October 2nd, 2008
Autumn cold easing in with deep intent. It's up to us now. To get blood pumping. Stock the shelves. Find fuel. Prepare in whatever ways necessary for winter.
The cycle continues.
Not feeling writerly or literary. Don't feel like participating. But feelings are overcome by necessity and thought. So let's stay focused on what needs to be done.
The novel. The stories. This pounding at the keys. That's what needs to be done. The pounding. The pounding. And pounding some more.
But it helps if we can find other keys. Not the same ones we've used for years. It's easy in writing, as in life, to fall into a dead end routine. One that's full up with going through the motions, spinning the wheels, but never getting anywhere. So we must spice it up. Change the scheme. Step out of the comfort zone and into the unknown.
And the best way to find that place is to push on. Take one more step. Fall into it ass-backwards by keeping at what's been keeping you on.
We must dig, Stevens. Deeper. The surface and the second layer are easily at your disposal, but you need to hit the gut. Get right into the juices. Push the keys with thought that goes beyond feeling. Go where the wild things are.
The night you were sitting in the bar and Jim, an old school friend, came up to you, bought you a beer and told you that Mickey was dead.
"Killed himself," Jim said. "Twelve gauge to the head."
"Who found him?"
"Wife, I guess. If you can call her that. She had already been married twice, had kids with each of them, one with Mickey, and now she was messing around."
"I didn't know that."
"You've been out of the loop," he said.
"Guess now I'm getting back in."
"Probably not the way you wanted to come back."
"Not sure I want to come back at all."
Jim patted me on the back. Went back to shooting pool. I sat there thinking of Mickey.
That conversation has come back to me recently. And that event, the death of Mickey, has somehow pushed its way through me so that now it is work to get done. Gut work. Nasty stuff from the core. All juiced up and half-digested. Beyond the surface and the second level. The heavy stuff that rises up on cold autumn mornings, makes you thankful for being alive and sorry that anyone every has to die.
It's hard being like this. On the edge of a new story. One ripe with darkness and regret. Especially with the sun moving up, lighting the world. And it's even harder when all you want to do is dive in and write your way out for days and days and days, but you can't because all you have are stolen moments here and there. Like this morning. Little Man happy as can be, watching a movie he picked out from the video store last night. Giving me time to write.
I look over and he is smiling. Eyes wide. Amazed at the story before him. And here I am. His old man. In the hard-backed chair. Click-clacking at the keys. Drinking coffee. Always on the edge of sinking out of sight into a world that is not nice or sweet or caring at all.
I don't think it's enough to pray for him. To pray for anyone. But it can't hurt to hope that with all this work and thinking and living to be done, that he'll turn out all right. That there'll never be a time when he cannot buck up. Carry his head high. Move into this world undaunted. Ready for it. Even if the cold of Autumn is easing in. With deep intent. Forcing him to get moving.
(copyright © 2008 by K.J. Stevens)