Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Death of the Maverick

Really, I hated my powder blue Ford Maverick. It had been my parents car--I don't recall its year, but maybe like a '77, '78 or '79--and I disliked it even when it was theirs. It was three on the tree manual, four door, bulky, clunky and weird-shaped, it had bad steering and no real creature comforts besides an am/fm radio. And it was powder blue--like a bad leisure suit on the road. Can't recall, exactly, how it ended up in my hands, other than my parents got a new car and sold that one to me because I needed a car, a cheap car. I think it was after I'd left the panhandle of Florida and went to Iowa City for grad school. After it was all falling apart in Iowa City and I had a good stash of student loan money and decided to drop out of the Writers Workshop there and they--Father, Mother--asked if I wanted to buy the car and I said I would.
Even though I hated it.
But I have to give the car credit. It took me down to Florida. It took me from Grayton to L.A. to Seattle on one long trip. In Seattle I drove it only once in a while--except for the haul up to Bellingham and back--but drove it enough. Being a manual transmission, Seattle's hills and steep streets were a challenge, also the fact that the brakes were bad. I remember I had Tommy bleed them back in Pensacola, but that wasn't what was wrong. So, I drove it a long time with bad breaks, until I decided to leave Seattle and I took it in and they said I needed a new master cylinder or something. I had the work done. I was poor but never really broke (the closest was in NYC, I'd say). And I drove that car back to Iowa, a long way, through Idaho and Wyoming and South Dakota. My parents were amazed, one time telling me they used to worry about driving the car around town, let alone around the country.
But I rarely thought of things like that. I had some innate trust in my vehicles.
I drove the Maverick from Iowa out to Champaign, Illinois and down to the panhandle again. I drove it around there quite a bit. Drove it back up to Champaign and back down and back up again. Let it sit while I was in NYC, came back, and drove it daily to my job at a nursery, then all over with my concrete construction job. Then came the move to Montana.
And that's when I got rid of the powder blue Ford Maverick, a car I hated.
Knowing I was going to Montana, I wanted a truck.
On a trip to see Mike and Denise in Belleville/St. Louis, they had a friend who had a white pickup for sale. It was also a Ford, I think. So, I went back later and bought the truck for like $400 or something. I drove it back to Champaign, made my--our--plans to leave (Fru and I). But, the white truck was a piece of junk. I felt stupid for buying it. My friend, Kurt, who was, is, such a good soul, who I worked concrete with and was a kindred spirit with, he felt sorry for me. He had a beat up, red, Chevy Custom-Deluxe work truck pickup and he said he'd trade it to me for the Maverick. I had to kick in a few hundred to make the deal. I also sold the white truck to Leroy and he was going to drop a new engine into the hood to make that work. (Poor Leroy--or, Le 'Roy, as he said his name was pronounced, though we still called him Lee'-roy--the engine he'd bought didn't fit into that truck and I don't know what happened to either it or him.) So, when it came time to go, I drove the red Chevy Custom-Deluxe out to Montana, Fru and I, pulling a trailer full of our stuff, her cat, M.R. riding along, too.
It turned out to be a good Montana truck. Threw in some bags of sand and salt to give the back some weight come winter. It was a work truck, so it was basic, beat down a bit--the window handles were broken and Kurt had put in vise grips to crank them up and down, windshield was cracked, there was a hole rusted in the floorboard with only a steel plate sitting over it for cover, and such--but it had a big wide bench seat, a solid bed and a big engine. I finally sold it when we came back to Champaign, after our first child was born.
But what of the Maverick?
It seems, that while I was in Montana, Kurt let Doug--the crew boss, or forman--borrow the car to go get something from the job site. Doug--a good guy, who I still see now and then when we go back to Champaign--pulled out in front of someone and the car was totaled.  Blasted wrecked smithereened gone. Kablooie. He was okay. But, I felt sorry for Kurt when he told me the story. I felt sorry for Leroy and the white worthless truck. Felt sorry for Doug (but I understood he didn't even pay Kurt back for wrecking the car). See, I got the red pickup in Montana and they got nothing but heartache . 
I was done with heartache, really. I was pretty much through with traversing the country every year or so--living my New Mexican Jumping Bean life--at least by the time I left Montana. I mean, I was committed, I was married and planning a potential family. The vagabond-me was gone (if not quite dead(still isn't quite dead)). Yes, I was a kablooie maverick, too. And I never really did mourn the destruction of the car.
