Work was fine and though I did experience moments for the gratitude journal, on the way home tonight, I acquired the worst, most vile mood and to be honest, I was angry over the same shit I’ve been angry about for decades, baggage I just can’t seem to shake and this anger was increased when I walked past the North Beach store that employs a certain ugly, mouse-shouldered, elitist, rat-like, green-eyed, big-nose douchebag whose ass I seriously want to kick, for whom fighting would not be a challenge for me.
By the time I got to my office/hotel room, I was stomping my feet, clinching my fists, muttering curse words under my breath, and ready to pounce on anybody that pissed me off.
Did I mention it was raining a bone-chilling rain and my Beat Museum hoodie was soaked?
"I will not be drinking tonight," I said to myself, knowing there’d be serious trouble if I did.
Stepping inside my place, there was a sealed envelope on the floor that the landlord must’ve slipped under my door. It’s from England, sent by an American-expatriate writer named John Hopkins. I wrote him a fan letter 4 months ago thanking him for his work, specifically The Tangier Diaries, a book I loved and can honestly say, changed my life. The book inspired me to keep a detailed diary that became my life-saving, detailed gratitude journal.
Though he was younger, John Hopkins was a contemporary of Paul Bowles and William S. Burroughs. He wrote 5 novels and another journal, The South American Diaries. Of his novels, I’ve only read All I Wanted Was Company, which is a lovely, complex book that deals frankly with subjects like loneliness and solitude.
I’m a big fan. His descriptions and straightforward prose rival the best of Hemingway and he has lived an extraordinary life traveling the world over and while in Tangier, Hopkins knew and met everybody worth knowing and meeting. (Imagine Paul Bowles inviting you to a late-night party and you arrive and John Lennon is passed-out drunk and Paul McCartney is offering you a bong-hit.)
Despite this, the man is little-known, even in literary circles.
I sat down at my writing desk and opened his letter written in blue ink on yellow legal pad.
29 NOV 13
Many thanks for writing ‘Eli,Ely.’ I enjoyed the roller coaster ride down the flanks of Vesuvius unto the last days of Pompeii. Maybe SF should be purged by another Great Fire, as you seem to suggest, or will San Andreas swallow it all? Your strenuous, perilous existence, living on the edge is perhaps one which only a body-builder can sustain, let alone survive. The narrative seems to pick-up steam as you roll along, with the reader wondering how it will finish. The ending is right -almost an epiphany! You pick up pen and paper and write it down, writing commiserates and now it is forever. Keep on writing and soon you will have another book; with a lifestyle like yours, you won’t have to make it up.
I have a new diary for 2014. This one is ‘The White Nile Diaries,’ with St. Martin’s Press, an account of a motorcycle trip I took across Africa. They are also re-issuing ‘The Tangier Diaries’ and ‘The South American Diaries.’
Keep in touch with future projects.
Afterwards, I thought to myself, ”Oh, Zeke, (or Brett,) let that shit go. Who cares, man. The past is the past, don’t think about it unless it is to mine certain moments to write about but even then, you won’t be able to until you are at peace with everything. -And who cares if some limp-dick assholes dealing with their own insecurities and jealousy treat you like shit. Fuck them. It’s their bullshit, not yours. What would beating them up prove? That you could? You already know that. Let it go. Let it all go. You’ve cultivated a rather fascinating present, with potential for an extraordinary future. Let the past go and fuck the green-eyed monsters. Fuck them all. …And lastly, a writer you’ve long admired now admires you. You wrote him a fan letter and he wrote you one back.”
"Keep on writing, soon you will have another book; with a lifestyle like yours, you won’t have to make it up." -John Hopkins in a letter to Ezekiel Tyrus.
That quote will be as important to me as anything Kerouac or Hemingway ever wrote. More so, of course, because it was directed to me. Thank you a thousandfold, Mr. Hopkins and congratulations on the book deal with St. Martin’s Press! That’s huge!!
Regarding the comparison of San Francisco to the last days of Pompeii, this town is a decadent place if you know where to look, I know where to look and I’ve got a tab going.
I’m happy and have no trouble publicly proclaiming my happiness because it has taken me a long time to get here.