Friday, April 18, 2008

whatever it is

April 18th, 2008

12:08 pm

Got fingers busy with the pen this morning. Very important to remain connected to those roots. Handwrite letters. Put them together. So that they make words. Doing it like that—the old fashioned way—gives the brain more time to process thought. Makes it more likely that I’ll put down the good stuff when I start with the pen. It can’t hurt anyway. And I’ve always believed it increases the chances of getting it right.

Whatever it is.

This sunny warm day. With its southwesterly breeze. Blue skies, transparent clouds, passenger planes silver and bright. The big, high-speed chariots that keep us in our state of perpetual motion.

I like it when they look so small and slow-moving against the wide-open canvas. Keeps me on track. Makes me believe that I’m thinking the right things. That sometimes it’s best to stop. Sit in a chair and relax. So the mind and body get in synch. And we are aware of how significant we are in this—the intimate smallness we share.

Like last night.

Me and S.B. in chairs. Side-by-side. In the back yard. Wrapping up our day with conversation, moonlight, the city settling down. Dogs barking in the distance. Traffic thinning. Bats nabbing bugs. The flashing strobes of chariots in the sky. A glass of merlot. A bottle of Coruna. Deep breaths. Sighs. The brilliant stars so sharp in the dark. And every problem, worry, regret, and fear eased away by the sweetness of night on skin. So that finally, when it was time to go inside and put our tired bodies to bed, I could sleep soundly knowing that I was getting close to being the man I’d always wanted to be. That this day-by-day existence of working hard and smart and truly was increasing my chances of getting it right.

Whatever it is.

These fingers to the pen. Or to the keys. Always, putting the pieces together. Making words that breathe and rain and warm and sing. So that all of us can find our moment. Hold tight. And believe.

~ K.J.

(copyright © 2008 by k.j. stevens)

Monday, April 14, 2008

not breaking

April 14th, 2008

7:46 am

Frosty-window-morning. Bone-deep cold. But we are nearly clear-headed. Feeling solid. Ready to get back to the act of growing without getting old.

Rough one yesterday. Waking on high. Hitting an afternoon low. Then rising up again, as I spent time reading Islands in the Stream. Reading that book helped me fix the high in a sound enough place so that this morning the drive, ability and passion are doing their best to synch up and get desire back on track. So that I am focused once again on the direction that’s got me this far. The big picture is looming. Needing more detail, more story, more scene.

Will do my best to work hard on it today. It will come in spurts, as Little Man plays, reads, and naps. But I will work, as I always do. And now, with many distractions settled from ringing in my ears to a dull buzz, I will get more quality work produced.

Reading Hemingway again helps me feel my roots. I see them there. Planted firmly in the ground. Growing. He knew the importance of the big things. And though he may have not been very good at them (the relationships, child-rearing, keeping good health), he wrote of them beautifully. Something that cannot be done unless you know how they really are. Maybe that’s why I feel the writing so much. It is a struggle to know things, to want to share them, but not to know how to say them, or show them through daily action.

There’s so much I want to say to my family, S.B., and Little Man. So much I want to give to them. To share with them. But never have I known how. Not in my words, which are often disconnected and crass. Not in my actions, which are often subtle. Not in anything I do, but my writing. It would be untrue if Hemingway said today that the characters and situations of his writings were not based on his life. That the words were not part of him. Because always, what we put on paper—whether we like it or not—is us. Our thoughts and sweat, blood and tears, hopes and fears. Good, literary writing, which contributes to the common understanding and discovery of hope and love in this world, is not always full of love and hope. It is often brutal and angry. Filled with loss and pain, cruel words and evil actions that are steeped in selfish desperation.

But Hemingway can’t say any of that today. Can’t even think it anymore. He put an end to that long ago.

Cold steel ripped to life with fire and a burst of gunpowder. His final declarative sentence. Ended with a double-barrel exclamation mark. He saw it coming. Wrote about it. And instead of keeping at it, becoming strong at the broken places, he broke the damned thing right off.

I will not break.

I never want to be gone.

Am not a fan of exclamation marks.

All I want is to keep at these short fragmented sentences. Piece them together. The best I can. So that they carry through—and carry true—this big picture beat I always feel. Even on these frosty-window-mornings. Fighting off bone-deep cold. Nearly clear-headed. Feeling solid. Ready to continue this act. And get back to the art of growing without ever getting old.

~ K.J.

(copyright 2008 by k.j. stevens)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

not my typical post

April 13th, 2008

9:45 pm

Feeling all right today. Slept well, except for early this morning (round 5 or so) when my back started hurting and when Chloe started pacing around the house. From living room to hallway to our bedroom. Again and again. She was restless and rightly so, as she hasn’t been outside much in the past few days. Sad too, since it is Spring and the feeling of Spring is infecting all of us, but yesterday we had cold and rain and today we have cold and snow. Yes, snow. April 13th and we have snow. Beautiful small globs of ice smacking down onto our world.

