Wednesday, April 9, 2014

April 9: Where I Belong, Nature Writing, When I Grow Up

...By the age of eight, he was consciously looking at a blank sheet of paper and thinking, "This is where I belong."  Soon afterward he began writing his thoughts in a diary.  Many of the entries concerned his questions about the natural world, such as how animals get along in their private lives, how birds hatch already knowing how to build a nest, or what a fox is trying to communicate when it barks in the night.  "I wonder," he often wrote to himself, "what I'm going to be when I grow up?"

I understand what the eight-year-old E. B. White is going through in the above passage.  At a very young age, I knew I wanted to be a writer.  I've been keeping journals and diaries since I was about seven.  I still have each one of them tucked away in a box in my closet.  White was preoccupied by nature.  He wanted to understand birds and foxes, pigs and spiders.  He was trying to figure out his own place in the wide, wide world.

I still don't know what I'm going to be when I grow up.  Obviously, I've already been a lot of things.  Graduate student.  College professor.  Book store clerk.  Church organist.  Published poet.  Hospital housekeeper.  Medical records clerk.  It feels like I'm entering a new chapter of "what I'm going to be."  The issue for me, this time, is that I didn't choose this chapter.  It was chosen for me.

That doesn't mean I'm not going to enjoy the new (and improved?) me.  It means I feel like I'm eight-years-old again, and the world is a big, scary place.  Maybe in another month, I'll be back to being just a neurotic, self-absorbed poet again.  I hope so.

Right now, however, Saint Marty is Linus without his blanket.  A little lost.  A little cold.

I want my binky...

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