an expression of thanks

which I am offering only here.  I was invited when this site was being organized, but could not make a commitment to be a regular contributor. Nor can I make such a commitment now.  But many of those here and as part of the offlist group have meant a lot to me, both their own writing and by the support they have given mine.  I am actually quite insecure about many things, including my writing.  Thus the willingness of others to read what I offer, to comment, to criticize constructively and challenge where appropriate, has helped me improve both my thinking and my writing.

Today is our wedding anniversary, #22, about which I have diaried in a number of places.  And as await for Leaves on the Current to return home from NJ (she is now in transit), rather than doing school work, I am being reflective in a somewhat different way.

Each milestone we can mark on our live’s paths provides an opportunity for saying “now what?”   It is not that we cannot appreciate what we have managed despite all odds to achieve, nor is it necessary that we bemoan where we have missed the mark (and I will win no medals for my own accuracy this past year).  

I have always been shy but an extravert, a dangerous combination, because in most social situations I have trouble maintaining balance.  I find as I age I become increasingly introverted, even as my caring for other people deepens.  I am far less likely to attend purely social functions.  For the first time in 9 years at my school I did not attend my dpeartmental holiday celebration.  I could have –  I had had to make an emergnecy trip north for an issue involving the athletics at my alma mater, but I was back in the DC area in time to have stopped, picked up some food, and arrived basically on time.  But I found myself relieved to have a legitimate reason not to attend, perhaps because at the school-wide celebration I found myself wanting to withdraw somewhat.

And perhaps the change in the nature of the subjects about which I find myself drawn to write are a further indicator of this.   I do want my words read – I am insecure that way, which is why so often I tell other people when I have posted, hoping that they will at least glance at my words.  But today I realize that it doesn’t matter.  My task is to wrestle with what I perceive and think, to express it in a fashion that MIGHT be of use to others, but then to let go – of ownership, of concern.  Or as the words of Paul and Ringo said sime 4 decades ago,  “Let it be.’

Thank you all for putting up with my insecurity.  For being willing to share your time with me, even if only by occasionally reading.

At various points in my life I seriously considered becoming a monk.  But my spiritual father on Mount Athos told me back in 1983 that while I might make a good monk, my calling was elsewhere – he told me to go back into the world and marry Leaves.  He also told me things about our nature, even though he never met Leaves – somehow he knew.  And I have struggled for more than 2 decades to live up to the insight he offered me then.

I will be 62 in May.  My mother died before she was 50. my father lived on until his 84th birthday.  I do not know how much longer I might live.   But in that time I am drawn increasingly to simpler truths.  I ask then when I do write you be unafraid of challenging me.  My words should not be for my benefit, and if they do not speak to others there is no point in offering them.

I am sorry I cannot now offer more clarity, but I am slowly coming to an understanding of how I must live and what I must do.  It will require me still to grow, of course, to change in some ways small (which is often far more difficult) and in others on a lrger scale.

Again, thanks for your friendship, your tolerance, your patience.

Peace.

19 comments

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  1. I’ve been reading your stuff for a couple of years or more, and I enjoy reading what you write.  So it comes as a surprise to me that you would say

    I am actually quite insecure about many things, including my writing.

    I say that because, whatever your comfort level might be, imo you’re unusually prolific, clear, insightful.  In other words, a good writer.

    I can only hope that my saying this this gives you some deserved comfort and ease.

  2. … I am “unfraid” of challenging you!

    I love your writing, Ken.  The only thing that frustrates me is your meta-meta – the insecurity which causes you to question the effectiveness of what you write.

    You’ve been rec listed too often to think others don’t read your stuff.  It doesn’t serve you well to continue to question your effectiveness.  So cut it out!  🙂

    Seriously, I really believe we all write because we have to get our thoughts out and the gift of the internet allows us to do so.  It’s our own need that drives us.

    I will never take seriously your query about whether or not your writing is worthwhile – that question has been answered far too often in the affirmative.

  3. I am more than I thought I could be,

    It’s the the strength that you share when you’re growing,

    That gives me what I need most of all,

    That gives me what I need most of all.”

    That is all my terrible memory can remember of a song, “Less than the song I am singing” by Hoyt Axton.  I could find nothing on YouTube.

    Ken, you may feel insecure, and that your words might be of small worth, but for my money, your’s is one of the strongest and clearest voices on the blogs. Thank you for your growing.

  4. I am slowly coming to an understanding of how I must live and what I must do.

    And you choose not to share the deepest secrets of life with your friends?  How horrid of you.

    Unlike yourself, I know nothing at all and now that I am getting old I am even forgetting that regularly.

    Congratulations on your wedding anniversary – or maybe it is your wife I should congratulate.  Oscar Levant defined marriage as the triumph of habit over hate.  My wife loves to take in stray animals.  That may be the only reason we just celebrated our 44th anniversary.

    Keep posting dammit.  Need good stuff to read in this mindless world where you get mostly graffiti artists like myself.

    Best,  Terry

    • documel on December 30, 2007 at 00:08

    I taught in Title 1 (euphemism for ghetto)schools for 37 years–makes you philosophical.  The failures are obvious, the successes are works in progress.  Nobody works as hard as a teacher–nobody.  Not the coal miner, not the soldier, definitely not the President.  Not only do teachers have to be “on” when teaching, they take their kids home while asleep.

    Also, you can’t be an introvert.  You just pick and choose where to perform.  There’s always a recurrent theme in your writing–one of insecurity.  Stop it, you’re okay, most of the rest of the world is nuts.  Half of them voted for the evil moron–twice!  Even now, with the world and our finances in the crapper, the idiot king has the support of 1/3 the populace.

    As I told you at dkos, move to the shore–best place to relax and recharge the batteries depleted by teaching.  The carpenter steps back and admires his work, the teacher worries about the students forever because the product is never finished.  In that respect, you did become a monk.

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