Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Loud Stuff



At the end of the summer of 1972 I was heading for sixth grade.  A sort of new sensation was introducing itself to my consciousness - no, not that one - and I didn't know what to make of it.

I was playing my last year of what we called PeeWee or Pop Warner football and, as an older kid a lot of pressure was bearing down from that.  The shoulder-pads seemed heavier and the helmet, a nice one because the older kids got the newer equipment, seemed tighter and somehow more urgent.  I was playing for a tough coach, a mean coach, and it all just seemed a lot harder.

There'd been a realignment of the class structure in the small rural school system I was in, we were no longer being grouped as to, well, intelligence or performance - I don't know how they defended it - and I would be in classes with kids I didn't know as well, though I knew every kid in my class.  I was afraid Russ and Jimmy and Jeff, guys I goofed with, wouldn't be around and I'd have to find a new set of goof buddies.

Along with the egalitarian class placement a new math program called, appropriately and, in my mind, ominously, "The New Math" was being introduced into the curriculum and our class were the guinea pigs.  I couldn't figure what was wrong with the old math and was confused and a bit afraid of the change, as were many at the school, teachers and administrators included.

I'd spent the summer, for reasons I didn't yet understand, thinking about a girl named Erin.  She had pretty green eyes.  I remember thinking about those sparkling emeralds and her black, thick hair.  I'd never noticed another person's eyes before, I doubt I could tell you even now with any accuracy what color eyes my best friend JB had, and couldn't understand why I was so filled with both dread and giddiness at the prospect of seeing her again that year.

However, all of that paled at the terrifying knowledge that I would have Mrs. Melampy for English that fall.  (Anyone from my hometown around my age just shuddered.)  We all had the same teachers in our small district and there was no avoiding her. Her reputation was legend.   She was strict and, rumor had it, cruel.   She had high expectations, homework neat and on time, hell, we had to stand when we were called on, and, called on we would be.  Everyone had to work at the chalkboard doing the thing I most dreaded, the thing that everyone said was really hard - diagramming sentences.  It was well known that she didn't suffer fools or clowns well, and, well, I wasn't a fool, but...

(She'd loathe that least sentence, the ellipse being her most hated punctuation.)

So, I tossed and turned those few last, humid and heavy nights before school started.  I'd never really had trouble sleeping before, I just sorta conked out every night.  But football pads and new equations and pretty cat eyes and the specter of Mrs. Melampy spun in my mind.  My heart raced and nothing seemed to slow it; there seemed to be a roar of thoughts screaming around in my head 

It was anxiety and it's lingered a lifetime in me.


On the night before Nick and Zack were to go to school for what we call "schedule pickup," Nick came into our room long after their lights were out.   He flopped onto our bed and Marci asked him what the matter was.   He opened his mouth to speak and I watched the words get all wadded up in his mouth.   He mumbled "nothing" or "it's fine" or something to that affect.   She pressed him a bit, asking him to try to tell us, that he could tell us anything, she could see from his trembling chin and moist eyes that something was troubling him.  He looked, afraid and confused and...

"I didn't expect the stuff to be so loud."  His voice cracked as the words fell from his mouth.

We knew instantly what he meant.  I suspect you do as well.

"Everything will work out, Nick," Marci answered him and hugged him.  But, as she did, she looked over his blond head at me with the sadness of understanding and sympathy that only a parent with a worried kid can know.

I remembered the roar of my own thoughts on that sultry summer night forty-some years before. 

I wanted to tell him that it would all be fine.  I wanted to tell him that we had a winning season that year and the coach prepared me well for those who were to come.  I wanted to tell him that Erin and I became good friends and she still has beautiful eyes.  I wanted to tell him I made new and better friends that year, fellows I still see from time to time.  I wanted to say that the "New Math" was pretty cool and I still use it today.

