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November 15, 2016
As a child learning his numbers this writer had a problem with the number 15. Let’s see, there is thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen. If it’s fourteen and sixteen and all the rest, why can’t it be fiveteen?
My explanation; because it is the English language. English being the amalgam of German, French, and a few other languages, notably, Dutch and Swedish, thrown in over the centuries of conquest of England. For some time I insisted on saying fiveteen. However, parents, when a person is young, are the final arbiters in many childhood situations. This was no exception.
This may be the kernel, the seed, of my fascination for words, meanings of words, their use in language, and how a multitude of different words sound the same, but have different meanings. Eventually this led to writing, though not too well at the beginning, at least it was a start, and a long irresistible journey of discovery.
Of the self, of reading an eclectic collection of writers, and over the long haul, an inspiring and fruitful passage to finding my own voice. Voice, in a writer’s sense, my own style. That seed began while I was in the Air Force and stationed in Ulm, Germany. I wrote letters constantly.
I wrote letters home whenever I had time to myself, which actually wasn’t that often. But when alone, a yellow pad and a pen were favored companions. I wrote to my parents, friends, my girl friend at the time, until a ‘Dear John’ letter graced my mailbox. I wrote to anyone who I knew who had an address.
Those who did not answer, or answered infrequently punctured my sensitive ego, and heart with arrows of disappointment. That was crushing for awhile. Did not stop the writing.
My basic style remains: I write as if writing a letter to a friend. Now enhanced with better sentences, a larger vocabulary, poetic phrasing and sentences, and hopefully, a broader appeal. Maybe. Who knows? It does not matter.
What does matter is the continuity. A persistent insistence on stringing sentences together to form a mode of expression others may read, and hopefully enjoy or at least contemplate thoughts written from this writers viewpoint, even if for a minute [mi-(y)noot] minute. Express thyself.
For some, my brother, for example, it is music. For others, including my sons, it is singing, dancing, painting, sketching, or adorning the body with various inks or scarification. We all have our vehicles.
Everyone has a gift of some sort. Finding it, or recognizing it and then having the discipline and courage to follow it is the key. One must remember one important aspect. Most people are driven by greed, which is a form of self-preservation, and if their gift does not help them make money they abandon it or do not work at it to become more proficient in it. That is their choice, but from this perspective, a sad one.
Some people fear their gift. They are actually afraid of success. They will not take the leap for fear of falling, or crashing and burning and being called a failure. So what? As long as a person is alive and can function, give it a shot, keep at it.
Never give up, never surrender. No, I have conformed somewhat in my use of language. Fifteen does make sense rather than fiveteen. But, I’ve a kernel of funny, a nub of a joke, in that, and it brings a smile when the story is told again.
So write your songs, paint your canvas, play that piano, shuffle those feet across the dance floor and put your soul into it. It will come back to you, more than you realize.
I am grateful for your visit. Thank you.