We had plans for the afternoon, so I accompanied my lovely wife to work this morning. She handles marketing efforts (among other things) for a flag store. They sell flags, poles, and other flag-related accoutrements. The customers today were an eclectic mix, as I’m led to believe they always are. Few in number, but easy to draw stories from. Who gets out on Saturday morning to buy a flag?
He’s elderly, in with his wife of, I assume, many years. Looking at flag poles for their front yard. Considers and discusses the various available poles and finally chooses one. Then, of course, it’s on to flags. First, the 3’x5′ American flag. And then a second flag…
A goddam confederate flag. And the wife was 100% into it, unfolding the two flags for size comparison and contemplating how they’ll look on the pole in the yard. I had to sit quietly behind a desk, pretending to be busy, while they purchased that ridiculous piece of shit.
So there you go, America – Army veterans (you know, people once charged with the protection of the nation) proudly buying the adornments of traitors.
I certainly understand freedom of speech and expression, there are just some things that no one should hold dear (like murder or discrimination…you get the point).
I considered it.
I wavered between acceptance and denial.
I ignored it.
Finally, yesterday, I did it. I decided to take the plunge. I committed. I will be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo 2017 for the entire month of July.
I have only 9 days to prepare myself for the whirlwind that is NaNoWriMo.
What Is It?
In brief, Camp NaNoWriMo bills itself as “an idyllic writers retreat, smack-dab in the middle of your crazy life.” I have participated in NaNoWriMo 3 times in the past, the original event that takes place during November, completing the challenge only one time (2012). The challenge: 50,000 words written over the course of the month! The challenge is the same for Camp NaNoWriMo, though with a bit more flexibility.
You track your progress on the website, receive emails and notes of encouragement, and can even join online groups (cabins) to assist in the month-long feat. The direction is fairly simple – write. Write daily, rapidly, and with little revision. Get the words out; revision comes later.
More about Camp here: campnanowrimo.org
My 2017 Project
Title: Life Unlived
Type: Revision/editing [since Camp NaNoWriMo is more flexible, I will not be drafting an entirely new work this coming month, rather I’ll be editing and revising a novel I already have near completion]
Genre: Literary fiction
A work of literary fiction in the shape of a memoir, Life Unlived puts us inside the head of a newly middle-aged man as he reflects on his life up to the present. A look at narcissism, memory, and relationships, the emotionally detached and perhaps not always truthful nor balanced narrator leads us through the memories of his life, especially taking time to focus on moments that he feels are most formative. He’s not always correct – the reader often finds as much to discover in those things the narrator misses as in those things he says. He sincerely attempts to be reflective, and sometimes, though rarely, succeeds. Self-centered to the point of remembering no one else’s name, and tunnel-visioned enough to quite literally only be able to see own his point of view, our narrator is endearing and infuriating, exciting and devastating, constantly making the reader question: who is this man?
I was raised in a small town in Mississippi. Most all small towns have a similar character, and as we know from the fairy tales of our youth, most all towns (large or small) have an evil side. Now that I’m well into my adult life and have shared many stories with many people, I often find myself shocked by the evil we human beings are capable of. And not only the evil, but the complacency of the surrounding society – knowing full well what goes on behind closed doors, most of us choose to ignore it anyway.
I was born on the 22nd day of May in the year 1978 AD in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts. I don’t remember anything else about this day, so postulating would negate the purpose of a reflective memoir. Moving along…
I am the first of two children. There certainly would have been more, but my mother’s uterus was torn from her side and had to be removed after giving birth to two rather large boys. So there we were, two. Disappointment begins so early in life — no girls, and two in no way compare to 6 or 10 (the number of siblings in my parents’ households). But nothing could be done, so by the time I was 3 our little family structure was in place.
I find it remarkable how many clear memories I have from the earliest days of my childhood.
I didn’t want a baby brother. From the time I knew my mother was pregnant, I wanted a “sis-ner.” I wanted to have a little girl in the family. I was just becoming 3, so I have no idea what my thought process on that might have been. I was so upset when my parents brought home a baby brother that I pretended he wasn’t there. I refused to have anything to do with him literally for months. Finally I gave in and accepted that he was there for good. I’m actually not certain that this is a legitimate memory — my mother told me this story dozens of times, so it might just be one of those “implanted” memories from childhood. Regardless, it’s a funny thought.
Interested in Camp NaNoWriMo? If you sign up then come and find me!
the day is yesterday –
the day fathers are universally praised:
“best man I know”
“made me who I am”
amnesia takes hold,
erases all pain and failure.
false self-defining memories take over,
reshaping the days of youth gone by.
gushing for what might have been –
for some, what was,
for most, the dream.
the day of forgetting.
*how was my day, you ask?
I received wonderful gifts,
love from my wife and children,
rest and good food –
it was a lovely day to be a dad.
my dream is giving my offspring little to misrepresent in the future, to their children and spouses, to their memories.
“Happy Father’s Day!”
luckily, no surprise, either –
only sadness, regret, ire, resignation.
reminiscent of “Happy Mother’s Day” 2017,
a goddam clone, in fact.
I’ve never been the man I could have been, or perhaps even should have been.
what I have now overshadows all i missed then,
and in 364 days we’ll do it all again.
father’sday 2018, it’s a date.