“What am I doing here?” you ask.
Well, what am I doing here?
You’re here to scrutinize, sniff around, judge, light up at what’s here or become bored and leave. I’m here to throw observations out for your amusement. With any luck, I’ll be able to refute my wife’s indictment of me as a hermit. That’s right, I’d like to get a conversation going. I shall foist on the unsuspecting public a plethora of literary musings, meditations on art and culture, feelings about spirituality, and speculations on what makes my dog tick (that’s Rosa above, loafing on her favorite beat-up pad). I’m a high school English teacher, an aging hippie, a critic of American civil discourse, or lack thereof, an aficianado of film and music, and a working man humble enough to take a job in retail to supplement his income, trudging as he is toward the ever-receding Oz of retirement.
My mother loved charades, and said her favorite prompt of all time was “Scaling the heights of rapture, plunging the depths of despair.” I can only imagine the grimaces and gesticulations that led to that one getting solved. Life has its ups and down and I intend to chronicle them here. I can wax gloomy as a Russian melodrama, and I can get silly, indulging a lifelong passion for nonsense. All of us on this bloody planet carry our fair share of torment, guilt, and shame, just as we all are privy to the thrilling transport, the belly laugh, the feeling of oneness with the universe.
I’m the last to know what my own life means. I gnash my teeth of a sleepless night worrying about why my high school English students clearly loathe me; I drive home from the school next afternoon buoyed by a morning’s encounter with the greatest kids in the world. Who wrote this mad play? On the video series The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell tells Bill Moyers, “No man has led the life he intended.” I try to understand what it all means, to read the signs and steer my actions accordingly, but the world has a way of queering the signals I thought would lead me to answers. If I’ve concluded anything after being whipsawed by Fate and circumstance over six and a half decades, it’s that nothing matters. But I stay on the case. I suit up and show up. Karma gave me my marching orders, and it’s not for me to question them.
And what if I was just doing this blog so I can shoot my mouth off about whatever I want? It’s a free country! You see, contrary to my wife’s picture of me as taciturn and withdrawn, I’ve always been rather a ham. Here’s the deal. If I connect with you, if you “get” me, if I make you laugh, get mad, or even just say “Hmm,” it’ll be worth it. I was hoping not just to have people read my writing (and see my magnificent photos) but to get the above-mentioned dialogue going. So let’s define the zeitgeist together. Help me understand God. Help me understand how we can cry the blues and laugh our ass off on the same day. Help me understand how a four-legged creature that runs around my house naked and doesn’t have to go to a job can possibly be said to be less smart than I am.
Join me here. And welcome.