Open Letter, to Penn Quin

October 14, 2013 § 1 Comment

Dear Penn,

I trust that you will reply to my letter in like sort, and let me know your thoughts, and your mind.

Where am I at? It is only here in Dorset, in the country and comfort of my parents’ house, resting from work, that I begin to have any idea. After one night and one day here I am sufficiently rested to think a little. (And still I am quite aware that my thoughts have evolved little; more probably replaying after being put on hold once more, an interim of work, a small circle of ideas, reiterated?)

I am very soon to be jobless as well as homeless, again. I have a little money — not much — saved just these last two months when I have not had my own place. I will move to Sweden on the 3rd of November and scrabble for both. Job, home.The language. I must do it; I must be independent. I have taken enough from my so kind and so generous parents (haven’t we all, as children? I — too much). But let it stop now. I must support myself if I can find any way.

And what we need, is money. And so: employment. And I may need to study, for that, or indeed, be doomed to lucky jobs I had rather not do (subject to physical over-exertion / mental under-exertion, and so depression? and so zombie-like fatigue … ).

So: education. But what? For one must lead, more or less directly, to the other. Study, to job. Though it seems not so straightforward, in practice… What might I be good for, be good at? How might I contribute, how might I like to? How might we all?

I’d like to write, I guess. I know just that. Not in what capacity. Not how, not why paid.

If you look beyond the personal and see a universal request for employment — to be taken, chosen, accepted — see the request as one to be validated and allowed to live, a way of living. Yes, you may live. Your ticket handed out. A job. Passport of society. And your job will keep you there, keep you busy. And busy, with hours necessarily filled up with work, not thinking too much, not too creative, either, the majority of us (but perhaps we are only to blame for that, and lazy,) — energy used too far up. Jobs may vary and people too, of course. But that employment should keep you fairly safely in line. Not a threat.

Is what we need, to find a way of living outside of society, self-sufficient, or outside of monetary dependence? But what, with this exodus, if we grow ill? Or reproduce — our children — do we not wish to offer them stability? Education? Money, money.

Do we carve a niche we wish to fill, for ourselves, give ourselves a purpose — skills — that others will recognise, pay us for? And what if our living-making, our bread-winning, is via some way creative? What of the pressure to pound out the next novel for your rent, their suppers.  No —

How do we do this? How live? How remain conscious and how live with pleasure, with integrity; do anything beautiful? Most of the time, I am deaf and dumb to such notions. Most of the time, I am exhausted, and make motions only, after work, of tube and food and shower and bed.

Do you write? Do you want to write? Will you write, as Huxley and Orwell did, in a way penetrating? Clear, and cutting into people’s consciousnesses? And not for the sake just of writing for writing’s sake, art, for art’s sake…

Make yourself heard, understood. Then there is your place, and it is merited. No?

Lots of love,



§ One Response to Open Letter, to Penn Quin

  • James says:

    I’d love to hear your ongoing thoughts about these ideas. I’m in a similar place at the minute and you’re writing insightfully about it.

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