Thursday, September 12, 2013

At Risk

You are a direct product of risk.  Risk courses through your veins.  When you go to the Blood Bank to donate the occasional pint of B positive, you are in a real sense broadcasting risk to unsuspecting recipients.

Your parents had what appeared from available photographs to have had a perfectly acceptable male child.  He lived long enough to inspire those legends about what a remarkable person he would have become, then fell victim to the then-bewildering Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.  Had he lived, the likelihood is that you would not be writing this nor any of the things you have written or are of a potential to writing.

Much is said of the Universe having an agenda or plan.  In equal measure, much is spoken of the Universe having no agenda except of being what it is and rolling with the punches, occasional asteroids, and solar uproars.

Most of which you could say about the late Bernard Marvin Lowenkopf would be disingenuous, given the extreme likelihood that were here today, you would not be.  You can sympathize with your parents' grief, and you can add another measure of concern for them in that, because of Bernard Marvin Lowenkopf and their feelings and dreams for him, they took the risk of inviting another child into the universe.

Their first child, a daughter, is someone you can speak to with direct and indirect admiration.  You can readily see why parents with her as a daughter would wish to venture another child.  Enough already about Bernard Marvin.

Annie and Jake thought you were worth the risk.

Here you are.  As you look back on your history, you begin to appreciate some of the consequences of risk, the risk that flows through your veins and arteries.  From time to time, you pause to send them a retrospective thanks for the risk they took, even more for the remarkable degree of patience and empathy and kindness they demonstrated as you appeared, a metaphorical bull in a china shop, turned loose on the cosmos with your genome of risk almost as pure as the purity of Mr. White's methamphetamine in Breaking Bad.

There is risk in your face, risk in your temper, risk in your visions.  If there is no immediate risk in your words, you have learned to revise them until it appears.

There are scars on your body resulting from risks you have taken, scars on your psyche for yet others, and memories pasted in your scrap book that document moments of past events.  All of these are relative in their smallness, against which one or two of more appreciable significance, such as those years when the FBI was calling your professors and potential employers.  And now that you think about it, another round of calls when you found a former FBI agent who was willing to write his memoir, Hoover's FBI, The Man and the Myth.

Some of the most splendid risks of all are the risks involving love.  By now your understanding of that remarkable word and your risky relationship to it involves love of the romantic sort, love of the friendship sort, the special love for animals, the near inexpressible love for places.  

How, for instance, can you describe your love for Los Angeles?  And how can you yet expect the words to supply themselves to give you a sense of your feelings now for Marina Park at the foot of Pierpont Boulevard in Ventura?  There is love for concepts and for the men and women involved with these concepts and the riskiness these concepts seem to you to direct at individuals such as yourself.

All this time since Annie and Jake brought you into this business of existence, you have been turned on the lathe of reality, scraped, burnished, trimmed, finding yourself now in the shape of a want-to-be writer.  The risks are incredible.  Make coffee.  Turn on computer.  Get blank document.  Drink coffee.  Start writing.  Take risk, and another, and then another.

It is not enough that you are too far along to think to take on some other trade where less risk and more comfort are involved.  You would not know what to do with such things; they would cause you extreme attacks of discomfort.  Instead, the eternal optimist, you step up to the keyboard in full awareness that you may be no closer than you were, back there where it all began to nudge you into taking the first risk you dared think of as a story.

The universe has done quite well without you, taking risks of its own.  The sky does not need one more star.  The ocean does not require another drop of water.  The estuary does not require one more blue heron.

All about you is the risk of trying to join them and the greater risk of not trying.

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