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Breaking Free

9 February 2024

Breaking free of anything, or anyone, occurs only with the determination that freedom is the goal.  The breaking action is a secondary component, although, for too many individuals of a certain type, it becomes the objective, the only objective.


I am, by nature, a person who thrives on decisive action.  Waiting out anything can be torture for me, but I have learned that even the stance of waiting can be dynamic.


During my writing of THE DAWN, I dealt with, in fiction, in France, les attentistes — the wait-and-see crowd.  It was a sizeable lot of humanity, the majority, in fact:  at least 80 percent of the French in Occupied France.  In life, I encountered so many of the wait-and-see blob that I was able to write my tome in less time than it would have otherwise taken.


Here’s the palaver of greedy self-interest and the litany of on-the-take excuses for any Elected Leader in America, from circa 2008 until . . . today!


“Oh, give Him/Her a chance.”  “Anyone would need decades to clean up this mess.”  “We have to be patient and wait.”

The flow of poppycock worked to my advantage.  Or I made it work to my advantage.


Whenever I’ve been accused of being lucky to have attained any of my successes, I automatically understand that there, before me, is an envious grievance-collector.  That aspect of the real-life dialogue hasn’t surprised me.  What stunned me, and still does, is the amount of self-fed resentment that a body can cultivate, and harbor, over the course of a lifetime.


It became a practice of mine during my younger years to not tell people very much about myself.  I’d undergone one too many ordeals wherein the particulars of my self, and my life, got used against me, in vicious, vile, and underhanded ways.  Unexpectedly, and with good fortune, that defensive manoeuvre also helped me to avoid having to deal with the grudge-units of life.  After a spell, however, I realized the imbalance inherent in such a “relationship”:


A person didn’t get to know me; I got to know him or her.


Oftentimes, that stance was sensible, proper, and of extreme productivity among my survival skills.  I certainly would have fit into the Wild West!


There came a time, however, when I wanted others to know more, or something, anything (!) about me.

I yearned for the camaraderie that comes with being part of a group (even if I wasn’t the leader), and the free flow of laughter that occurs naturally among individuals who trust one another.  I reckoned that holding my cards too close to my chest had worked against me.  My special affinity with my very Dear Friend and Reader taught me I’d been right all along; and that whenever I second-guess myself, I do so in error, though not always for naught.  No time is ever wasted unless a person fails to make positive use of it.


During the tumultuous summer of 2008, I wrote about a half dozen “Guideposts” for my Dear Friend that she shared with her superiors in Office World.  Unbeknownst to me, those individuals were not of the same mind as me.  In this instance, I was cutting against the grain without any knowledge or awareness of it.  The results were phenomenally good!


I “found” my voice, my writing voice, for THE DAWN!


The take-off for creating this novel was so rapid, with such an energetic ascent, that my Dear Friend was concerned that my concurrent composition of those Guideposts might interfere with the penning of my fiction.  Her protective stance toward me never waned, or faltered.  I had found, for the first time in decades, an ally.


She was initially someone I’d known only through our work together on a preposterous Big Report, a multi-agency project of the federal government regarding The Big Valley, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley.

I spent the winter of 1999-2000 as the contract editor for that pie-in-the-sky boondoggle that did yield one wonderful consequence:  it introduced my sense of humor to this intensely private yet quite gregarious woman.


In the midst of being given whacko revisions throughout the voluminous text, I asked her:


“Do these enviros think they’re re-building the Garden of Eden?”


Some did.  Many were lining up at the taxpayer trough, awaiting the profitable, payback nirvana of the 2000 Eco-Presidency of Mr. Earth-in-the-Lurch, a dumb-as-a-slug punk who has come to resemble that tv-fictional character.


The resulting proposals of that report went nowhere, much like the verbiage in any publicly-funded document.  My Dear Friend was nonetheless vigilantly engaged in helping the farmers survive various assaults in our state, the Golden State, a state that was steadily veering toward wrack and ruin. Thus, during the summer of 2008, I found myself exhorting her, in literary terms, through e-mails, and verbally, in person, not to despair, or abandon ship, or freak out, or move to Costa Rica!


I’d been out of paid employment in Office World for not quite twenty years by 2008.  That date marked the official start of constant, chronic, and contrived financial and occupational upheavals for the American people.  I suspicioned that this Crisis was one that wasn’t about to get fixed by the federal government, since it had been so stinkingly created by those pigs at the federal feedbag.

