Friday

Nov. 7, 2008

On The Days I Am Not My Father

by Scott Owens

I don't yell. I don't hold inside
the day's supply of frustrations.
My hands stay open all day.
I don't wake tired and sore,
dazed from senseless, panicking
dreams. On the days I am not
my father I hold my son
when he cries, let him touch my face
without flinching, lie down with him
until he falls asleep, realize
that just because he has a sharp tongue,
just because he's sometimes mean,
just because he's smarter than me
doesn't mean he'll become my father.

On the days I am not my father
holding you is enough until
holding you is no longer enough
for either of us. I listen well.
I let things go unfinished,
in an order I didn't plan.
My mouth is relaxed. My teeth
don't hurt. My face stays
a healthy shade of pink all day.
On the days I am not my father
I don't fill the silence with my own
irrational rants. I don't resent
the voices of others. I don't make fun
of you to make myself feel better.

On the days I am not my father
I don't care who wins
or loses. The news can't ruin
my day. I water plants.
I cook. I laugh at myself.
I can imagine living without
my beard, with my hair cut,
without the fear of looking
too much like my father. On the days
I am not my father I romp
and play, I don't compare myself
with everyone else, the night
is always long enough, I like
how much I am like my father.

"On The Days I Am Not My Father" by Scott Owens from The Fractured World. © Main Street Rag Publishing Company. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

It's the birthday of writer Albert Camus, (books by this author) born in Mondovi, Algeria (1913). He grew up in a working-class family. His father was killed in WWI, and his mother worked as a cleaning woman; she could barely read. They had no money, but a grammar-school teacher encouraged him to go to college. He studied philosophy in Algiers and tended goal for the university football team — the sport we know as soccer. He wrote later, "All that I know most surely about morality and the obligations of man, I owe to football."

In 1940, he moved to an Algerian town called Oran, where he spent time on the beach. One day, he saw a friend of his get into a fight with some Arab men and threaten them with a pistol. Soon afterward, he worked the scene into the novel he was writing, The Stranger.

In the spring of 1940, Camus moved to Paris just as the war began with Nazi Germany. He finished The Stranger just before Hitler's tanks rolled into the city. He wrote letters to a woman named Francine, who later became his wife. He said, "I only know that I will maintain what I believe to be true in my own universe, and as an individual I will give in to nothing."

The Stranger was published in 1942, followed by a collection of essays, The Myth of Sisyphus (1943). He also wrote The Plague (1947). He died in a car crash in 1960.

Albert Camus said, "A writer cannot put himself today in the service of those who make history; he is at the service of those who suffer it."

Today is the 90th birthday of evangelist Billy Graham, (books by this author) born on a dairy farm near Charlotte, North Carolina (1918). He began his career in Los Angeles in 1949, holding revival meetings in circus tents. He crusaded against communism, but he opposed segregation, and became friends with Martin Luther King, Jr. He refused to join the religious right's Moral Majority, saying, "I'm for morality, but morality goes beyond sex to human freedom and social justice."

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®

 









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