But seriously (or not)

I’m a serious writer. I watch, I listen, I write. I take it all seriously because I love it. So sometimes it comes as a surprise to people that I have a sense of humor. It’s not all about marching words to the edge of a cliff. The very first thing I wrote was a humour piece for school. I was extremely shy, 10 years old, and made to read my little story in front of the class. I almost died. But in a trembling little voice, I read it. And almost died again. And then the damnedest thing happened. My classmates stood up and applauded. I wasn’t even sure they knew my name. And at that moment, a writer was born. Continue reading “But seriously (or not)”

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Waiting for Mr. Coffee

Morning. Before everything remembers what it is. This perfect solitude, when the soul is naked, the flesh is asleep, and the dreams start to wither. The sky, that perfect grey pastel, dingy but lovely. It is its own naked shadow. The undressed trees, waiting for rain, thirsty for refreshment. You can smell it, breathing beyond the hills, exhaling its wet breath. Continue reading “Waiting for Mr. Coffee”

November 1, 1975

Note: In a recent conversation with a friend, I told her that I still had most of my writing stored away, back to when I was 15-years-old. I was pretty damned intense for someone that age. I dug around and found my very first journal. I’ve kept this old journal — a compilation of poetry and diary entries — and it’s travelled with me to innumerable different apartments, houses, beaten-down hotels, the back of my car, a couple of provinces, and two countries. I don’t know why I hold onto it, other than they’re entries from a naive, intense and, dare I say it, sweet little kid who had no idea what the future held. I promised her I’d post an entry from back then, and I’m a man of my word. Cringing is allowed and acceptable, but please, don’t outright laugh. He was 15-years-old and his heart was honest.

Alone (Part II)

The bitter cold

consumes my

soul like

a fire consumes

ice.

The quiet road

ahead of me

is dark

and I fear

darkness.

The velvet clouds

above me

drift silently

and move

freely.

The beating of

my heart

is hushed

against the

wind.

— Written November 1, 1975

A river runs under it

Sometimes writing comes naturally, a stream of ideas flowing unimpeded over the rocks. And sometimes it feels like pushing a boulder upstream with your nose. Stuff gets cluttered and jammed in the currents, the water evaporates and you’re trying to swim in the mud.

Okay, enough with the analogy. Right now it’s rough going. The ideas are swampy and stagnant. I’m listening for the language, the voices, and everyone’s talking over each other like a bad episode of “The West Wing”. Slow down, I can’t hear wtf you’re saying, one at a time, please.

Every writer goes through it, I guess. Digging for gold without a shovel, scraping at the clay bare-knuckled, in the wrong spot. It’s not a bad thing, but not productive. I wouldn’t call it writer’s block because I’m still digging, still trying to find a small chunk of gold. Scrape together a word or two, and then three, and then a trickle, a bubble of undercurrent, and there he goes back to the river analogy.

I could blame the weather (cold; winter; uggh), and I could blame my job (cold; demanding; uggh), or I could just blame the minutia of details in a day, the step-by-step procedural. Or it could just be — go ahead and say it — a logjam: too many ideas, or not enough ideas but too many words climbing over each other. The rhythm of the dance is out of whack, trying to do the tango with a bullfrog. Something.

Maybe it’s trying to find a follow-up to Ordinary Handsome. That one filled my belly. Good or bad (and I think it’s good), it’s hard act to follow. I’m still digging for that next chunk of gold.

As the Boss says,

“Now those memories come back to haunt me
they haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true
Or is it something worse
that sends me down to the river
though I know the river is dry
That sends me down to the river tonight.”*

Analogy over.

*”The River” by Bruce Springsteen

Thank you

… to all who commented on, reblogged, or took the time to read my interview in the 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour hosted by Kate Evans & Kate M. Colby. The comments have been wonderful and very encouraging, and I’m very appreciative to have taken part in the Tour. And it’s not over yet! There are other writers scheduled for February, each deserving and needing encouragement and, of course, recognition (and a few book sales wouldn’t hurt. 🙂 ). The two Kates have been very generous with this project, allowing diverse writers tell us about themselves and their passion for the written word. And it takes a certain amount of vulnerability to let people know what makes them tick and what drives them to create. Writing is a solitary endeavor. We struggle to express that little voice inside… those strange characters, that non-existent place we’ve created from imagination. For a writer — or any artist — those things exist only in ourselves; hence the need to bring it outside and share it with others. A voice, a dream, needs an outlet. We have our loved ones, our friends and family who encourage us to keep going, but when a kind word or a small encouraging message from a stranger finds its way to us, it has an amazing impact.  So keep writing, painting, singing, photographing, and keep enjoying the gifts of those who do likewise.

Thank you again,

Steve

Before

It doesn’t look like much right now, but it is snowing. It’s supposed to be a big one, or “The Big One” depending on which forecast you’re looking at. If it amounts to anything, I’ll post an “After” shot if I can find my way outside. Yes, the weather has made me cynical.

before