Maybe I am, but on the inside I’m a dangerous writer. On the inside I’m like the dark poet Charles Bukowski, the live hard/die young Lord Byron, the knife-fighting Christopher Marlowe. Inside I make women think “hmm, if only…”, I walk away from stability for the sake of bold and careless freedom, and I insidiously make people wonder whether they’ve been wasting their life on normality.
On the outside, however, I don’t even scare deer.
As I was on that walk approaching the misinformed deer, I was dangerously thinking of how many times I’ve moved from one residence to another. Previously here on the Blog News Service I said that I’ve now lived in 14 states, and I’m probably not done, but I was really thinking, “How many times have I actually picked up every damn thing I owned and moved?” I probably lost count, but I came up with 28 times. I’m not counting several periods of weeks or months overseas, as that was always temporary, and I’m only counting since I got out of high school.
Assuming 28 is correct, I’m about to go for 29. This Washington enterprise is being forced to shut down. I came to Washington looking for work, but work? I’m a writer, I don’t work. Apparently. I believe there must be jobs in Washington, because people get on the interstate every morning and evening, jam it up, and they all have huge smiles on their faces as they drive by. That means they’re going to work, right?
Me, I’ve been living mostly on unemployment checks, and you good people paying taxes are finally putting your foot down on my useless sucking from the public teat. You bastards. I thought it was my place in life to be a dilettante parasite writer. I already I bought the outfit and everything. Now what do I do with all those silk scarves? I can’t wear that stuff in Georgia, where I’m moving to live with my brother for a while.
On June 15, I’ll be out of here, and goodbye Washingtonia. Here are some cool things I’ve experienced: our back deck, Politics and Prose bookstore, crazy good art museums, crabcakes on Solomon’s Island down where the Patuxent River flows into the Chesapeake, the winery in St. Michael’s, looking at boats in Annapolis, drinking beer in an Irish pub in Annapolis, or a pretty fabulous exhibit today (June 7) on the Ballets Russes at the National Gallery of Art.
And of course the Chevy Chase writing group called Table in the Back, which I’ve been attending for almost a year. We now usually have around 15 people showing up, so that we break up into smaller impromptu groups (and I take credit for that idea.) There are some good writers in the group, and there are people who will be very good if they keep writing and learning the craft. I’ve enjoyed trying to encourage promising writers, I’ve enjoyed hearing the writing of people in the group, and I’ve benefited from the critiques I’ve gotten. I’ve also been fortunate to become friends with people from the group. No one seems especially dangerous, but I can be friends with safe people too, if I try.
Since I’m leaving this area, I’ve also had to hurry and make a research trip to the town of Cambridge, Maryland, over on the eastern shore across the Chesapeake. This will be background for the current novel (I’m currently working on the fourth chapter), as two of my characters—Carmen and Heather Fierro— are from there. So I drove over and made notes, and while I was there, talking to the hostess in the place where I had lunch, I learned that in Cambridge they have a muskrat skinning contest every year. Man, literary research just engulfs you in the grandeur of indigenous culture.
Apparently they also eat the muskrats, but I guess I’ll miss that, because I’ll be gone south.