Do you want to be him?”
Thick as a Brick, More Jethro Tull
Yes. It is a good, scary question. I find myself doing things the way my father would have.
I loved the old man. And yet I don’t want to be him. Oh, I’d like his strengths. I’d like his courage, his kindness, his generosity. I’d like his marksmanship and his strength. But I fear his weaknesses too. Alcohol was a demon and an escape for him for the inadequacies he perceived in himself. I am scared of it. I know I have his obsessive personality. I know the desire to numb it. I know I feel my own inadequacy as writer, at least by the measure of ‘success’ we have available. I know he was hurt by his lack of education (this from a man who spoke, fluently, 7 African languages, could tell you a man’s origins from his speech, and could manage the correct praise-greeting for a vast number of clans.) I still dream of doing that PhD finally. Just to prove that I can. I know his convictions and his outspokeness hurt him at work. I see myself doing the same thing.
I do not want to be my father.
I will write more. I will not let this system break me. Somehow I’ll keep publishing.