Blog Post for Sunday 1/30/11 – 6:44 AM – 23 degrees – Snow, maybe 2 inches or more. Hurry Spring!
I guess I have known all my life that I would eventually end up making something out of my need to write. As early as 7th grade at Lyman C. Hunt (you can guess what letter transposition went on)
I was writing, and I mean writing in a journal, which I would pay some real money to see now.
An English teacher, whose name escapes me but his gestalt does not. He was thin to a painful degree, wore a full suit every day and never took his jacket off even in miserable non-air conditioned rooms in June. He wore a bow tie.
I used to scribble in long-hand. I am not even sure I can write in long-hand now.
I remember this teacher looming over me and saying: “Slow down Mr. Rising, I don’t like the way that pen is wobbling.”
All my middle school buds laughed it up at my expense for weeks after that.
This was my first experience with someone looking at form instead of content. It pissed me off then, and it pisses me off now, although I have come to respect the editors in my life a bit more.
But back then I just wanted to write something so great that this prick of a teacher would ignore the fact that I scribbled and be swept away in my genius.
So, and this is the first time I have ever confessed this, I plagiarized.
I wrote down in his over-heated classroom, word for word, line for line, from memory, the lyrics of Simon and Garfunkel songs.
I figured this lanky, pompous, pedagogue probably wasn’t a fan of popular music, and in any case I was using really obscure songs, like this excerpt from “Patterns”:
From the moment of my birth
To the instant of my death,
There are patterns I must follow
Just as I must breathe each breath.
Like a rat in a maze
The path before me lies,
And the pattern never alters
Until the rat dies.
And the pattern still remains
On the wall where darkness fell,
And it’s fitting that it should,
For in darkness I must dwell.
Like the color of my skin,
Or the day that I grow old,
My life is made of patterns
That can scarcely be controlled.
Pretty heady stuff for a 7th grader, don’t you think? I recall that this teacher looked at this, looked at me and never reacted to it in any way shape or form.
Back then I was crushed. But now, thinking about it, I bet I scared the hell out him.
Today’s rant is a good example of what I would do to fill the gaping maw of writing something for the radio five days a week. At the time I was reading five to six newspapers daily (Actual hard copies too! Piles of newsprint. My house was a fire hazard.) I would clip out stuff that caught my eye, stuff it in a big folder and dip my hand in when the muse didn’t hit me. A random draw out of that file always gave me something. It’s not bad, I think.
Did you eat yet? Because the following may put you off the feedbag for a while.
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