The World – According to Me!
I came into this world as a ‘blue baby’. Now, I never took the time to figure out just what being a ‘blue baby’ was all about, never asked a doctor or my mom… I do remember my sister saying to me when we were adults that, “you know, Billy Ray, you were born a ‘blue baby’!” It seemed we were always arguing about this and that, so she was tagging me with that little piece of news out of spite.
. I asked her, “What’s a ‘blue baby’, Bobby Jean?”
She took a sip from her 24-ounce plastic glass of Pepsi, and said: “Hell, I don’t know, but you lived. So, guess it wasn’t lethal!”
“Well, you sound disappointed, Bobby Jean,” I responded.
“Well, I was the one that got all the beatings from our itinerant daddy, Billy Ray.”
“Well, I know, but you were the one doing the bad things, Bobby Jean. I suffered through those beatings, too, sitting there in a state of emotional paralysis.”
But, back to the ‘blue baby’ label. I finally googled ‘blue baby’, and here’s the information provided: a ‘blue baby’ is a baby with a blue complexion from lack of oxygen in the blood due to a congenital defect of the heart or major blood vessels. That’s it, all I got from google. All I was ever told by my Mom was that it was my grandmother who took me from old Doc Brown, dangled me in the air by my feet and gave my backside a pretty good whack. That got me to crying, more importantly for me, it got me to breathing. There was a gathering of kinfolk and neighbors in that old clapboard house at the time, and my grandmother became a celebrity of sorts up and down those muddy lanes. Guess it’s pretty obvious that old Wooldridge sawmill camp didn’t have a lot to excite folks…except, maybe, some copperheads from all the sawdust.
Well, the rest is history, as they say – that is, up to a ‘passage’ point.
Most of my young life was spent in emotional confusion. Now, I didn’t know to call it ‘emotional confusion’ at the time, but it surely was that malady as I look back on it. Now, I’m not going to turn this into a sad story. Suffice it, I grew up after a lot of spent-emotion and a lot of moving about in East Tennessee, joined the Navy, met a ‘Wave’, married her, and spent ten years in another kind of emotional spell, had three beautiful kids, got a college degree, and taught school for short while.
Skipping over a lot of dumb mistakes and ‘searching’, I met Julie Anne, likely the best thing that ever happened to me. She got me to writing, and now, some eighteen books and 400+ blog posts later, I’m sitting here in ‘Twilight’ with still some ‘oats to sow’, my little euphemism for writing.
What have I learned about life in my sojourn here on this orbiting craft of conundrums? We’ve had plenty of philosophers writing, telling us about metaphysics, the branch that covers just about everything, being, time, space, knowing, a whole gunny-sack of abstract knowledge that my ‘Chitwood model’ is not equipped to appreciably handle with any great insight.
I’ve learned that most of the platitudes for living don’t really mean ‘squat’. Take, for an example, ‘one learns from her/his mistakes’. Well, ‘whopee’, I didn’t! I just kept on making those ‘goofers’. Of course, there are a couple of ways to look at that. Number one, maybe there’s just too much junk piled-up inside that keeps one from learning the good ABCs of living. Maybe, if one could just find what it is they’re good at and keep on doing it with someone who is compatible and loves her/him, then, maybe he/she could learn those ABCs. Number two, maybe the inconsistency and the wanderlust are too ingrained, too attached to one’s being that makes settling down and becoming something ‘permanent’ just near-impossible. Maybe Ralph Waldo Emerson was right in his essay on Self-Reliance: “Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
Then, what do I know?
In my humble opinion, I have one salutary talent – writing! Writing is not only a ‘love’ for me. It is a necessity. Particularly now, here in Twilight , the latter is most compelling. Perhaps, my writing creations blind me to reality. Maybe I’m not as good at writing as I think. No, not viable. I am as good as I think. What is difficult is convincing readers and publishers of that fact.
In this life I’ve known the gamut of emotions – ‘the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat’. I’ve lost, and I’ve won. I’ve walked with the ‘kings’ and with the ‘common man’. I’ve played the games that keep me living and alive. I’ve never intentionally hurt anyone through covert planning. I’ve loved and won. I’ve loved and lost.
For a kid born in a clapboard house on a rainy night in Tennessee, a ‘blue baby’ (if that scores points!), fed emotional soup that was never fully digested, all the above, I’ve had a reasonably good life and times. Perhaps, I’ve had more than I deserved. Perhaps, I’ve had less.
Either way, the journey is still on. I’m going to motor right on to my next blog post and book, enjoying the life my characters give me to live – the loves, the disappointments, the victories, the defeats, the high-life and the low-life. They are there in all that I write, the foibles and the strength.
Welcome to my world.
Won’t you come on in?
I’ll do some writing.
You do some reading.
We have a deal?
Billy Ray Chitwood – January 3, 2019