"Prior to the ink drying to anything that's signed, it's rare for a piece of legislation to not have ghosts haunting it." - National Rifle Association spokesman Andrew Arulanandam.
I don't want to say too much about this simply because I feel unqualified. But here you can read more about my fellow Gold Medal winner in the Independent Publisher Book Awards.
I have no idea who said it but the truest words ever spoken are, “Wherever I go, there I am.”
We set out in life, I think, trying to escape our parents. They mean well but that moment when they let you become your own person is very hard for them but often taken totally for granted by the separate life they brought into the world.
Some parents never manage to live up to the old Chinese saying, “All a parent can give a child are roots and wings.”
It’s that wings bit that gets them every time. Every time they hear a flap the roots grow stronger.
Well, almost every time. Because some kids just take flight, despite the comfort of home, despite the love in all its forms (or the assumption of love because of a lack of ability to show it).
Life for people like this, like me, has a tendency to become a string of clichés.
You can never go home again is always top of the list.
I promised to write about the latest move my wife and I have made – to Santa Fe, New Mexico – but as always with writers we want to go back to the moment of conception to put everything into context.
Wherever I go, there I am.
Does it matter where I started? Yes, I think it does. It has become inescapable to me over the years that where we start has a direct connection to where we end up.
I used to think everybody was just like me. But they are not. Not every child is born into a home based largely on pretense. The pretense of happiness when true happiness has somehow escaped the players for reasons too complicated and too far in the past to be fully understood.
Yes there was affection - eventually. But was there love? There was love for me from my mother because I was all she had. There was love from my father when I was already a man, because he finally respected what I’d achieved without him.
They both ultimately admired my wings – and even took a little credit for them – but the path to gaining them was anything but easy. Of course the difficulty of this path was largely hidden by the pretense I just mentioned. After all, if we talked openly about it “What would the neighbors think?”
I never thought I’d leave my hometown but I did. I never thought I’d leave my childhood sweetheart but I did. I never thought I’d leave my country but I did.
Those wings are dangerous things. Once you’ve grown them you tend to insist on using them!
I never thought I’d leave the city of my dreams – New York – but I’ve left it twice. The first time, after seven outrageous, exciting, fulfilling, sensuous years, was when my job took me to San Francisco.
I think I always knew that San Francisco was an experiment. It was not about discovering a new place to spend the rest of my life, it was a test to see if I could exist and thrive outside of New York.
But as soon as I’d proven myself to myself I had to head back East.
I had no idea I was heading back into the perfect storm. On December 19th, 2000 I got married for the first time at age 49. On September 11th, 2001 I watched the Twin Towers fall from the end of my street, not on TV like most of the rest of the world, and on August 31st, 2002 I lost my dad to cancer.
On March 4th, 2006 I left the advertising business that had given me such a great life for so many years. It had allowed me to see the world, meet truly interesting people and give full vent to my creative nature (I thought).
Those wings are dangerous things. Once you’ve grown them it becomes very easy to confuse flying toward things with flying away from things.
Had my entire life existed of running (or flying) away from things? When I thought of myself as the adventurous daredevil, always heading toward the next challenge?
Finally I faced the truth that it probably had.
I am asked constantly why I came to Santa Fe. I am told constantly that it doesn’t seem like me. Won’t I miss the city? The culture? The excitement?
Here’s my answer. For the first time in my life I flew toward a goal when I got married. Brace yourself for another giant cliché, but I married because I found a woman who simply wanted me to be myself...not some version of myself I had trouble recognizing.
For only the second time in my life I flew toward something when I suggested to my wife that we move to New Mexico.
I flew toward peace and quiet, to a life I’ve never known surrounded by nature not concrete, by ever-changing skies not glass and steel, and by days that are shaped by what you do with them rather than the familiar scars of Mondays making you look forward to Wednesdays which make you long for Fridays which place such a burden on the weekend that it cannot possibly live up to expectations.
To those who say it’s not me, I say you only knew a part of me. The part I needed to show to do what I had to do.
Wherever I go, there I am? The truth is, wherever I have been there was a part of me.
Life here is great for the moment. Who knows what the future holds? I’ve learned to trust my wings whether they take me away from something or toward something. Like I said, wings are dangerous things because once you’ve grown them they never drop off until the day you die.
The theory of angels you say? Well, like it says in one of my songs...
“I know what I’m running from
But I don’t know what I’m running to
Heaven’s vague reward’s not for me and you.”
One thing I know for sure is if the first wings we get are when we die it’s many, many years too late.
I also know that those people who never feel the need to grow any are probably saner, safer and headed for a calmer existence because of it.
I don’t think we get to choose which type we are. All I can say is I see a lot of winged people in Santa Fe.
And the odd little noises the Coyotes make at night sound like fingers clicking on a keyboard. Punctuated by the occasional howl.
The Baseball Field at Night, by Patricia Goedicke (Lost Horse Press)
or words to that effect, by Dave Tutin (openDmusic)
It is one of those mornings
when the mountains
owe more to the sky
than to the earth
A man lies dead
Killed by a truck
on the Cape Town road
Soon they will come for the body
but there is no hurry
Even in the easy light
of this waking day
his color owes more to the earth
than to the sky
- South Africa 1985
©2008 Dave Tutin / openD LLC
It's odd how it happens. You write a song and you think it's finished, then months or even years later one line or two from that song find a natural home in a new one. And it usually means the original was nothing more than a comfortable place for those words to hang out until their real purpose was revealed. So the old song dies - or maybe some other words that were hanging out there will later reappear also.
©2009 Dave Tutin / openD LLC
"If you ever go to Austin, Fort Worth or San Anton'
Find the barrooms I got lost in and send my memories home
Put my tears in a bottle screw the top on tight
If you ever go to Houston, buddy you’d better walk right" - Bob Dylan