Who knows us? When you pause to reflect, can you imagine all those people who have crossed through your life? From the people who cooed over your crib, to those who changed your diaper, to the neighbor who shooed you off their lawn, the kid who sat next to you in second grade, the teacher who stared down from behind the big desk in middle school (were they in one long glance secretly assessing you life’s tragic potential or simply reminding you to open to page 32?). What about your best friends in those fraught high school years. Did they know you – or some evolutionary version – and do they now ever in a fleeting moment remember, these many years hence, a fleeting scene in which you played a memorable role? How about your first heartthrob, your first sexual partner, your brothers and sisters, the aunts and uncles from around those many thanksgiving feasts. Have they fixed for themselves a notion of the true you?
Especially in the fleeting moments, epitomized by today’s social media, and our apparent cultural inclination to separate ourselves into infinitely splintered groups, knowing others (and the inverse) is daunting and maybe unattainable. Sure I share photos on Instagram so others can see a bit of my vision. Facebook posts I make are like the beam rotating in the darkness from the lighthouse, only momentarily shedding a glimmer of light on your reality. I text with family frequently and it’s sometimes fun and funny and important, but does the connection provide the emotional balm we often seek.
In this matter I may not be precisely on the same page as some of my readers. After all, I was the guy to which the question was once addressed “…don’t you ever want to JUST fuck?”. Yikes, that made me feel like some special kinda freak.
Recently I have been absorbed in a special project. Its inspiration lay in a growing sense of loss. Time layers on our lives subtle films that over time deaden our awareness, our presence. The people who surrounded my early thanksgiving table have gone on to graves, to lives lived far away, even some banished to some place of un-forgiveness. The lives of my children, biological or otherwise, have grown complex, focused and quietly distanced from me. Grandchildren – and now great-grandchildren – have added another layer and another hurdle to connectness in a world where three generation households are rare. In this matter I assume a full measure of responsibility
Since 2012 I have been writing these simple, unvarnished blog entries. I compose each from whole cloth based upon my circumstances, my state-of-mind and an instinctive sense of who I am. None of the entries would necessarily resonate specifically with a daughter, son or grandson. Still, I’ve decided to assemble a series of stories into a slim printed volume in the hope that in the hands of friends and family they will penetrate some of the layers of distance to trip a sense like “I know better where I came from” or perhaps “I know you better”. Working title? Who Is This Man