Last night I accidentally left the outside light on and woke this morning to unexpected guests.
No, it wasn’t the proverbial relative soused to his hereditary genes and singing a rousing chorus of “In the cowslip’s peeps I lie/ Hidden from the buzzing fly.” And no it wasn’t a stray dog with devotion in his sad eyes. And it wasn’t even the unwanted Bible thumper with strong legs and very deplorable shoes on his feet.
It was a plethora of moths like scattered gems on my deck. Everything from a space-age luna moth to a raspberry ripple kind to a handful of pearly whites to one that looked like a crumpled leaf to a massive nocturnal beast of fur and spatula antennae.
Having no respectable employment at the moment, I think I might open a wayward home for moths. Cover my entire deck and roof and screen with the insects. Then charge suburban mothers with dreams of educating their little ones to Nature’s big house of fun. Although I’m sure the moths would complain: “It is the greatest misfortune to be unable to be alone.”
Oh, and at long last, a job at the end of the universe has answered my distress signal. I have an interview for an adjunct position teaching English. The pay is less than an electrician could make on Electric Avenue, but, it’s work I want to do. I think if I had been a sensible lad, I’d have sniffed this gig a lot sooner so that I didn’t have to take pittance in my 40s. But I was never the sort of Welshman to sell his leek for a millstone. And it’s not like I can punch the gift horse in the mouth. That’s animal cruelty. Best to take it if I’m offered the position, get some experience under my habit, and cudgel my way into a better-paying position farther down the boreen.
I’ve been so determined, even though I lack the essential qualifications, to break into the teaching profession I’ve been reciting Keats’ “When I Have Fears That I May Cease To Be” to myself whenever I lay me down to sleep. I’ve been living off the stored-up fat of my imagination and sucking the lemon of resilience that I’ve not been taking no for an answer because either my resume went to the wrong person or else I wasn’t asking the right questions. And I’ve shut out the voices who’ve said, politely or directly, you shouldn’t go down that road, it’s littered with the bones of writers and teachers with empty alm bowls. I’m not troubled by such voices cause I’ve got Goethe on my side: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now”: Rilke: “Trust to the difficult”: and Marwood (the I in Withnail and I): “Even a stopped clock tells the time twice a day.” You’ve got to make your own way in this world even if you don’t have Virgil or a Baedeker or a professional protocol droid to guide you.
So there it is, my life’s story in a couple of cuckoo trills.