Sometimes, maybe a day or two after writing a post, it occurs to me that there was something I left out. Well, not exactly left out. But something that would make the post better if it was included. Closer to perfect, you know what I mean?
I just smiled at my own foolishness. Feel free to react accordingly.
“H-yah, h-yah, h-yah…”
Here’s the thing.
The post that appeared yesterday was written on a Friday. The next morning – a non-working Saturday – I am walking at the beach in a southerly direction when it occurs to me with a powerful urgency that something was missing from yesterday’s post.
That’s what frequently happens on my walks – illuminating ideas pop into my mind. Which is one reason I never wear headphones outside – I am unable to hear myself think. Another reason is, if I want to be functionally insulated from the world it would be easier to just stay in the house. A third reason is, rather than a downloaded playlist, I actually prefer singing to myself. And the last reason is, even if I favored a recorded repertoire, I would have no clue how to download a playlist.
Look at that. Four reasons when I thought there was just one.
We are cookin’ today!
If you recall yesterday’s post – and there are no “Points off” if you don’t; I sometimes can’t recall what I wrote minutes after I am done writingit – I was relating a story about heading off to my first show biz job in Los Angeles, which involved badgering an American Immigration Official, a man who could probably arrest me just for being a nuisance. But that’s how badly I wanted to go. I was willing to risk sharing a “Holding Pen” with hardened criminals.
“What are you in for?”
“Drug smuggling? You?”
“Pestering a policeman.”
I am making my way down the Venice boardwalk area, wondering if I should avail myself of the services of an advertised “Psychic” – or simply write about why I didn’t – when it suddenly occurs to me that that life-changing trip to Los Angeles was also the first time I had ever traveled alone.
That, my brain stubbornly insisted, needed to go into the post. On top of everything else, “It was the first I would be traveling alone”? It circumstantially raises the ante.
I immediately decide that when I got home, I would go to my computer and insert that addition. And then it would be perfect.
Allow me my illusions. (Even though Iinvariably do not.)
The moment I decide on this monumental improvement, I begin considering how exactly that appended sentence should go, and where exactly it should be inserted. And if I should put it in brackets or just leave it alone.
You see how hard writing is?
I decide to put it right near the top, after the line, “I was at the Toronto airport.” Appropriately “Setting the scene”, if you will.
“I was at the Toronto airport. The first time I was traveling alone.” (I also, after some contentious wrangling, decided “no brackets.” He added, in brackets.)
I then, as did God after “Creation”, thought, “… and it was good.”
And then I thought, “Wait.”
Should it be, “The first time I was traveling alone” – which is what I would say if I were telling the story directly – or the more literarily complete, “It wasthe first time I was traveling alone”? I have that argument a lot with myself. I aspire to “write talk” here. The thing is, I am not actually talking. Clarifying concessions sometimes need to be be adhered to.
ARGUMENT: “But it makes it longer.”
COUNTER-ARGUMENT: “But the other’s not a whole sentence.”
I decide – don’t I always? – to go “longer.”
Until, minutes minutes later, I imagine a shortening improvement. Not, “It was the first time I would be traveling alone”, but
“It was my first time traveling alone.”
Shorter and tighter. That would be perf…
Okay, stop it.
Anyway, that’s what I decide.
“It was my first time traveling alone.”
Now I was content, strolling along the ocean, the invisible Mariachi band that plays only for me accompanying my sun-warmed excursion.
My “Saturday Walk” lasted close to an hour. Five minutes from my house I realize something startlingly important.
It was notmy first time traveling alone.
Apparently, my unconscious mind had gotten my memories mixed up. I had confused my trip to L.A. for my first writing job on April the 12th1974 with my actual first trip traveling alone, winging to the Bertolt Brecht Summer Theater Workshop at UCLAin the summer of 1966. I then realized that I had also traveled alone to London on December the 3rd, 1966. And on my solo return trip on March 24th, 1968.
So much for that “necessary insertion.”
“It was my fourth time traveling alone”?
Who needs to hear that?
So there you have it.
I had this dazzling insight during my walk at the beach… which turned out to be factually incorrect.
What do I do with thatsurprising turn of events… except write about it ‘cause it’s interesting.
(TURNING DIRECTLY TO READERSHIP)