Made scrambled eggs and toast. We ate our eggs topped with hot salsa. Drank orange juice. I’ve made a pot of coffee and am enjoying the first cup. S.B. Little Man are painting. Already, Little Man has covered a canvas. Now he’s onto two more.

I’m just happy to be able to be down here and have a little time this morning to write. It’s hard, because it is Sunday—a good family day for us to be together—but if I don’t write and get the brain working, I’ll slowly move toward being a wreck. I’m much happier and function better when I am writing regularly.

But onto a side note: (info highlighted in blue is linked)

Getting these goddamned email forwards from people about illegal aliens, gay marriage, presidential candidates, and the cost of gas. All these pictures, petitions, facts and figures that are rarely true. Emails that could be figured out, disproved, stopped dead in their tracks, if people would only take a few minutes to research and learn.

More often than not, these forwards are hoaxes, untruths, or the twisting of the truth (doctored up pictures, quotes out of context, etc.). Some of them are quite cruel: Missing people that aren’t really missing, or people pretending to have cancer. Lies conjured up just so some unscrupulous dillnut can snatch up personal information (names, email addresses, phone numbers). Others are good old urban legends: Women (of course, it’s always women) beware of the man hiding in your backset. The Glade Plug-In that will burn down your house. And George Carlin yapping on about being a Bad American.

It’s amazing to me that people forward this shit to their friends and family. That people will actually BELIEVE it without checking to see if it’s true. All I can figure is that some people pass it along because they believe that by hitting the SEND button, they are actually participating in society. That what they’ve received in their inbox has confirmed their own thoughts, validated their own fears, so round-and-round the ignorant self-righteousness goes. Reminds me of all the guys I used to work with who voted for George Bush because of the slogan SPORTSMAN FOR BUSH. But that’s another side note. No time for that now.

All I can is this…we, as a society, are getting dumber and dumber every day because we are too lazy to dig a little deeper. Too afraid to go the extra mile and leave our comfort zones. We do not want to get back to the basics of integrity, thinking for ourselves, and being True because it’s so much easier for us to slumber along. Heads tuned toward FOX, the INBOX, and blinders on.

But to hell with it. All I can do is my best. To make sure that I’m running on the straight line. On all cylinders. That I’m reaching for better things. Not materially or monetarily, but spiritually. Mentally. Emotionally.

And now, it’s time to go. S.B. and Little Man are done painting. It’s time for Daddy to get upstairs. Warm up the truck. Drive us out into the big, bad world.

~ K.J.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

our key

April 5th, 2008

7:41 am

Sipping coffee in the cold basement, but warmed by familiar light. A soft glow. Always beside me.

This little apartment is quiet this morning. S.B is asleep. Little Man is tucked away in his big-boy bed. The pets, at first excited with my early morning stretching and fuss at the coffee maker, have now made their way back to bed. They are snuggled up to S.B. no doubt.

And here we are again. Over and over. Awkward and not obeying the rules. At the keys.

Because this is where we belong.

It appears we’ll be moving soon. From one city to another. Apartment to house. Shared driveway and throwing-money-out-the-window, to our own two-car garage and building equity. It’s a fine experience. Meaningful in many aspects, but especially important below the surface.

Suppers together. Cooked in our small, but functional kitchen. One that has room for more than one person at a time. With a garbage disposal. Nice cupboards. A window overlooking the big, green backyard. The place where me and S.B. can sit at night. Drink wine. Watch the sky. The place where we can play with Little Man. Football. Baseball. Catch. Build a play area for him. One that has a swing and a slide. A playhouse and sandbox. Enough space for the pets to roam, and for us to plant a garden. One ripe with vegetables to eat and flowers to see, so that even though we are in the city, we remain connected to the one place we know we’re from. The salt of the earth.

S.B. will have a room to create and paint. Little Man will have a place to play and read. Sleep and think. A place that looks, sounds, and feels like HOME. Where his roots can break the surface, take hold, and he can continue to grow. Thrive. Reach whatever tree, star or cloud he believes can be reached if only he keeps trying. And trying some more.

And finally, my writing will come out of the basement. Be brought into the light. Instead of dull concrete and a small, thick-paned 2’ x 3’ window, there’ll be color and a bright clear view. Even on the dreariest days.

The writing will not always be cheerful. Not be the type of stories you’d discuss with your grandmother, or in church. But they’ll be true. And given to you. To do with as you please. As you sit. Warmed by familiar light. Guided by the soft glow. That brings us here. Together. Over and over. As we work so hard to find and share our key to the locks on the chains we see everywhere.

~ K.J.