If you are anything like me, you probably have spent a decent amount of your life browsing bookstores. Needless to say, bookstores are rather informative and comforting places even if a bunch of weirdos like to loiter there. Moreover, if you are anything like me, you might also have a similar reaction when you navigate your way from section to section – “Man there are a shitload of books here.” My next reaction is usually – “Do all these people really have a good story to tell?”
I am not quite prepared to answer my question. But I do want to offer a few observations, observations which tend to pervade my wandering mind almost every time I’m at Barnes and Nobles.
First, what is it with this “50 Shades of Gray” obsession? I have not read the book nor do I care to. But I know that it is about sex, probably lots of it. My opinion is this – If the author is sexually frustrated, why devote so much time to writing about and promoting a novel about sexual fantasies? Why not just find someone to have sex with, perhaps even various people at different times? That should cure the problem. If anything, writing about the topic would likely only increase her sexual frustration not to mention, the frustrations of E.J. James’ legions of adoring fans.
I don’t get it, but then again, who I am to understand the female psyche?
But 50 Shades of Grey is not really what consumes a lot of brainpower when I’m perusing a bookstore. Recently, I have become more fixated on all the memoirs there. Everyone and their transgendered third cousins seem to be writing memoirs. Young people have them, old, semi senile, once halfwits do, as do a horde of gloriously self-important celebrities. Perhaps I should applaud them. They got their stories out there. But I can’t help but be a little cynical. Are there lives really that exciting that everyone needs to know about them?
I would venture to say not as exciting as they think.
If you are wondering about the title of this blog, let me elaborate. One of my favorite bands growing up was “Boston”. My favorite song of theirs was “More than a Feeling”. I happened to be born in Boston which certainly drew me to their music but what I remember most was an album named “Don’t Look Back”. Nothing really makes sense as a kid, but now that I am in my 40’s, I really feel what the album title means.
Like all of us, I do have to and choose to look back on my life from time to time. Whenever I go back to Nashville, as I just did this past weekend, I am taken through a multidecade, roller-coaster of an intellectual and emotional time warp. Needless to say, it messes with my mind. I am probably no worse for the wear but that’s not the point. Where does looking back really get me? The best way to answer this question is with another question – “If I am running a race or driving a car, am I better off looking ahead or looking behind?”
I hope I never write a full memoir nor have the chutzpah to publish it if I choose to write one. I don’t feel the answers to the challenging, sometimes troubling questions of our lives lie in the past, but in the present and beyond. That’s why there is that somewhat corny saying – “Today is a gift. That’s why they call it the present”. But if for some reason I was asked to write my memoir right now, this is what I would say. I would make sure to keep it as succint as possible.
“Factoring all the hours I slept as a toddler and adolescent, I have probably spent at least one-third of my life asleep. Those were good times. The other third was spent either in school and/or working an assortment of underpaying, but rather interesting jobs. For the most part, these were really good times too though writing and grading research papers is about as dreadful as it gets as was doing concrete construction in the heart of a Nashville winter. The remaining third of my life has been spent eating, going to the bathroom, driving hundreds of thousands of miles, traveling by other means than cars, watching and playing sports, enjoying the fine arts, chasing after women, paying bills, making noise, hearing lots of noise and trying to make sense of it all. These were the best times of all.”
I could write another 400 pages or so, but the story-line would be relatively the same. Besides, I have to go the bathroom, shower and eat some breakfast before I go to work and engage in other necessary activities.
I hoped you liked my memoir. Regardless, go listen to some Boston. Their self-titled album was a rather damned good one too.