My Dear Friend was of quite another mind.  She’d become firmly convinced that a “change in administration” was the absolute answer to this crisis, to the previous crisis, to the next crisis, to any and all crises about to clobber We the People.


I strongly disagreed:  They’re all in it, the whole lot of them.


Over the course of 25 years, my Dear Friend had climbed a rather steep civil service ladder, but she was not happy after having reached the top.  She wanted to plow a furrow forward from that apex, and she wanted to know how I was able to shift from one career to another, and then another, almost seamlessly, in a progressively upward direction.


I’d not given much, if any thought, to those achievements of mine.  I just did them.


I consequently gained insight about myself as I explained my fundamentally instinctive actions in some form of flow chart to this government supervisor:


There’s always a thread of continuity from one stage to the next; but, basically, I prepare myself to leave a place or phase of my life by fashioning some form of transition from the past toward the future, usually without being aware of it.  In fact, it works better for me if I don’t consciously know about the pathway I’m constructing.

This SOP (standard operating procedure), or what is abominably termed, life skill, utterly fascinated my Dear Friend.  She wanted to do the same, and I wanted to help her; but I wisely discerned that there were no preparatory steps that she could take, since she’d not carried out any developmental deeds.  That lack of planning, or tilling the soil, left her wide open for making a complete break from her current occupation, an option that I found promising, even thrilling.


I guess you could say that I suggested she break herself free, to move toward the future.


She was unwilling, and unable to part from such an enormous part of her life, of her identity.  This career woman felt too overwhelmed by disadvantages.  I then advised her to take a disadvantage and turn it into an advantage.  She confided to me that she didn’t know how to do such a thing.


It was a profound and rather telling acknowledgement.  I realized that this woman had not ever been behind an 8-ball, at least not in the ways that I’d been, and certainly not enough to be compelled to perform the emotional and mental jiu-jitsu that I executed, almost reflexively by that point in my life. She’d remained in Office World, in the hope of still finding:


“the camaraderie that comes with being part of a group; the free flow of laughter that occurs naturally among individuals who trust one another.”

The public arena of Office World had changed drastically, for the worse, within the space of those twenty years during which I’d ventured into new phases of my life.  In 2008, I was embarking upon a journey of going forward, but also of returning, to the Writer Self that had been, and was being nurtured by my husband and children and a few select friends.  My Dear Friend looked out upon the landscape of the professional world she’d known, and she did not recognize it.


It must have felt harrowing, and alienating, for a person who had thrived within an atmosphere of comradeship and the sense of togetherness that is a by-product of people uniting to attain a benevolent goal.  The harmony of like minds is what she’d needed, what any vibrant human being needs; but there was none to be found in the public sector of California.


She blamed the politicians for that wretched state of affairs in our country.  I didn’t, and don’t.


I place the onus upon the citizens of this great land, for permitting avarice and apathy to overwhelm whatever goodness and courage might have existed in their hearts.  The alliance of being American, above all else, and the ennobling passion known as patriotism, got chopped up, divided, and puréed by the slothful greed-driven creatures known as politicians.


Ergo, the election spiel:  “I can unite us!”  “Only I am the uniter!”  “Unity!  Always Unity!  Vote for Me!”


There’s not one Christ-like figure among that noxious crop of moral cretins.  Plenty of anti-Christs though.

Almost eight years ago, I last walked and talked with my Dear Friend.  She confided to me that she wasn’t like me, able to go it alone.  She needed a friend or two.  I didn’t verbally disagree with her.  I held those cards very close to my chest, just about where my heart is located.


I, too, need a friend or two.  And I don’t go it alone.  The Almighty leads my path through this adventure called life, and I do my best to follow that lead.


Without knowing it, we’d parked our cars right next to each other at our usual meeting-place in Roseville.  I let her drive away first, aware I wouldn’t be seeing her again, here, on earth.  I was already advancing toward new enterprises.  Those gambles might or might not pay off; but the dice were being thrown.


In that decisive action known as distance, I led my very Dear Friend to find her Nun.  That noble goal of breaking free is where she’d been headed, after retirement, toward a parochial grammar school, tutoring children in reading.

My Reader of THE DAWN thenceforth broke free, and took her talents to a higher level.


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