Today marks my 64th year on this planet. Since news of one's imminent death 'concentrates the mind wonderfully,' meaning only that my end is closer than my beginning, I've decided that a fine way to spend that concentrated capital of my consciousness, the only kind I've ever had, is to start writing. Writing with the hope, that is, that others will read it, not just for my own amusement, as I've done since I was five or so. Some of that was college work, granted; but it didn't feel like I was writing for someone reading what I wrote.
There was one exception: an exceptional professor who taught 'Western Civ' whose last name was Knapp. I did sweat to write to impress him. He was so impressed that he asked what I was doing in that college (that I don't think made even the top 200 in the US). After showing me his praise that fairly glowed on my paper and a grade off the charts, he told me I should leave school and go write. I stayed out of sheer ignorance, fear, and poverty. I wasn't completely wrong; but neither was he totally right. Why didn't he help me while I was there? His reply disheartened me and I never asked him for anything thereafter. I think I even got a poor grade in the second course I took from the no-longer-perceived by-me as the so exceptional Dr. Knapp. He'd replied he just stayed there to publish his own work. Pity the poor, and, increasingly, impoverished students. Pity the poor, also less well-paid today, professors that value teaching these students.
The power of my earnest quest for an ethical code I could live by ('Teach your children well/Their father's health is slowly going by...You, you along the road/Must have a code that you can live by...') was exceeded only by my inward-turning, contemplative nature-- in The Sixties, no less! For me it was a glorious time to live with The Beatles and Motown as the soundtrack. And it was 'the worst of times' surrounded by hundreds of thousands, even millions if we include the Vietnamese, of corpses caused by war. TV and magazine images that surrounded us daily captured and flung back at us outraged and pleading protests in colleges and in Washington, D. C. Eventually, 'race riots' set the still-segregated ghettos of our cities ablaze with similar yet different protests on fire with centuries of these fellow Americans' (and former slaves) centuries of pain.
Since this piece has been written without notes nor a conscious idea in my head, just to meet my self-imposed deadline to publlish something by midnight on this birthday, it shouldn't be too surprising that memories arose and not punchy political commentary. Yet I'm still surprised, but satisfied. I hope you are, too.
It seems to have taken on a cadence of the 19th century, though. I did write even more a-mazing (a too-late pun alert; groan.) convoluted sentences in school. Another teacher, exasperated and having had too-recent visceral experiences in WWII, screamed (on paper) that my 'German Romanticism' must stop!! I was so ignorant that I felt compelled to research that comment to find out what was so wrong with German Romanticism, at least then, in his eyes. After, of course, I found out what the hell German Romanticism actually was. In books. At a library. That's how old I am.
Since this is my initial entry in the Daily Kos Diary section, I can't expect anyone to answer the following yet; but for a few days now The Beatles have been concentrated wonderfully in my mind, asking that musical question, 'Will you still love me when I'm 64?' I hope your future comments will let me know...