I mean, I hated that ugly powder blue Ford Maverick. 
Didn't I?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pool Volleyball Days: Los Angeles 1985

So, Mike and I moved into the Oakwood Apartments when we got to L.A.. It was a large complex, with groupings of apartment buildings within groupings of apartment buildings up a small hill off Barham Boulevard in West Hollywood, almost in Burbank. I believe the hill behind us went up and up, into those cool flat glass and stilt homes and on the other side was the famous HOLLYWOOD wooden sign. But, anyway . . .
We settled in pretty good and got to know a few of the people in our portion of the complex. Sure, I'd lived in apartments in Iowa City, but this was all new and strange. This was Southern California. But the pool was the real meeting place for all of us. These rooms rented month by month, so there were quite a number of transient or temporary types without family or close friends in town. It was not a cheap place, by any means, but not exclusive either. So, on off days or when the work hadn't come in yet, we'd hang at the pool (if we weren't in the lowlife Burbank bars shooting pool). And in the pool there was always a net stretched across the shallow end and a volleyball.
There were tennis courts, a hot tub, other stuff, but pool volleyball was THE sport of our section of the Oakwood. And, as it turned out, I was the best player of that sport.
I'm tall. Quick. Coordinated. Mike was good at it too, but not as tall. It was easy for me to block shots, to jam up the lanes, to drill a flaming spike so that it hissed and bounced in the water. There were loose rules, but aside from that, we played honorable if sometimes rough games. Women and men and oldish-kids played alike--there was always someone there to play. And I became known as the pool volleyball guy, got to know quite a few denizens that way.
But then, one day, some guy came who worked as a stunt man at Burbank Studios (just down the street where Barham turns into Olive). He played. He was not taller than me. Not much bigger or muscular. I worked construction, moving plates and panels of 11 gage steel around, so I was strong, in shape. But this guy was fast. He was quick. It was very weird to me to go to hit the ball and he had already hit it. Sure, I got a few licks in, but I don't think it was a draw. He was just that much quicker.
But those were lazy days in tandem with long work days, in tandem with drinking days and adventures particular to L.A.. Was it a waste? Yes.
And no.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cabin Life: Stevensville 1988

When Fru and I first moved to Montana in September, we rented a log cabin a little up in the Bitterroots just outside of Stevensville. It was a new cabin made of blonde wood with a fireplace and two bathrooms. There was a loft upstairs which had the second, almost half-bath and a large bedroom. It had curtainsless windows and lots of jack pines and other trees on about three acres. We didn't really have neighbors--you could sometimes see their lights at night through the trees, so we never put up any curtains. Like I said, it was brand new and pretty and modern, lots of glass windows, but still very much a cabin. For us--who had not even been together for a year yet--it was quite the Montana fantasy come to life.
We had a post office box in Stevensville, a small town with one main street, old time cafes and old time bars. Nice place down in the valley, along the Bitterroot River. There was a wilderness area--Lee Metcalf NWR--just north of town and on some mornings I'd drive down there before going into town and see the deer and ducks, the steam rising from the river and marsh, see other wildlife. I'd pop in some classical music as I drove (sometimes I'd get out and walk a bit) and that just added to the morning splendor of it all. We went to town now and then, mainly to have a beer or more, often when someone came to visit us, but other than that, we spent our time alone in the cabin in the woods. We were lovers all alone among the blonde wood walls. We also had Fru's cat, M.R. A very pretty sweet cat.
Both of us went to school in Missoula, so there was a near daily drive up Highway 93 into town and the drive back. But it was a pretty drive. And when you came back, you could turn off that semi-dangerous two lane highway, onto the gravel St. Mary's Road, which took you uphill into stands of pine and some hardwoods, and then from St. Mary's you'd take the cut onto Macalla Creek Road, which was smaller and rougher gravel, which led to our driveway. Macalla went a little further to one other house, but our drive was long, gravel and made a turn to where the cabin sat on its parcel with its windows and front pine porch and a little slot of green grass and all those trees. We'd often see deer--sometimes elk (you'd hear the elk more than see them) and woodpeckers, magpie, squirrels of course, but mainly it was just so quiet. The sound of wind through treetops. We were there for the fall and winter, so when hunting season came along there was often the sound of gunshots. When we drove by neighbors, more often than not deer would be hanging in their yards, slit open from dressing. That was interesting.
