Write By Heart

The boys are congregating on the porch and I am reading On the Road, for the second time because the first time I only made it a short way in before I myself had to take to the road leaving behind everything familiar except myself which may have been the thing I most wished to leave behind, for a while at least, but it was not meant to be.

Now I am not on the road and restless because the summer is fading fast, and I am faced with the prospect of returning to teaching classes at the high school, and it fills me with a panic, not feeling confident that I can pull it off even though I've done it before, it always feels like starting from zero because I can't stand to do things the same way twice, even those classes I've supposedly taught before feel just as new as if I never have, and whether that's bad or good, I don't know, but I do know how I feel and that is exposed and incompetent and nervous.

I'm not supposed to admit any of this, I also know, because it is not professional and being unprofessional is frowned upon, but I have never been a professional at anything except being an amateur and since I'm already past 40, I suppose that's how things will remain.  Sometimes I wish things were different, but sometimes I don't, and I don't imagine that would change even if I were a professional, I'd look at some amateur sitting on the porch, fingering a banjo, and dream about a life free of all that professionalism, though other times I might feel great relief that I wasn't so adrift, like I said, sometimes wishing things were different and sometimes being thankful they weren't, exactly the same way I feel now.

Where all this comes from I don't know, a gene drifting down from Siberian gypsies or a reaction to how I was raised or a product of my culture?  These things are hard to sort out and complicated and probably not worth the effort since there never will be a straight answer except for it's just the way things are so why not accept it?

What I do know is that taking the time and space to write these things down gives me a satisfaction that I don't get doing other things and it keeps me feeling calm.  Whether that is because I've taught myself that habit, like brushing my teeth gives me a certain amount of peace, or whether it is some ancient human thing stuck in the DNA, I don't know, but it makes me feel agitated and depressed even when it's sunny and everyone is lovely and I have many hours, if I can't come up with something to write.  That makes me crazy, like a caged animal, so I pace around the house, wasting the day.

It doesn't make any sense because there are always so many important things to be doing, scraping paint or earning money or grocery shopping or cooking or spending time with people I love, but I can't seem to do any of those things or even be content if haven't scribbled something down, even if it's something that has been scribbled many times before.


  1. Replies
    1. To go to a school that in this time of obsessive testing emphasizes the experience, yes they are lucky. But more so, I am lucky to have the chance to get to share in their artistic experiments.

  2. How vulnerable, admittedly imperfect and therefore sublime. I laughed when you said you’re not supposed to admit unprofessionalism. Unadultism. Noncogent. Lacking in maturity. Appreciative of Robin Williams jokes, etc. I mean, my whole life I’m confronted by people and situations and I’m thinking, c'mon man, you're not serious, are you? You look like an evil villain in a sci-fi movie, is that supposed to be your personality? Said to bosses, unhelpful people, raging roaders. How stuck in your own story not to laugh at the absurdity of the professional class. My reading of exceptional people is, they were all making it up as they went along, Kennedy, Carrie Nation, Keynes, Butch Vig, Bill Gates, all of 'em! If you'd asked Churchill how he made his decisions during World War 2, he would have admitted improvisation. He would have said some moments call for gravitas, other times he talked to his cats and geese, played knights with his grandchildren and drunkenly reeled around conferences til all hours, scandalizing the atrophied nobility. In short, not even remotely professional and he saved western civilization. Then, he retreated to his writing, his love of literature and painting - whiling away the hours at his easel, pausing to enjoy his family and meals - never considering how a professional politician should behave, but intuiting something grander in life, the ephemeral joys of being.

    1. Ha! Cheers to being unprofessional then. Love this. Thanks for writing!