Four Or Five Times
Sunday morning and the sky is grey with darker clouds building to the west, a fitful wind in the Magnolia tree off the balcony. The sky says rain. The bones say rain. The news people say rain pretty soon now probably lasting through tomorrow morning and my walk into work. My drive into work. Friday and Saturday were days to vegetate, mind in neutral, too tired to write, not tired enough to sleep. I scanned the two photographs on this page Friday night and started this first paragraph four or five times, each time leading to its own dead end before I went to bed and finished Ron Goulart's new Groucho Marx book. Which I will maybe talk about next week.
I also read Robert Capa's biography, the most famous of this century's war photojournalists. It made me understand some things about the myths and images that drove war photographers and journalists of my own generation such as Sean Flynn, Errol Flynn's son, living a Capa-like existence before he was captured and killed in Cambodia during the Vietnam war. Actually, he was more probably living out his father's legendary years before he became a movie star, but Capa, the first photojournalist to die in Vietnam in the colonial war with the French, had to play a part.
Capa was a mad Hungarian kid burning his candle with a blow torch, no ends about it. I'm glad I
didn't read about him when I was in high school or college. It was bad enough as a kid in the 50's growing up with the then living legend of "Papa, Pass the Testosterone" Hemingway forming the vague construct of what life might look like as a writer or journalist. Man, it sucked. If the Vietnam generation did anything, it at least squashed the concept that meaningful life could only be lived in a bull ring. Football is a perfectly acceptable substitute and while a knee to the head can make you hemorrhage and die, mostly it doesn't and you don't. Not that life didn't demand courage, you learn how much the older you get, but you don't have to make a religion out of it or play extracurricular pain and death games in order to write stories or shoot photographs. Alcoholism and drug abuse are acceptable substitutes.
Oh fuck, this isn't going anywhere either. It could be said of the men (and women) I'm writing about here that they lived lives running away from themselves and the bullets, booze and broads were just ways to avoid that one confrontation. Maybe that's what once fascinated me or still fascinates me and made me write myself into those dead ends I described at the beginning of this. Maybe I'm growing up. Shit.