October 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

“The rhetoric of skeptics, oh I have it all by heart.” – Al Baker. 

It’s easy. It’s sweet. By the time the dust had settled the sun was coming up on the California highway and I was trying to kick another hole in sunrise. More rubber burnt. More miles racked up. What is it now? 100,000? 200,000? I lost count around Camden. United Kingdom, United States, forward and back, forward and back. Books. That was the point I wanted to make. Books. Books will set you free you know? I mean it. There is salvation in the written word. Hell, here is hope in the written word, I hope, my hope to you. You see, that’s the thing they never told you in school. Education will set you free, it’s just that not the education that schools provide. Education must be sought. To learn about the things that intrigue you is to be peaceful. Is to calm the senses, is to slow the heartbeat. Is to pause, take order, access not just the situation in itself but also the situation you are in. All of this is what should be taken from books. When I read On the Road I felt that small-town America wonderlust, When I read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas I felt that mad mind bending drug binge, when I read Bell Jar I felt Silvia Path’s desperate sadness. And I know, I know, I can almost hear the words in your head “Oh Simon, how about sounding off some more cliche indie teenage literature? A Clockwork Orange perhaps?” I understand that point of view, but at a young age those books made me know that I wasn’t alone in the feelings I felt. That extraordinary realisation was for me salvation. It was hope. It still is.

They say that there’s new ways to get that feeling into young people’s blood, through film and games. All I know is that to be saved you must first want to be saved, and to be able to provide that salvation through anything other than the written word certainly isn’t a skill I poses. I don’t mean to sound all old man time about the situation, but I urge you young people, there’s a reason that generation after generation loved the written world and it isn’t just because computers and xbox’s hadn’t been invented yet. Those books made me. The references are etched on my soul. There’s nothing you could do to take them out, they are mine and will be forever.

Salvation is, no matter how messy and unforeseen, reserved entirely for those willing to be saved.

So save yourself – Read a book – a good one though, not some corporate teenage shit. The classics will see you right.

Oh to be saved more than once.

Simon Blake

No Longer an Astronaut.


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