Autobiographically Speaking

A little more than a year ago I declared that I was going to write my autobiography.  Not many years from now when I may have actually accomplished something, but right now, when my greatest accomplishments involve things like high scores and rescuing toadstool princesses (which, by the way, I once did without losing a man).  But, like so many outlandish declarations, this one has gone unheeded and nary has a page of autobiographical goodness been composed.  Or even autobiographical badness for that matter.  I’d like to blame it on the fact that I’ve been too busy accomplishing all of those things worthy of publication, but I cannot.  The only thing I’ve really accomplished between then and now is that I’ve become a father, but we’ll have to wait for another 18 to 20 years to see if I am indeed accomplishing that, or merely doing it.

 The idea of penning ones autobiography can certainly seem a narcissistic pursuit, even for the most accomplished of individuals.  For a virtual nobody-that would be me-it would seem to border on self-absorbed delusion.  But I’m no narcissist.  My intentions were pure from the beginning; not to proclaim my wonderfulness to others, but as a mere reflection on my some 30 years and maybe for me to learn something from my own past.  You know the old saying, “Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  But, alas, whatever my intentions, nothing has become of them thus far.

 However, I have a new reason for taking on this bizarre venture.  In doing all this family research, I’ve really come to realize how frail our own connections to the past really are.  We really don’t have a grasp on where it is we came from and how we got here.  At best, most people only have significant contact with the preceding two generations of their family, their parents and grandparents.  Many, only with their parents and some, tragically, not even that.  A fortunate few may have known a great-grandparent or two, but then that’s it.  For me, I knew (or at least remember) three of my four grandparents and three out of eight great-grandparents.

 Even for those of us lucky enough to have those relationships with our older forebears we don’t often take advantage of them like we could.  When you’re little, it’s not uncommon to have a special relationship with your grandparents.  They take you to ice cream, bring you presents for no reason, tell silly jokes, and generally make you feel great.  As you get older, and they get older, they suddenly become not as cool as you think they should be.  You still love them and maybe put up with the silly jokes when none of your friends are around, but you don’t appreciate them like you used to.  By the time you’ve finally grown out of that goofy stage, there are so many competing factions for your time that the days of being able to spend long hours just being with them are long gone.  And before you know it so are they. 

 I have one remaining grandparent, and I can’t tell you how much I regret not sitting down and talking more often with those who have passed on.  Just too really get to know them and to ask what life was like when they were growing up.  Or what their parents were like.  I’ve made an effort to do this with my grandma recently and it’s been so rewarding.  She’s been able to tell me all sorts of interesting stories about when she was a little girl growing up in coal mining towns in New Mexico, or what it was like for her father to immigrate from France to the United States when he was 10 years old, or what life was like for her and grandpa when they were first married.  I intend to sit her down in front of my video camera one of these days and have her retell me all these stories.  This gets me back to my original point.

 Family histories are usually oral.  The stories are passed down by telling them to the kids and grandkids.  But over time memories fade, details are forgotten, and the further removed a generation is from the original story teller, the less likely they are to remember the stories, if they heard them at all.  And when the story tellers die, too often the stories die with them.  That’s why I want to write my autobiography.  Maybe my grandchildren or great-grandchildren won’t care what life was like back in 1985 or how grandpa and grandma (me and Jen) met, or what it was like to grow up in the pastor’s (my dad’s) house.  But maybe they will.  I want to at least provide them with the opportunity to know what their not-so-distant ancestors were like and how they lived.  Maybe it won’t be as interesting as studying my ancestors is.  I didn’t fight in any wars, I didn’t come from a far away land, and I didn’t rub shoulders with anybody famous.  But maybe, unlikely as it may seem to us now, the time we’re living in now will be romanticized to our descendants like the time of our grandparents and great-grandparents is to us.  To us, it just seems like life, but that’s what they thought back in 1890 too.  It’s just life.

 It’s true that, theoretically, I’m not exactly running out of time yet, but age 12 will be a lot fresher in my mind now than it will in 25 more years, so it would be nice to get at least those formative years out of the way.  Whether I actually follow through on that is, of course, a matter of debate.  Only time will tell.

