Friday, March 10, 2017

"Hope Takes a Hit"

I sit, perhaps too frequently, at our dining room table. I face the backyard and watch the finches and titmice scurry, flit and flutter around the bird-feeder just down the steps. Squirrels forage around underneath and dig in the flower pots that await their basil, thyme and rosemary. The grass is greening and there are red buds on the maple trees. A cool wind sways the pine trees in the back against a pale blue, cloudless sky.

I often wonder what exactly it is I am looking for. Is it emotion or connection? Is it understanding, reconciliation, serenity? Why, somedays, do I laugh at the same landscape that today brings tears? What is out there beyond the shed, under the pines, beyond the fence? Secretly though, I know what I am searching for.

The right damn words.

There is an erroneous - if not silly - notion that writers slip behind their keyboards and effortlessly tipper-tap sentences and paragraphs one after another. It's just as silly to imagine painters constantly, well, painting or potters always at their wheel or sculptors endlessly chiseling away at wood or granite. No, it all takes thought, endless hours staring at a creek or busy street or falling leaves or wounded trees or baseball games or old movies or goldfish or even that taunting keyboard, wheel or chisel.

I don't always find them, the right words.

Sometimes they come easily. That was the case when I first started writing here when I was showcasing the boys burgeoning talents. The pieces just sort of wrote themselves, silly or sad or joyful, it was easy to find the words.

Lately... not so much.

The words I find these days are not always kind. Fear and anxiety seep into the syntax. The sweet adjectives become surly and insolent; the verbs seem more aggressive and urgent; the narratives are bleaker and my tone becomes discordant. This all, frankly, alarms me. I've found hundreds of words here, looking out on a cloudy and cold winter's morn, and, upon rereading them, wonder who wrote them, from where this darkness?

Here, in this silly little corner of the internet, they seem inappropriate. They juxtapose too harshly against the happy backstory. And, well, I usually delete them. Occasionally, I may send them to a friend, but mostly I just let them go. Will I come to regret not publishing them here? I may.

You know, I treat this digital diary - this blog - as a long love letter ostensibly for the boys, but, if truth were told, it is also a love letter to myself and Marci, my friends, my family, to life itself. This is all, at its heart, celebratory and sacred.

Sure, I can think of a few pieces I've left here, that missed that high mark, and, when I encounter them as I look back here, they are, even to me, offputting, jarring. But sometimes I want to just go off. I want the boys to know there was this side of me.


This all has been designed to bring me to the "wait there's more" part of my little pony show here. But, today, I'm not going there. Oh, I had a piece in mind, I even have already outlined and written most of it. It was sure to be acerbic and witty, sarcastic and razor-edged. It was going to be clever and current and political and condescending and... well, you get the point.

It was to be neither celebratory nor sacred.

So, I'll leave it for another time, another season. Perhaps I can soften the edges or turn to allegory or, maybe, I'll just change my mind and find the truth beneath all the bitterness.

Peace to you and yours.

From Marci's "... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat..."
 (guest edition)

"I really don't have anything to say. I just like to talk."

Yep... guilty as charged.

Thanks for coming around.  Here's a picture of the backyard as I saw it this morning.

 And, yes, yes that is a squirrel in the flowerpot, he just sorta showed up.  I like that.

(I forgot to change the title of this piece from the original, oh well, Blogger gets confused if I try to edit that after I publish.  Oh well, it sorta works... or not.)


  1. The title seems appropriate. I wonder why it is so hard on such a beautiful day. Maybe because it is too cold or maybe it is the time of year or maybe just a hard time altogether? I hope it seems better next week.

  2. I like the title, and the deep honesty. The temptation is always to write to the audience, but sometimes the audience wants to know that others have these bleak moments too, and being reflective is how we get to the deep answers.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.