“I’m not what I ought to be; Not what I want to be; Not what I am going to be; But I’m thankful I am not what I used to be.” – John Wooden
When I first read this quote, I thought that I had the basic essence of the statement, but a series of normal events proved that there was more to take from this statement by the legendary basketball coach.
Because some of these items relate back to Blue Lines and to continue to not making any use of real names of the living (unless I have mentioned, or interviewed them in the past) I offer this again…
Because of my intellectual property, and my goal for this to begin my being published, I have to be vague in many areas of the story’s actual content. I would like to add that should anyone be offended by ANYTHING that I go forward with: 1) if it will offend you, please read objectively, my goal is not and has never been to embarrass or disrespect anyone; 2) although I am explaining why Blue Lines was written, this is a public forum and names will be omitted to protect the innocent; 3) if you know me now, and did not then, this also applies as this relates to why I wrote my work.
Now that I have cleared that out again, two items that helped me better understand this quote that had been forwarded me a few weeks ago: 1) I, luckily, got to chill with my Pinoy sister Kat Goduco and kind of enjoy a day filled with art, conversation, exploration and learning without any type of barriers, because her or our friendship is one of the purer ones out there (if that makes sense); 2) an e-mail from a friend reading over my blog, and mentioned their laughing at recalling events mentioned in a previous blog, coupled with my blog high 40 views in one day, let me know that there is a reason that I am doing what I am doing.
Back to what made me understand the above statement…as I had mentioned last week, to move from the chaos that I think best personified the work that went into Blue Lines, (since it is “my” fictional story, based on some true events, more so than the others, much more so) as part of my moving into getting my work in on Manuscripts two and three (book 4 is very early in its stages too mention), I wanted to start cleaning up my home writing office, and once that is complete, have my cover art for Blue Lines printed, and to have it displayed with people/items/ideas that inspire me within my office. The first part, of course, was the cleaning, and as I organized the various items that had found a resting place in my office (especially since the tornado), bobbleheads, most of my sports memorabilia, books, and writings that were packed in boxes that were labeled “bobbleheads,” I came across some early writing. This writing helped me understand how “I am not what I used to be.”
Initially I liked this statement, I felt that it was a great idea to envision for oneself, but I think that there are times that we as people may look back upon the years and pick out negative pieces of our personalities and or personas, and look back at former selves as our better selves. And much of that may be romanticism based on a certain purity that we had due to a lack of experience. That is what I glanced at, and glance best fits due to the lack of time and effort that I put into evaluating my former self.
In cleaning my office, and coming across the incorrectly labeled box, I found my “The Nothing Book’s,” both of which I had had since creative writing classes in high school. Though originally used for those classes, I continued to carry the books with me through college, and after the passing of my Grandfather I had to humble myself to be able to clear the pain that I felt, by releasing it within the pages of these books, using them as journals. Though upon finding the books, that I did not realize were lost, I realized that I had not written as much as I thought I had in the past, these, or rather, one of these books is the original birthplace of Blue Lines. In this book I found, actual items from my original writings, braids from when I cut all my hair off pressed between latter pages, even a funeral program from a parochial school friend. But, I digress, this is less about the origins of my initial manuscript, and more related to personal growth.
A thought that had crossed my mind, in trying to put my thoughts together for last weeks’ blog entry, weighed heavily with my aforementioned high school reunion and revisiting people that, although Facebook makes it so much easier these days, you had lost contact with over the many years since parochial/high school, and even college. How do you reconnect with someone after upwards of ten or more years where either side may have experienced tremendous highs, lows and changes in the people who you were at those distant times? What do you say? What do you do, after the distance of times over those many years? How do you continue that communication after that meeting or reunion? What has changed, how are you different? Are you different?
In perusing the journal entries, at least two items: a letter titled “Beautiful Black Woman,” (that I had written and sent; and a yet unnamed poem, later titled “Ghost;” were both pieces that later appeared in my manuscript. However, in reading the entries, it seemed as if I was displeased, I guess, with the rawness of the content, or the lack of vocabulary to express some of the items that I dealt with and felt during those events that led to the entries. The freedom to use profanity, in describing my feelings, actually shocked me, having been so far removed from it, I believe the last entry was in or around 1999.
Then something happened, something clicked in my head. John Wooden’s quote that was sent to me, and that I had pushed out there to inspire others now had its application in my life. In looking at the journal entries of a 22-23 year old college student trying to express his frustrations about life and love, read by a 33 year old man who had for eleven years written, edited, stepped away, revisited, re-edited the work that was the fruit of those youthful rants; I knew that though I am not yet who I am should be, nor am I what I want to be, but I had to smile broadly and realize that I have grown, I have changed, I am moving in a direction and I am not who I once was and what I used to be.
And I thought about a quote that most likely aided my realization of the Wooden quote:
“You can only have joy, when you overcome arrogance, and are open to your own ignorance” – Cornel West
This soundtrack “Another World” – Antony & the Johnsons
The manuscript Blue Lines is a fictional period piece, written by Kenneth Suffern, Jr., that takes place at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill between the years of 1997 – 1998. Loosely based on true events, and experiences during that time, told through the eyes and voice of the main female protagonist, a freshman first attending the school.
Always feel free to give your comments, and/or suggestions.