In the winter it snowed and the trees and roads would be fluffy white like a postcard. It happened to be one of the coldest Decembers in western Montana--65 below with windchill (seriously)--so Fru and I dressed warm and retreated to our loft bedroom (where the heat rose to) and stayed in bed watching movies, playing cribbage, reading and other fruitful things. We took a lot of naps on the couch by the fireplace, as neither of us worked those first few months. We had a beautiful quiet time together--what better way to complete our relationship, to glue it together--though there were inconveniences.
There weren't a lot of amenities in the Bitterroot. Stores were Mom and Pop and a distance away from the cabin, so we always had to drive to rent videos, eat out and such. There was no pizza delivery. Mom and Pop is nice, but it's also often of dubious quality and supply. We grocery shopped in Missoula, but the cafes were generally greasy spoons (not the good kind) of mediocre quality, the bars often had some rough characters in them. And the drive. It was a pretty drive to Missoula, but long enough to become a chore. And as the weather worsened, it became more so. The gravel roads and their hills became tough, either icy or melted into a slick gumbo. Her car and my truck took punishment. We never really felt isolated, but the friends we made lived in Missoula and Missoula was where the only real employment was--which was one of the reason we didn't have jobs. There were other small downsides to go with the good of our cabin life.
We had a month by month lease, and after Xmas, in January, we decided to move up to Missoula. It just made a lot of practical sense and, besides, we liked the small city. So, we rented a U-Haul and friends helped us do the deed and we left the Bitterroot.
But I don't forget those months with just Fru and I and the cat in the woods. The loft bedroom, the laundry room, the small back porch where we kept firewood, the big front porch where we sat with coffee or beers, the living room with its couch and small swatch of green carpet and fireplace, the downstairs bath with shower which had a bay window where we kept plants, and the kitchen, with its window above the sink that looked into the trees and our drive, where Fru would do the dishes by hand, where, one evening when I realized I did so love her, I came up behind her and put my arms around her and proposed to her, just as she was washing a plate.
And she said yes.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Leaving Grayton Beach: 1988

Would I have left Grayton Beach if I hadn't met Fru? Yes, most likely I would have, but just the same, quite likely I would have returned. Chances are, I may have settled in south Walton County. Actually, when I did leave for good, I wasn't living in Grayton anymore, was living in Seagrove Beach and working as a house painter in Seaside. I hadn't lived in the town of Grayton since my second time around in the panhandle (lived in Gulf Trace and Santa Rosa and stayed in assorted other places in the area) but, as said before, it's all Grayton Beach to me.
But by the end of 1987, I'd met Fru in Illionis, she and Margaret had come to visit me (we went to New Orleans and Pensacola as well as Grayton), I'd published my first story, was painting homes with Mike (make that five Mikes I know), and Jimmy worked with us as a carpenter. I had a new cast of friends and lived off Highway 30-A in a little house hidden behind a swath of oak trees and vines. This was after Seattle and winter came in cold and wet and I was still down from dropping out of the Iowa Writers Workshop and from my leaving Tee. My roommate, who ended up buying the house, was Dave, who was co-owner of Bud and Alley's in Seaside. But, I'd met Fru and I liked her a lot. At Xmas, I'd made the long winter drive to Champaign to see her, spent time with her, essentially fell in love with her. I'd driven up part way with Jimmy--who was from Florence, Alabama--and we'd stopped in his parents' home and he took me around the area: north Alabama and into Tennessee, the big dams along the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals and Florence, the small university there (North Alabama?) where they had a lion, an actual live lion, the school's mascot, stuck in a little cage out in the open on campus (man, that was sad), and it was all cast in the bleak grey snowless cold, leafless tree world of a mid-south winter. (We had stayed up all night on Xmas Eve in Florence--just wandering--and the paper boy came riding by, threw a newspaper at us, said Merry Christmas, and that was my Xmas gift and I got but a bit of sleep before driving up to Champaign Xmas day.) But, when I was in Champaign, Fru invited me to come back (or, I brought it up) and that ended up being an invitation to stay. That is, I could come up and move in with her if I'd like to.
And I did like to.
(Though I only stayed a month or so before rambling to NYC. But also came back a month or so after that--back to Fru in Illinois.)
