Why I go back – A Study in Human life.
I started traveling 8 years ago. I didn’t know what exactly I wanted in life, and so instead of committing to an academic program when I didn’t know who I was, I chose to travel. Occasionally I’d question that decision and go back to school. The results tended to be disastrous because I wasn’t integrating school with my life goal. My goal in life is simple: see and do and learn, as much as absolutely humanly possible.
I’d like to trek a good portion of the Yukon. Watch volcanoes erupt in Iceland, Hawaii, Chile, and Guatemala, explore glaciers in Russia, and Alaska. I’d like to hang with the locals, eat strange foods and embarrass myself with my lack of language skills. I’d like to travel by boat through the waters of the Ancient Greeks, exploring their coves and towns they called home. I’d like to help build a school for children, interacting with them and being taught their language and manners. I’d like to spend time with the elderly, who know a life so different than my own even though we live in the same country. Dancing around fires with the natives who have never heard of MTV but who have a love of music which supersedes commercial breaks would feed my love of music. I’d like to travel by foot, by horse, motorcycle, knowing that the road is long, and that the people and the lands I cross are not familiar to me, while accepting both for the difficulties of my lack of understanding. My life goal is to live a life showing that this world is what we make of it. It doesn’t always have to be what it is currently, nor do you have to do tomorrow what you are doing today.
All of this sounds idealistic, I’m aware. However, a life of travel and learning is not. I’ve taken in Hong Kong with its buildings the populations of small towns and learned about the city planning of an island with 9 million souls to give home to. I’ve traveled by boat through the fjords and glaciers of Alaska, standing in wilds where you’re 45 miles away from the nearest road. I’ve stood on the site of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, acutely aware that the future once portrayed there never came to pass. I’ve photographed myself in The Bean. I’ve hiked in the mountains and opulence of western North Carolina, partaken in the particular tendencies regulated to the beauties of South Beach, Miami. I’ve been to New Orleans and lived to tell the tale! I’ve stood beside the millions of gallons of water crashing onto the rocks at Niagara Falls! I lived in Washington DC with spooks and wasn’t hauled into the bad office for it. I’ve partied on Super Yachts with millionaires, and have helped varnish a private boat tied up to the dock in Cannes, France. I’ve sat on the end of a runway in St. Martin, knowing that I was spoiled as the island was suffering through America’s recession. I’ve meandered through the near washed out towns of Madeira, weathered the chaos of the Mediterranean in a storm from the bridge of a ship. I’ve seen both Europe and Africa at the same time. I’ve played in a coliseum built by the Romans still in use! Then I swam in the river feeding that town’s aqueducts. I’ve lived in a 4000 year old town on the edge of a sea which was inhabited when the Greeks found it. The market where I bought veggies and cheese has been there just as long.
I’ve stood before the Birth of Venus, David, Mona Lisa and the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, all in the original form. In Florence, I watched a midget play the drum, tambourine and the flute at the same time! I’ve eaten rabbit in a building commanded built by Louis the pick a number in seventeen something or other. I’ve driven the bottle neck on the route Napoleon took to capture Paris, stood where German bombs fell on castles built in 1100. I’ve sat on the beaches where men died to secure their lively hood. I’ve seen the divots caused by ideological differences in the monuments to the past. All of this I know. This is all part of my life’s work; to see, to travel, to taste the air and know that I am there . To learn by experience is my life. However, the next step, after these years of travel, is to obtain academic certifications. My official study will be in the fields of Anthropology and Geography. From my travels and forays into the online world, I’ve noticed that the concepts of the modern versions of Anthropology and Geography are entirely relevant in today’s ever increasing global and technologically based world.
At this point in my career I desire the Academic Credentials necessary to speak and teach about that which I have seen and know. A degree is the next step in my life’s work to see and do and learn as much as absolutely humanly possible. This is all part of my life’s work; to see, to travel, to taste the air and know that I am there . To learn by experience is my life.
An open letter to the workers of the the Upstate Fiction Factory:
We write, right? In these days of wine and roses yet to bud and yet to mature, we are tested daily. So off to the test track I go and in these testing times, I test. As I test, I am tested. Not found wanting for anything except chocolate, I define my right to write as being right, all right. But seriously (as if ever), UFF is about becoming a writer. This group is a catalyst and motivator for those who write or would like to write or would like to write more. Our habitat is the Upstate: that north-eastern outcrop of South Carolina that, if the state were a slice of pizza, would be the place that drooped and the pepperoni fell off.
What is the purpose of the fiction factory? Ah, funny that you should ask. By a quirk of writing first and then not editing, I have already told you our location and goal. My personal blog entries here are probably going to look at the form of stories–what shape are they, why, and why not. There are all sorts of formatting tools on this blog but it is too much like a meal in a fancy restaurant for my liking; They lay out two or three sets of cutlery and three glasses around your plate. I choose the tools that work and ignore the rest. That should serve as a warning to not expect fancy bits of bold, italic, colored, indented, or quoted text in my blog posts.
Since UFF is a tool to promote the writing of fiction (narrative, poetry, plays, and those interstitial things that have no name as yet) in our third of SC, I plan to limit my blog topics to writing methods, creativity, publishing, and things that are, well, about writing I suppose would be the best description. That means no commentary on the views or subject matter in the work of any writers in UFF, and no off topic blathering — though I may give some leeway on matters that peripherally relate to writing, such as choice of munchies to be brought to the UFF meetings. I may agree or disagree with what you are saying, but I support and encourage you in your efforts to become a better writer because that is what I am asking you to do for me.
For your inspiration to write today, here’s what I was forced to get up early and type before it wandered out of my brain: a section of dialogue in which one person replies, “Mmhm.” to every question and comment from the other person. If there is a better way to spell that noise that means, “I agree, please continue.” please share it.