Friday, April 24, 2015

Gitting nekid

24th April 2015

Last week, readers seemed to relish my notion of running naked through Kensington Gardens. During the 70's there was a craze for streaking in public. The 1960's and 70's were all about shaking up social conventions. But it doesn't take long, perhaps ten or eleven streakers and the radical itself becomes convention. If you're streaking across Kensington Gardens because other people are doing it, then you are just as far from saying anything important as you would be sitting in a Victorian parlour buttoned up to your chin. It's not a question of what you do so much as who you are when you are doing it. As the Robin Williams character in Aladdin whispered into his master's ear, "Just beeee yourself."

It turns out that being yourself is just about the hardest task we ever set ourselves, and that's surprising considering we come out of the womb as ourselves and we step into the grave as ourselves.
In the morgue, it doesn't matter how much you're worth, what accolades you have garnered, or how prestigious your entourage might be. On the cold slab, you're just a naked body with a tag on your toe. Perhaps that's what the streaking rebellion was all about.

More than anything else, getting "nekid" in this way should be what the writer is about. You can't write what is so about the human heart if you are draped in sheaths of pretentious cloth. When I was a young student, I took to smoking a pipe for a while - as a philosophy student, it was good for my image. But as a writer now, let's say a mature writer, none of that dross should matter. You need to cast off the clothing, because it only obscures the heart. And the human heart is what we should be  going on about.

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