two people died back in the cesl family where i lived and worked for eighteen years. one was a son of my director who died suddenly. another was a guy about my age who came through and taught for us a while. this second guy seemed to have a problem with alcohol and drugs. he went on a huge bender i think even while he was working with us and lost his job. he disappeared to cambodia, where he had a wife and son, or maybe two sons, and was ok for years. he returned to suburban chicago and who knows what happened. that's where they are burying him soon. i think based on what i can figure, that he never figured out how to keep from going on huge benders. he'd do it every once in a while.
one time, a strange thing happened to me. i was working with him. it so happened that he had gone to southern illinois back in 1969 or 1970, at the time of the burning of old main, their oldest and most venerable building. the building had burned down in protests related to the vietnam war, and of course the burning was blamed on student activist arsonists. but they never figured out who had actually burned it down, even today they don't know. so this guy said to me one day, "i have personal knowledge about the burning of old main." i was stunned. it was soon after that that he went on his bender and i never really saw him again, so i was unable to, say, get him in a comfortable social setting where i could ply a little more information out of him. i didn't really know him all that well. i also suspected that he wasn't the person who did it. i don't know why i say that, perhaps only justifying that, after hearing him say such a thing, i didn't turn him in. it was almost like he'd carried this secret around for thirty years and finally dropped it close to the root of where it had happened. but what was i supposed to do with that information? no sooner than he told me, and he was off to cambodia to the deepest jungles where they couldn't really get at him anyway. i kind of dropped the topic and only vaguely stayed in touch with him. it was because i was his facebook friend, though, that i found out about his death. there is no telling if the secret died with him.
i wrote a story called clubs are trump but spend days avoiding the whole trump nightmare and never published the story. the story only briefly mentions trump himself, and is more about a card game, but it has trumpian overtones and the question that remains is whether to develop that, even a little, so as to at least explain the brief mention of trump at the beginning, or whether to more or less stuff it, and drop it out altogether. i have come to recognize writing as extremely therapeutic, to me, and extremely important in the process of helping me work out stress and passion. with trump i feel like the rise of fascism has repudiated my lifetime of telling internationals that we are really a tolerant, generous friendly people. we aren't, at least about half of us aren't, although some have good hearts and are just majorly clueless. but trump is a pedophile rapist and his popularity shows if nothing else, the passion of hatred rising in people who are willing to vote for him, even knowing about his fascist tendencies, and proclivity toward raping people. he's shameless and dangerous, and has no idea what he's doing, and people are voting for him anyway. when i write i release a little of my hostility but i basically feel like he's grabbed the country and raped it as well, because he can, and because he cares more about getting attention than just about anything in the world. now that he realizes he might lose, who knows what he'll do? we have to grab the reins of the country and first thing, say, we don't allow this kind of crap. you can rape 13-year-old girls, apparently, and get away with it, but if you want to rape a whole country, there are too many people who are wide awake, who might not allow it. the problem is...who really knows what will happen?
i have various family problems too, from a grown son who keeps me up worrying at night, to children who flunk at school and even my wife who, the truth is, is not well. this is not the place to discuss all this stuff, but it gives me plenty to worry about as i shoot across the oil fields of eastern new mexico, and the cotton fields of far west texas, once a week to go back and teach my classes. i try not to hit the rabbits, but it's especially dicey with the elk and the deer, late at night, on my way back, as i get into the high mountains and start swerving around those curves like the one that had the elk standing on the mountain. i slow down. the reason i'm there, like 12 or 1 am, is because i play music in the evening before i go. so i have this bluegrass music in my head as i'm coming around the curvy mountain roads, and fortunately, those deer and elk can hear me a mile away. so i've been pretty lucky so far. i have five more trips to go, then i'm staying out here, come hell or high water, i'm not going back. looks like we're through with texas. it was a good state, while it lasted, it was good to me anyway. i cherish the friends i made back there. i am leaving, hanging around mostly with the ones i liked the best - the musicians, the quakers, and the esl world. but in fact there were lots of nice people there.
r.i.p., to all the people who can't control their consumption and die as a result. may god bless those who lose a child; i've had several friends lose a child recently, and to me, that's about the worst thing that can happen to someone. you expect to lose a mom or a dad, that's in the natural order of things, it's not easy, it's not nice, but it happens to almost everyone. but to lose a child, that's much harder. doesn't matter the age. this guy that was my age, i think his father was still around, maybe about my dad's age. my other friends lost a child who was but 33, had an infant, was trying to make it in this world. i'll come around, sometime, and i'll know that it's all in the natural order and it's all the way it's meant to be. but at the moment it seems kind of a cruel and difficult world. our own family is trying to work out what to do when trouble comes. we'll find out, i'm sure. we're both close enough to retirement so that we are not likely to starve altogether. but our children will probably be a lot more independent than they were learning how to be. and, my guess is, that might be good for them.
i have ten altogether. i leave them out of this blog for the most part, but i ask for god's protection of them as well. they make their own way in the world and will have their own social media accounts soon enough. i try to keep this my story, and it keeps me sane, to some degree. i write, and now i feel better, even about trump, or about how bad things could get in this country if it really comes apart at the seams. my brother in england says, i feel like we're living in nazi germany - yeah, well it wasn't all that long ago, that people were living in nazi germany. normal, sane people were living there and all kinds of things were happening. i have no faith in humanity, in the people around me, and know that they could vote for anyone, and also know that the system is rigged such that i myself have been tricked into voting for someone i don't really approve of. she's not a pedophile rapist, know-nothing racist, but, she's also not a model leader, and i'm voting hard for her anyway, 'cause that's the way the system works. so there, i don't put much politics on here, but it's show your colors month, and halloween coming, and the indians in the world series, which doesn't happen very often, and about to be the high holy days, saints day, souls day, sadie hawkins day, election day, guy fawkes day, all the big ones. by far the best time of the year, the holiest, the prettiest. time to take a break, if i had the time, and notice, how beautiful it all really is.