Old Times

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For whom the clock ticks

My favorite painting teacher was my age, but he had gotten serious about his degree while I dithered and hesitated, thinking I should be across the street at the drama department or at the very least getting an English degree. The art department itself was divided between old fogies who were stuck in the 1930’s and the young whippersnappers who were too avant guard to keep more than two semesters. They were always pushed out.

Plagens was a twenty-six year old, voluble, extraverted kid, passionate about his subject and completely sanguin about my attendance and tardiness. I see from a photo his wife posted on Facebook that he still has the same no-nonsense expression he had then, which if I remember correctly was about 1966.

I didn’t know what the hell I was doing in those days. It took me several more decades to find my feet in the world. I just knew I didn’t want the version of life I was supposed to want. Art, ideas and creative expression was the path I was trying to follow as I vacillated between art, theatre, social criticism and psychospirituality.

What I really loved was foreign languages, an interest I pursued on the side, as it were.

It’s remarkable in that I always fell into situations that helped me in the precise ways I needed to be helped. I always suffered in the exact way I needed to. I learned the lessons I needed to learn in the order I needed to, and I was administered the appropriate agonies at just the right moment.

The fact that I’m still alive and so many of my contemporaries aren’t is all the proof I need that somebody up there must like me.

At this juncture in my life, all that personal history, all that effort, has become an aggregate ‘school of the soul.” I’m both the same and not the same person I was.

Now, I hope I can carry some of this hard-earned wisdom over into the next incarnation.

There are a few souls who have accompanied me on this trip — not all of them human —that I’d like to carry over into the next incarnation too.


My Medium publication is Anima Fire:


I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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