It was about a week before the new school year was to begin, this past summer, almost two months back now. Pamela and G had just gone to bed so it was sometime between 8 and 8:30. I was in the kitchen, reaching for the sugar to make my tea and thinking about the following week, the big ol’ return to school and another year as The Best Teacher You Will Ever Have when I had an epiphany: I’m a really angry guy.
If you chuckled when you got to the end of that paragraph, shame on you. This thought chilled me. I mean, I know I’m angry in the same way I know I’m a man, that I have brown hair, too many moles, and ten fingers (one of them weirdly crooked). I know this like I know I have a wife, two daughters, living parents, and friends. But every now and then I still look around and think, Damn! I have a beautiful wife who is able to deal with my stupidity! or Damn! My teenager is pretty freakin’ awesome! or Damn! The toddler is really smart and beautiful and empathetic! It dawned on me that the years of therapy, the growing up, and the calming down that I have endured have simply really been sleight of hand. The anger is still there. And it scares me.
I have near my workspace a quote from Nikki Giovanni that goes, “Rage is to writers what water is to fish.” This seemed really cool when I first found it and taped it to my notebook computer (dead five years now) ten years ago. At 28, being an angry young man seemed like the thing to be, which was good for me because I was an angry young man. I saw all, knew all, and wasn’t afraid to let you know it. At 38, I don’t want to be angry.
I know the anger is a part of me, and it’s a large factor in why I write, why I create, why I insist on trying to succeed in my goals and dreams. I’m still working on grudges that began in elementary school. It’s such an ingrained part of who I am, that I forget just how angry I am, all the time. It’s exhausting.
There’s a scene in Marvel’s The Avengers that comes at the end. There’s been talk throughout the movie about how Bruce Banner is able to not be the Hulk all the time, and he said he had a secret. It all comes to a head at the end of the movie.
When Banner says that line, “I’m always angry,” the audience erupted in applause both times I saw the movie. It’s become a popular meme on the ‘Net. For some reason, anger, and the lack of control of anger, has become a sort of thing people are happy to have and will applaud.
It fuckin’ sucks, though. To have this fire burning in the pit of my stomach, day in, day out, never quite sure when it’ll flame up…it’s tough. People will say things like, “You need to learn to chill out,” or suggest meditation and all that, and I do it, man. I do deep breathing exercises, I write, I journal, I go to happy places, I look at all the good things in my life, all that stuff. But the anger is still there.
I’m angry right now. Something at work got me angry. A few somethings, actually. I’m angry about grad school. I’m angry for no real reason except…well…look at the world!
I’m only writing this because I want you to know that this is not fun. I don’t consider this a plus to anything in my life. I think my writing would be just as good without the anger in the same way that I do my best writing when I’m happy and not depressed, despite what the popular mythology surrounding writers is.
So, yeah…that’s my secret, I guess. I’m always angry.
I’m not sure who, if anyone, is following my From Krypton to Gautham series of essays on Superman on the big screen, but if you are, this week’s essay(s) on Superman II will probably be delayed. As you know, I’m a high school teacher by day, and I have a 7-month-old baby (the 15-year-old doesn’t keep me up at night or have a diaper to change). This is the end of the school year and I’ve been tired as well as busy. My normal writing time these days is between 9-or-10 and 11 and lately, I’ve needed the sleep or have been busy doing school stuff.
The good news is this: My last day of the Day Job for the 2012-2013 year is next Tuesday. My intention is to finish the first essay on Superman II (I’m at about 1,800 words now and am close to finishing) in the next few days and post is as soon as it’s done. I will also then be rewatching and then writing an essay on Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut within days following. My goal is to have that essay, along with Superman III‘s essay, online next week. I’d hoped to have the two versions of Superman II up this week but it just didn’t happen.
I also intend to write more on this blog in general, maybe even try my hand at a vlog post this summer. Who knows? One of the things I discovered doing the few radio appearances is that I enjoy talking like that, so I’d like to try it in some way. I may even do a podcast-type thing, or audio posts, if that’s possible. We’ll see. So if you’re sick of only seeing movie-related posts, my intention is to make sure that’s not all that’s happening here.
Stick around. Things will get interesting.