October 16, 2008

Roads to freedom

When I was a kid I was never around books, but when I was about 16 I met a girl who taught me how to read and rewarded me with sex, and in her circle I played the role of uncultured guy who had culture, the monkey in a man suit.

What I learned then was that the right words and ideas could get you laid a lot. Soon afterward I learned the wrong words and ideas could have exactly the opposite effect, although I stayed faithful to the words and ideas rather than sex, and that was maybe a mistake.

My point is that when I first got into books and was devouring three or four a week [no TV, little homework] a big impression was made by Sartre. Roads to Freedom was intoxicating, reading it starved and dreaming of being a cafe haunting waster / boho / sophisticate, machine-gunning Nazis from the roof a church. Cool stuff, and still some things to aspire to, but the dominant subtext was always the face of the author:

un visage seulement qu'une mère pourrait aimer

At 16 it staggered me that he'd managed to think himself into a supposedly higher state of being, despite looking like that.

There are basically two ways to be free: to be rich or frugal. I lacked the ambition, drive and talent to ever go for the first, but I got the latter down pat as soon as I got my first paycheck. I've always lived within my means, and so that whole field of worry has never given me a moment's concern.

I'm going to hand in my notice tomorrow and stop working on December 20th. The last few months have been proof of concept of having no schedule and just working from home or elsewhere, finally getting the hang of self-discipline a third of a lifetime too late.

The idea is to live off proofreading, with maybe a few entertaining classes picked up to get me out of the house, ideally privates with people who are preparing for tests and focused on that. But am wary of seeking new chains, happy to play the cafe haunting waster / boho for a while.

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