So, I returned to Seagrove/Seaside/Grayton knowing that it was temporary. I had some work to finish with Mike (Mike was from St. Louis--actually, Belleville, IL--as was his wife, Denise; he was a great guy and had hired me to work with him), really for Mr. Hubert who had contracted the job (who sent me a Xmas bonus of $50, which surprised me, that reached me when I was about dead broke in New York). So, I returned to the beach, informed Mike of my plan to leave in two weeks. He wished me well. I don't think we completed our main job, painting this one big house (Mr. Hiatt's?) in Seaside. But I did my two weeks, then made the plans to get out.
I was a regular at Bud and Alley's. It wasn't quite the tourist spot it is now--nor was Seaside--and I was, after all, roommates with the co-owner. I had also told Dave I was out of there, and he was okay with it, but went scrambling for a new roommate. So, I said my good byes. Jimmy, Mike and I had some fun at Jimmy's place--informally called the Jimmy Wizz Club because we hung there and Jimmy--a musician--would record stuff there. I liked all these people a lot (it was with Jimmy I went to NYC not but a month or so later), but it was time to go. It was time to see what life with Fru would bring.
I do recall, distinctly, packing my car the day I was to leave. Dave was at work and I was alone at the house. Yes, I was sentimental to some degree, but though I still loved the area, I'd been there enough to have some of the magic fray and erode, so there was bad and good about leaving. Anyway, everything I owned could be fit into the trunk of my powder blue Ford Maverick. So, I brought out the last load, shut the trunk lid, and took one last long look at the tree-shrouded house. And I said to myself, do you know what you're doing?
And I did. I understood what I was doing.
I knew that this move was not just some lark. I'd met someone special in Fru. Places were important to me, and I wouldn't move to a place like Champaign, Illinois just for some fun. (Champaign is a nice town, but, it's still Champaign.) I understood that this move was about Fru, about potential, about committing myself to someone besides myself. I realized all of this as I looked back, understood the depth of my actions. I was saying goodbye to one part of my life--in my mind at least--and opening up a different, more mature chapter.
I didn't hesitate for long. I was ready. Ready to leave "Grayton Beach" and move on to a world of larger consequences. So, I got in the car and drove away. The last time I ever lived there.
I hit a blizzard on the way up, in Alabama. Alabama had no plows and no understanding of how to drive in the snow. It was a freak storm. So, it was slow slow going, crawling up the unplowed Interstate, southern drivers going off into the ditch left and right, it took me many hours. When I hit Tennessee, the roads were scraped clean and salted, roads empty and quick to drive through.
Alabama, symbolically, did its best to try and keep me there in the South. And I love the South--not the beach bunny, palm treed South--the South of the oaks and lawns and deep accents. The "Are you hungry?", chatty, gossipy, good times. The drinking drunk gun-shooting. The South of the Civil War and carpetbaggers and rebel yells and intolerance and Jesus and the Klan. And that Interstate in Alabama, not much north of Montgomery (if I recall correctly) was so chock full of snow and bad winter weather. Cars crawled along, their Alabama operators so surprised and elated and stupendously stuptified and dumbfounded by that freak snowstorm, that I recall seeing people abandon their cars, walking out and down through the snow to the trees and fences. They had to take a piss. I ended up doing that myself (and to this day, I keep a roll of toilet paper in my trunk, because I've had times, while on the road, when I just had to take a dump) and I sat and sat and drove fast enough to see all the cars in the ditch, and go into the ditch, because they had no idea what snow really was. But I was leaving more than Grayton Beach, more then Walton County and the panhandle and Florida itself. I was leaving the South--the fried hearts and grits and head cheese and eggs and red eye gravy South--despite such a simple thing as snow trying to keep me there. And, I made it . . . Life back in the midwest, a life with Fru, won out.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Special Edition #2: The Meaning of Iowa

I have not lived in Iowa for overtwenty years now. I'm not even from Iowa: was born in South Dakota, moved to Washington state (I hate it that i always have to say "state" when I say Washington--east coast bias) when I was five, then lived in Tennessee from ten to thirteen or so. THEN I moved to Iowa. To Des Moines. But my father was from Iowa (Red Oak, though actually was born in Nebraska along the Little Blue River). I went through most of Jr High and all of High School in Des Moines. Went to the great U of Iowa for college and was in the Iowa Writers Workshop for a spell.
But Iowa--Des Moines in particular--was my crucible. It was my axis, my prism, my home of knowledge from which all else was judged and compared to. And since I didn't have a high opinion of Des Moines (then), when I went elsewhere in this country, say Lousiana or Wyoming or Chicago, it was a wonderful wonderment.