I wanted to tell him that in the fall of my junior year of college I went back to my middle school and climbed the stairs to the sixth grade floor and peered into Mrs. Melampy's classroom, with the same anxiety I'd felt so many years before.  That she looked up from her desk, took off her reading glasses and let them fall on their silver chain to her chest.   "Master Peebles, what can I do for you?"  I said I wanted to thank her, for everything - for the discipline, for the expectations, for the respect, for the damn diagramming, for her unwavering devotion to her students.   She smiled and said, "Of course you do, Bill."  I wanted to tell Nick that she hugged me with a tear in her eye and that I wept the day she died.

I didn't though.  I gave him a hug and we laid in silence, save a sniffle or two, I'm still not sure whose.  I tucked him in and he fell asleep and then I wrote this note to myself.


Today, I am fifty-five-point-five years old.  I start a new job today.  The "stuff" was pretty loud last night.  I didn't sleep well and I am anxious and a little fearful today. It's the not knowing, I guess.  Now that I am older though, I know more about it.

I know worrying is, in essence, just planning.

I know that it is natural and good to be anxious about a new thing.

I know that things work out more often than not.

And, finally, I know that prayer helps...

Father,

I am excited and also nervous as I begin this new job.
Please watch over me, anoint my working life,
So that I move in your strength and not my own.
I lay down before you all the training, skills and dreams I have.
Help me to be successful in all I do.
Come lead me each day.
May I be aware of your presence with me,
A friend always beside me,
And an adviser at my side.
Fill my heart with hope and joy,
So that I may feel enthusiastic and energized as I work.
Fill my actions with integrity and wisdom,
That others may see something of your spirit in me.

I trust in you.
I walk with you.
I love you.

Thank you for this new opportunity.

Amen.


From Marci's "... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat ..."
 
"That arrow is not the arrow of destiny." 

It's just so hard to tell sometimes... 


Wish me luck tonight.  As always, Peace. 


(I found the prayer on a site called Living Prayers.)


((I still diagram sentences in my head.  Thanks again Mrs.M.))




Friday, September 9, 2016

Story's End


The end of a story is always fraught with emotion, whether it is happening as you watch or, as is often the case, if you are revisiting the ending of a story that was, one you may have even missed.  I've said here many times that there's more, there's always more, but I've not meant to imply that there are not definite endings.  It is the reflecting and considering that gives even the most finished of stories their longevity, their neverendingness.


We've finished roasting our hotdogs over a fire in the backyard.  They day is cool for early September, the sky bright blue with requisite shape-shifting clouds - first Aslan, then a boat, finally "that alien from that movie we liked" - the air, drained of its summer blanket of humidity is crisp and clear.  I've stoked the fire a bit and the boys are lighting the ends of long sticks and tracing smoketrails through the air, blue-gray smoke like earthbound contrails linger then are caught in the breeze and gone.

I am thinking about something but am reluctant to tell the boys my idea.  I know it will end a story they are telling and I wonder if that is my role.  But, all summer long I've been mowing around the teepee of sticks they spent a couple of days making last fall.  (I showed a few images of their little fort a while back at the end of a nice piece called Wobbly and Wobberjawed.)  I've caught the mower deck on a stick or two and sort of messed it all up and the floor is overgrown with neglect and, well, it all needs to go.  I tell them it is time to clean it up and suggest dragging the wood and branches up to the fire and we can break it all up and burn it.

I like the finality of my suggestion - clearly poetic, justified, succinct.

Nick does not.

He says he's not sure he wants it to go yet.  Both boys go on about how much fun it was to build, how hard they worked, how they did it all themselves and...

"When was the last time you were in it?"

"That's a good point, Nick."

Nick is like me, he doesn't really like when things come to a close.  School years, outgrown shirts, golden sunsets, cake.  I can tell he's seeing it as an ending, especially the notion of tearing down and burning it.

"Stories have to end, Nick, but they live on in our memories."

He looks at me carefully, he knows what I mean.  He knows I know how hard it can be, how almost cruel it seems.

"I took pictures when you made it, I'll take few now as you tear it down."  He sees the balance, the justice, the arc of that.

