Maybe someday I’ll go back

Published 9:58 am Wednesday, June 10, 2009

“For me, a good day is a day like any other, when I have written one page well. Except for the hours I spend writing, life seems to me to be flawed, deficient, and senseless.” — Orhan Pamuk, novelist

I have been directed to relocate my excessive number of books. Most of them are finding their way to the basement. For now, some of them are making their way into the little writing office I type in with my old iMac. And I have attached a collection of readings, writings, photos, pictures what have you and a couple of old typewriters and notebooks; notebooks filled with writings.

Writing was never really an attraction until much later in my life. It kicked in when I moved to Hawaii in 1976. I had been living in Riverside, Calif. prior to this, living in the Larchwood Ghetto substitute teaching and getting restless. I decided to go back to Hawaii where I knew no one. That’s what I did. It was kind of scary, going to a place where I knew no one, but it was also a place I had been to. I had previously spent eight months in Hawaii training with the Sixth Battalion, 11th Artillery at Schofield Barracks on Oahu. Near the end of our training we flew over to the big island for our war games — to test our readiness by blowing up some old junked cars on the artillery range. We defeated the Oahu Cong.

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I had my little red Opel shipped over there from Long Beach. The car arrived a couple days after I did. I spent the first couple nights at an old hotel in Waikiki. I think it was the next day the car arrived covered with salty watered looking stuff that I washed off. Then I drove up to Makaha that same day and rented an apartment on the 20th floor. It was absurd living on an island that high up.

In the short time I was there, I met a local and a few other folks from the mainland living there. I didn’t like it, especially living that high off the ground. I wanted to live in a small place closer to the ground and not so costly. Someone suggested I go check out the north shore also referred then as “the country.”

I drove over there and immediately fell in love with Haleiwa, a quaint little community with no high-rise apartments where Hawaiians, Filipinos and a good number of haoles (white people, mostly from the mainland) lived. There was also a nice little bookstore where I discovered Richard Brautigan’s writings and a quaint little art gallery, where I purchased two paintings over the next four years.

Across the bridge was the Haleiwa Sands, a bar/restaurant with a Polynesian bartender and a haole bartender who hailed from Minnesota, who I stay in touch with. Now she’s a mail carrier.

Then I drove to the north shore stopping at Waimea Bay, home of some the best surf in Hawaii, across the way from Waimea Tropical Park and Waimea Falls.

After leaving there I drove around the bend and saw what was once a huge rock crusher with a cross on top of it, with a small stone church below.

Just beyond this, I noticed a collection of small one-story homes; mostly singles and a couple duplexes. I rented one of the vacant duplex apartments up the hill on the left side. A young Iowa couple occupied the other half of the duplex. They cleaned houses for a living, and he surfed.

The four years I spent there I revisit from time to time by looking at photos from back then. A friend from Iowa shot pictures of my place.

I got on the substitute list and that kept me occupied some of the days. If I didn’t sub I would usually cross the Kam Highway to three tables where I spent too much time laying on the sand soaking up sun and writing.

I ran into Richard Brautigan’s poetry and stories and that gave me permission to write. Many nights I sat at my little kitchen table with a coffee cup or glass of wine and, then, a cigarette looking out the window and writing. I look back at it those notebooks now and then and wonder what I was thinking. I wrote my first short story there about my cat and cat attacks. Maybe someday I will get back there.