, is open and free. Use it as you wish: repost it, rework it, do whatever the hell you would like with it. I ask only for due attribution. Oh, and Reasons to Run, that’s one thing that’s not up for grabs. All else, have fun. Except for Go!, that too I keep the copyright for.