The Mind’s Eye

It’s a struggle to provide descriptive content when writing fiction, isn’t it? At least it is for me, although that’s certainly not the case for everyone. For example, John Sandford, the author, doesn’t have that problem.  His prose flies off his fingertips, much like a gifted watercolorist shading stormy clouds and greening fields. I can see his characters. I can practically walk down to the lake at the rustic cabin he describes, and even hear the gentle waves lap softly against the hull of the boat moored at the pier.

It’s different when I write, unfortunately.  In my mind’s eye, every scene lies before me, rich in detail, opulently colored – so much so, that it seems that everyone who reads my words will see the very same things themselves. Therefore, my fingertips skip right past deep descriptions and plod along muddy sentences. The results end up more like Mondrian color-blocked canvases than the richness of a Vermeer painting. Not that I mean to compare my writing to any kind of artistic master at all.  My stuff is more like paint-by-numbers, when it comes to that!

Perhaps the only good thing to take from this is the recognition of a severe deficiency. That at least provides a goal to strive toward – and that gives hope (and change? But we know that seems impossible, don’t we).

 

Non-Sequiter

They sat in comfortable chairs across from each other, chatting, snug in the house, listening to fat raindrops outside plop steadily onto tropical leaves .

“Yesterday I struggled to remember the next door neighbor’s name before it finally surfaced in my memory,” she said.

“Huh! Stuff like that’s always been a problem for me, and it’s getting worse now,” he commiserated.

“For years I had a mental block against the word hydrangea before I figured a way to dig it out of my brain. Guess I finally laid down a new neural pathway because now I can remember it just fine.” She said it offhandedly, but recalled what a challenge it had seemed at the time.

How do I respond to that?, he wondered, so he simply nodded and shifted his weight slightly from one hip to another comfortable position as she continued to talk.

“In fact, I’ve decided to name my next protagonist Hydrangea…she’ll be one of five sisters, I think, whose mother named them after flowers.” She pushed a graceful hand out toward him, raising one slender finger at a time, giggling as she said, “Rose, Lily, Iris, Daisy, and Hydrangea!”

That’s funny, he thought, and answered, “Hydrangea will ask her mom why her sisters have such short,easy names, don’t you think? And her mom can say ‘you have a complicated name because yours was a complicated birth’.”

They snickered, living the moment and loving each other, while outside the fat raindrops made music in the tropical foliage.

 

Prognostications and Pigeonholes

What IS it about the United States? It seems as though everyone and his Uncle Tim tries mightily to cram each and every one of us into some kind of category, as though they themselves will not feel comfortable until their little (or big) pigeonholes have ingested another being. Put in conversational terms, it could go like this:

    “That’s right, darlin’, ease in right over there next to that big fella, why don’t ya? I think y’all believe most of what I believe. No, no, I’m sending that guy to another pigeonhole. I can tell he don’t have no idea about what is true or what is real, anyway. I have a SPECIAL place for him and others like him. You know what I mean?”

     “No, I DON’T know what you mean. My personal opinion is that most of what you believe is ca ca poule. Besides, the bottoms of your pigeonholes are slimy with crud-o-la. And I LIKE that other dude. Not only does his intellect challenge mine, his ideas are helping me refine my personal philosophy.”

     “If you refuse to be pigeonholed, then there must be something dangerous and very wrong with you. You have to accept the inevitable or there will be predictable consequences.”

     “And what might those predictable consequences be?”

     “You will be ostracized, criticized, mortified, horrified – called loony, called different, called alien, called an awful person.”

     “Wow!  I’d probably like that.  That would make me pretty special. I wouldn’t have to believe, nor would I have to disbelieve. The atoms and molecules that house my consciousness can do their own thing, and…… Best of all, I could stay out of the slime.

The Cosmos TV show on Fox

The reiteration of Carl Sagan’s original series on the Cosmos has me hooked.  I wait eagerly from one week to the next until the next program airs.  The graphics are stunning, and Neil Tyson, the astrophysicist, is great in his job as the apologist (if you can call him that in this context).

Why am I enjoying this so? For one thing, it is a refresher course of scientific history that hearkens to man’s earliest curiosity about the world(s) we inhabit. The program telescopes the centuries of discovery in a way that allows us to marvel about how a few men’s ideas lead other men to hypothesize about greater ideas and grander theorems.

Much of the program is understandable by nearly everyone, but there are tiny bits that provoke thought in even those who have already scratched the surface of astrophysics.

As I watch and listen, I think of the creationists I know, one of whom insists that Earth and the living organisms on it is no more than 6,000 years old. I doubt any of them bother to watch Cosmos, but if they did, the suppositions would probably horrify them as terrible blasphemy.

What I finally take away with awe from each consecutive airing of the Cosmos is that, regardless of one’s position in regard to the universe and humanity’s position in it, the program reaffirms each person’s beliefs. Yet another paradox for believers and nonbelievers…

Going Around the Block

 

Image Now that I’ve reminded myself this morning of the peacefulness of springtime mountains, the smell of mossy rocks, and the soothing sounds of burbling brooks, my breathing has slowed, my shoulders have relaxed, and creative thoughts flow easily, unblocked. Similar to the consciousness expressed in the book SIDDHARTHA, words and sentences now glide past the boulders and branches embedded in my brain.  Thoughts move my fingers on the keyboard. The tactile smoothness and springiness of the keys add to the rhythm of my thoughts.  Ah, yes – today is a good day to be a writer.

