Definitely the time that George Orwell’s, 1984 came into my life was to be inspired by societal restrictions and media influence with or without this book. However, 1984 taught me some well-needed criticisms of and warnings for our society. I came across 1984 in the cheap bin of a bookstore. Didn’t think much of it at the time, besides “what a great find. so cheap.” This being the age of my discovery, having just turned 21 years old (it was a heavy time of digesting several beatnik authors), I had developed the sociological lens through which I see. I was curious to read this famous tale for myself. My High-school friend Jason and I were on a road trip in and around the Northeast visiting places with exact direction unknown except for Thanksgiving in Boston with a friend.
I’m sure that it took me months or even weeks to begin reading, or for that matter to finish the book. But, I can remember where I finished it. I was on a train from Liverpool to London on voyage to visit another friend. I was wearing this light grey, wooly material turtleneck sweater that I had collected during the first half of this journey at a town-center street market in Wigan, England, jeans and my ol’ Doc Marten boots. I had grown in maturity enough to wear my glasses at all times; I wore circle-rimmed frames under my long boppy-top, side-shaved hair cut of the generation. In my train car table seat I was smoking hand-rolled drum tobacco in between passages (anticipating a little hash once I arrived to my destination) watching the blue cigarette smoke rising along with my thoughts as the countryside swept by outside the window. When I arrived, we created the World Party of our futures, walked for hours and watched Trainspotting in the theaters of London. We smoked and talked all night. It was a great time to be alive and in love with my people.
I had finished the book on that rail trip. I remember sitting in shock. I’m not sure if any part of the book disturbed me so much as the ending. Just visualizing that (no spoilers) gave me shivers… and still does. If all else equal in the world of literature, this book scared the dickens out of me in fear of what an overpowering troop of leadership could do. Hence, I have always kept a critical objectivity of what our leaders claim to do for our safety or benefit, and loved dystopian films or stories since. The book is colored with a bit of positivity. Many years later in remembrance, I bought a glass sphere paperweight with glass flower encapsulated within as a gift for my wife while we were still dating. Just to say something like, “hey babe, if things go bad out there, at least we have now.” That was during the earlier years of the patriot act and the post-war America that we now live in. Oh boy, here we go…