When Will I Learn, Stories about Anger

Oh my anger has gotten me into trouble many a time, oh back to the seven-year-old boy, slumped in the kitchen, weeping, daddy, please come home, don’t leave us…this boy began to gain weight, stuffed anger, and the last vestige of California beauty, that trip to the top of Pine Mountain, above seven thousand feet in the Coastal Range above Ojai, California, the beauty collecting pine cones to burn in our rented fireplace, with no dad, with brother Dougie looking perplexed, me making friends with Walter, riding atop an orange harvest truck with crop headed to market, to Sunkist, Walter an me expecting a wad of bills for helping out, by golly we got in the way, laughter, an almond joy as present. Oh, we were boys, and I was Mr. Smartie Pants, wondering about dinosaurs, and rocks, and even ruination, or rebuilding. And wondering about getting a slide of blood to look at with my kid’s microscope to see the blood cells, telling the doctors as I was going to get my tonsils out that someday I would be a doctor, too. That’s about the big complaining my dad had for sticking him with the $700 hospital bill. Well, that spring was the last time I would see my dad for a long time, and he took me back up the mountains to Lion’s Camp, and way back into the woods to his secret fishing hole, and I caught my limit, as dad helped, of fresh trout, good eating I never tasted because my dad kept my limit, and his limit, so I guess he had 12 trout. I didn’t think too much about my dad, because he was not taking care of us, and there had been a settlement of land which my grandfather Al bought from my mom for $6,000. Then my uncle George from Iowa arriving to take my mom, my brother, and me all the way back to Iowa, and the three of us ending up at grandma Arieta’s apartment, our cat Tinker, black long-haired tabby, our dog Pokey, full-blood beagle both making the long trip back to Iowa, a place called Des Moines, capital city of Iowa, where I began Willard Elementary, Mrs. Riggs in the fourth grade, and how mean she was, so circumstances were teaching me about anger, but I didn’t know it, and Dougie brother in school, too. The school which was going to give me a new beginning, and like me, all new and shiny, I started 5th grade. The teachers decided I was to get special attention, and the other boys were mean, there were fights. I had a big paper route, made money for all my own clothes, and two new bicycles. I had money, my money, and I blew it. I spent it willy-nilly, pop, candy, trips to town on the bus all by myself. Ridding the public buses just for fun. Not doing homework, and hating my dad, my stomach gets all tied up in knots while I think of the word hate. That’s not the right word, thinking dad would come and take us home to California, threatening my cousins that I was better than they were, that their mother was a horrid housekeeper, all tied up in anger, where was the dad? That was the beginning of the anger, there was a dad, why didn’t he come and take us back to California, me and mom suing for child support. Getting only half what was expected, he showed us, $25 a month, but sometimes that was the difference of a week’s groceries. That was the beginning of anger, everyone but mom and teachers, school classes became a safe haven, and the work was easy, and I didn’t even have to study, good grades came my way, all except English because I didn’t know how to study. Someday I showed them–MFA creative writing/poetry 3.9 GPA and even sober, but now I’m 66, and finally, I’m getting a handle on that anger. I visit dad once or twice a year, and maybe this year I’ll fly to California twice, in the fall, and right after Christmas to be with my 88-year-old dad who I love, and I call him every day, oh God, thank you for letting me find him, I’m crying, Oh, God, thank you!!!

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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