Saturday, April 08, 2006

My mother died about a month and a half ago. This site is a direct result of that, since my mom was pretty much responsible for the person I turned out to be.
Born in 1928, Mom was a remarkably free thinker for someone born and raised in small-town Iowa at that time. Perhaps unfairly, I tend to think of the early-to-mid-twentieth century as a largely conservative, xenophobic period in American history. Not that we're living in an age of enlightenment now, but those were days when casual racism and misogyny were never questioned.
Of course, Mom questioned it. She saw a world beyond her small town existence, a world beyond imagination, a world without borders. Ironically, she never left her small town life, her best years spent raising kids on a farm. But in a household where appreciation for music, poetry, fiction, film and theater was not only encouraged but expected, her world without borders became a reality.
Yeah, she changed my diapers and fed and sheltered me, but most of all Mom gave me myself. She encouraged me to find my own way, and allowed me to make my own mistakes. And along the way she gave me signposts: Dr Seuss books, monster movies, Warner Bros. cartoons. She seemed to have a sense of what I'd like, or maybe what I'd need. The obsessions I've developed over my lifetime, my tastes, my politics, are mostly my own, but I never could have found them if Mom hadn't given me the key.
Sorry. This is getting maudlin. Not just maudlin, but Family Circus-dead-Grandma maudlin. But as I said, this blog came about as a result of Mom's death. She and I would talk on the phone almost daily--once my wife and I split up, there was no one else to listen to my daily rants--and as much as I miss her personally, I miss talking to her. Our conversations were frequently the highlights of my day, because, as always, she wouldn't let me take the easy way out. I'd have an opinion, but even though she usually agreed, she'd still challenge it.
So I guess this is my place to rant. It may frequently become a journal of grief, as I work my way through a world without Mom. It will have plenty of angry political commentary. (I'm a hardcore lefty.) Lots of bitter rants about the state of our culture. And when I'm bored, I dunno, boring Andy Rooney-style observations about everyday things. Uh, well, maybe not that last part.
All I know is that this is my life. And now, I guess you're part of it.