Not a wonderment in the sense that I was awestruck or anything, but in that I was acutly aware of the differences in my surroundings, in the temperature the trees and plants, small cultural things. It inspired me, made me alive because Iowa was so plain (in my eyes). It was, so. . . normal. So driving through the San Juan Valley of southern Colorado was like being in a wild landscape painting. Or walking the fog-rainy-hilly streets of Seattle--the smell of Puget Sound, the clothes people wore, the old and new buildings--was as good as being in London or Stockholm and such. It made me tingle and made me want to write or draw or paint.
That was fun.
In many ways, it's still there. Iowa is still my crucible. But I haven't lived there, have been out of the midwest, for a good twelve years or more. I really didn't live in Des Moines since my third year of college in Iowa City, and really quit living in Iowa, for good, early in 1984. But now, when I go back or when I go to Champaign, Chicago, Minneapolis--anywhere in the midwest, really--it's semi-exotic to me. Not the exoticism of the tropics or mountains or a foreign nation, but the deciduous trees, the hardwoods, the leaves turning and dropping, the farm fields of corn and soy and farm animals, the surprising hills and undulations and dark rivers, the regular sidewalks and slowish traffic, people polite and competent and doing what they're supposed to do every day, the hard soil and "real" grass, the little bars and businesses with their small windows and brick, their beef sandwiches and pork tenderloins--all that stuff--is different and not different and a great pleasure to me. The Midwest is the comfort food of my mind.
And Iowa--Des Moines and Iowa City--is often the best of any eating I can get these days.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Leaving Santa Fe: 1984

Before I left Santa Fe, I took Joel and Mike out to dinner. We ate Mexican, of course. My treat. It was the least I could do for them for letting me live on their couch. Then I went out with my local Santa Fe friends I'd met while there, the people I associated with the most: John and Alex. (Okay, I did say good bye to Halley, who I'd been sleeping with, and I think John saw us kissing in the car. Yikes. She was John's girlfriend, essentially.) We went out with a cast of others who we knew and drank--of course--smoked--of course--and then ate mushrooms (not of course). Seems like some girl was with us, maybe Holly (not to be confused with Holly from Iowa City/Grayton/Seattle). But we ate shrooms and went up around the university and climbed Monte Sol and Monte Luna in the dark. Then we came down and they raided a dorm at St. John's College, opened a fridge where there was a lot of beer and a hand-written sign that asked PLEASE DON'T DRINK THIS BEER.
We drank the beer.
We got screwed up pretty good then wandered back to my place on Camino de la Luz and--as I recall--Bill was there. Bill from Des Moines.
Bill was the reason I'd decided to leave. He wrote me and said he was going to come down for a visit. Wanted to know if I wanted to go to the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon and such. I wrote back saying, sure, "Throw in Vegas and I'll ride all the way back to Iowa with you." So, that became the plan. Which meant my Santa Fe adventure would come to a close.
So, Bill was there, standing next to his Chevy Lumina in the gravel drive at the adobe where I lived on the couch. It was good to see him. (I know about, what, four or five Bills. Know three Mikes and a couple of Jims. But this was Bill from Des Moines, the 1st Bill, who I'd known--still know--since about 8th grade.) He stayed with me--with Joel and Mike (make that four Mikes I know)--and we had a good time roaming Santa Fe and meeting the people I'd met. But the night before we were to leave for the Grand Canyon, there were a couple of French girls in town that a friend of Joel was hosting. These girls were Parisians and they wanted to go to the Grand Canyon. So I said we could give them a ride--they were going to take the bus--and they agreed, in French, through that mutual friend.
So I said a final good bye to Santa Fe without too much sentiment (I was going to Arizona and Utah and Nevada, with French girls to boot) and off we went. 
It was a long drive. We had camping gear (Bill's) and the girls sat in back, quiet, talking only in French, claiming they couldn't speak English. We drove, seems like we stopped in Gallup for the night--Bill and camped and the girls slept in the car (it was cold at night, we must have gotten a late start) and the next day we stopped in the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert. The girls--who completely ignored my attempts to speak to them in my terrible French--began to warm up to us a little. They seemed to like Bill better than me. Anyway, we found out that they could indeed speak English. But they were still rather cool. (Can't blame them for being wary--they didn't know us any better than they knew the country.)
Anyway, we drove into the Grand Canyon and when we parked and walked out to the viewing ledge they were blown away.
