I vaguely recall that summer of 1968 but for my mother’s idea to take me to see 2001: A Space Odyssey. Soon after its release at the Loews King Theatre in Brooklyn on Fulton street not too far from Brooklyn’s city hall even at 8 years of age I was surprised that she had taken to me to 2001. If you knew my mother she was, without belittling her, a simple person, but she wasn’t the best “mother” and she knew I liked science fiction and “space”. I learned from her by observation, never directly. Often I asked a question she referred me in her broken English to the teacher for an answer to answer all “the why’s” I had. As my questions grew in depth she referred me to the library and the books I would ask for birthdays and Christmas. I passed her capacity to teach me at a young age. As soon as I knew to walk to the library safely on my own, the library became my second home. I wasn’t born with the best economic resources so I spent much of my early life finding ways to get the answers I needed through other less expensive or free means; the library, educational grants, low rate educational loans and the like to teach myself. I realized early on that to learn what for me became the establishment I only had myself to depend on. Through established norm’s all I would learn was what all established instructors taught was the same thing which was fine but too often I would find they couldn’t or worse they wouldn’t answer the questions I wanted answered especially when it became obvious to me that they weren’t prepared to fulfill my needs. Even to the point of having my head slammed down on my desk by the teacher, first asking for questions then not answering a request for elaboration on the article in the NYT we were discussing. But then I was insistent and ended up reporting her to the principal who had her suspended.
Enough of that, I learned no matter because finding answers was the goal. I wasn’t trying just to learn the basics, there was so much more. And more is what I wanted…
I stood up beside my mother as 2001 came to an end and said to her, “that’s what I want, to do that” pointing at the screen I wanted to learn to what the film was teaching, “2001: A Space Odyssey”. I took awhile to learn on my own the answer(s) I sought to fill my needs; I don’t think I ever will, my life is a question and my life the answers to that one question.
Our life, my life is…
a long poem, typically one derived from ancient oral tradition, narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the history of a nation.
…never stop asking. If you think you’re done asking, if actually believe you have an answer, you must be dead, or just wrong.