Words in the Middle

I write not because I think I am good or because I have some profound insight that needs to be shared; I write because I don’t know what else to do. I want to be a great writer but have resigned to mediocrity and I am ok with that even if it doesn’t pay the bills. Of course, it is important being able to sustain oneself but this nagging need has gripped me again with its tentacles. I had managed to stay on the corporate wagon for the past seven years. Before that, I was in so deep, passion spilling over into all sorts of publishing projects and working with artists and writers, poets and painters from all around the Pacific Northwest. But then I dropped out – vanished in an implosion of creative impetus.  I vowed I would not return to it until I was settled financially and put up on a retired front porch someplace, aged with years of weather and stories that had accumulated there and needed a good writing. Instead, I find myself writing about writing while writing. What kind of trickery is this? I have not the patience for non-fiction – rehashing junk, and all my fictitious characters are troubled downtrodden protagonists that push like martyrs to the end. They are tortured but always are not without hope and take things as they come. Some rationalize their way into complacency, though, while others are cursed souls that have romanticized themselves right into purgatory. Where is the humor anymore? That could be it right there – just remembering there should be. My writing – this spirit inside is a dichotomy to the light and reflects something else. I can’t say it is accurate and perhaps my view is in danger – but it doesn’t matter because I already don’t like it other than to appease it with words, any words… with crappy words. I will deprive it of its ideal so that I can get to it – get back to someplace less appealing where I might get in real good and make lots of money to live another day and make sure my kids are solid with their own opportunities. I will hit that clock and force myself to love it.

Just then, a faint damp musk brushes the air, lush with old Douglas meal worms and fern. I am in the desert full of juniper – the Badlands. How can the Magic Skagit drift all the way down and over those Cascade Mountains? Ironically, it brought a blanket of wet snow this morning to Bend. The past couple of days saw rain and a weather inversion that settled in with air stagnation – a perfect setting for sweats and football from the couch. Why do old memories haunt me with it’s beauty? What can be done with all this gibberish? This reminds me of Jeff Larsen who is a burn out, drunk on detective work. He moved with his wife to the area around Sisters, OR and they made a garden in the sage brush just beneath the Three Sisters. After a life solving cases up in the Seattle gray, he couldn’t take it anymore. The problem was there were people who would not let him retire and had unresolved issues with him. That is a very random flashback to an old story written long ago. Nevertheless, the issue of writing is buried deep and now time has brought it back for me to deal with like leftover turkey soup taking up space in an already cramped freezer.

Funny thing is, I really can’t stand to read my own shit. It does make me physically nauseous – gives me a headache.  I just don’t know what else to do. I could practice to make it somewhat more appealing but then it would have had its way with me.

If I wasn’t so damn stubborn, I’d be in the city somewhere doing my high paying clock job.  But once again I find myself here just when I wasn’t looking. The only place for it was in my fantasy and I did get a rush when I thought about it – but it wasn’t real – at least I was always skeptical of the timing of such things as writing. What would be the point? I mean really – who says they are a writer? But if not – then what are you doing? What do you do with your time? Go get a job. Right, I could do that and pack my house, figure out my kids who are in college now and living with me full time and then move to the city. I could make that drive over the pass and into the populace to fight the tail lights each day for a scrap of bread from a company that has lost its perspective and loyalty to the value of the employee or is not honorable by its customers and is just a nameless machine churning widgets to fund someone else’s escape plan. It’s not so far-fetched. That’s what we are supposed to do, right? Aren’t we just words at the end of the day, anyway?

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