 

 

 

Musing

When my youngest brother was a small child, he would take the smallest circumstance and extrapolate it into a huge calamity.

“What if (this tiny cut on my finger) were wrapped in a great big bandage”, he’d say, for instance, “and a big flood came down the river, and the levee sprang a leak, and the only way we could live is if I could use both hands fast enough to pack the leak with dirt.”

“And I couldn’t do it because my finger is bandaged, and we would all drown”, and he would sob uncontrollably. 

My other siblings and I would stare at him in awe, amazed that he was creative enough to imagine a future full of catastrophe.

Flash forward another generation, and another family member has developed similar scenarios, but now, not only on a grander scale, but also in the greater company of like-minded individuals who will tolerate only their own mindset.  For now, the end of existence of nonbelievers is just around the corner and only they, and others who come to their same understanding, will experience everlasting life.  

They will brook no debate on the issue, but instead drown out any objections or other points of view by referring to their own interpretations of written sources or internet truths.  

This is uncomfortable for me to be around. First, I flat don’t like to be wrong, and I find it impossible to buy into the thought that I MUST believe a certain way, or be lost to eternal nothingness. Second, I don’t like controversy (Mom said, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”), so I prefer not to try to discuss the matter. Third, what if I AM wrong? What can I do to adjust my thinking? There seems no way at all to hitch my wagon to the right star, here, because I will obviously be caught out as a hypocrite. When that truth comes out, will my fate be even worse?

The more I muse about these things, the more I am reminded of my little brother and his ability to catastrophize the smallest incident. That memory snaps me back to the rhythm of my daily life, where I appreciate the miracles around me and where I anticipate with joy the moments next to come…whatever they may be.

Serendipity

Ok, perhaps this check didn’t quite come to me by chance, though it certainly seems like it to me. After all, I did consciously say I would allow advertising on my site in order to collect a little revenue. So I shouldn’t be surprised, should I?

I read an article just recently, in fact, that reported that social media advertising will shortly play a more important role in the marketing industry than broadcast television does today, and that eventually, mobile advertising will be the most important of all. Like most things I read, once read, I chuck it into the recycler, sorta remember the contents, and promptly forget the attribution – so I have no idea where I saw that article or even if it were yesterday or last week. At least the information stayed with me long enough to pass on in this blog.

Get Offa My Back, Why Don’t Ya?

My usually intelligent self is having a tough time writing right now. I’ve been trying to figure it out. I think I jumped on William’s being shot as the chance to purely procrastinate. We haven’t even checked on William for the past few days, so we obviously know he’s doing well and getting back to normal. Still I procrastinate when it comes to the manuscript – but – the taxes are done, the piles of paper are shredded, the grass is cut. Heck, even the fan blades have been dusted and the AC filters changed. I’m running out of reasons not to write. I’ve read everything Lee Childs and Harlan Coben have written. It’s just about time for me to get this caravan back on the trail, don’t you think!

Gag order is long overdue

Up to a few weeks ago, I paid no attention to the negative remarks I heard concerning the killer’s defense attorney, Tommy Guilbeau. I’ve now joined the ranks of folks who think he’s a fairly miserable human being (I forced myself to rewrite my original comment), because of what I view as his unscrupulous behavior. His client, Seth Fontenot, shot and killed one teenager and wounded two others, one of whom is my grandson, as they were driving home, a home only a few houses away from Fontenot’s house. Some days later Guilbeau “gave” an interview to a previously discredited (and I thought out of business) website called “Busted in Acadiana” where Guilbeau alleged that the 3 teenagers had stolen beer from a convenience store – which is NOT true – and that the boys tried to break in to Fontenot’s truck – which is also NOT true. Only Guilbeau knows why he alleged these things to that particular site. One possible reason that I can think of, might have been to prejudice the jury pool, which is something I mentioned to my family when I first saw it. Could it be the old classic “the best defense is a good offense”? Could it perhaps be the ONLY possible defense for Fontenot’s actions?

Apparently I’m not the only one to feel that Guilbeau’s comments could be prejudicial, as yesterday the prosecutor finally asked the judge for a gag order on attorneys and witnesses. Of course, at this point, the horse is out of the barn.

In the meantime, the two surviving boys are back in school but find themselves in the position of having to defend themselves from unwarranted allegations and suspicions while they are trying to come to terms with the horrific murder of their friend, all while they’re trying to recover from the gunshot wounds they themselves suffered. The trauma of the wounds will heal, but the emotional trauma will be with them for the rest of their lives.

I don’t often take the side of The Daily Advertiser, but in this instance I give them high praise for their sensitivity and balance in how they present this highly charged news event. Someone in their News Dept. obviously conducts themselves with the utmost professionalism.

Roadblock

Ok, so now there are currently multiple roadblocks, life-size, in fact, that this writing journey has run up against. One popped up as a married daughter with health issues who needs me to shepherd her through the maze of hospital mumbo-jumbo. The other, even worse roadblock, stopped the entire family in mid-breath. Our young teenage grandson and 2 of his friends were shot last night as they drove down a quiet residential street. One boy was killed, one shot in the leg, and our boy was shot in the head. Miraculously, the .38 bullet that hit our grandson missed his spine by a cm and the artery by less than that. The bullet is lodged in his jaw for now. The shooter himself was caught quickly and is only 18 years old himself. We’ve heard that he was/is a college cheerleader. These 2 roadblocks are practically the sole topics of family conversation, with every fragment of information being picked over and picked over, in the hopes that we can gain understanding and regain our balance. No time right now to consider doing anything else.