Henry Miller ~


“The world would only begin to get something of value from me the moment I stopped being a serious member of society and became-myself.”
Henry Miller, from Henry Miller on Writing, p. 26

Henry Miller was insanely committed to living a life that involved unveiling the depths of his experience on earth and sharing it as a creative artist in the form of words. Words were his bricks – he piled them one on top of the other until they became Tropic of Cancer or Tropic of Capricorn.

How could I come one step closer to being a less serious member of society?  My unemployment status post graduation weighed on my mind but….


…I painted. Midnight blue, kelly green, yellow, pumpkin orange, and chocolate brown swept across the sheet of paper from a tiny brush.

It wasn’t long before I felt like an irresponsible slacker – “you can’t be serious! you need to look for a job!” said the committee in my head who had convened emergently at the sight of the paint, paper and brush. Soon I found myself putting down the brush. By rote, I took out the laptop and began filing out an online application for a job at a corporation – something I thought I’d never do again.

Without meaning to conduct an experiment this afternoon, I had a very tiny taste of Mr. Miller’s struggle to go against the tide (aka, society) when I decided to act on the inspiration I received from Mr. Miller’s courage to be true to himself. He describes the struggle as feeling as though he’d been caught in a net.

“…I never worried about the genius…My concern was always for the nobody, the man who is lost in the shuffle, the man who is so common, so ordinary, that his presence isn’t even noticed.”
(p. 22)

“What I secretly longed for was to disentangle myself of all those lives which had woven themselves into the pattern of my own life and were making my destiny a part of theirs. to shake myself free of these accumulating experiences which were mine only by force of inertia required a violent effort. Now and then I lunged and tore at the net, but only to become more emeshed.” (p. 27)

He persisted in his effort to disentangle himself and the literary world is better because of it.

Today I learned that every moment is a new opportunity to commit to something that makes me feel alive.


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