By BR Chitwood
Would a chromosome here or there have made a difference? A genetic anomaly? A stronger voice? A calm persona? Magnetic personality? An indefatigable nature?
What molecular miracle could have made me more than I am? Less lonely and lethargic? Less maudlin and ‘poor me’?
Oh, I know how to assess my beginning and all that came with my life’s rural entry… That is where much of the ‘poor me’ was introduced, forming in me for the rest of my life, frustration, loves, anxieties, and adventures…
Among the days, weeks, months, and years, I have not been denied the gifts of life or the vagaries. There has been the beauty of love, college, wonderful job opportunities, some fun film and television acting, friendships, novel writing…and the awful squandering of time and essence.
‘So, what, my man?’ I hear the old annoying voice of my alter-ego. ‘There are billions of people in the world – grow some balls’!
Hey, I’m writing here, ‘mute’ your nasty mouth and leave my head… I’m writing this for me and those who have felt similar emotions. Your rude attendance is not mandatory, nor, wanted…this session is for the sad and weak of heart, the Romantics, the dreary of character, the great mass of ‘unwashed’ of the world.
For the most part, it all began after my escape from the emotional rural abyss, after a tour of duty in the US Navy in one of its mentally depressive duty stations on the small, snowy, and bleak island of Adak in the Aleutian Chain. Russia was relatively close…on a clear day from our neighbor island, Attu, the coast-line of Vladivostok could be seen.
We were one hundred fifty especially trained men, some who would spend 18 months or longer on a snowy, remote, tundra-carpeted piece of the island – that is, when you could see it through patches of snow.
We 150 sailors were three units, each working our special jobs for three shifts before a break. Each unit was responsible for operating the various amenities available to the hardy group of sailors, those being: library, photography, crafts of all kinds, and Beer Bar. In fact, all 150 sailors lived and played in this huge concrete and steel one-level ‘C’ structure – it was quite a building sitting on a huge hill of tundra above the Bering Sea. There were other operations buildings where we did our jobs.
It is not my intent to make this post about the island of Adak. The ancient Aleuts who lived here had nothing better to do but hunt their cows (their meat source) and how best to keep from freezing. They need not have worried about bears taking their steaks (there were none). Eagles did give them a bit of trouble.
Adak was a place of harsh cold winds, snow, and rain where ‘warmth’ was in constant demand. Adak was simply a place where loneliness dwelt, where buddies sat, drank, told their stories of home, the girls they loved, and their sports moments of glory. There were times when group tears were shared as well. All in all, our jobs on the island were important to our country and that established importance got us through the tough spots.
Many of us lived on that hill or in our Ops buildings for our full tours – eighteen months, although the ‘tour was supposed to be for twelve months.
It was on Adak when I discovered further dimensions of myself, my insecurities, my mobile youth, fears, confusion, and my intense longing for home, hearth, and love.
In short, I discovered a ‘me’ that carried a lot of emotional baggage. I was a destined ‘romantic’ nomad. I was an untrained lotus eater.
There’s an old ‘Anon’ saying which I could have easily written: “Life is really simple! People insist on making it complicated.” Old ‘Anon’ had to be thinking of me when he, or, she wrote that.
In that Appalachian portion of my life – that ‘Poor Me’, among the bad parts, I would mimic ballad singers. Maybe I could be a famous singer. But, wait, I also wrote poetry and fumbled around with words. Maybe I could be a writer…well, I have done both, even done some film work and TV commercials, taught school, but the very best talent I have is, wait for it! Procrastination.
What I really wanted to do with this post, for you, the reader, and me, was to merge the two events in my life that have likely made me who I am, not a ‘nobody’, but an ‘anybody’. I have written here about two events in my thinking that were ‘me-shapers’ and will not write about some of the I’s and Q’s I am likely missing.
One thing I am reasonably sure about is my writing, twenty books so far, most of them taken from true crimes. I write mystery, suspense, romance, memoir, thriller, Sci-Fi. I have written over 370 blog posts from various parts of the globe.
So, take a look at my Website/Blog, click the menu icon and read some book synopses. See if my writing might team up with your reading.
BR Chitwood – 3/15/21
Author’s Website and Blog: Books and Writings by BR Chitwood