When the Catholic Church built the new school, seventh and eighth graders were segregated from friends with whom we had been growing up. A group of us were mixed together in an advanced program for college bound students as a nun explained at the time.
I didn’t like it and continue to harbor resentment even though it was 1964 and the segregation proved to be the foundation of my interest in a creative life.
During the course of our succeeding years, neighborhood friends and I would never again maintain the “old school” relationship. Mostly I’m over it, I guess. I do have writing which relies upon the distance from peers I learned then. A bit of alienation is essential for writing or public speaking to be worth much.
These days each morning begins with creative work. Reading, writing and coffee mixed together beginning around 3 a.m. It has been a chance to understand a world that is increasingly complicated. If the morning is productive, I feel positive the rest of the day.
I work on a few projects off-line but the majority of what I write is available to readers. Otherwise, what’s the point. For many years, from my first trip to Europe in 1974, until this year I maintained a journal. As one can see in the image, those days are finished.
There is also newspaper writing which includes many letters to the editor and the freelance work I did a couple years ago. Some pieces were edited more than others. These days what I send to the papers isn’t hardly edited. I value it all.
Writing on-line has it’s points. There is a chance to edit what was written both before publication and afterward. I don’t blurt out incoherent rants on-line as I did when a journal was a place to let off steam. Social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, serves as a creative outlet as well.
At its core writing originates in isolation from and connection to society. The two aspects are needed for it to be any good. When I review old pieces I am tempted to edit them, and my punctuation over the years has been inconsistent to be kind, but they capture moments I remember and wouldn’t change. There are also those where I don’t perceive myself in the finished piece. If that’s positive or negative I’m not sure, but the writing seems really good when I rediscover those.
We carry a limited amount of stuff where we go. The transition from old to new school is one that’s always in my kit bag. It taught me how social forces and institutions can tear us apart, and sometimes provide the foundation for something equally good or better.
I hope to continue writing many more years.