Saturday, March 7, 2009

March 7: On Solitude

Today's Kerouaction

Jack said, "No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength."

Today's Kerouaction - experiencing solitude - may not be something you'll do today, but you can put it on your list. And you don't have to spend months on Desolation Peak like Jack did (although that would be a very beat thing to do).

The point is solitude. Crystal gets some at camp. I get some on solo hikes or camping trips. Being in the wilderness is an advantage because you're less likely to see other people, which is part of the point. What? You're in the city and there's no wilderness? You can find someplace no one hangs out - an uninhabited building, a rooftop, under a bridge, the sewer system, the far end of the railyards, an abandoned factory. If all else fails lock yourself in your bathroom for a few hours! Where isn't the point. Solitude is.

When you undertake this Kerouaction, remember to leave your cell phone at home or at least turn it off. It's okay to read, but journaling would be better. Connect with your surroundings and your own existence. Be dependent on yourself for a time - an hour, a day, a weekend, a month.

This is one Kerouaction that's foolproof, yessir. If you experience some real solitude, you'll better understand Jack's quote above.



Anonymous said...

Reading this post made me realise how little real solitude I get. I mean, I spend time alone quite often, but it's always in a cafe or a park or just walking around London, where there are always other people, things happening, endless stuff to distract me from just being with myself and listening to my thoughts. I think it's time to get out of the city for a while...

Rick Dale, author of The Beat Handbook said...

Andrew, I've never been to London (I want to) but I'm sure you can find a place to get some solitude. Let us know how you make out!