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Speaking of Baseball…

An old friend of mine who writes for the official unofficial Oakland A’s blog, Athletics Nation, asked me last week if I’d be interested in writing a piece for them about the recent injuries to Angels pitchers John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar and how an Angels fan views them affecting their division title hopes.  I of course accepted the assignment.  Not only as an Angels fan, but as a blogger.  I’m worldly wise enough to know that my Life of Ando readership is, for the most part, limited to friends and family, which I am totally fine with.  Being the case, I am unlikely to get any real criticism because usually your friends and family like to say nice and encouraging things about you, especially if you attempt anything creative (If this has not been your experience, you may want to consider finding new friends and family).  That’s all well and good, and believe me it is very appreciated, but at some point its good to get an outsiders opinion.  So besides a chance to write about my favorite baseball team in the whole, wide world, this also gives me an opportunity to see what complete strangers think about what I have to say.  Not that I’m expecting any real journalistic critique, but even a “that was good” or a “wow, you sound like a sixth grader” could serve the learning process.

 The post will be going up sometime this week, I’m submitting it today, and I’ll be sure to post a link to it here when it is.  I’ve been incessantly tweaking and obsessing over it the last few days and admit I’ve got butterflies.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday Review: Life of Ando

writing2.gifFor the past one year and nine months I have spent countless hours thinking about and writing posts for this blog. Over 250 of them.  My high month was October 2006, 25 posts, the low was this past July, 5 posts.  Some have been good, some have been, hmmmmmm, not so good.  Life of Ando has served no other real purpose than for my own personal amusement.  The idea that someone else might find just one of my aimless ramblings enjoyable, much less to attract a small band of merry, regular readers is, frankly, quite shocking.

Over these twenty-one months, the creative juices have ebbed and flowed, sometimes the tide was high, sometimes it was low.  Lately, its been low.  Very low.  Like, fish are flopping, gasping for breath on the beach where the water should be low.  Chalk it up to the dog days of summer.  But I think light is beginning to shine.  I think the dog days are coming to an end.  I want to blog again.

Of course now that I’ve said that I’ll go another week without posting.  Such is the life of a blogger.

Self Titled

The begining of a new year is often a time of reflection. A time for a man to step outside himself and take stock of what he has become. With but one year remaining of my twenties I’ve come to a point where I now know what I must do. I must write my autobiography. Yes, you read that correctly. Andy Bauer, who has done nothing and knows nothing is going to keyboard his own life story.

Any time an undertaking of this magnitude is undertaken, there are bound to be some hiccups along the way. I foresee three specific botherations:

  1. I’m only 29 years old and as everybody knows 29 years is not nearly enough time to accrue the material necessary for a comprehensive memoir. Especially my 29 years.
  2. In my 29 years I haven’t done or said anything of any high cotton that warrants an autobiography, whatsoever.
  3. I’m not that good of a writer.

So why, then? Why indeed.

I intend to relate all the major events in my life, as I see them. From my birth to a self-made millionaire miner/rancher, to my days at Harvard, to early days of my powerful chain of newspapers, to accusations of inciting public support for the Spanish-American War using half-truths and sensationalism, to the building of my opulent mansion, San Simeon, to my quest to thwart Orson Welles’ knavish moving picture show Citizen Kane, which dragged my good name through the muck! That elephantine gormandizer! Wait, that was the life of William Randolph Hearst. I thought that sounded too compelling.

In actuality what I hope to accomplish is a humble tome of my life experience thus far that if nothing else will give me something mildly interesting to do in my free time and hopefully in years to come will make my grandchildren shake their heads and chuckle, “That silly old man. I sure wish he wasn’t dead.” That and to hone my narrative writing skills.

When I am able to craft something fit for public consumption, as if that were even possible, I’ll post a teaser or two on this blog as I know you will all be on pins and needles waiting for it’s publishing. So hopefully by about this time next year (I’ve never been known to do anything very quickly. Except running. I’ve always been a pretty fast runner. In sprints, not distance.) you’ll be able to find the 15 page volume, [Title TBA] on bookshelves all over……..my living room.