Whether they were snaking into your ears at bedtime, hammered into you by a tenacious lecturer, or lining your imagination like a crushstruck teen’s locker, some authors come into your life and etch themselves deep. Like a birthmark on your frontal lobes.
For me, as an impressionable 17-year old it was Oscar Wilde – whose snipperish wit and lust for everything velvet – had me giddy with admiration. From lovers tryst or long-bound friendship to well-worn armchairs, writer-reader relationships like these make their mark and can seldom be replaced. But with such strong bonds built, how often do we open up, giving ourselves the chance to get acquainted with other authors? And I don’t just mean reading one or two of their works. I mean really getting to know them. Their backgrounds. Their influences. Their contemporaries. The very reasons that drew them to the page in the first place.
“Some authors come into your life and etch themselves deep. Like a birthmark on your frontal lobes…”
Personally, it’s not that often. So with a Feed before me, I opened up the door to the inner circle, and invited one of them in.
Thanks to the American beat poet movement getting some serious popcorn airtime, with On the Road, Howl and even a surprisingly OK appearance from Daniel Radcliffe in Kill Your Darlings, I’d worked up a serious appetite to learn more about the iconic vest-wearing, cigarette wielding, writing-provocateur. And one in particular – Allen Ginsberg.
And my, what a guy. Often stumbled across in monochrome embrace with Bob Dylan, this was a writing revolutionary who wound his middle finger up to form, and strung structure out of the window. All in the name of expression. His words sliced through convention, setting fire to the moth-filled cabinets of canons that told him ‘this is the right way to write and you must follow suit’.
And while a day is far from long enough to really appreciate the inner working of an author’s mind , it’s enough to spark a serious hunger, while pocketing some nuggets of wisdom to store in your arsenal.
Even if you just have 15 minutes to spare, watching this will be 15 minutes well spent.