It's time, he gets that.  He understands that it is now only a dry bunch of sticks, overgrown grass and weeds.  I want him to figure out that the story is not in the branches and sticks I am asking him to burn, but in the smoke, ash and embers which will rise from it.  It is a hard lesson for a boy.  It is a harder lesson for a man.

"Alright, let's do it."


I took some pics, hope you don't mind taking a look.


Here's an image of the boys in it when they finished it last fall:


You know what?  My voice is getting tired.  I'm just gonna let this one tell itself.  You'll provide a nice narrative, won'tcha?







 
It's funny how using images like this necessitates a linear story line.  I'm reminded of friends showing me pictures years ago, often after showing the same drug store envelope of prints to others before they got to me, and fumbling through them, mumbling "Oh, wait, this one's next and... hold on, I think this is before that and... how did these get so out of order?"

"... so out of order."

Stories get like that as we look back on them.  We think, hey, maybe this would be good first and it all really started here, in the middle somehow, and...

So here I am at the wait there's more, there's always more, part of the story.  Z was carrying a big load toward the firepit and he lost the balance of it and it dumped out onto the green grass carpet.

"Woah!  Dad come see this is sooo pretty.  Nick!"

 
Nick came running and we stood, mesmerized at this unusual phenomenon.  There was talk of beauty and decay, of purples and greens, of cycles and stories, of loss and hope, of work and reward and attention and observation and endings.  All because of a lichen covered branch.  A lichen covered branch that only came to be because two sweet, courageous, imaginative boycubs set it upright in the shade of a soft pine tree in the gentle breeze of an Ohio backyard.

Perhaps I should have started with that.

It is so kind of you to visit, come back won'tcha?  

(Listen, FB has abandoned small guys like me, they don't want you to leave so they don't like to feed out posts that might do that.  I've scores of likes on my blog page but most posts only reach a few dozen.  Frankly, it is all beyond my meager understanding of social media.  I've got an RSS feed up there, it is a new one and, well, I don't know if it works right, but you may want to re-subscribe to it if you were on the old one.  Understand this isn't really promotion, I've long given up becoming an important blogger - that deal was sealed when I promised to not advertise or do sponsored posts or sell my posts for "exposure" - I just want the folks who are interested and inclined to read what I put down to have that chance.)

Peace.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Projecting Art


The boys started Sixth Grade a week ago so I can think of no better post for today than showing you the majority of the art projects they did last year, yeah, in fifth...

(You might remember, I took the summer off.)

Now, I can't say that Warhol would be the first place to start in an Art class.  His iconoclasm requires a broad knowledge of both what came before him and the incredibly strange zeitgeist of the era from whence he sprung.

But, hey, it's a soup can and that's silly:

Z went with Zack's Mystery Soup - no surprise there.  It says right on the label "It's a Surprise in every can.™"  Yep, he added a trademark.


Nick went with Dragon Soup.  I heard it tastes like rattlesnake.  I'm pleased he spelled everything correctly and... wait.  That says "Peebles's" right there at the top.  Possessives are hard.  I like the handwritten font, he makes the lower case "b" like I do, not using the silly bridge thing they teach but a sensible round bottom that looks like the letter.


They moved on from that to the "Crushed Can Project."  As I recall, they were to 'anthropomorphize', their word, a smashed pop (that's soft drink in Ohioese) can.  They used other found and re-purposed materials.  On the left is Zack's lion, majestic and all, surrounded in stars as lions often are.  Nick's is a sloth wearing a panda shirt on a branch, or maybe a crazed ear-less orangutan.  An otter?  (Nick, Dude, I'm sorry, I forgot to ask, hopefully you'll remember.)


Here's a classic.  The string spiraled around other string - all different and emphatically arbitrary colors, it's important to note - on a painted paper plate - again, the colors don't seem to matter.  You probably made one long ago, it's in the curricula with the stretchy string potholders, you remember, the ones that melt and burn when you hold a hot pot?  Let's call them "Stringies..."














