I grew up as a military brat, spending the first thirteen years of my life following my father around from base to base. By the time I was twelve, we had lived in twelve different houses (that I can recall because it may have been more). For the last fifteen years, my wife and I have lived in the same house. Our children were born before we moved in, but neither of them remember another house. And both of them have already begun the nomadic lifestyle of being a young adult in the world.
The couple that own the house next to ours are a military family as well, but they lease the house while they live in Washington, D.C. During the decade and one half that we have resided in our abode, we have had seven or eight neighbors. Every year or so, we are introducing ourselves to a new family. Always a family, Never a couple. Nor a single professional. Always with kids ranging in age from zero to leaving for college.
A new family moved in from Nashville, Tennessee last week. They have two young boys and are expecting a new one some time this November. Wonderfully nice people. I went out to greet them last weekend. None of their stuff had arrived, and they were sleeping on air mattresses and sleeping bags for the first few nights.
Then the moving truck came Monday. Boxes everywhere. And it reminded me of my youth on different military bases around the world, seeing huge Atlas or North American moving trailers lined up in the streets in bright reds and blues and greens. People scurried up and down the ramps like an ant colony carrying boxes and furniture.
Living on a military base meant that there were always people coming and going, moving in and moving out, old friends leaving and new friends arriving. And each moving van meant adventure. The bigger kids would ride their bikes up and down the ramps. The younger kids would ride their big wheels and green machines, mimicking the bigger, cool kids.
With adventure though came suffering the wrath of parents and workers yelling at you for being in the way, for almost causing them to drop the precious dishes or the painting that went on the wall above the couch. Back then we were scared we would get in trouble, but as an adult today, I am wondering if they just didn’t present the brusque exteriors in order to get us to be mindful. They probably didn’t mind us playing…they just didn’t want to break anything.
WHAT I’M UP TO
WRITING: The marketing department of one of my publishers wanted pictures of our work spaces. So, there is proof that I am working on finishing up the edits for Slipping the Cradle. I finished a poem this weekend, sitting in the parking lot of a Pet Co before I went in to buy some dog food.
FICTION: Finishing A Borrowed Man by Gene Wolfe. This “murder mystery” is quite different from his Book of the New Sun, to which I was introduced to the author. It also serves as a commentary on property rights and what makes a person free. I should finish it tonight.
NONFICTION: Still reading Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine 1958-1962 by Yang Jisheng. A fascinating treatise on the famines caused by a combination of social pressure, economic mismanagement, radical agricultural changes in regulations imposed by the government, and also by natural disasters. Are we ever going to learn?
TELEVISION: Completed the first season of Wu Assassins on NetFlix. If you like martial arts, it stars Iko Uwais of The Raid and Mile 22, Lewis Tan of Iron Fist and Into the Badlands, and Katheryn Winnick of Vikings. It is billed as a supernatural action crime drama. That is a lot of descriptors. The rundown is the Wu assassin is chosen to confront the Wu Lords that will use their powers to destroy the world.
MOVIES: So many movies and shows today are special effects-heavy that they forget the most important part: Story! There are many films that are visually spectacular and exciting, but story has to come first. I recognized that even more so this week when I watched the 1981 movie Dragonslayer. The music was dated. The effects were dated. But I have always enjoyed the story. Never let others dictate your worth is what I got out of it.