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)

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