"Magnifique," they said. It was the first time I'd seen them smile. They wanted to get a room at the lodge and we dropped them there, but it was full. We got a camping spot topside in the park (our plan was to hike down to the Colorado River and camp the next day) but we let them stay in the car since they were without shelter. They warmed to us a bit more, but there was still no connection. (Bill even liked the one that I didn't, so it would have been fine if they'd only liked us too.) But I wasn't really interested in a connection. The next day they did find a room and Bill and I made the plans for the hike down--getting a permit and watching a film with dead bodies, supplies and such. We couldn't camp at the very bottom--it was full--but got the next spot up. we saw those girls one more time, as we were descending the trail--Angel Trail, I think--and they were coming up. They looked tired and dehydrated, but actually appeared happy to see us. But by then, we were on our own way and had grown un-fond of them (but in a nice way). So, that was it. That was my last touch with Santa Fe: seeing those two Paris girls on the trail at the Grand Canyon. Bill and I went and had a great time (we skipped Bryce Canyon but not Vegas) and I got back to Des Moines and then went to Iowa City, stayed with Matt and dave and Wally and others. Back in good old Iowa City with tales to tell.
I felt very close to New Mexico. Santa Fe rivals Grayton Beach as my favorite times in my travel days. I did make it back once, years later. I'd gotten a ride from L.A--where I was visiting after leaving Grayton on one of a few occasions--and we stopped there. I got to look around some, but saw no one I knew. Joel was in Albuquerque at that time. I always thought I'd make it back for a long nostalgic visit.
But I have not. But for many years, when I was having a hard time falling asleep at night, I'd remember Santa Fe. In particular, I'd remember the walk from the adobe on Camino de la Luz down to the Plaza and to work. As I laid there with insomnia, I'd start very slowly in my mind, coming out the never-locked broken door, to the little porch, the hill of pinons and juniper, the track out of the gravel drive to the gravel street, the view of Mt. Baldy and other, closer hills, the other houses and beaten trucks, the two dogs in the neighborhood, then the main road and on, all very very slowly. And I was usually asleep before I ever made it to the Plaza.
My months in Santa Fe--like the majority of my time in Grayton--were the most relaxing and calm in my life. I do believe it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Myopic & Self-Indulgent History #2

Ah, it's 2009 and I'm writing a "blog" that deals with things twenty to almost thirty years ago. Hmmm. But by looking back I see a few things. I see that I was a little more naive--if not innocent--than I thought I had been. I saw myself as being a hedonist, a aloof traveler, stranger-in-town, someone separated from society. An observer. And I was those things. But I also carried my morality--a certain righteousness--when presented with people who I felt had not lived up to their responsibilities or duties. Take Jeff in L.A. for example. I liked him. We were friends. But he had a common-law wife and he had a very young son--maybe two or so--and when I came back to L.A. after being gone a month or so, he'd left his wife and son. This bothered me greatly and gave me a negative view of him, which I tried to ignore but I could feel it and my anger at him kept slipping out without me telling him exactly why. He also then went out and got another girl pregnant, which also set me against him, though it was none of my business. Also, all the single-parent households I saw, the people I met whose parents--fathers in particular--had left their kids, more or less, to pursue their own desires, that bothered me. Some of it was my midwestern "values" (if you will) but some was also I'd never really seen that happen in such abundance. I knew that I wouldn't do it, I guess, which was why I was very careful not to get myself into such situations where I'd have to commit to a life beyond myself (until I was ready). But overall I was no moralizer. I could treat women quite badly and I could be cheap and miserly--as well as obnoxious and terribly unforgiving with my wit. (Yes, I used to have a wit.) I tried (and try) not to judge and have been good at it, though certainly not perfect. I know I pissed good ol' Brock and Matt off often enough, usually in sly or uncomplimentary ways.
But I see in these little vignettes a possibility to do more with them. Right now they are kind of a quick-shot, write as I go record of little memories. There's not enough action--it's all so internalized--and not enough contemplation to give them much weight. Not enough connective tissue to things that truly matter. But, perhaps someday, I could go over them, rewrite and re-connect to give them some oomph. Will see. For now, I'll throw them out when I can, see what sticks. I'm trying to be honest, not over-dramatizing, not making myself into a hero or a bum, not over sentimentalizing or being full of self-pity. Yet, that's all in there just the same. The narrative is hopelessly affected, is all squeezed through the prism of my own memory and sense of self, that it can't help but to be an altered truth.
Yet, when it comes down to it, who the hell cares but me?