From an early age, I roamed around with my nose stuck in a book. Doctors had told my parents that I would never walk, so my father did me one of his few favors and taught me to read at the age of three. A shy kid who came out of an early illness with a gimpy gait, I clutched a pencil and scribbled in spiral-bound notebooks. By late elementary school, I incurred the wrath of the nuns by writing book reports on obscure Henry James novels and the science fiction favored by my older brothers.
I wake every morning with words tumbling from my brain. Later, as evening falls, I open a book and settle into a rocking chair. Perhaps I better relate to the ghosts in my old stories and the lively folk in British mysteries than I do to my neighbors and kin.
After a day of grousing in the back office of the firm where I strive to add value, I drove home tonight under a pink-tinged sky. I pulled onto Jackson Slough Road as a burst of crimson shot across the western horizon. I sat in my car and stared. I remembered a book which I read in eighth grade, about a boy whose father died in war. He and his mother crafted a new existence for themselves in the New Mexico community which previously had been their vacation retreat. He rose above his grief. He found his way.
I studied the sleek curve of Mt. Diablo in the distance, watching over the California Delta with a quiet and serene strength. My eyes traced the bold streaks spreading across the sky. I rolled down the window and listened to the sounds of night on the San Joaquin. Then I took myself home.
It’s the eleventh day of the ninety-seventh month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.