Huxley

All writers are inspired–at one point or another–to write. But I’m not at all sure many of them can recall the exact moment when they definitively decided to become a writer. (On the other hand, maybe every writer does.)

I was in college, sitting in a tan corduroy armchair reading a paperback copy of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. There was an oversized “Devil’s Haircut” poster on the wall behind me and forest green, low pile carpet under my feet. It was past time for a good vacuuming.

It was my second reading of that book; the first had come in high school. I was a fan of it in the tenth grade, but by the time I got to college, I’d decided I needed to reread it.

From Brave New World, I went on to Brave New World Revisited. This reading led to Island, The Doors of Perception, and Heaven and Hell. However, it was the caste system (Alphas, Betas, Deltas, etc.) described in Huxley’s seminal work that gave me my eureka moment.

I believed that if I was able to see society the way Huxley did, then writing should be my vocation. If I’d known what that meant for my future, I might have questioned this thinking a bit more. I’ve returned to Brave New World since, and it’s predictions and social commentary remain significant to me.

Although I haven’t gotten there yet, I hope to modernize the sci-fi classic in a style of my own. Of course, I won’t be able to call my work Brave New World Revisited. That one’s taken.

photo: Joshua Coleman