June 16th, 2010
Probably need to finish this glass of wine. Have another. Then get back here. To the keys. Thoughts. Sounds of the city winding down. And come up with something. But some nights there is nothing. And it’s all I can do to drift the surface, drag bait along the bottom. Be dead to the world. And dream. Locked onto the sound of water. The big blue sky. And the nothing that I wish would consume me. Because I’m tired. Tired of working to make ends meet. Tired of fighting the good fight. Tired of banging away and banging away and banging away and getting nothing but more tired and empty.
But it is not good to write about being tired and empty when I have people counting on me. My patient wife. My jovial daughter. My son, the Little Man. And it is not good to wish we were somewhere else. In a place we cannot be because we are not making enough money. And even though I know that money and belongings and “things” do not matter, I wish to hell we had more money, had quality belongings, and that we were living a life where money really didn’t matter.
We have love. There is no doubt about that. We are strong. Faithful. Caring. We are staying upright. Keeping chins up. Keeping at the keepin’ on. But sometimes all of that just isn’t enough. I want a house in a small town. To be near the water. In the trees. I want to raise our kids where they can run free. Spend time with their grandparents. Believe in the good that comes from small things. Like chopping wood. Planting gardens. Catching fish. Picking mushrooms and strawberries. Building tree forts. And learning about leaves and birds and the stars. About God and Hope and Truth. And doing what you love.
Like this. Coming here. To rake the gut. Pound the heart. And make myself remember that the best comes from hard work, hard knocks, and giving more than you receive. There is no easy way out. There is no great reward. Even those that make it—the ones that write better than anyone, hit the sweet spots, and sell the shit out of stories—they know this.
And all the really matters is your wife.
She has just finished working on a pastel piece. The second phase of it, she says. And when she leaves the studio you look at it and wonder how the fuck you ever landed her. A person so lively and pretty and honest. A woman that can make colors sing and burn and hurt and shine so that you know you must write harder and longer and truer than you ever believed possible if you are ever to make stories as good.
And your daughter. Eyes so blue and pure that each time you meet you know you must be a better man that you ever thought you could be. Because she is watching and following and believing that you are strong and funny and smart. But you know that you are none of these things. That you are just another man. But you will be the first one she will know and care about and love, and so you must do all you can to show her what she deserves. What she is worth. What may come.
And your Little Man. The one you think about most. Because he is most like you. Running hard on guts and love. Not giving a shit about getting hurt or stopped or told what to do because he is strong and smart and has a way with words.
“Why are you so strong, Daddy?”
“I’m not. It just seems that way.”
“I hope I seem that way some day too.”
And you bite your lip. Squeeze his little hand and want to pick him up and hold him. And hold him. And hold him. Because you know how hard it will be. And you know that no matter what you do or say, he will turn out just like you.
It has nothing to do with Nature. Nothing to do with Nurture. It is bigger than those. And stronger. And faster. And there is not a goddamned thing you can do but take a deep breath. Hold tight. And ready yourself for the fight of your life. When you will bang away and bang away and bang away and get nothing but tired and empty, but feel more full and alive, more right and loved than any man deserves.