Hold on.  Are those the same one?  No one's blue on the outer ring and the other one is brown, right?  Wait.  Is that mine, or yours?  Truth is, it could be anyone's.  (Possessives are hard.)

Let's move on.

This one baffled me initially.  It was like the last two days of school when all this stuff came home and I just put it aside and, well, took the summer off.  I remembered they talked about Impressionism and I think this was to illustrate pointillism.  They painted butterflies on muslin over a piece of rough (80-grit for the art historians) sandpaper to mimic the affect, I think...

Zack's is one of the two and Nick's is the other.


Zack made this groovy Seventies poster, they were heavy on the affirmations.


Meanwhile, Nick was busy making a "Mix Tape."


(Actually, apologies to Nick, I can't seem to find his groovy Seventies affirmation poster.  I remember seeing it, but I think he brought it home mid-year and now I can't find it.  I pretty sure it said "Sensitive, Kind, Loving, Strong" and, of course, "Awesome.")

These two owls made it into the Spring Art Show, which I think we missed because of a sporting event, or Skyline, probably Skyline.  Actually, as I recall, they didn't really want to go.  I don't know why... I may have then.


I think this year's pieces de resistance are the two clay fishes, painted and fired, the whole thing.  This project replaces the ashtray project I did.  Thirty years ago I'd've loved these as ashtrays, truth be told.  Good conversation starters and all.  Man, it's funny how time changes everything and yet, stuff stays the same.

Zack's has a baby fish in its mouth.  (Hey, boys, I've still got them, whenever you're reading this.  They're on top of the bookshelf in your room, have been for years now.  Don't mind the dust.)


I reckon I might have a point here at the end.  Boy I'd like to...


Listen, I should've probably done this piece when the stories were all fresh.  But, in a way, what's interesting is that I am approaching these today much as they might in a few decades.  What might they think of them then.

Perhaps, they'll think, "Man, that sandpaper thing was stupid."

Or, "I remember being really proud of that soup can thing."

Or, maybe, "I remember how proud and impressed Dad was with the fish sculptures."

"Why didn't we go to the Art Show?"

Beyond that, they might be reminded of what a great school system they went to, reminded of dear teachers and old friends; see what opportunity and understanding studying art and Music afforded them.

I imagine them at a distant reunion talking about Mrs. So-and-So, the Art Teacher, and one of the boys pulling up this blog on whatever device there is by then and, misty eyed and wistful, scrolling through these projects and knowing that once life was good and they were very much loved, honored and cherished.


I know I've sort of promised to get away from this sort of post, ones showcasing the stuff they do here, now, at school.  I mentioned I might do this piece and they didn't have a problem with it.  In fact Nick said:  "Oh, yeah, it would be really cool to see those someday when we are all grown up."

Well, here they are boys, but, I'll bet you don't feel all grown up... you never will, but, that's a secret for another time.


Peace, as always, thanks for looking at these, I appreciate you spending the time with me.



Update Sept. 8, 2016

I rarely change or add to or alter a post after I've finished it.  I truly think that creative work must finish, reach a state of completion.  For instance, I've shared here some lame poetry I wrote in the eighties, there were a couple of poems that had some promise and I was tempted to revise them.  I realized that that would mean I hadn't trusted myself, or believed in myself when I originally wrote them - which I did, very much.  I've also written songs and, as I play them today, so many years later, I often think of a better line or a way to change the melody or something.  I don't.  I already finished them.

Sure, around here, I fix glaring typos - of which there are many - and tense stuff, but I never change the gist of the thing.  Today I might.

You see, I forgot the end of this piece, the final image.  Here it is:


The boys both finished the year with high honors, all A's I guess you'd say.  (I threw the awards down there so they'd remember them later, they were proud of those, but they aren't really on point.)  I wanted to say something clever about how all these art projects added to the stellar education they are being afforded, or something like that...

