“So how does it feel, now the old man’s gone…

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.

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