I am writing this blog as a forty-six year old. I am sitting alone in a room where I often type these blog posts. It is because of this simple routine itself perhaps that I am inspired to write this post. It is not so very easy to explain why I continue to blog the way I do. Perhaps it is not even easy for me to understand why I do it myself. Nonetheless, I am continuing to blog. So I thought I would try to describe not only myself but also those parts of me that are most related to reasons why I am not deeply involved in any sort of public life.
It is certainly true that my own ability to describe myself is something less than perfect and total. It is even more true that you and all my other readers have a limited interest in what I might be able to find to say or write. I define myself mostly in terms of things that are not the center of my blog discussions. I sometimes mention one or two things briefly from this category. However, only a few posts are examples of my having chosen to really attempt a portrait of myself in some verbal way. In this post I will attempt to discuss some things that I have not discussed in quite the same way elsewhere. It should not be surprising that much of the material will relate to other material in the blog if one is a serious reader of this blog. But it is not exactly the same sort of thing as discussing these things in the way I have up until now.
I wonder how possible it is for me to imagine describing myself to anyone who might actually have a legitimate interest in knowing me because of something that they have read in this blog. I am quite delighted to express the truth at this stage in my life. When the truth can be found it is easier for me to discuss it than almost anyone I know. But I do not have a simplistic view of myself, the conditions of human life or the world in general.
One of the things that partly facilitates but largely complicates this effort is that a sort of complex record exists of my life to some degree. In other words if I generated enough historical interest to have a really professional biographer try to put together my life story then there would be quite a bit that might still exist or not exist. First, there is the autobiography section of this blog. Second, there is the mention of me and the story of my family in my mother’s book Go! You are Sent: An Incredible Odyssey of Faith. There are the press releases and possibly some interview recording that were made when I received the Sophomore Class Award at Franciscan University of Steubenville and the similar if longer items produced when I received the USL Alumni Association Outstanding Graduate Award. There is a press release that was issued when I was named News Editor of the Abbeville Meridional in 1986. There is a handful of brief television and radio interviews and an even smaller group of longer ones that in some way or another asked about my life. Up until today these go from about 1980 to about 2005. Some I never heard broadcast and so cannot really verify that they have been. There is the biographical material I submitted for the Board of Regents Fellowship when I was preparing to do graduate work at Louisiana State University after I did receive that award. There is the biographical material that I submitted to Tulane Law School before being admitted there twice. In addition to all of this there are references to myself in things I have published about other people and events. At this moment many people who have known me quite well are still alive and able to speak well and probably have some documents that could be of use. I do not absolutely know that all these people are alive and not all would say favorable things but these are some folks that come quickly to mind. Tragically, some names of people I was very close to have slipped my mind and some others cannot be mentioned. In addition some others are women whose names will have changed although there is no rule here about which name I use for such women. Here is a list then:
Missi Summers Smith, Rachel Gremillion Broussard, Jed Gremillion, Brian Gremillion, Cecil Bruce Gremillion II, Clay James Summers, Charles Williams Massey IV, Dolly Marie Miller Brandt, Dannon Stokes, Dr. Philip Edward Noel, Dr. David Link Silar, Charlie Warner, Soane Paseka, Viliami Ufi, David Chapel, Larry Bordelon, David Dent, Myron Music, Christine Hebert Landry,Miguel Angel Barriga, Deianiera __________, Fr. Jim Mitchell, Benito Rodriguez, Bishop Carlos Talavera, Annabelle Vega, Michelle O’ Malley, Wayne Sebire, Henry Smith, Peter Smith, Anne O’Neil, Elizabeth Gallagher, Peter Gallagher, Cardinal Tom Williams, Dave Southey, Bishop Honesto Pacana, Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, Benjamin Estrada, Dodong Batoctoy, Rudy Mercado, Tony Evangelista ,Melvin Valcorza, Mike Joseph, Laura Carloss Guidry, Dr. Allan Barry, Dr. James Stanley Cox, Dr. John Fiero, Steve Kroeger, Dr. Mark Roman Schultz, Bill Schlick, Fr. Michael Scanlon, Michelle Denise Broussard Summers, Ben Reed, Kathy Broussard,Brian Hollier, Dr. Peter Reswebber, Fr. Richard Greene, Jonathan Turley, Jon Scialdone, Gabriel Sosa, Peter Wickersham, Walter Roper, Jim Rich, Lt. Governor Paul Hardy, Pat Slattery, Sharon McCarthy, Anna Mayes, Frank Harvey Bollich, Ray Simon, Monsignor Richard Mouton, Donna Lemaire,Kevin Daigle, Dr. WIlliam James Cooper Jr., Dr. Gaines Foster, Greg Hospodor, John Marshall, Ben Price, Mary Hebert Price, Jack Paul Showers, Julie Anne Yannatta, David Widdoes, Blaine Saunier, David Dupuis, Ellen Arceneaux, Kevin Foote, Bruce Brown, Dan Macdonald, Robbie Dardeau, Red Lerille, Robin Gremillion, Gabriel Gremillion, Sheriff Michael Couvillon, Davis Frederick, Jabian Sellers, Scott Desormeaux, Xu Aina, Wang Guang rong, Liu Ting ting, Dean and President Song, Dean Edward Zhang, John T.Landry, Mayor Mark Piazza, John Bergeron, Bridget Khoring and there are many unmentioned. Such a list is useless to the casual reader of course. However, it could be useful to someone who wanted to try to piece together my life. I would not dream of taking the time and space to really identify these real people. In addition I want to say that I would not come up with exactly the same list on any two days.