I thought of something else though.  Just as they worked hard and made the best of the opportunity in their Art class they did the same in their academic work as well.  That's a horrible sentence but I can't seem to fix it.

Nick and Zack are seizing their shot at this.  Seeing the importance and working hard in Art and music, coupled with the scholastic work they do in math and science, social studies and language arts, gives them a hand up on the difficult trail before them.  A good song, a heartfelt story, a desperately sad painting, a beautiful new film version of "The Little Prince," all serve us just as importantly, just as nobly, just as essentially, as algebraic theorems, basic chemistry, geography, even history.

Yeah, maybe I just shoulda left it as it was...


I'm gonna tell you the truth here.  When I initially designed and worked through this piece, I had every intention of framing it around one thought.

Lets put an A in STEM curriculum and call it STEAM instead.

I decided not to, mostly because it didn't serve the memory I wanted to put down here, didn't honor the material.

Peace. 




Friday, August 26, 2016

Silence Seekers and Over Thinkers


Marci sent me this quote a few days ago.


I like Prince Ea, I like his positivity and urgency, he seems like a really cool dude - quotable and all.  But, this isn't about the words you see above.

I took that picture of a cold winter's night somewhere close to three in the morning.  That's a nice dry piece of ash lighting up in the fireplace and a candle above it illuminating a corner of the Ansel Adams print above.  In the foreground, a glass of scotch on rocks.  I took the picture for reasons I can't recall.  But this isn't about the picture either.

This is about her, my wife, Marci.  She sent me that quote because she wanted me to know that she knows.  She understands the late nights, the seeking silence.  She understands that I need to sit and listen to the stories the fire will tell, the songs the wind will bring, the poem night offers.

I am so grateful for that.

I love you faithful friend, understander, noticer, wife.


From Marci's ... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat ...
 

"That arrow is not the arrow of destiny."

Or is it?  I never can tell...


Peace.

(It's funny, I think this quote helped me find the courage to finish and publish Doubting the Minutes which I'd been struggling with.)






Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Doubting the Minutes

(These are the minutes from our recent all-staff meeting.)

Hey, Bill, can you step into my office this morning for a meeting?

You don't have an office.

Yeah well, meet me in the basement.

The basement is a mess and I don't work well down there anymore.

Alright then, right here at the dining room table.   Bring your coffee.

So... you haven't really written or posted anything for a while.   Are you about ready to get started again?

Dude, I've been busy and the boys are always underfoot and I can't find any big chunks of time to get anything done and it just seems like it doesn't matter and my faith is slipping and I'm full of doubt and...

Deep breath, Bill.   Don't be so defensive.

It's just that I'm afraid you're gonna give me a hard time and use that damn stick and...

What stick!?

The one you poke and prod me with.   The metaphorical one.  The one that's worse than a real stick, the "guilt stick" I call it.

Ah, yeah, it is leaning up against the wall there within arm's reach.  How about I "metaphorically" throw it out the window.   Ooh, I know, I'll fling it through the glass door, that'll liven things up.

You'd be willing to do that?   Then what's this meeting about?

Don't narrow your eyes in suspicion at me, you already look grumpy as fuck all the time anyway.

Screw you and...

And, yes, yes I am willing to do that.

Why?

Listen, do you feel guilty about not writing practically the whole summer?

I guess, I mean, I feel like I'm supposed to.   I really didn't have the time, sure, I had a couple hours here and a couple there, I guess I shoulda written then, but, it never seems like I can finish a thought and, this may sound weird, but the constant threat that I might be interrupted really nags on me.  There's nothing worse than having a thought whisper out of your head and be lost forever.

Nothing's lost forever.  If it's a good thought, it'll come back.

I don't have time for that!

Don't shout. What did you do this summer when you weren't writing? Remember, I threw the "guilt stick" out the window. (Don't forget to clean up that glass.)

I dunno, I, uh, cleaned and mowed, cooked and watched the boys and went to the pool and...  stuff.

