Almost midnight and the Boss is singing about The Ghost Of Tom Joad and I thinking about the time my son asked me if we were poor.
Poor is a relative term which is my way of saying yes we were and no we weren’t. I can’t think of many moments in time where I was more ashamed/prouder/angrier and confused because I felt like I had failed.
It didn’t matter that I had gotten f*cked and that our situation Â had more to do with the greed of others and that I had been forced to sell our house because I was trying to take control of life and unwilling to just hope that some things would fall into place.
My children haven’t any idea what kind of beating I took to keep us in that place. It took a toll in every way possible and if I could I would have shown the people responsible for it all the hair in the sink and the blood in the toilet but there never was anyone who was accountable.
Do You Run From Confrontation?
Because confrontation and I are good friends, perhaps tighter than we should be.
Some of the harder moments in my life have come during times when I was supposed to be patient. You know, those moments where you are told you should wait to see what happens and then react to those.
I am not a big fan of reaction. I prefer to be proactive because being reactive feels too much like I am just letting life happen to me and that is not how I want to live.
A few hours ago my daughter handed me a note from her teacher asking us to choose a date for a conference. She is a very good student but that is not just a proud father speaking, that is a report card and feedback from her teacher.
Yet something about this request bothers me and I am not sure why. I have been trying to figure out if I have noticed any strange behavior or heard any unusual stories but I can’t think of anything.
Part of me wonders if I should email her teacher and ask for some insight as to what this is about. It could be nothing, but it might be something and I would prefer to get a jump on things.
But sometimes the best course of action is to wait.
Writers and Real Life
Sometimes I think about the intersection between writing andÂ real life.Â Remember how I told you about how The Shmata Queen wants to know how I never run out of material?
You know it was part ofÂ What Tools Do Writerâ€™s Need To Be Successful?Â Well every time I read/watch the news I put together my own story about what is happening.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 turns into a horror story about pilots who fly unsuspecting victims to an island where their organs are harvested for transplant. Or it turns into an action tale of heroism under challenging circumstances.
The point is there is endless material out there to write about and ordinary life is what I use to paint upon my canvas.
And it is also why this parent/teacher conferenceÂ bothersÂ me because I want my children to have lives that are easy, wonderful and filled with magic.
I don’t want to have to answer questions about whether we are poor that are based upon terrible circumstances. It would have been much easier if he had asked why we don’t go to Hawaii like his friends and not “why are we the only ones who had to sell our house and share one for a while?”
Who Are You?
There was never a doubt in my mind about my ability to dance in the fire or take the blows that come from time to time but I never felt the need to prove I could.
And now there are days when I look in the mirror and realize the man looking back at me is very different than the one who did a while back.
That is not a bad thing, but I am still learning a bit about the new guy.
Gandalf: Well, all good stories deserve embellishment. You’ll have a tale or two to tell of your own when you come back.
Bilbo Baggins: …Can you promise that I will come back?
Gandalf: No. And if you do… you will not be the same.