Saturday, December 31, 2005

TOTA: The Year In Review

When painting with watercolors, one finds that a wash of watercolor generally will follow the outlines of a previous wash, especially if the paper is still wet. The painter can usually predict where the colors will go, if the "groove" of a previous wash is already in place. What makes watercolor painting so interesting, though, is that sometimes the paint gets outside the groove. The result is unexpected and, if you are lucky, the most exciting of all.

Which is how I feel about my partial year of blogging on this site. When I started, I sort of thought I knew where things might go, but the paint got away from me in places, resulting in some nice surprises and--continuing with the watercolor theme--some unfortunate mixes of blacks and browns.

One area of surprise is that I would never have guessed, for instance, there would be so many posts about my father, and frankly, I am not sure why this turned out this way. I know the obvious psychobabble-driven reasons why so much of my writing has been about our relationship, but the subtle reasons, well, they presently elude me. I have also been surprised by the overall melancholy feel of many of the posts--this because, at this point in my life, I have every conventional reason to be as "happy" as anybody.

My surprise about this last point was explained somewhat by an email I received just last week, straight out of nowhere. The emailer explained that he had just happened to see my picture on a lawyer website, and, although it had been over thirty years, he wondered if I was the little boy he remembered from a rural lake in Michigan. He ended his email with "Are you Cudge and Marie's son from __________ Lake?" Cudge was my father's nickname, and the email felt like a kick in the stomach. It is one thing to write about one's past with the detached voice of a narrator/author. It is quite another to be reminded that, as a little boy, you actually lived the life you are writing about.

C.S. Lewis once wrote that his conversion from atheism to faith happened on the way to the zoo, more or less. He probably could have ended his story with "The End." Happily for us, he did not. If anybody is wondering whether I am going to tell about my "trip to the zoo," rest assured, I will.

Probably in 2006.