Boy Howdy!!! This is the ultimate step for a narcissist – publishing my own profile! However, I remind myself that every adult who ever sought employment has had to compose something like a mini-biography, probably several times, during their career. This is not a whole lot different from that exercise – except it is flashing around the world. Whew!
¶As I mentioned in my blog post on my brother Elbert, it is a bit senseless (or redundant, at least) to write a full mini-bio of myself, since nearly all the 91 posts I have published from the start of this blog reveal elements of my character and values as well as anecdotes of my experiences: The whole blog site is an indirect autobiography. On the other hand, in the post describing my other brother, Vernon, I referred to Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov and how an acquaintance years ago likened my brothers and me to the main characters in that book. Considering that, then leaving out some kind of bio of me would dissipate the composite portrait of me and mine: I need to produce the third part of this triptych. So, what I opted to do was publish what has already been available on the “About” page of this blog site for more than a year now, with the addition of another portrait photo: me while I was at Yale University studying Chinese (November 1958 – July 1959).
¶I needed a title for this post, of course, and I thought of several: Bob the Poet, Bob the Artist, Bob the Intellectual, Bob the Solipsist, Bob the Curmudgeon, and Bob Le Flaneur (for the reason behind this last alternative see my post for May 14, 2015): https://boblitton.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/le-flaneur/
Initially, I opted for the last — “Bob Le Flaneur (“man about town”) — because that was the way I wanted to see myself. However, I recently have done a lot of soul-searching and realized that I had just been fantasizing by perceiving one small aspect of my life as the total frame. The truth that finally dawned on me after three-quarters of a century was what I had heard my brother Elbert describe me to an acquaintance as his “misfit brother”.
¶A retired West Texas community journalist, Bob Litton has worked as editor and reporter intermittently for a total of 20 years over a 34-year period. With frequent hiatuses into other work in Dallas, Texas, he continually returned to labor at, or contribute to, six small West Texas newspapers and one radio station.
¶Litton has a B.A. degree in history (1966) and an M.A. in English literature (1971) from Southern Methodist University. Additionally, he studied Mandarin Chinese at Yale University’s Institute of Far Eastern Languages (1958-59) while in the U.S. Air Force, and he accumulated 27 hours in journalism at the University of Texas-Arlington (1975-76) as, in his view, “vocational training”.
¶No longer an income-earning journalist, Litton writes essays and poems, which until January 2013 he had distributed only to friends through his e-mail site. Now he hopes to broaden the audience and render more visually professional his productions via this WordPress blog.
¶He has self-published two books. One is a compilation of 200 of the feature articles, columns and editorials he wrote for the West Texas community newspapers, titled A West Texas Journalist (on CD only), which cannot be found in any bookstore but can be found in a few county archives and at the Bryan Wildenthal Memorial Library at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. His other book, a selection of short stories and poems titled Particles, was distributed to friends and relatives. Litton initially considered selling either or both works but decided that one was too regional in interest and the other too personal in content to make such an enterprise worthwhile.
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¶What I really wanted to do more than anything (I think) was to teach people how to write clear, informative prose and to understand literature as something more than a temporary means of escape from reality. I was fairly good at that, but by the time I had earned my M.A. degree, the teaching positions across the country had dried up. So, I tried various trades at all of which I was a poor assistant because I was too slow. Then I tried community journalism, where I performed fairly well because speed, while a valuable asset, could be compensated for; but small-town news reporting pays little and has multiple ethical fault lines.
¶I gradually came to see my life as a failure. A friend, however, not long ago said she thought of me as a “survivalist”. Said she: “You’ve done whatever it takes to survive!” (I don’t think she considered the difference between “survivalist” and “survivor”.)
¶Anyway, I will stick with Elbert’s description: “misfit”.