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Keep the Aspidistras Flying

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I’m gonna set the world on fire tonight
The greatest novel in history I will write
I guess I always knew, this is what I want to do
And my goal is so nearly in site

I gave up my job yesterday
Told them I had to find my own way
I’ve got so much inside no matter how much I tried
I couldn’t work and find the words to say

Keep the aspidistras flying put them on your windowsills
It might be enough for you, but that’s not how I feel
That’s not the life that I want, I yearn for so much more
A writer’s life is the one for me, of that much I am sure

I started out such a hopeful man
But things haven’t quite gone as planned
Inspiration comes and goes but never seems to flow
Into words that I can understand

How much brighter the world does feel
When you’re on the right side of a meal
It only takes some wine to make the world seem fine
But next day you’re on the wrong side of the hill

I’ve bought an aspidistra, and put it on my windowsill
Found myself someone to love, and I am fulfilled
A writer’s life is not for me, and I don’t really care
If I set the world on fire or get less than my share


Inspired by the book of the same name by George Orwell. I read it forty years ago, and its message stuck in my mind, although I recently read a summary and it seems I might have come away with the wrong message. This is how I remember it:

You look down on the middle classes with their boring lives and their aspidistras in the windows. You want to be a writer, and the only thing that’s stopping you is your day job, so you hand in your notice. You have lots of time on your hand, but writing is much harder than you thought, so you lose confidence in yourself. You have no money, and your optimism is directly linked to the amount of food in your stomach, which is usually very little. You fall in love, go back to your day job, and buy yourself an aspidistra.