| tattoo (masculine noun) | /tatwaʒ/
If you who follow me on social media sites, you’re aware of my recent tattoo: “mad to live.” The quote hails from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road: “The only people for me are the mad ones, mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles that explode like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes, “Awww!”
I’ll be channeling Kerouac’s spirit (minus the misogyny and mommy issues) for the next eight months. No, I’m not getting high on benzodiazepine and driving across the continental U.S. in a dilapidated car. But I, too, am an insomniac who craves human contact, strong coffee, travel, and jazz. I am someone with strong ties to family and friends, but despite this, I cannot stop moving. Like Kerouac, I am manic. In fact, while reading the Beatnik writers, I can’t help but reevaluate why I didn’t become famous. I mean, I’ve had similar, if not identical, escapades involving men, women, disillusionment, and dark metropolis streets illuminated by streetlights and a chemical buzz, epiphanies, depression, highs and lows, fueled by sleep-deprivation, caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. Where do I fall within the American canon?
No matter. I’ll keep writing in this little niche of the World Wide Web. Travel blogs! Twenty-somethings trying to find their way! I’ll write about the smell of bread wafting from Parisian bakeries at dawn. I’ll write about weeping in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. How does it feel to cry tears of ecstasy? I’ll write about that. I’ll write about being lost in translation, lost on trains, in subways, and in airports. And in one week, I’ll write about saying goodbye. But, ultimately, I think Kerouac said it best: “What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”