So with a life that stretches across varied media and varied regions I have a lot of loose ends that keep me from putting together a neat and coherent story that others might attempt. Beyond this simple complexity there is complex complexity. I am a person who has seen a goodly number of jails that I visited in Prison ministry or for lawyers or to help friends who were prisoners or for many reasons other than being an inmate. I was a youth minister that people unburdened themselves of their deep dark secrets to quite often. I have been a credited and uncredited journalist who followed stories into murky places. I have friends who told me they had abortions, smuggled drugs, were beaten by their fathers, had deadly diseases or had false identities who told few or no other people and whom I have never told upon or “outed” . I have had friends or acquaintances who secretly affairs, cross-dressed, smoked pot, or were fully professional cover agents in the Intelligence community. I have known prostitutes whose neighbors were unsuspecting of their ventures. Politically, my connections include communists, fascists, royalists, Klansmen, Greens and many others who are either not really committed to the mainstream parties they belong to or belong to parties far outside the US mainstream. Some are very much in the mainstream of their own countries and some are on the fringes overseas. In my life I have been run off the road, shot at, bitten, hit with at least ten different objects, slashed by someone trying to stab me and had dogs sicced on me — but those attacks do not exhaust the story. Oddly enough some of those responsible for those things are people I still have to deal with and relate to so that I am limited in what I can reveal in one way or another.
I am not now nor have I often been a very happy person. Nor am I a person who feels very succesful, lucky or prospered. While I am blessed with happy memories that I appreciate my mind usually goes to dark and dire memories if I let it run free. This is accentuated by the fact that I really do believe that lots and lots of things are wrong in this world. I aspire to a wise activist stance. However, I do not always live up to my desired stance vis-a-vis the world.
As I read what I have written so far in this post I see that it skirts most issues and fails to explain why I am not running for some small office or teaching English in Japan. It fails to touch also on the effects that organizations of varied levels of secrecy have had upon my life. It fails to even allude to some burdens that I have long carried. It fails to name the brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews who are large in my view of my life and of the world. By accident of a few deaths and a few forgotten names my list has only one nun on it and she no longer uses a religious name nor Sr. as an honorific. Then there is a whole cluster of celebrities whom I sort of know. How can you sort of know someone? Well if you were my constant companion you might find that this is the best description available for my relationships with these people.
All of this disclosure if taken seriously may make it seem that I really abhor lying. Unfortunately, I recall telling a fairly considerable number of lies along life’s road. I prefer the truth and have sacrificed for it but there are many lies I would not know how to take back if I could.
Partly I am documenting these things and others about myself because a long time spent making better than could be hoped decisions and taking and beating very dangerous risks has left me more or less poor, tired and unsafe. It turns the mind repeatedly to mortality. In my case that sense of death’s nearness does not lead me to put a vast fortune in order because I do not have one. The impulse to put ones house in order is channeled into the narrative of one’s story. So while I do not retract any of the grandiose proposal I make in this blog it may be that they are rays of light thrown off of flickering wick closer to the end of its burning than to its middle. Or, I hope, I may be wrong. However, it is that sensibility that contributes to making me so different from change agents like David Duke, Al Sharpton, Ralph Nader or lesser known local examples you may be thinking of. as you read this. I can type in this room for now. Beyond that it is hard to hope for much and be me at the same time.