Yeah, I know that.  It still sounds like you're trying to defend yourself.

Well, you do have a history of being sort of judgmental.

Not today.

Isn't it true that you watched movies late into the night?  Isn't it true that you looked at Facebook a lot?  You spent a lot of time reading pieces on Medium and Aeon and in The Atlantic.   I noticed you playing your guitar more, often late at night on the porch.  I watched you watching baseball games and talking to the one you call Kirby late into the nights, beer in hand, laughing and arguing loudly into the quiet night.   I saw you watching people at the pool and church, wondering about them, figuring them.  I heard you thinking, trying stories out, wishing, questioning, hoping, despairing.

Yeah, I guess you're saying I could have been writing all those times, using my time better.

Actually, Bill, I'm not saying that at all.

You see, I think you were writing.  Watching a movie shows you structure and timing.  Looking at Facebook and people-watching helps you invent characters and learn more about human nature.  Reading, as you know, is absolutely essential to writing.  Baseball games are poetry to you and a late night beer and a long conversation with an old friend is fuel for the soul.  And playing music and singing, well, I can't think of a better teacher, as you've come to understand the music is for you and God and Space and Time and not for others, I've seen you grow and get better, learn.

And trying and wishing and hoping and questioning and despairing?  Is there a better definition of writing, of creating, of being an artist?

Why are you being nice to me?

I was afraid you'd ask that.

Why?

Because you know I have to always be honest with you, there's no sense in lying to your other self.

So...

Alright, here's the truth.  I think you're a pretty damn fine writer.   I think you've been writing since you were twelve or so, well before you took pen to paper.  I think the pauses you take from it are essential and I think it is essential that you write.

Yeah, that and a buck-thirty-nine will get me a crappy cup of coffee down the street.

Don't...

Don't what?

Don't... everything... don't interrupt, don't self-deprecate, don't deny or dilute, don't forget, don't not listen, don't doubt, especially that, don't doubt.

I've heard you on many occasions talk about looking at yourself in the mirror and looking back and being comfortable with your reflection.   Lately, I've seen you looking away, looking down, looking out.  Why do you think that is? 

I'm fat?

You know that's not it.  That's a symptom, a symptom of doubt.

Alright, I'll try harder.   I'm not living up to my potential

What're you in high school?   Again, just doubt.

I'm afraid I'm running out of time.  The gray and the wrinkles and the ticking of the clock make me look away from myself.  How's that?

Better.  But, it's doubt again.

How'd'ya figure?

You're doubting what is yet to come. We're not aloud to do that.

Why not?

Because that's the business of Faith.

Oh...

Dude, doubt is the absence of Hope.  You know that, and, frankly, you're better than that.   I know your hope.  I know that, through the grumpiness and shoulder pain, through the abysmal state of politics, through the hurt and violence that seems unending, through all of that, you have hope.  You've just forgotten it, no, misplaced it.

One of the things I admire most about what you've done with your writing here, is that you've tried to keep the focus on that hope.  Sure, you've gone astray at times, who doesn't?  But, the words we chose so long ago to echo through these pages - Hope, Faith, Integrity, Honor, Cherish, Love - have - echoed that is.

You've done right by your hope, you've honored and cherished it.  Do you know why?

'cause I had to.

Why?

For them.

Who?

Nick and Zack.

Are you ready to get back to work now?

Yes, I think so.

I'm gonna go get the stick...


Wait, before you do, can I ask you something, since you're being nice and all?

Alright, what?

What should I do about the time thing?  You know, how time feels like an enemy, how not only do there not seem to be enough hours but how quickly they seem to go?  How I'm afraid of it?  How, well, how it feels like closing time?  And I've seen a lot of those.

Well, I guess it time to "start livin' like Summer's over".

Boy that's a good tune, isn't it?

It sure is, and good advice, too.

But, what of the things I was going to do today.  The cleaning and tending and errands and, the homemaking and all.  I mean, really, I've got a bunch of shit to do...

