This is a guest post by Aram Mrjoian, a writer of various fiction, online essays, and daily haikus. He is an avid reader and publishing professional. Follow him on Twitter: @AMrjoian575
1. It starts in the writing. You wonder how Peter Heller can make the apocalypse sound serene at times, how Jim Harrison can describe a good meal with more clarity than most people can describe their wedding day, or how Jack Kerouac made you consider taking Benzedrine and driving across the country to see your brother in Corvallis, Oregon, without stopping for anything more than gas and apple pie. It’s all right there in the words. The verbs and nouns, chosen by the individual, that fills you with a sense of awe and envy. Don’t be shy to sigh loudly when a certain passage strikes you, no matter if you’re at home, in class, or lounging in a coffeehouse.
2. Romanticize all of their achievements, even the crazy ones. Tell yourself Gonzo wrote remarkable prose on a diet of Wild Turkey and mescaline, pour yourself a large tumbler of bourbon, and try to write, fail miserably, and then blame it on not being Hunter S. Thompson. Try to cook a woodcock a la Jim Harrison but realize you don’t have a bird dog to hunt it, and then acknowledge special ordering a box of ten birds from the UK or settling for Cornish hens is a cop out. Order nothing but a side of bacon at a lunch counter and imagine Frank O’Hara sipping coffee next to you writing poetry, mimic the image you’ve created, and write a poem that is vacuous and derivative. Turn off your television and read solely because you know it’d make Ray Bradbury smile.
3. Treat them as your mentors and refer to them as friends. Use them to fuel your passion for living. Think about what Scott Jurek would say if you cut two miles off your morning run. What would Papa Hemingway say if you opted out of camping for fear of grizzly bears? Would James Joyce, with his constant use of portmanteaus, enjoy the term bromance or would he find it gaudy and hackneyed? Would he like that you refer to him as J.J and that you wish you were in a bromance with him? Would Peter Heller laugh at you when your kayak tips over on a lazy river?
4. Use them to help you win debates. Pull (mis)quotes from your brain when you’re discussing politics vehemently buried in a back corner booth of a seedy pub or when opining your thoughts on pizza toppings amongst a group of colleagues. Throw around their philosophies as if you helped create them.
5. Convince your girlfriend these male obsessions are normal. Try to explain to her that it’s impossible not to be wooed by the brisance of their words, the incredibility of their stories, and the daring of their adventures. Remind her that most men have never ran an ultra-marathon, or been on an expedition to the Tsangpo Gorge, or climbed a mountain with Gary Snyder. This should be easy. After all, if you’re with her, she must love books too.
6. Empathize with their shortcomings. Understand that they too are capable of failure. Remember that through all the nonsense and arrant alcoholism and uncouth missteps they are only men. Yet they kept writing, and every book you read and every word you put to paper perpetuates their love for language.