My first essay!

My first published essay! Whooda thunk it! Two years, three and a half months ago I announced to my brother that I would have a new adventure – a one year trial of writing, then extend my thumb up or thumb down. It was a thumb up.

I have little formal education beyond high school except for training in the electrical and machinist trades. I have no letters behind my name, yet I write on academic subjects. I am neither a scholar nor a scientist. I am not an “…ist” of any kind.

I am curious and thoughtful. I figure things out. I am an autodidact. I call my writing “the collocated lucubrations of a peripatetic divagating autodidact”. My essays are my collected writings on various thoughts while walking to the library. My opposite number, my granddaughter’s paternal grandfather calls me “The Blue Collar Intellectual.” I thank him for that. I wish to live up to both appellations.

But then I am reminded of a nurse in James Michener’s collections of stories Tales From the South Pacific – “a possessor of minor intellectual pretentions.”  If the shoe fits, wear it.  It fits too well and I am humbled.

Why do I write? The simple answer is because I like to. Harlan Ellison goes farther:

“Because the why is as simply put as this: ‘I write only because I cannot stop.’ Don’t credit that one to me, I’m not that smart. It was Heinrich Von Kleist. And he nailed it; what he suggests, in literary terms, is the equivalent answer to most of the stuff we do: it seemed like a good idea at the time.”1

Why do I write? I like to, I have to, it seems like a good idea.

In the movie “Shadowlands” a minor character exclaims “I read to know that I am not alone.” In the quiet of my mind I riposted “I write to know who I am.” I have no idea where those words came from – they just popped into my head. I have a name for my writing: Autodidactations. This autodidact is taking dictation from my unconscious mind and writing the words down.

My essays are an exploration of “who am I?” How do I construct my mental and emotional world? How does my life experience transliterate into words? I write as self-revelation, as archaeology of my mind, to create meaning via words. I have the temerity of placing my words before you, thumbs up or thumbs down.

When I am writing it seems like the very best thing I can be doing. I am publishing in the hope, not quite an expectation, that someone out there will find reading this to be a good thing to be doing with their time and will raise a thumb up.

1 Harlan Ellison in his introduction to his short story “The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore” in Nebula Awards 29, Pamela Sargent, editor,1995, ISBN 0-15-1000107-3


  1. Christina Wilson says:

    Carl you are amazing beyond words. Thank you for courage to write down your thoughts on life. My words are small these days. It’s fun and eye opening to read yours. Big hugs.

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