Screw it.

But when will I do it, how'll it get done?   This is what you never seem to understand.   I have responsibilities.  Fridges don't fill themselves, I don't have a goat for the lawn, laundry is not a self-fulfilling prophecy, these things take time!

You're responsibility is to your hope.

That doesn't even mean anything!

Don't get all riled up.  Is there milk?

Yes.

Well done.  Is the lawn mowed now?

Yes, but...

Good on you.  Is the laundry done?  Is the floor relatively free of debris?  Are the plants watered?

Well, yes...

So, you're good.  So what've you done this morning?  You've been working on this and you played a couple of tunes on the old Alvarez and drank too much coffee.   That speaks more to your hope than housework and errands.   Are you willing to say that running the old Dyson is more important than leaving some words about doubt and fear and faith and, well, hope, here?  For Nick and Zack and Marci and Mom and a few others and potentially many more?

Well, no, I guess not. It's just that I feel like I've wasted and squandered and dreamed away so many hours that now Time is making me pay, speeding up, shortening, pounding... winning.

This is not time wasted:
Dude, Time is not the enemy.   It is not your nemesis, your rival.  It is not the black to your white nor is it the wrong to your right.

Time is your ally.  Time is your friend.  Time nurtured your talents and fruited your hope.  You rode the turtle back of time to get to this place you are now.  None of it is or has been wasted.   Time doesn't waste itself. It doesn't wish it was other than it is.  It doesn't hurry or dawdle.  It is with you.

"...the turtle back of time...?"

Yeah, sorry.  You’re the wordsmith, fix it.

I secretly like it.

You see, everything right now was given you by time.  Every sentence, every word.

You, really, given to you.  You do all the heavy thinking, you walk all the long paths I don't think there's time for, you willingly let go, or worse, hold onto, thoughts that scare me or make me doubt, knowing, as you said, that the good ones will come back or maybe just did.  You're the one who cries on the porch because a song was so perfect, a thought so joyful, a memory so hard.

Yes, that's true.

But you said I was the wordsmith, that the words and sentences were given to me.

Yes.

I don't get it...

Well, I'm not very good with words, and all, but... I'll try.

The dreaming and the crying and the shouting; the wildness, the tenderness, the memories; the feelings and the intensity of it all; the sweetness and the bitterness of memory and hope, well, they are enough for me.  But, you, you put it down somewhere.  I am not brave enough to do that, I haven't the will, my hope is not strong enough.

To put the feelings I have down, to put words to them, to write row after row of letters and punctuation marks, to codify it, make sense of it... it just seems, impossible.  It's like alchemy to me, shaping my scattered and battered mess of a mind into something that makes sense.  How, well, brave you are.

Brave?

Yes, that's what you said, "brave."

I didn't say it, you did.

Dude, we all know you do it all, every damn word, including these.  I'm just flattered that you think to give me a voice now and again, a lot of folks wouldn't.

For what it's worth... well, your job is harder.

Will you look at the time?

Really, after all this...

Yep, time to wrap it up. You said you wanted this by this afternoon and, well, is fifteen after noon, so...

Just turn it in when it's done.

Right, thanks.

There's one more thing.

What?

Why don't you go look in the mirror.  I'll wait...

...

Better?

Yes, better.  Thanks, Other-one-me.

Thank you, Bill.   I'm just gonna go get my stick out of the yard.

Why don't you just leave it in the yard?

It's the only power I have.   Don't forget to clean up the glass.  Peace out.

Jerk... 

Idiot... 

Peace to you too, let's meet on the porch soon.

Don't forget the beer.

***
And thanks to you for sitting with me on the porch today.  I hope to get into a better rhythm around here, but, I've promised that before.

Peace.


(Should you wonder more about "Other-one-me" there is a label up towards the top that will direct you to some of our previous, uh, conversations.  The most recent is first so you'll need to jump back to see the first time he interrupted me.  Make sense?  He also admins the "ihiwat" FB page.)