Jack & Charmian London

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The story of author Jack London and his second wife, Charmian Kittridge. Jack's early beginnings of belief in materialism alone ruled the universe, and his notions that science disproved anything like romance, specifically the concept of love.

“Why should I care what people think?” asked Jack London. “Let ‘em say I’m a rough, savage fellow. Untrained, unrefined, self-made. A man which strives to hide beneath an attitude of roughness and unconventionality. Do I attempt to un-convince them? It’s just easier to leave their convictions alone. It’s so much easier to live placidly and complacently. O course, to live placidly and complacently is not to live at all.”

Writer, sailor, gold prospector, tramp, oyster pirate, rancher. Jack grew up in a world that preached materialism and science over things of the spirit, and which spoke against out dated notions such as love. He came to believe that everything in life had to be approached scientifically. He believed that “all phenomena, whether it be an emotional response, or a sunrise, can be reduced to a chemical reaction.” He believed the only rational idea for marriage was for the breeding of the race (anyone’s race). His first marriage, to Bess Madden, was founded on scientific principles. Though he didn’t find any satisfaction with what he believed, this is how he saw life, and in his mind would never change.

Until he met Charmian Kittridge.

Charmian was not a lady of her period. She didn’t fancy dresses (though she could upon occasion), preferring pleated skirts. She’d ride a horse straddle, never side saddle. She was an editor at the newspaper her aunt owned. She could box, fence, play piano, and was always up for adventure. Most women hated her, most men loved her. She was, as her aunt wrote Jack; “different from the average sort”. Jack wanted to know how different.

They met, and, after a series of emotional mishaps (Jack’s scientific marriage having become a disaster), discovered something both had yearned for in life - love. Charmian believed in love, and knew what love should be all about. Jack wasn’t expecting love when it hit him senseless.

In a time when men went adventuring with other men, and a man’s best friend was another man, Jack and Charmian adventured together as best friends. They traveled in and out of the States (for fun and for Jack’s lecture tours), sailed the South Seas in a 43 foot sloop, living life to the fullest. Jack wrote – “When I finally came to grips with love, I found fame a vanity, success - meaningless. But this did not cause me to become self-centered. I found meaning in the company of my kind, and self worth in the company of love, which is the best fame of all.”

Near the end of his life – Jack said “I’m free! Free of the primitive, the survival of the fittest – and…free of materialist concepts.”

When Jack died at the age of 40, he had written over 50 novels, built a working ranch in Sonoma County, and had traveled all over the world. When he died, literally, in the arms of Charmian, he said “you’re all I have left”.

His strength of heart and presence was such that – within a few years of this death – many members of his “Bohemian crowd” committed suicide. They simply didn’t know what to do, now that their “spark of life” was gone.

Though this in itself is an historical storytelling, it is still a "work of fiction". Never-the-less has been exhaustively researched.

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