A few days ago, upon waking, I tried to speak to my father. Or, I should say, my father tried to speak to me. My father, who, by the way, is long since dead, stood there with a long pencil-shaped contraption sticking out of his mouth. It was an obvious technological attempt to help him communicate. My father very seldom talked. He was a taciturn farmer, except that in his case it wasn’t a romantic ideal but a fact; he was just shy. Maybe to find a way around talking, he had, as a young man, taken a creative writing course by correspondence. Thus the mechanical pencil. I still have a small cardboard box full of his manuscripts that he had sent off to publications in various distant cities. All were rejected. They weren`t very good.
During this last week, I`ve been thinking about the sources of my own shyness. A particularly violent event when I was a baby was the most obvious cause, but also of course my father was a role model for me, as well as a source of inherited instinct. Which is partly where shyness comes from. Or so I’ve read. Anyway, I’ve always wished my dad had offered a bit of advice on living occasionally. And even the tiniest bit of praise would have gone a very long way. But no, he would either just work outside or sit on his couch reading his Braille version of Science Journal. And I would look at him there occasionally.