Exhausted by our weekend chore list before it has even been written, I walked out to the overflow woodpile for the picture before sitting down to write this. Inspired, I know. There are pictures on the camera of a tree that was obliterated by lightening. Last Monday I’d heard the tremendous crack and waited, but nothing fell and the electric stayed on. After our neighbor returned from a trip, he found parts of an 80-foot pine on his hill. Some chunks were longer and thicker than humans, strewn all over up there. Something ripped through a piece of ¾ inch plywood. I did consider downloading the pictures I took up there when he showed us, but the dishes needed to be done.
Not much later, I noticed the fluorescent orange sky, finished up, and stepped outside. I leaned back against the church door and took in the pleasant crisp air, the beauty, and I wept with gratitude instead of running for my phone or the camera. It’s weird to be swept up by natural beauty in that it isn’t weird at all.
The furniture is arranged in an unusual pattern and a generalized straightening up is in progress. Somewhere I started an essay about how reading “How to Keep House While Drowning” by K C Davis awakened other self-help books I’ve read about tidying and organized and unleashed a monster of neat in me, but I’ve been too busy rearranging Husband’s workshop to finish it. I did finish Sheila Heiti’s, “How Should a Person Be?” but it took forever because I loved it and did not want it to end. I’m currently enjoying Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi’s, “Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions.”
The month has been filled with the normal abundance of things to do before winter as well as some much needed in person visits. Thank you all who I’ve seen and congrats to Kim Chinquee on her forthcoming book, Pipette. Online, I attended a reading and this Christmas gift from Nephew in Oregon (Thank you Michael!) has been deemed the bearer of workshop notes and exercises. The first entry is from Kathy Fish’s 3 in 90.
I was pleased to have a story of mine make the long list in Pigeon Review’s contest, but that’s as far as it went. Once the house is a bit more under control, I plan to tweak it with lines I’ve thought of since the last rewrite. And rewriting might be what I do forever because I can’t figure out a frame for another novel nor a reason to write one what with the way the world is falling apart at the seams. How else do you explain my face on local TV for no other reason than showing up at a meeting? And yes, I do have that segment DVRed and plan to transfer it to a jpeg to post online but, you know, time…
I was asked to look over a story for someone and they also sought writing advice to follow. I gave him the usual places to look:
‘Immediate Fiction” by Jerry Cleaver
“The Art of Fiction” by John Gardner
“Writing Down to the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg
“Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott
I have many others, but it’s these four that I gravitate to time and again. I also suggested picking up any of the “Best ______ of the Year.” Myself, I’ve delved into the angry-yelly, no nonsense, shut up and write book “Robert’s Rules of Writing,” by Robert Masello. Maybe it will spark something other than the urge to pick up a different book.
Well, it’s September’s end tonight. I have a fire to tend to, beasts to pick up after, and a chore list to construct. I hope you are well. I hope you are safe. Thank you for stopping by and for the read.