So today, I turn 40. Where do I go to get my mount?
This has been an interesting journey. I was born at about the same time as the personal computer, although I wouldn’t be aware of them for almost a decade. Here at 40, I’m writing [approximately] every day to tens of thousands of people all over the world, using a computer that is more powerful than the combined processing of every computer that existed before 1971. I could name a lot of other everyday technologies that would have stunned the people of 1971, but they’re all a bit modest in comparison to the one-two-punch of personal computer + internet. I got to see it happen, which was kind of special. I suppose my great-grandparents have me beat, seeing the rise of sanitation, ubiquitous electricity, indoor plumbing, modern medicine, and the automobile. But this internet thing is a close second.
Anyway. Birthday. For the next week or so I’m going to be doing something different. I’m going to write about my life. It will be a sort of an abridged autobiography, in the form of a series of blog posts.
At one point my father taught a creative writing course at Slippery Rock University. On the first day, he went around the room and had each person say why they wanted to take this class, or what they were hoping to write. At one point a young man said he planned to write his autobiography.
My dad looked down at this twenty-year old kid and said, “Okay, but who is going to give a shit?”
That’s my father. We’ll talk more about him later.
In the meantime, I don’t really have a good answer to his question. I don’t know that anyone is interested in reading my story. It’s not particularly exotic, heartwarming, insightful, or gut-wrenching. It’s just a bunch of stuff that happened to one human being, just like everyone else’s story.
My father was also a poet. His work was short and mostly free-form verse. He had a dear friend, Greg, who wrote these epic poems that went on for pages and pages. Dad used to tell him, “If it’s more than half a page, it’s not poetry. It’s therapy.” There’s some truth in that, and I’m sure it applies to a lot of art. Any serious expression of emotion is likely the artist working through or trying to understand something in their own experience.
I will not be offended if you skip these autobiographical posts. I might even be relieved. I’m writing them for my own benefit, and if you get anything out of them, then understand it is an unintended side-effect of my grappling with my own past, trying to set it all in order before it’s forgotten. Life is short, and (statistically speaking) mine is more than halfway over.
So now that we have that out of the way….
Happy Birthday to me! Wheeee!
Here I am, turning 10. It would be a quarter century before anyone would look at this cake and think to make a joke about it being a lie. So I had that going for me. On the other hand, that wallpaper! Ugh.