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"Time for an Anti-Rant Rant"

    For eight years now I have written a "Rant of the Month," 
and placed it on the Amador Publishers web-site.  The 
dictionary doesn't say it's necessarily so, but most rants are 
negative.  The ranting person is telling in no uncertain and 
sometimes extravagant terms what's the matter, what's gone 
wrong, what is disturbing or threatening to disturb our peace 
and quiet.  Amos and Jeremiah were good at it.  My mother 
brought the skill with her from Scotland, and I inherited it.  
Much of my writing exposes this tendency to rant.
     In spite of that I recall one critique of my writing which 
complained about my "insistence on optimism and kindness."  
I accepted the criticism as accurate then, and acceptable to 
me, and I want to go back to it deliberately now.  I have to 
admit that the quantity of hypocritical piosity to which we are 
all exposed at this time of year and in these declining years 
of the First American Republic makes it difficult for the likes 
of me to be anything but negative.  But I insist on trying.
     "What are you glad for, Harry?" a voice is asking, and I'm 
going to list some things.
     [1] I am glad for life itself.  "Gracias a la vida," our 
nephew sings.  I am glad for health at my age.  I am glad to 
wake up each morning and still be who I am.  I'm glad I can 
still take each new day as an adventure.  I admit to not liking 
surprises much, yet I do find each new day a pleasant sort of 
surprise.  The aches and pains, which I feel at the close of 
day much more than in the morning, remind me that I'm still 
alive and aware.
     [2] I am glad for Nature and wildness and distance and 
time and the laws of logic and my awareness of all that.  
I am glad for my own wakefulness and imagination and memory.
     [3] I am glad for the invention of writing, for pen and 
paper, for books, and for those remaining other fellow-humans 
who also value those things.  I am glad for the search for 
accuracy, for Truth, and I am excited when I find the gift of 
agreement and shared ideas.
     [4] I am glad for my life companion, for her wit, her 
clarity, her courage, her willingness to share life with me.  
We are alike enough to deserve each other in what sometimes 
feels like a struggle of "us against the world."  We are 
different enough that there is never a dull moment, and many 
occasions for laughter.  I am glad that pink and brown can make 
it together.
     [5] I am glad for family, for offspring near and far.  
I am glad for human friendship and the insight that 
friendship can be special without being sexual or threatening 
in any way.
     [6] I am glad to live in a time and place where 
I am free to be myself, where I can get away with not going 
along with the crowd, where I can defy and reject all the 
messages that bear down on everyone these days in this society.  
I am still free enough to say, "No!" -- and that's a positive, 
not a negative thing. 
                            *   *   *
Copyright © 2003 Harry Willson

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