Andy circa 1984

I just went through six huge boxes of writings and books from high school and college. Getting rid of nearly all of the books (which is pretty much heresy in my family – but they are mostly books of plays that you can find at any local library – as long as we still have public libraries in the future). Found was also my weekly report from 1984 which I believe would have been third or fourth grade. It’s a blue folder with alternating comments between parents and teacher:

Decmeber 10th, 1984 my mom writes to the teacher (I believe it was Mrs. Mand):

We are concerned about Andy’s handwriting – the lack of cursive – is he required to use cursive? I know he is in a hurry but sooner or later other teachers are going to require him to use cursive – if you have some suggestions please communicate!

I was in handwriting classes for three years and I still go back to read my handwritten journal from three weeks back and it is a nightmare of bad writing (that and the kitty bitemarks on the pages). Thank God I learned to type 80 words a minute.

I do spend a lot of time in my life in a hurry. I know that at times that can be considered ‘urgency addiction’ – the familiarity with the high of fast movement which can ultimately wreck your heart or burn you out. But I think that my need to move on stuff has characterized most of my learning. I didn’t want to wait for a web designer so I learned web design, I didn’t want to wait for Super 8 film to develop so I turned to live performance, I didn’t want to spend time reading boring plays when I knew I could learn to write one that I liked. I think any time I’ve been especially creative or innovative – that it is born out of necessity.

I need to just ship a sheet-fed scanner home for an extended visit and just scan all of these papers. Journals upon journals. Notebooks of affirmations and creative investigation. Binders of magazine clippings and images. My writing output sort of surprises me. Other parents would ask mine why both of their children were so comfortable with writing or why were they such brainiacs – as if having parents who are teachers was the sole answer. They’d always reply: They work very hard. Which is totally true. Mom and dad raised us with the idea that education is your economic ladder and I think that that has been true. That trinitied with mom’s entrepeneurial spirit and dad’s ‘idea-man’ quality.

Another example: I wrote (and bound myself) a short story called Syntax Error when I was a kid. You remember that don’t you – the most common error message from a Commodore 64?

Dad and I were talking and agreed that if it hadn’t been for my severe allergies as a kid everything might have been different. I might have channeled my cooperative/competitive spirit into athletics instead of academics or the arts. That, and I think that mom and dad saw schools as ‘our job’ and carefully weighed any extra-curricular activities – whose participation in was a reward for getting good grades. I could have been socialized to be a completely different person. Funny how something biological can ricochet across decades – it wasn’t until senior year in high school I discovered the weight room and the in college I got much more physical with all the theatre training – with sexual awakening taking place in both straight and later on gay contexts…

I found a letter I’d written to one of our high school basketball stars. After our senior retreat we’d agreed to hang out and pal around and it ended up being an incredibly awkward afternoon which I guess now would be the same-gender loving part of my brain whispering Andy’s on a date! which I wouldn’t really decode for many many years. I think that was one of the ultimately painful personal part of dealing with my hetero-crypto-bi-homo-sexuality. That I truly prided myself on my own self-knowledge – I had the journals to show for it! I had intuition into everybody else – but to find out something about myself that I hadn’t really thoroughly decrypted was so embarrassing more than anything. As I have said many times before – I had thought that my appreciation for the male form was one of aspiration – not attraction. I’d look at a handsome fit man and think I want to look like him – but not consider the shaded undertow of I want to be with him.

Tis strange. I’m going to let that simmer for a bit.

Finished act one of King Lear on the plane. Still not totally understanding why Lear goes off the handle so quickly with Goneril. Must reread.

Also read Don’t Think of an Elephant by George Lakoff. You must read it. I’m serious. Go order a copy now. It’s only 80 or so pages. I haven’t had a book hit me between the eyes like this since Blowback or Exception to the Rulers. Lakoff lays out an entire strategy for progressives to reclaim the mental space of the country. It totally blew my mind.

Gem:

People do not necessarily vote in their self-interest. They vote their identity. They vote their values.

Full review upon my re-reading and return.

One thought on “Andy circa 1984

  1. Jef

    When I was a senior in high school, one of the school athletes always asked me to go do something with him one weekend. After many months, I finally did. It was strange because I became aware of a sort of electricity between us that I had never felt or thought about before. Nothing happened, but it made me pay attention. He must have felt it too and it must have scared him because he never asked to go do anything again. I never thought about it again until this past week when I got to a similiar story in the novel I’m writing for NaNoWriMo and it made me remember him. Therefore, it’s ironic that you should post your story this week.

    It’s interesting to note that it never ocurred to me that I could be gay. Then when I first started seeing signs, I didn’t even know what they were.

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