I haven't read the book Into the Wild by Jon Krakaur even though some of my pals in Alaska carried around copies with copious notes scribbled into the margins. I suppose I'm afraid I might relate too much. However, the movie Into the Wild was like a painting and a poem had a baby.
Rarely do I post the entire lyrics of a song, but this song Rise is just so beautiful. Eddie Vedder is one of my favorite modern-day poets. I recommend you listen to this song, because it is one of those soulmate meetings of music and words.
A couple of years ago, someone told me they were throwing out an attic full of old books, and I should come over and get whatever I want. When I got there I was told that all the books "worth anything" had been taken, but I found a few strange items to keep anyway.
"Make the most and the best of yourself. Your destiny is in your own hands and your fortune will be your own making. Are you making the most of the one life that is intrusted to you? Are you putting to the best uses the natural abilities of body and mind with which you have been entrusted? Or are you droning through life, steadily and surely drifting behind those of less ability than yourself, men who with fewer talents than you possess are making the most of themselves.
Think of this. Put the question squarely to yourselves as we put it for you, and answer it honestly. Are you making the best of yourselves?
If not, now and only now is your chance; make a radical change and make it at once. Begin a new life and rise out of the old ruts. Do your own thinking and acting. Strive to be a man among men, [or a woman among women] with a worthy purpose and a pure ambition; then will the world not only be better for your living in it, but you will be better for having lived in the world."
There you go, young people. Thems some good hints.
"I'd tell her about sex; the good stuff, like how it could be warm and exciting--it took you away--and the not-so-good things, like, how once you showed someone that part of yourself, you had to trust them one thousand percent and anything could happen. Someone you thought you knew could change and suddenly not want you, suddenly decide you made a better story than a girlfriend. Or how sometimes you might think you wanted to do it and then halfway through or afterward realize no, you just wanted the company, really; you wanted someone to choose you, and the sex part itself was like a trade-off, something you felt like you had to give to get the other part."
"To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."
To those of you who have off today, he also said this:
"In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less.
It has not been the path for the faint-hearted, for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.
Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom."
Poets to Come Poets to come! orators, singers, musicians to come! Not to-day is to justify me and answer what I am for, But you, a new brood, native, athletic, continental, greater than before known, Arouse! for you must justify me. I myself but write one or two indicative words for the future, I but advance a moment only to wheel and hurry back in the darkness. I am a man who, sauntering along without fully stopping, turns a casual look upon you and then averts his face, Leaving it to you to prove and define it, Expecting the main things from you.
"Just ignore him and he'll go away, my mother used to say to Gillian when we were young and I bugged her. Just ignore him. All he wants is attention. In retrospect, there seems to be something almost cruel about that--to simultaneously acknowledge and refuse someone's desire for attention--especially a child's. All he wants is attention, as if it's bad to want attention, like wanting money or power or fame. Perhaps it's why I prefer to be ignored now; I've been warped in some irreversible away. Of course, I'm sure I've been warped in countless irreversible ways."