"The Dead Sparrow" (1890s)
Who was I, twenty years ago? A 32 year-old man, not exactly young, certainly younger than this. I had no steady employment, had none for almost three years. Managed a theater project. I had no children.
Twenty years ago I smoked cigarettes, every day. I drank beer and wine, but small liquor. I watched television from tapes, got my news from papers. Agonized at length over what the critics said, not just about my work, but about everyone else’s work.
I hated critics. I used to care about critics.
My concerns were narrowly focused. I was selfish, and took joy in that selfishness in so much as it meant I could concentrate on the two most important people in my universe, my wife and me.
I thought of myself as a writer, but I did not write. I had written one produced play - I had written one play, and had it produced. I contributed small pieces to other shows. But I did not write. I kept journal entries. I wrote about me.
I had no experience with children. I knew no children. I was terrified of children.
My experiences in education were poor. I did not possess a twenty year history with one company, I had not visited scores of schools. I did not know how to create a lesson plan. I knew very few people with children.
I had little patience. I had little compassion. I was not kind to people. My interests were small, I wanted to reach outside of this but I did not know how.
I had an illusion of the future. I had no vision for the theater company I was shepherding, no artistic philosophy of which I was confident. I was blithely ignorant of my place in the larger society.
And I did not know how a child would be part of this. We were in our thirties. If we were going to have a child (only one child) this was the time to have it.
Why? I did not know. Why did I want a child? I did not know. How did I imagine a child to be part of all of this? I did not know.
Everything I think, everything I know, everything I want. Everything I am part of. Every emotion I have. Every expectation of every morning. My awareness, my understanding, my self, my love, my happiness, my hope, my belief in the future. Me. I was born, the person I have become, whoever he is, started on that day, the day I learned my child was dead.
"I Hate This (a play without the baby)" is available at Amazon as paperback or ebook.