Jewel Center of Interest is The Eye Within the Eye by Asia Kindred Moore
I thank Jack Kerouac for his Belief & Technique for Modern Prose, a “list of essentials” as Jack called it, written in a letter to his poet friend Allen Ginsberg back in the ’50s. My dad gave it to me when I was 15 and going crazy with the chaos that comes with adolescence. Kerouac’s list became the muse for my very first tattoo that I just got on my 18th birthday. It’s #24 on the list, and says, “No fear or shame in the dignity of your experience”.
Three key words in there are ‘fear’ and ‘shame’ and ‘experience’. I have fear because I have secrets, and shame for fearing them. If someday I should let go and be cured of fear and shame, I think I could recover a bit—but I’m not there yet. Some experiences have run so deep down that I cannot even look at them straight on. The pushing, the screaming—at my father, my mother, my heartbreaker—“forget me, leave me, nothing matters, let me go ... die … but still love me…”. Some experiences, though useful and life-changing, are unpleasant company to keep in conscious memory. So they play in the background, like a skipping record or dream, and I see all the places I fell still and rigid, or where I would change it—if only I could go back. But I can’t go back. I have kept things so stored, so buried, boxed away for so long that they have eaten holes in my memory ... blank spots.
How incredible these human emotions—fear, shame—and all because of previous experience. It consumes a lot of my time, every day. I’ve done some mean things in the past I’m not proud of, and I know it holds me back emotionally.
Rationally, I ask, why should I fear or feel any shame about actions that seemed right at the time—but turned out completely fucked up because I was completely fucked up at the time? But when my emotions kick in, they kick the ass of my rationality.
It’s hard living with fear and shame. I envy those light-hearted creatures who share this world with me, but I’m not one of them. And won’t be any time soon.
In high school I had a teacher who told me that the definition of crazy was doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. I think she’s right. (If you’re reading this, you know who you are.) And so now, trying to not be crazy, I am doing a few things differently, and hoping for a different result.
Which leads to the fourth key word in my tattoo. ‘Dignity’. No fear or shame in the dignity of my own experience. It’s tattooed in my own handwriting across my shoulders so I will forever keep that message close to me.
Here’s Jack Kerouac’s list of essentials, see if any of these crazy ideas sticks to your mind, or ends up tattooed on your body.
1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy 2. Submissive to everything, open, listening 3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house 4. Be in love with yr life 5. Something that you feel will find its own form 6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind 7. Blow as deep as you want to blow 8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind 9. The unspeakable visions of the individual 10. No time for poetry but exactly what is 11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest 12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you 13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition 14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time 15.Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog 16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye 17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself 18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea 19. Accept loss forever 20. Believe in the holy contour of life 21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind 22. Don’t think of words when you stop but to see picture better 23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning 24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge 25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it 26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form 27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness 28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better 29. You’re a Genius all the time 30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven
Asia Kindred Moore lives in Salem, Oregon, where she works as a barista at the Coffee House Cafe downtown. Asia can be reached at [email protected].