We come here to feel. To be in these waters. To sail across the bay into the channel where waves soak us so completely that we wonder why we didn’t just wear a bathing suit. I come here to count my blessings.
Mary and I swam to the light house and back yesterday. Through the swell that rose with the inevitable South West wind.
When asked by my brother Jim how I got here, to writing, to posting short essays on Facebook and Medium, to feeling like maybe I could commit to writing longer form one day, I cite three things.
1. An article about a man who writes 500 words a day, has for the last fifty years, never intending to be published, has because writing makes him happy.
2. Five or six books on the craft. Books by writers, but not all.
3. Grub Street’s on-line writing workshops.
Since making the commitment, a commitment made after someone said: “You have to! Keep…
Today’s the summer solstice, the longest day of the year and the day that I looked forward to when I started posting here on Medium six months ago. Posting as a way of pushing through the pandemic, my way of marking time, as the sun does, gradually changing trajectory until its zenith on June 21, today!
So now what?
Winter solstice feeling like a century ago, then months into something we thought would last weeks.
“We’ll be back in June,” we said to each other when this all started. Before we stopped saying anything, because nobody knew.
My friend and author David Gessner hosted another reading at the Brookline Booksmith this week. This not the first of Dave’s readings that Mary and I have attended, but the first of its kind.
“Do you want to interview me?” David asked on Messenger. “I’m tired of the same old format. Reading into a black hole for 20 minutes. Let’s mix it up.”
“Sure,” I say, not really knowing what I’m signing up for. I’ve been David foil before, in various ultimate team huddles years ago, in a book about the sport, in person at a reading at the Booksmith…
This past year I fell in love with our freezer. For real. Spent my entire life afraid of the thing, afraid of what lay in the depths of its frozen tundra. How you can’t really tell what anything is. Contents always a bit of a mystery — why something goes in, how long it remains, when to eat or toss.
We used to call them ice boxes, before consumer choice and planned obsolescence. All exactly the same. A door. Some shelving. …
Something happened and I stopped writing with the same passion and direction that I’ve had for the last four and a half months. I lost my way, and started thinking about how many people were reading posts, and not what moved me to write in the first place. Someone had warned me not to do this, someone like Mary Karr or Elizabeth Gilbert in their two terrific books on how to write. Still, I fell into the trap.
Medium allows one to see the stats of your posts. Facebook too, with likes. Instagram with hearts and views. This platform even…
Our teams forever bound by the music we danced to. Those nights when we hit the dance floor with the partners we lusted after, often loved. Last night, six of us broke out of our pandemic lockdowns to the music of Prince, Michael Jackson, Earth Wind and Fire, The Bee Gees, Diana Ross, and KC & the Sunshine Band. Yes disco. We rubbed shoulders with others tired of the sameness of our kitchen Sonos devices. A night of social distance dancing with some of who came dressed in gold and silver, others twirling disco balls. …
I’ve now come to expect it. The fog, and with it a lack of motivation not familiar to me. Call it a year and a half of the pandemic. Call it doldrums. Call it what you will, but it didn’t exist before lock-down. Not for me at least. Not since college, maybe, when we all dreaded Mondays with the re-start of responsibility after two maybe three days of pure coming of age bliss. Sure, since then Monday could be slow, but not like this. Maybe having people interacting again will be the difference. Co-workers. Strangers. Day-to-day randomness that doesn’t currently…
These days, when I run, I find myself speeding up, looking over my shoulder like we used to. I don’t run far anymore, but can still imagine a disc in flight, see it flying over and past me as I race to meet it somewhere down field. Maybe it will stall long enough for me to catch-up. Yes, that feeling — of it soaring while I vie for position and rise up to grab it before anyone else can. Or maybe one of us will dive in front and lay-out as it comes back down off the loft created by…
Mary and I walk into the wood.
“Listen,” she says.
I don’t. Listen. At least not often in the way she’s asking, where you have to stop everything and just be.
“I bet that there would be a lot more in the mornings,” she adds.
We’ve decided to go somewhere quiet. Fowl Meadow. Near Blue Hill in Milton. On a beautiful Sunday in April, temperatures in the upper fifties. A walk in the wood with the dog and binoculars.
“I’ll be going slow,” Mary says. “And you’re going to have to be patient.”
I’m not. Patient. Not usually, but today’s…