Monday, January 18, 2016

The ILacqua Experiment, Part 2

When Janice invited me to contribute to her blog, The ILacqua Experiment I was pretty flattered and excited. I instantly thought about the project I might pursue.

A few months back, I read both of Alex James's books, A Bit of a Blur and All Cheeses Great and Small. The first book really meant a great deal to me. If you don't know Alex James, I think you should. He's the bassist for Blur. At the time of the first book, Blur was broken up.

Much of the book was Alex's experiences with Blur from the very late 1980s and through the 1990s. I had been a big Blur fan in the 1990s. I'm still a big fan. After reading his book, I became a big Alex James fan too.

The book made me think about the 1990s. Blur was a tremendous portion of my 1990s soundtrack. I thought about my college days (93-97). I thought about my military days (89-92). I thought about my Boy Scouts of America days (94-00).

I think about my Boy Scouts days quite often. The years spanning 1994 and 2000 were years of more growth than I can recount. They were my college days and just after. In those years, I went from being an adolescent to an adult and I did not make the transition gracefully.

The Boy Scouts are complex, especially when you're an adult. As a youth, the Boy Scouts are not complex: it is fun and skills and achievement and camping and fellowship. As a youth The Boy Scouts of America is the most inclusive organization in the world and in the history of the world. Once that uniform is on, it trumps all other things, things like country, language and religion.

Yet as I continued to work for the Boy Scouts and as I got deeper into it, I started to see uglier sides. This was always a direct result of adults too. I started to see hateful facets. This weighed heavy on me.

I also worked an excessive amount of hours for very little pay. I was not happy. I drank heavily. My adventures became drunken misadventures. I was very conflicted.

And Alex James brought many of those memories back to me.

When Janice began her blog, I thought perhaps I've been away from the BSA long enough that I have perspective on it, or on who I was at the time.

Traditionally, I have not been a fan of memoir. I've never really written it. I mean, any writer writes somewhat autobiographically. My feelings with memoir are simply that too often it lacks universality or interest. In fact, I almost always reject memoir when it comes to Umbrella Factory Magazine. I think the exact words in the guidelines are: If you're writing about a dead loved one and “I” is in the first sentence, we will not read the second.

So, how do I propose to make it interesting, my Boy Scout days?

I can't guarantee anything. It's just what I want to do. It's just what I'm doing. I'm contributing to Janice's blog. I hope to hash out something good.

After all, A Scout is Brave

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