A leg up

I know I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time and thought on the past, and aging, how then brings more clarity to now… it seems to be a consistent theme in a lot of my writing. And I’ve been thinking about the aches and pains of growing older, because I’ve been experiencing them first hand.

I’m not a complainer by nature. Stuff happens, the body wearies more easily, the thought process becomes a little more slippery. I worry about my memory, but not obsessively. I forget names, forget where I set my coffee cup… small lapses, really. But otherwise, okay. My body aches more, particularly the left leg. Some days it feels like bone has been replaced by a splintered plywood plank. An old injury, never fully healed, it’s been aching for a few weeks now. Some days it’s difficult to write, or rest because of the ache. And, recently, an infected elbow. All clear now (well, mostly clear), with only a bit of “cellular debris” remaining (my doctor’s term. He also called it “squishy gunk”: the technical term).

But today is a good day. I’ve been mowing the lawn, stretching the leg, enjoying the sun and mountain breeze. But not overdoing it. Perhaps there’ll be more substantial writing later. That’s been the most frustrating part. Wanting to, but unable to fully focus. The novel is complete, other than the minor detail of writing it down! That part aches too, because I can’t write fast enough. I don’t think I’ve ever had a story so fully formed in my head before, and I’m so damned slow making sure I get it right. Yes, an obsession. Writers know what I mean. It’s a good obsession, I think. Much better than obsessing about growing old, and hurting along the way.

Have a great weekend, and thanks for reading.

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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”

Beginnings

Snow warnings, blustery, gray as an old work sock. February. Spring is just down the road and up the hill. She’s taking the curlers out of her hair, fixing her face. She’s in no hurry. But she’ll smile when she sees us trudging up the hill in our boots and soggy scarves. And it will be glorious.

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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