What to Write About…

f the choice is to go on a trip or not go on a trip, it’s probably best to go on the trip. No really, go, get out of the house, hit the open road, you’ll never regret it, and when you travel for a long time, you’ll come to appreciate your home country, city, family, dear ones, more than you will ever know. And, if there’s one thing it will teach you, when you are old and own your own home, you will always love the people you have chosen to be around, more than you could ever know. If you are 18 or 19, don’t hesitate to go on a trip, a really long trip. I didn’t. I found on my trip to Europe, a really long trip, I came to appreciate staying put, even if staying put meant being shoved into a cramped little dorm room. Oh yes, and don’t miss out on having a roommate from a tyrannized little country where freedom is rare. Be aware of people who have less than even your poorest neighbors in your own country, for, after all, you have the luxury of traveling whereas most likely they won’t ever leave the borders of their country. You’ll be lucky to live in a country, for a while, where almost everyone gets around by public transportation. Who needs a car. I found it so much more stimulating to not have a car. not having the responsibility of a motor, a glove box, or tires, oh yes, airing up the tires, and where would I have done that? That brings up the matter of cleaning the human body, I had to ask in English than in mediocre German where to clean my body. Fortunately, I knew the word Douche and I knew it meant shower, and Bhanhoff train station, so I learned that there was a public shower at the train station and that I had to bring several half mark coins because I would have to plug the water meter with coins and before the water ran out, or just take a one coin quick shower. Ah, the joys of the youth hostel because that’s the cheapest arrangement I could make for a one or two-night stay in a town, and I learned my backpack could not go unattended because there are plenty of thieves in such accommodations. Then later I learned of the pension like a mini motel where only the young woman we traveled with needed special arrangements and didn’t think it fair that two men slept in the same bed, then, the young woman had to foot the bill for one room whereas two young men could split the cost, then so lucky to have American passports because we could go anywhere in Western Europe but we could not go beyond the Iron Curtain so we stuck with Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and France. Finally, let me say that I nearly kissed the ground when I got off that Fin Airplane, $212 round trip good for one year.  I split for first class between Chicago and Des Moines, hometown, travel-weary but I’d learned to swagger into a liquor store and fake my age. I actually did this at age 20, for in three months I would turn 21. I bought myself a bottle, for I had really learned to drink in Europe. Dedicated to Susan Weinkauf. .via What to Write About…

Published by elgwyn

I was a University and college writing teacher, now retired, so I write poetry, and essays, mostly free verse poetry. I love writing. Computers, tablets, and smart phones are the norm. When one sees university campuses with students looking at phones while walking to class, one realizes writing can be blogging. I am an ordinary man writing for artistic pleasure writing, and simple taste-- blogs are an answer to high priced self-publishing. Walt Whitman had to print his paper books himself, because in 1855, and 1860 poetry did not sell. It does not sell now unless you have a Pulitzer Prize and even then the poet usually makes a living in other ways than writing. In all ages there have been writers writing out of their own needs, and blogs are an answer to get rid of high cost of self creativity. I am an older man with fewer computer skills than my daughter who has been at computers since she was three, so here I can satisfy my need to write without spending too much on self-published books. All three blogs let me reach an audience missed by books and stand a better chance to reach a wider audience. My two books, Winter from Spring, Meditations on Gratitude, as Kindle books and paperbacks did not reach as many people as I wanted, and blogs can let me avoid the printer. Layout and design is expensive. For me writing is more like the charcoal jottings of preexisting civilization made only for posterity. Blogs face two problems as I see it. They might be submerged into a chaos of too much writing, and they depend on electronic storage. Yet, how's that different from electronic books which must have specialized publication? Paper disintegrates, blogs can be physically stored and organized for posterity in data banks. All organization becomes chaos at some point, but charcoal images on cave walls still exist after the author scribbled eons ago. So what if I reach only a few interested people, but hopefully, readers will reach out to me. Writing is essential for showing the ways of culture before history knows those ways. To record each individual is essential especial for billions of people who need to know enough reading beyond pictures to save a planet. Writing without profit isn't new to me. I'm not seeking to impress the audience. Poetry in general never sells, and personal confessional, and emotional writing exists sometimes like journal writings only for the author. At least here is my hope for wider audiences. My writing is personal and informal, but my writing expresses some serious ideas like the writing of contemporary writers to rise above chaos in my own simple way, above self-absorption, a meditation, the simple writing of an ordinary man. I hope to find my own way out of my own chaos and make my record stand alone if even in electrons. Though I hope never to express nightmare in my poetry, fiction, or essays, some serious considerations are important to me after centuries of mechanized nightmare. The next decade is probably of the same failure in our world. This decade looks to be another time of diminished individuals and the next as well. We all wish peace and hope will become normal. It looks like if hope reaches each individual, not governments there is satisfaction in making means of writing available to many. My hope is for each human being to give their own expression out of the abyss. If humankind is to survive in any common way, we must each be able to express maturity and take responsibility in something beyond self. Electronic media offers people these possibilities so long as computers can store individual lives. Here people can freely see what I write and what others write. Though I hold an MFA in creative writing my simple vision never found a wide audience. I was disappointed about this earlier in my life, but now it's just what one expects of such degrees. I found happiness in family and especially in love of my wife and daughter. Writing can be more than a pastime now that I'm older. I approach seven decades living with some disappointing times, and some satisfying times. I'm like most people, and I've been married more than 37 years, and we sent a successful daughter into the world. We happily live in a country where even the poorest have food. Often as a young man when I traveled for nearly one year through Europe, where does a culture begin to feed and house so many people, and how do all these people live in harmony since World War II? Maybe it's been a question of survival. Writers can hold a little corner with blogging, blogging for harmony and peace. This is my hope. This is my question.

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