Why write a memoir?

On the surface it seems egotistic and that I find troublesome. On the other hand, memoirs do serve useful purposes. Perhaps the one that triggered me to start is embodied in occasional comments from my wife and daughter: “When people ask what you did at Boeing, I don’t know what to say,” (Perhaps, after reading the memoir, they still don’t.)

A more compelling reason emerged during the writing. It gives an opportunity to sort through the more important aspects of one’s life and better understand motivations and decisions made. In other words, to better understand oneself. In a sense, to make peace with ones life.

Growing up and through much of my adult life, I didn’t recognize my introvert nature. I thought of myself as a leader in sports, in academics (at least during school years), in my professional career. I was aware of my social shortcomings and hurt by their appearances. But I failed to realize they were the product of introversion. And usually I banished them with humor. Coming to grips with conflict between an aggressive pursuit of new ideas and achievements, on the one hand, and a genetic preference to spend time and work alone on the other. This conflict gave my memoir its title.

By nature, I cannot rest. Retirement from life is not an option. I don’t understand how some people lapse into a meaningless daily routine in which nothing is accomplished other than the passage of time. Looking across my family, living or having lived during my lifetime, none willingly fell into that state. My maternal grandfather provided an interesting example. He was good with his hands, loved to tinker and had a successful business repairing carts and carriages that naturally morphed into repairing cars when they emerged. Somewhere in his sixties, he “retired” and spent the next twenty plus years making violins and violas.

My retirement became a transition to creating computer programs and writing novels. At eighty, there are six published novels and the memoir above. More importantly, three other books are in work and undoubtedly more stories will come to mind before they are complete. Hopefully, at ninety an update to the quiet rampage will be appropriate.

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