Miller reads like a more accessible Leonard Cohen, which is not necessarily good but fine for this moment in my life. I'm on reading week so a relatively lighter read is a good thing. It is filled with lots of sex intermingled with poignant philosophical ruminations. Example:
"A child has no need to write, he is innocent. A man writes to throw off the poison which he has accumulated because of his false way of life. He is trying to recapture his innocence, yet all he succeeds in doing is to inoculate the world with the virus of his disillusionment. No man would set a word down on paper if he had the courage to live out what he believed in. His inspiration is deflected at the source. If it is a world of truth, beauty, and magic that he desires to create, why does he put millions of words between himself and the reality of that world? Why does he defer action - unless it be that, like other men, what he really desires is power, fame, success. 'Books are human actions in death' said Balzac. Yet, having perceived the truth, he deliberately surrendered the angel to the demon which possessed him."
and etc. I find it rings true. Some writing is just honest, without trying too hard to be honest. Miller doesn't give a fuck so honesty kind of leaks out. And it is unflattering but when you read it all you can do is nod "yes" in response to its humanity.
There are lots of subtle and not-so-subtle references to Whitman in this text. So I found Orwell's summation of Miller particularly interesting: