Sunday, October 19, 2014

"Where did you go?" "Out." "What did you do?" "Nothing."

 From your middle teens until you moved from your parents' home, you were an unwitting but energetic participant in a drama centering on when or if you'd come home.  Beyond a certain point and age, probably around age eighteen, your interests in adventures tended to override the responsibility ingrained in you by your parents to let them know.

This is no doubt one metric to apply in the matter of when a chick should leave the nest.  You can appreciate your parents' concerns all the more in the retrospect of knowing individuals whose parents cared less than your parents or perhaps did not care at all.  Adding to the index of retrospective wisdom is the array of conditions you were in when you did come home at whatever hour you indeed came home.

Only on rare occasion did you leave with the intention of drinking more than was prudent or smoking more than wise, or combining such teen-aged chemistry as Dexedrine, pitchers of beer, coffee, and brandy.

Lest you paint yourself too deep into the corner of debauchery, there were times when the only beverage consumed was coffee or such bad wine that a glass of it was enough for the rest of the evening.  These were times of excited, flamboyant conversation, the conversation of the young, the idealistic, the  ambitious, discussing themes and content of works we hoped to write at some time in the immediate future but which had not yet been committed to paper.  These were also times when you were just smart enough to shut up and listen when in the company of older men and women who were in fact putting words on paper that found their way into publication or performance.

And there were the hours in which you listened to conversations of another sort, of jazz mostly, but sometimes of the classical.  These "conversations" more often than not took place early in the morning, say one or two or three.  It is not so much a fact that jazz relates best to the later, darker hours as it is a fact that jazz conversations seem to play out later in the day because the bright, sharp hours are the times for practice.

With no children of your own, you did not experience the "It's midnight, do you know where your kids are?" syndrome, therefore it might seem disingenuous to say you had cats and dogs who waited for you to come home and seemed to you then, and in fond memory now, to regard you with a reproof suggesting they had a greater interest in you than dinner. Nor will it help much to say you had three bluetick hounds who, on any occasion you took them for a walk of consequence, might catch a scent, then be gone for upwards of two days.

A pet that has gone missing seems to wrench you in ways you'd thought behind you, reminding you again how a boundary is trespassed when you give more than dinner to an animal friend, you give them a part of your confidential self and feelings you reserve for the special few.  

You told your  special  blue tick hound friend, Edward, on two particular occasions when you thought you'd never see him again, that he'd all but broken your heart.  He, noble and irascible fellow that he was, looked at you as if to chide you for your sentimentality, then to assure you that you'd not seen anything yet.  Indeed, when he did not live out a normal life span, you understood beyond grief for the normal, the grief for the missed potential.

There are times when you are up nights, waiting for a story or concept or idea to come home.  For all you know, it is off on a carouse with some great friends or merely wishes to remain alone, or perhaps has taken the tack that it wishes to hide from you because you are making too much of it, attaching too much to it.

You've had the "Where did you go?"  "Out."  "What did you do?"  "Nothing."  dialogue with your parents, and with a chorus of animals.  You try your best to be matter-of-fact with your current cat, Goldfarb, and you think you're successful.

You think you know how your parents felt because even then you were in the formative stages of wanting substance to those stories that did not come, or, when they did, seemed more like excuses than story.  At some point, you were able to articulate this process to the point where you saw it first as a process, then, with deeper consideration, as The Process.  Just as you did when you went out at night or Edward did when he caught a scent,

The daytime hours are for practice.  The Process sends you out at night, during the intimate, dark hours where dreams and intensities and visions coalesce in the early morning mist.  There is often no telling how long you will be gone or what condition you will be in or if your heart will be broken.

You will get home when you get home.  But you need coffee and early to work.  No matter what, the daytime hours are still for practice.

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