Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Friday, March 25, 2016
naturally spring is busting out all over. cherry trees, purple flowers and vines, just about everything imaginable. All the big trucks are out in full force too. I always imagine that when they are making their extra noise, they are making their statement about something, something unseen, or perhaps me. they go a little too fast through the intersection, or they seem to intentionally blow exhaust my way, and i infer that somehow, they've got this big truck, with enormous outsize wheels, and they're still a little unhappy that i'm walking along the street on a gorgeous spring day with a smug smile on my face. actually it's probably a whole lot more random than that. they figure if they make a little extra noise, all over town, eventually the right girl will notice them, and then their problems will be over, and they'll have a reason to live. i just happen to be there in the process, and there's nothing i can do about it.
last friday of the month, and i'm heading out to the golf club to play music with every bluegrass picker in west texas, which makes the last friday pretty much the best day in the month. this month, we lost one of our own, an old guy who came to listen regularly, and always wore cardinal baseball things, being, perhaps, from saint louis. didn't know him much better than that, but i liked him, and i'll miss him. almost all the bluegrass fans are older than i am, and i'm almost retired, they look at me with that look retired people have for those of us who work, and the only thing i dread about the kind of life they're living, is that there is probably too much cnn or fox news in it. i already have way too much of that in my life already, and i look at it all indirectly, through the computer on the following day, and i already rue the fact that the entire american political system has boiled down to a kind of sick television reality show. but if i had nothing else to worry about, this would be especially aggravating.
so one of the guys i tutored today was kind of jarring. he was clearly smart, driven, and intent. however, he couldn't finish a sentence without getting other ideas tangled up into it. And those ideas would lead to other ideas, which would, in turn, get the reader to forget what the paragraph was about. it was maddening trying to lead him through what a paragraph should do, because every word i said set him off into a new territory. he gladly followed my guidance. but he was so actively a-d-d that there was almost no way to get anything done. in the process of working with him, i finally realized how hard i have to control myself, to keep from having this happen when i write. look at the previous paragraph. when i write this blog, i let go of my own controls; when i want to say something, i just say it. if i start out talking about bluegrass and end up talking about the american political system boiling down into a reality television show, i relax, and let myself do it. well, this guy was like that, only ten times as bad. and he wanted to make things right. the poor kid; his family had probably never heard of a-d-d.
speaking of a-d-d, i finished a story recently, and that gave me a burst of energy, which i now hope to use finishing 1) e pluribus haiku 2016, 2) just passing through, which has a subtitle, true stories from out there; 3) the lady in red, which i might rename, on advice to my wife, who says that if she was a feminist, lady might be the wrong word for her; and, 4) interference, my novel about sports and dreamers, and in particular, saint louis. actually i would be happy to finish any of them.
Thursday, March 24, 2016
Wednesday, March 09, 2016
there's a young lady i help in the writing lab. one day i was feeling sorry for myself, that i had lost my mother, when in she comes with a story about losing hers. it happened to her in high school. she had a job, and was going to high school, and was paying the bills, since her mom had become increasingly sick. well, the upshot of it was, she lost a few years of high school. she never quite learned how to write, which is why i saw her again today, and she never quite mourned her mother either. she was too busy. she was holding body and soul together, trying to go to college, getting what she needed to keep on going. when i told her my story we both kind of cried softly in the lab; we almost did it again today. i told her to hang in there. i gave her lots of writing advice. she can pass and will. i consider her a hero. she survived a high-school life in which her mom suddenly needed intensive personal care, and she had to keep a job, and she had to find a college to go to, etc. you have these people who are walking around, being young, who have gone through incredible battles already. and you never know who you'll find.
walking home, i fell in step with a guy and started talking to him. he was a former baseball player; had been in the yankees' system. he'd gotten injured a few too many times, he said, so he went back to school. he loves the game though, he'll never be able to stay away from it. he'll probably be a coach of some kind, maybe prep or college. he seemed to be ok with that. baseball was great; it was his life.
at this one place along my walk, an old caboose sits behind a high wooden fence, and the trees are blooming spectacularly all around it. i'll show, when i upload my pictures, but it's really quite a show, the old santa fe logo, the high room of the caboose peeking out above the high fence. this is my new corner; i no longer cross at flint and nineteenth, the place of so many nightmares, and fairly constant accidents. i now cross at boston and nineteenth, and it seems much more orderly, predictable, stable. however, i must say, sometimes there are pieces of cars strewn about at the lights, that have been swept off the road and now just sit there in the sun as i wait for the walk sign. one day there was a toyota insignia; it had fallen off a car that had been in an accident. that particular walk sign talks to you; i believe it says, "walk sign is on, crossing nineteenth street," but i believe that only because my wife told me that, when in fact, i stood at that corner, listened carefully for as long as i could, and finally concluded that i would never understand what the voice was saying, but that as far as i could tell, it sounded like "walk like a dog, crossing nineteenth street." though i knew that was wrong, i heard that for a long time, because i didn't know what else to hear.
taking that route, i can daydream a little longer, because the light is predictable, and rarely dangerous. i no longer wildcat-cross the street, or go at the deadly corner with unpredictable maniacs. i have a slightly quieter, calm walk every day, slightly longer, and it's made me feel better, and sleep better. i've also taken to pulling dandelions at home, cleaning up dog poop, and spending as much time outdoors as possible. the air is fresh; the wind is constant, and spring is popping. the dogs and cats both seem to be full of life, and wanting lots of action. outdoors i throw the ball, and they tear around, and we all sleep better at night.
the class is going well as usual.