Meandering with an open mind….
Labor day has passed, always that stubborn signpost that marks the end of summer. The kids are back at school and it’s time to start worrying about how many days off you have left this year, because most likely you blew just about all of ‘em on some shore visit that you put on the credit card. The fact that it’s still 90 degrees outside is pissing me off some, but fall will arrive. It always does. And with it comes our tendency to barricade ourselves indoors….where we can choose our own distractions. And, incidentally, where it’s more difficult to spend money.
Summertime is for frolicking. We rarely get anything substantial done while sweat is dripping into our eyeballs. It’s what Chevy Chase called a “quest for fun”, and we go full speed ahead searching for it, even if it makes us fucking miserable. We pretend all is well and then look back, sipping a beverage while being massaged by a cool September breeze. We revisit all the cute pictures we took, and reality is walled in like that dead nuclear reactor in Chernobyl. We recall the glorious sunsets and the sparkling sand, and forget about the trip to the emergency room with the Jellyfish bite, and how much it cost to fix the broken air conditioner. We’re humans. Woody Guthrie called is “hoping machines”. We remember the party and forget the hangover. We’re glorious idiots, and I love that about us. And not much else.
We lose track of what time it gets dark. We cared back in July….when we went searching for the fireworks. And they all started around the same time. Close to 9:30pm. What time will it be dark tonight? Honestly, I’d have to look it up. And the time creeps too….like the turtle in the race with the hare. So eventually we go from fireworks finishing up near 10 bells, to leaving work at 5:30 across a pitch black parking lot….and never fail to be stunned by how it all seemed to happen in an instant. Lawn-mowers and snowblowers are like two ships passing each other in the night. Football goes from those fans blowing ice water on dehydrated offensive linemen to the frozen tundra of Green Bay. Where does all this time go? Is this the “life happening when we’re busy making other plans” thing? Perhaps. But I can’t imagine not living with the rhythms of these changes.
And so I come to the point of all this meandering. I wasn’t sure what to write about today, but I was sure that I wanted to write something. Because writing is what I do, and it’s what makes me feel good. Words. The way some luxuriate in bath bubbles…..that’s me with the language. Writer’s block is real, but it’s not an excuse. So off searching I go on days like this, hoping to be inspired by, well, anything. Begging. Borrowing. Stealing. All’s fair when you’re starting at an empty page. Being OCD helps too. A newspaper column is around 7-800 words. So these posts I make are never less than 700 words…..the same way no record I release has less than 10 songs on it. Because 9 seems like cheating (cmon! You don’t have some acoustic demo lying around to make the round number?)…..like a 699 word column. Of course none of this is rational but I know lots of writers, and while they don’t have much in common, a lack of rationality is the river they all run through. Which is why we don’t get invited to many parties, but the ones we do are always the most memorable.
So I sent a text this morning to my friend Bret Alexander, a man who is also word hungry. No preamble. Got right to it. “I need something to write about. Gimme an idea”.
His response? “Dude, you don’t know how creepy that question is…” Then he told me he was about to hit submit on his latest blog post….a post that dealt with…..wait for it….what to write about….and how to grind it out of yourself when need be. And then it popped into my facebook feed. Creepy indeed. As Van the Man once said….”Wavelength / Wavelength / You never let me down…”
I like to think that great minds think alike….but it could be that we are both just major league weirdos.
Which suits me just as well….because weirdos are rarely boring. And as a writer, there ain’t nothing worse.
So there. 781 words. My work here is done. And I feel fine. Until next time.
In a bit…