Writing 101, Day Five: Be Brief

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His flight was delayed, he didn’t made it to the house in time. “You were missed, but you weren’t needed,” they assured him, “The movers were great.”

He insisted on going by anyway, he had never seen it when it wasn’t his home. And goodbyes have value.

“You haven’t aged at all,” he thought. The door was locked. He rang the bell on reflex. A simple greeting that faded to silence. He replied with a quiet “goodbye.”

On the brick path he saw it, his dad’s stationary folded into a card. He lifted it up, turned it over, “Joannie” written in a familiar hand.

Teary eyes make for difficult reading, but the message was simple enough:

“You

Are

Everything”

He wanted to keep it for himself. He didn’t have enough to remember her by, some pictures and a Christmas Tree pin he gave her when he was 9. And besides, he thought, “I never had the chance to say goodbye.”

But he looked up at the house that they made into a home. And he thought about them, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. In sickness.

It wasn’t his note to keep. He’d give it to his dad. Gladly. Tearfully, more than likely, but gladly. She was mom and he missed her dearly. But she was his wife. She was his Joannie. She was his everything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calvin and Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Returns

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This brought me much joy.

Pearls Before Swine

Bill Watterson is the Bigfoot of cartooning.

He is legendary. He is reclusive. And like Bigfoot, there is really only one photo of him in existence. 

Few in the cartooning world have ever spoken to him. Even fewer have ever met him.

In fact, legend has it that when Steven Spielberg called to see if he wanted to make a movie, Bill wouldn’t even take the call.

So it was with little hope of success that I set out to try and meet him last April.

I was traveling through Cleveland on a book tour, and I knew that he lived somewhere in the area. I also knew that he was working with Washington Post cartoonist Nick Galifianakis on a book about Cul de Sac cartoonist Richard Thompson’s art.

So I took a shot and wrote to Nick. And Nick in turn wrote to Watterson.

And the meeting…

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Writing 101: A View

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I’m on the beach, Emerald Island, North Carolina and it’s just before dawn. There’s good and great and sometimes bad in any vacation, but this time, this place is the greatest.  If I plan correctly I can spend the first few moments of my day or the last few minutes of my night conferring with the waves as they crash and roll and run about under an indigo colored, sun-less sky.

It’s not about the sun rise, really. The sun is the climax of the event, and there is joy and beauty and triumph and relief when it rises. But it’s those moments before that I savor. When the sky is making it’s transition from pitch-black night to bright-blue day, when all is silent save for the wind and the surf and the worm-getting early birds, where the ocean stretches between infinity and my toes half-buried in the sleeping sand and the clouds drift along at whatever pace that suits them, that’s the when and the where I want to be. To bask in the event of a moment in transition. Waiting for the sun. There’s potent magic there.

sunrise

 

Writing 101: Unlocking the Mind

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Free writing.

Free writing here, for 20 minutes. No, that doesn’t mean that I’m offering my writing, for free, for only 20 minutes. This is a blog, anyone and everyone is free to read my writing, judge my writing, print it up and use it to line their bird cages if they are so inclined. At any time. By free writing for 20 minutes I’m following instructions, taking direction, going back to school in a manner of speaking. Or in a manner of writing I suppose.

Writing 101 starts today and our first assignment: free writing for 20 minutes. Write about anything. Don’t even think about what to write. Just write.

So here I am, typing away, my cracked iPhone to the right of the laptop counting down the minutes and the seconds until this exercise is completed. There’s some pressure there: a ticking clock. Time ticking down until … what? Until I stop writing, look over what I’ve written, make no changes, make no judgment, and publish it on my blog. If I had a following of … well, if I had a following at all perhaps I would pause and consider such action. Consider the intelligence of such an action. Consider publishing, for all my followers to read, a 20 minute, unbridled, stream of consciousness exercise with no purpose, no point, no editing and, perhaps, no value whatsoever. But I have no need to make such considerations. Sure, I have a few “followers,” kind friends and anonymous bloggers who clicked “follow” after reading one of my very few posts. I appreciate them. I appreciate their faith. I appreciate the fact that most if not all of them have likely given up on me, or at least my blog, because I haven’t done much with it. And by saying “I haven’t done much” what I mean is “I haven’t done anything at all.” I’ve thought about doing something. I’ve thought about different posts, essays and articles complex in their hilarity and social insight. Essays and articles that once set down on this digital template would surely change the fate of the world. Or perhaps, at least, change my fate.

I have spent a fair amount of time struggling with ideas or, more specifically, struggling with giving life to the ideas that I have. I have a library of notebooks overflowing with scribbled thoughts and quotes and scenes and questions. And by scribbled I do, in fact, mean scribbled. Much of it is unreadable, indecipherable. Some ideas still have promise, the hint of promise, the possibility of possibility. And there’s something about the taking of the idea and putting it onto paper or onto the screen that is appealing to me – there must be, else why would I have so many books filled with these meager seedlings? Why would I have not one but three blogs. Yes, I believe I have three blogs. There’s this site, there’s a Tumblr site – because it seemed like the thing to do at the time, and there’s a Blogspot site. Each site a neglected child stranded in various ends of the world wide web, each started with hope and promise, each forgotten by their well-meaning but neglectful parent.

It may be too late for me and Blogspot – I fear I have neglected her for too long. She’s bound to be out and about, denying any relation to me at all, wearing too much eye make up and listening to bands that are poorly ripping off The Smiths. As for Tumblr? Well, with all due respect, it’s Tumblr. He doesn’t require much. A couple of funny pictures, some links to someone’s insightful or at least trendy blog, a couple of crazy pet GIF’s, and my Tubmlr site may be able to stand on his own for a while. But as far as this site, a site I signed on because I really thought I’d try focus on some writing, I think I’m going to give it a go. I know I’ve made this promise before, and I won’t blame you for not believing me. But I’m going to really try to use this blog as a platform to take my thoughts and ideas and transform them into something more. A launching pad perhaps? That sounds too bold, too … too … too “get over yourself buddy.” Maybe I can use this site as a nursery or incubator. A place where I can take these ideas and give them a little room to grow. Even if they aren’t quite ready to live in the world on their own as stories or essays or scripts or poems or rants or anything, maybe here I can get into the practice of giving them a chance to thrive.

Look at that, my 20 minutes is over. Truth be told, it’s been over for a couple of minutes. I’m a bit long-winded, in case you haven’t notice. Until next time …