I think the hardest thing to write about is now, this moment I’m living in right now. To just pick up a pen or flip open the laptop and begin writing about what’s happening now. To share what is whipping through my mind right now just as it is or describing what is going on where I live at this moment or the parade of living what’s walking past me right at this moment, to write it simply and honestly as it’s unfolds before me. Why isn’t the now enough? Well the answer is pretty damn obvious, because it’s really hard to do. To make something worth reading about nothing but now, means I have to be very vulnerable and honest, because that’s what being in the moment demands. God, I don’t know where this is heading… maybe I’m writing in the now or something close to it anyway?
But what I really want to share with you is the quirky, brilliance of Joe Brainard. He is the master of writing about now and a whole host other things too. I found him because of my interest in poets from New York who were his friends and professional peers. I grabbed “The Collected Writings Of Joe Brainard” from the library just because of this and it’s been the crazy, best read of my summer. He’s a visual artist who designed book covers, painted, drew cartoons, etc… and maybe this helps make his writing so humble and simple, yet so original.
This is not fiction, it’s whatever comes into his mind now. Whatever is happening around him now. He did this manifesto to memories called “I Remember” and it’s so addictive. It’s memories he’s remembering now. As you read it, his memories. become your memories, which somehow stimulate your own memories, and it all gets mixed up together which sounds kind of confusing, but really isn’t when it’s happening, because it’s so fascinating to be reading these bite sized blurbs of things past. This is a piece you’ll want to return to again and again or at least I want to.
The rest of his writings are a pleasant jumble of diary entries, poems, musings, cartoons and other moments he’s put to rest on paper. I’ve enjoyed the whole book for the glimpses into Brainard’s life, mind, creative processes, sense of humour and how it all relates to humanity. This book is so universal and doesn’t shy away from the mundane details or the taboos of quotidian life.His book is an excellent tool for any creative soul, to help get us back into the moment and let now be enough.