Saturday, August 2, 2014

Now and then

I am wondering why it is so much easier for me to write about the past. Is that really where good stories live? Could I write about the future? If I go through that door (presumably marked "Future"), it does seem that The Wolf I have been successfully avoiding all my life might be sitting, just on the other side. "I've been waiting for you, Mike." "What took you so long? The door hasn't been locked."

I think the handle to that door should be a nice big brass handle. I'll polish it with my little can of Brasso. On the rare occasions, the odd smell transports me back to my brief two years in the Army. We used Brasso on, you guessed: Brass. But since this little moment is about why I don't go through that door, you should be amused that I cleverly used the smell of Brasso to go back rather than forward. Not really clever. I am displeased. Assuming The Wolf is not really inside the door, I will try to step inside, at least for a moment.

 Inside the door is definitely a full length, very precise mirror. I would prefer that it not be there, but I'm sure it will be. The mirror will be well lit and I'll see myself. I will glance at myself in a very indirect look. I rarely look at myself. There is a single exception. Whenever I fly, I always go into the toilet and stand right in front of the mirror over the sink and look very hard at my face. I always do that. Odd. I look deeply not my face and I see my father. I see a variety of things on my skin, but I mostly see my father looking at me. I know that is why I look. It is the only time I really get to see him.
But I must press on. I will not look hard into that mirror. I am already a wreck. I don't need to stare at my entire body. That is absolutely too much. I will just walk down the hall a bit.

My philosophy of life. Stop. My view of life. No. Let's start again. When I reflect back on my life thus far, I see a variety of huge turning points, but I have always believed they were somewhat random events. I made big decisions and sometimes they were made for me, but I never knew the future. I just kept drifting down the river and climbing out to restart my life. I set up camp near the river, build some aspect of my existence and then the river bank collapses or I decide to go further downstream.

 So, not to twist all my metaphors into a huge knot, if I go down the hall on the other side of this scary door, is it peering around the bend of the river? Since I am now 71 years old, I've gone along many twists and there is good reason for caution. Moving down the hall, I think there are several doors. The doors are annoyingly unlabeled. Must I just try one? For the moment, I'll just scoot back past the mirror and return to my current spot.

Well, I tried. Maybe writing about today is quite enough.

Return to blogging

I've always loved Charla Bregante's writing. Only recently while exploring the virtues of Google+, I was so pleased to see that she had a blog. Drifting through her past posts, I found a moment when she had decided to restart her writing after a dry spell. I have my own dry spell story. I began writing some years ago after the death of my wife, Sarah. I used the writing somewhat as a semi-public diary. A few friends followed it, but I was very, very sporadic. I have been of the inspiration-required school of writing. Indeed, as I look back over some posts (e.g. Lab Partners), I'm pleased with what I wrote. A few years ago, I began to get emails from a person who asked if I would allow her to re-post some of my writing on her web site. It was clearly oriented for persons who were older. I said ok, and she immediately began to "accept" my pieces. Her audience of readers were very kind and encouraging. I liked that part. I sent in a few more pieces. But, as I have read, bloggers also get criticism that can fall in a wide range from helpful to nasty. Two things happened that stopped my writing, for a period. First, I got a solicitation for some writing seminars from the same web site that had been eagerly "publishing" my blog entries. In the corner of my mind, I had thought this might be an enterprise (not a scam, just a business), but I ignored that thought and enjoyed a bit of flattery. Next, one well intentioned commenter on my blog noted (correctly) that I wrote rather dark pieces. That was certainly true but her truth was like a slap to my self concept. Had I become a dark, grief obsessed person? I didn't think so, but here was one woman telling me that she hoped some day I could write things less dark. I believe she used that phrase: "less dark." So fragile ego that I apparently had, for quite a long time, I just stopped blogging. Charla's determination to write on a regular basis might motivate me. I wisely know this may be the last thing I post for a year, but I would like to return to this strange world of blogging
. I will try.