Farewell, George Carlin

My sister called this morning. She left me a voice mail. George Carlin died yesterday.

I remember taking her and our cousin to Milwaukee’s Summerfest in 1972. My beloved was overseas then, our marriage many months in the future. I was a few years younger than our sons are now. My sister and cousin were younger still, in their early teens.

Summerfest was also in its youth. Not much funding yet. For seating they’d set round logs and railroad ties on the ground. As night fell we walked through the crowd, trying not to stumble over the primitive seats and those sitting on them.

George Carlin - 1972

Floodlights lit the stage where Carlin stood. Above the audience the lights danced with swirling smoke. We could smell it. It wasn’t tobacco. I felt sort of embarrassed (what was I thinking?), and sort of proud (what WAS I thinking??) exposing my sister and cousin to this groovy happening. Not that I was ever much into groove, but parts were cool. Tie-dye, flowers, sand candles, strappy leather sandals, music, peace signs, and incense (also not the cause of the heavy, fragrant air).

Then from the stage George Carlin started speaking his now infamous seven dirty words. I couldn’t hear it all…so many people…so much noise. But we were there, witnessing an event that would stay with us.

Here’s a link to an article in today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, a thoughtful piece, written well by Dave Tianen — Carlin Never Mellowed With Age. It includes pictures from that famous night in 1972. I’m posting it especially for my sister, my cousin, and for my sons, too — so that they might know one more thing about their mother.

Rest in peace, GC.

Now, back to the book.

Going Forward

Today is the anniversary of my high school graduation. On that long ago day, I looked forward to life’s journey with hope. As a reader, I wanted to write. I wrote poetry, as teens do. But creating a novel was a foggy dream.

Years passed. I worked, read, met my future love, read with him, married, read some more. We parented three sons and I read to them. Eventually, I learned how to write a whole novel. I wrote one then another, and another. I just couldn’t pull enough together to publish them. As a born procrastinator, I found distractions.

Over the last year or so, mainly since Mom’s passing, I’ve come to a fork in the road. I can take one of three paths.

1 – I can keep traveling the same path…churning out new novels, never finishing some, never polishing others quite enough. But I’ve been plodding that muddy path for a long time now. It’s not getting me anywhere.

2 – I can pack it all away and forge ahead toward a new life, new adventures. I’d enjoy planting flowers. I’d love to return to college. Our house needs some major rehab. Traveling for adventure, not the latest writer’s conference, is appealing. But then…I wouldn’t be writing. My characters, those voices in my head, would shrivel and die. I can’t do that to them, or to me.

3 – The third path requires resolve. No more dabbling. No more distractions. This is the year I WILL publish. I’m in good shape for it. My skills and knowledge have improved. I have supportive friends and family, as never before. Despite a day job and a husband, I can squeeze in the time. I find such a resolution incredibly exciting, and a bit frightening. But this is the path I’m taking.

Have you ever felt on the edge of such joy, and fear? How did you handle it?