"I am not one who was born in the custody of wisdom. I am one who is fond of olden times and intense in quest of the sacred knowing of the ancients." Gustave Courbet

24 September 2020


Everything comes from Neil Young and his song, "Are You Ready for the Country?", which has caused us considerable harm. After listening to her, a lot of people left town for the countryside. For my part, I already knew life in the countryside. But all these city dwellers came back, they tried to cultivate gardens and to grow grass which they smoked until getting sick. The designs of these people make me laugh. There is no man on one side and nature on the other. The two merge. This is why I find the position of environmental activists absurd. Empty and wild nature never existed: before the white man, there were the Indians and, before them, perhaps still other men. We must stop romanticizing nature. Having said that, I have nothing against Neil Young. I listened to his music a lot when I spent my time in Key West, just before I left to work for Hollywood. We find in his music the same thing as in Dalva: the desire for mystery, the romanticism in life, avoid shit, banality, the media and the noise of motorcycles which prevent me from speaking to you correctly since the beginning of this interview.

Interesting people often write down their thoughts in a notebook. I am very attracted by this literary genre which is the diary, or even more prosaically scattered notes written from day to day. As if things were no longer related to each other, there are only almost surreal notations left. I feel very close to this writing style today; I now realize that things never stick together and that it is up to us to pick up the pieces of a reality that constantly eludes us. When I wrote my Dalva Notebooks, I couldn't count on anything except on earth, the sun, the moon and the stars. That’s all I have. You can never count on a city. On the other hand, a tree or a river will never let you down. In Howl, Allen Ginsberg speaks of “this incredible street music”, I think that if you put aside your personality, you will be more receptive to this music. The most important thing I’ve done in seven years - my life is moving in cycles of seven years - is to have abandoned my personality. Only your voice counts and, if you manage to preserve it, you have a chance to escape the torments and lamentations of everyday life. As long as I keep my voice, I know that I will never be one of those lost guys who don't know what to do with their lives.

Jim Harrison

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