Thursday, January 6, 2011

One Life

To be able to look back upon one's past life with satisfaction is to live twice.

Lord Acton
I have sometimes heard seniors say if they could live their lives over again they wouldn't change a thing. I don't know if they really mean that or not but to me that's total nonsense. If I could live my life over again I would change almost everything, beginning with a home and a family.

I would wish to be born into a family with a mother and a father and some brothers and sisters to grow up with. I would want to be in a home, a house that was a permanent place in the world to which I could return when I wanted to. I would want intelligent guidance and influence. I would like to know who my relatives are and get acceptance from those around me for who I am and what I can do.

I never knew my father. There were two grandfathers and one grandmother I never knew, two aunts and a whole flock of cousins. I have relatives now that I will probably never meet.

There was no stable home. I moved 25 times during the time I was growing up. I have no school chums because I kept changing schools. Even as an adult I found no stability. The longest time I lived in one place was 20 years in a transient hotel room, but even then I was touring all over the country as an actor.

I've noticed that many great writers are focused on particular circumstances that preside in their writings in one form or another. Many of Shakespeare's characters live through loss and sometimes regaining of place, power or influence. Dickens spends much time on the plight of the young in a poverty society. Dostoyevsky was in a constant search for spirituality.

I suppose I have been on that long search for home and family in my own writings. I guess I've always been a wanderer in search of my life, a life that got left somewhere. I tried, pointlessly, to make a family out of whatever theatre company I was with, an attempt that was misinterpreted by everyone.

I became a walker. I walked for miles through the cities of New York, Boston and it's suburbs. Hartford, Connecticut, Springfield, Massachusetts, Westchester County in New York State. In Boston one night I walked from Back Bay across the Charles River through Harvard Square to Somerville. In New York one day I walked from 104th Street and West Enid Avenue down to 4th Street and !st Avenue. In Westchester I walked from
Rye to White Plains. What was I looking for? My home? In 1960 I hitchhiked across the country, from Boston to Los Angeles.

I spent a few years, off and on, walking through the White Mountain National Forest where I was searching for myself.

People wonder why I live where I do now. I have no roots here and know almost no one. Well, I've grown accustomed to that.

I once started a list titled WHERE ARE YOU. On it were the names of all the people I once knew and liked, former friends and colleagues. It was astonishing to me how many people I used to know well. I stopped it before the list was finished and before I got too depressed. Today I am grateful for the few friends I have.

Music, literature and my career as an entertainer have been my life's companions and there have been very few people to share those things with.

Now I write. My two finished novels and a few of my short stories are about people who don't stay put, either because they can't or because they don't want to.

I'm a wanderer, a vagabond, I accept that. Now I wander through the pathways of what might have been and among the endlessly interesting imaginations of my mind. I do not look back on my past life with satisfaction. So instead I look forward.

DB - The Vagabond

(This is not a contest)

What was the most significant event that happened in 2010?

1 response so far

I await your answer.


krissy knox said...


this is an extremely touching post. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with us.

While you say you would almost everything from the past if you could, I still believe that somehow you have come to a little peace with where you are -- even while still being a Vagabond. Of course you know that -- and I don't mean to be redundant because I'm sure that everybody else has already told you this -- if you never had your past, you wouldn't have the present you have today! Doesn't mean you wouldn't want to change the past if you could, but it just means your present would be so drastically different. Perhaps, if you could really look back, you wouldn't want to change your past! Remember George Bailey in "It's A Wonderful Life?" :)

You say you do now have a few friends -- and music, writing, literature, and the knowledge of acting to share with them. These are great things!

Perhaps you don't have as many friends as you used to, but maybe the friends you do have now are even more dear to you than the ones you used to have. If you had had that life that you had considered "perfect", than perhaps you wouldn't have appreciated the friends you have today. Perhaps you wouldn't even have found them. Merely a thought.

And Dana, you share so much with the friends you do have. You share much more than music, acting and literature with your friends, as you stated in your post.

You have shared with me your unique artwork. Each painting or piece of art is interesting and aesthetically pleasing, and unique for it's texture and bold colors. You have also shared your beautiful photography, which is not only pleasing to the eye, but each photo tells a story. You have shared so much in your blog, each post full of knowledge and much wisdom -- and well, just plain interesting and food for thought, not like a lot of other blogger's posts. You have shared about philosophy and religion, and we have shared root words and discussed various languages. You have given me an appreciation for Opera (which i NEVER thought I would have, LOL) and helped me understand the allegory behind it. You have shared your knowledge and your wisdom you have gained from many places.

There are those times and issues we don't always agree on, or at least not totally, but then we share views and have lively discussions. And isn't that part of being a friend is about?

Whether we happen to be agreeing or not, in any particular conversation, I always have a smile on my face when I am talking to you or IMing with you.

You have taught me a lot about friendship, and I hope I have taught you the same. I find you moral, spiritual and intellectual. Of course the first two things are most important, but it sure is nice having someone very intelligent to talk to -- and someone that challenges me and keeps my mind active!

Now don't erase this comment, because you are humble. And don't you get a big head either, LOL.

No, as you stated, you personally don't look back on your life. Not much anyway, but perhaps a little. Only enough, as I stated, to come to a peace with your life, knowing that you can appreciate what you have now (your new friends). And perhaps an appreciation of your new way of life.

I believe you have made a peace with your old life bc of that, and it has taught you to look forward and not backward. I hope that makes sense.

And you have taught me to look forward also.

And so I shall...

krissy knox
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krissy knox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arlene (AJ) said...

I couldn't add anything to what Krissy wrote DB, it indeed says everything I was thinking about when I read your words. You're a blessing to all of us who read your words and we have become your friend forever via the computer dear. Krissy and I have been computer friends for years so very touching to see her touching words to you.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

I do not spend time wondering what if, we make our decisions, and must live with them. I think that as long as we learn, then our looking forward can be special.