Tuesday, February 12, 2013

stories for the world

Need the MFA. A clock without time. Or a million dollar grant and unlimited wine, so I can write stories for the world. Or maybe, just you. I’ve always sensed your listening. But every hack with a keyboard and an idea is a writer these days. And all of them have something important to say. Gun control. Gay marriage. North Korea and nukes. And all I want is to write about Dad and his boots and the metal shavings they brought home. To me, little flecks of gold. Bits of the mystery that took Dad away. Day after day. Year after year. And somehow, got me here. Entering writing contests. Submitting to agents and magazines. Going unseen. But doing what I can to keep at this keepin’ on while I collect silence and rejection letters. Just a man. A husband. The Dad. Knowing he’s gone too far to ever turn back. It’s been thirty-five years since I picked metal shavings from the linoleum. The short green carpet. Dad’s boots. And it’s been twenty years of writing and not publishing— or self publishing, which is useless. And it has been late nights. Early mornings. Four-hours-a-day during my single years. Stitches of sleepless nights during my married years. And even though there’s never been any great compensation for pulling words from my guts and slapping them to the page, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m not Hemingway. Nicholas Sparks. Or E.L. James. Not John Grisham. Danielle Steel. Or Sylvia Day. I am my Dad. In the machine shop. My mom at the bus stop. The kid in hard-earned hand-me-downs trying to hide his reduced lunch ticket. Confused about why anyone would tease him at all. Aren’t we all just kids? Trying to get along? Not worrying about degrees or time or guns. Love, money, or hate. Don’t we just want to be heard? Make stories for the world. Or maybe, just you. So our kids can sleep. Soundly, in this hundred-year old house. With our metal shavings tucked away under their pillows. Like gold. Or seeds of dreams to come. ~ K.J.

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