Thursday, May 30, 2013


 In a recent post, I said something to the effect that an autobiography by me would be dull enough to cause coma.  It just may be possible that a talented writer of fiction (the "man behind the curtain" of most "autobiographies") might be able to make something interesting of my life story, but I don't believe I could.  I have, since then, run across this statement:
"The (autobiography) shouldn't be so much about the facts and details of my life but my attitude towards those facts and details," (Film director William Friedkin quoted in a magazine interview).
Since I have been very free about sharing my attitudes in these posts, at least the positive ones, maybe this is an autobiography.  Then again maybe I am just showing my grandkids the person I wish they would think I am.

Anyway, then a funny thing happened.  While I was thinking about my autobiography and how there really isn't much to say, the last line from Robert Frost's "Birches" came to mind.  Something about reflecting on my life and thinking some variation of, "One could do worse than be a...." So the next thing I did was track down the poem (on the internet of course) and read the whole thing for the first time since college.  I was captured by the poem in a way that I never was before!  I've always thought of myself as pretty much tone deaf when it comes to poetry;  The emotion escapes me, the metaphor eludes me, and I am left with little beyond rhythm and rhyme.  Then suddenly I was the boy in the birch woods and I was the man reflecting on his life and wading at least ankle deep in eternal truths.  I don't think I will be tackling "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" or "Paradise Lost" any time soon, but I may go back and take another look at some other short poems.

This post has been moldering in the draft file for some time now, so I guess I should look for some way to finish it up.  So here's the thing;  reflecting back on life can and probably should generate some feelings of  "I should have done more."  But at the same time, "One could do worse than be a swinger of birches."  In "Poems, Prayers and Promises" John Denver sings, "I guess I'd have to say, it's been a good life all in all."
I have to agree with him.



  1.'re off to a good start, Bob! I've often felt the same way....but your perspective of reflecting back makes perfect sense! Thank you soooooooo much for liking my Gramcracker Crumbs page! Nice to have a FB link with you too! Nice to see another ad-free personal blog too!
    Joan gramcrackercrumbs

  2. Love this. I'll be Googling "Birches" when I leave. The nice thing about looking back, I think, is knowing that there's still time to look ahead, too. It would be dreadfully depressing if you knew you were looking back from the finish line.

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment on Grandma's Briefs today. I appreciate it.

    Lisa @ Grandma’s Briefs

  3. Love that you're thinking of doing this. I'd start by reading "Writing the Memoir" by Judith Barrington

    She says start with whatever gets you excited - the facts and details are secondary to your message. Add perspective, what have you learned since you first encountered various events along the way. You've already started by re-reading this poem.

    Your children and grandchildren will want to know what's important to you, what you want them to know and why because it will help them understand themselves.

    Have fun!

  4. I am delighted to have found you. Where have I been all this time?!
    It is so heartwarming to read a grandfather's messages to his beloved offspring. Each post is articulate and reassuring. This is exactly what children need from a grandparent - time spent with them and experienced words of wisdom....not just more toys!
    I value your beautiful writing style and sincere thoughts. I will be back to read until I am completely caught up!
    Thank you for your kind comment on my blog - that was the trail that led me here!

  5. Hello AD thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting on one of my pages. That does not happen often. I have been having my posts printed up every six months because my blog is more of a journal. Not really personal but more of an attitude that I try to maintain. This way my descendents won't have to try to decipher my handwriting. The Papaw and Mamaw Stories were written for our 10 grands for two years for Christmas. All whimsical, based on things pertinent to each child. I have, so far, only transferred one story to that page. I had them put into booklets by Kinkos, but they are so grown up now I don't know the things they are interested in so now I make jewelry and other things for them. I guess all of us have a story and if one likes to read one will want to write.

  6. Great post. My life has not turned out as I imagined it would, but, like the narrator of "Birches," I could have done worse. I'm not one to second-guess or have regrets. And if you are looking to take up poetry reading, you can't do much better than Frost. Look past the heavily anthologized pieces, and you will find some real gems.

  7. I came over to visit and I DID read your Green Post and then this latest one which is actually quite poetic altogether ...:)