Geoff Dyer on being free

I sometimes think comic writers possess a great capacity for wisdom. Geoff Dyer’s wonderful Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling with D.H. Lawrence is full of Geoff Dyer the funnyman but then tilts into these serious moments:

Films and books urge us to think that there will come certain moments in our lives when, if we can make some grand, once-in-a-lifetime gesture of relinquishment, or of standing up for a certain principle… then we will be liberated, free. Moments–crises–like these are crucial to the cinema or theatre where psychological turmoil has to be externalized and compressed. Dramatically speaking what happens after moments such as these is unimportant even though the drama continues afterwards, with the consequences of these sudden lurches beyond the quotidian… Unless, like Thelma and Louise, you plunge off the side of a canyon, there is no escaping the everyday. What Lawrence’s life demonstrates so powerfully is that it actually takes a daily effort to be free. To be free is not the result of a moment’s decisive action but a project to be constantly renewed. More than anything else, freedom requires tenaciousness. There are intervals of repose but there will never come a state of definitive rest where you can give up because you have turned freedom into a permanent condition. Freedom is always precarious.

Out of Sheer Rage.


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