Friday, January 06, 2006

Viva la vie boheme!

So, I'm reading this book called Bohemian Manifesto: A Field Guide to Living on the Edge. (I must confess to adoring book titles that have a colon and a further explanation. I don't know why; it just seems so very wittily matter-of-fact.) It's a light, fluffy, prettily illustrated little book that identifies and describes the five classifications of Bohemians (Noveau, Gypsy, Beat, Zen, and Dandy, if you're interested), as well as examining their vanities, poetry, art, and lifestyle. My mom saw me reading it, and said she didn't think I needed any help being a Bohemian, and I was like "Mom, it's not like I'm Jack Kerouac, and anyway, it's not a textbook" to which she responded "I don't even know what that means." We then got into a debate about how she could have a degree in literature and not know that the beat poets were an extremely formative genre of American literature and she retorted that she got her degree in the 70s. I tried to tell her how Bohemian art can be studied back into the 1800s and hadn't she studied freaking Hemingway? and anyway, Kerouac and his band of beat poets dominated American literature in the late 50s-60s, and well, it was just pretty much ridiculous one-sided conversation. I think I ended with "Holden Caulfield woulda loved Kerouac!"

The point is, that I'm far too practical and materialistic to ever be a true Bohemian, but I do sincerely admire their rich, irreverant way of living beyond convention, and their uninhibited, rumpled devotion to ideals and dreams, art and poetry, love and decadence.

Anyway, that being said, I've barely listened to anything else since I got the soundtrack to Rent (ibym "got"... "bought for Julia for Christmas and then immediately ripped to my iPod"). I absolutely cannot the following lyrics out of my head:

To days of inspiration
Playing hookie,
Making something out of nothing,
The need to express, to communicate
To going against the grain,
Going insane,
Going mad...

To loving tension, not pension
To more than one dimension,
To starving for attention,
Hating convention, hating pretension,
Not to mention (of course)
Hating dear old Mom & Dad...

To riding your bike midday past the three-piece suits,
To fruits!
To no absolutes!
To Absolut!
To choice!
To The Village Voice!
To any passing fad....
To being an "us" for once, instead of a "Them"...

La vie boheme!

It's so Gen-X and cheesy, but it strikes a chord somewhere inside me, the part that was so completely at home in New York City, the part that loves taking trips to nowhere, the part that is ecstatic to sit on the floor with a glass of wine, a candle, and a Tom Robbins book. The part of me that doesn't turn on the TV for a week and finds elation in talking to a stranger with a dog for hours in a coffee shop. It's not all of me, but it's a bit of me, and hearing those lyrics always makes me hopeful, whether I'm really happy or not. I think we could all stand to be a little more Bohemian in nature.

"Who am I? I'm a poet. My business? Writing.
How do I live? I live.
In my happy poverty I squander like a prince,
my poems and songs of love.
In hopes and dreams and castles-in-air,
I'm a millionaire in spirit."
~Rodolfo, La Boheme

3 Comments:

Blogger iamchanelle said...

hey - horaaaaaaaaaay! two weeks! and i am so glad you can come to clint's b-day party - bring somethig black to wear, if you want to - it is a surprise "funeral" - heh heh heh....
and how about i make you something from my kitchen aid while you are here...and make you covet all the more. hmmmm. maybe not such a good idea. :0) see you soon!

January 07, 2006 7:35 AM  
Blogger Giovanna said...

That was beautifully said J.

la vie boheme indeed!

January 07, 2006 1:09 PM  
Anonymous julia said...

hey! you got the paper back. me likey.

January 09, 2006 6:36 PM  

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