Archive for June, 2009

all that I see are stars

June 12, 2009

Going for a walk in the yard tonight, it is something that I have done for the past fifteen years of my life, give or take a few years. We have around three acres with duel rows of pine trees along the boundary of most of it. On two sides it borders roads – one paved, one gravel – and is bordered on the third by a field. The yard is a triangle, though I’m not sure what kind.

I take these walks and the night is usually pretty quiet. The wind blows. Trees rub and mutter against each other. The occasional cars goes by, its engine and the rumble of its tires against the pavement building, peaking, receding.

Overhead, far enough out in the yard, you’re effectively walking in shadow and the stars decide they can move from the safety of their depths and wink from the reaches of their existence.

Ten years ago I looked at the stars differently. They were beacons of the possible. I would look at the stars and think of speeches made by Kennedy’s in the 60s. The night sky was a reflection of a belief that life held limitless possibilities.

Walking around the yard tonight, I appreciate the beauty more. The feel of the breeze, cool, slipping across my face like lingering hands of a teen love. The smell of the pines of the grass and of the night air itself which just feels cleaner and smoother than the air of the day. Underfoot, the grass gives and is damp with the beginnings of the morning dew.

But the sky now feels like what might have been.

I had once dreamed of actually seeing the moon, setting foot on it. Maybe even seeing mars. I know now that neither will happen for me.

I dreamed of wealth, something I am also certain will not happen and which I’m also not entirely certain I would be able to handle anyway.

I dreamed that the world would just make sense at some point. That life would make sense.

Now it is more confusing than it was then and I see less point to it. Now it might be worse because I’m not longer riding the emotional highs of puberty so that even though I thought life was shit for long stretches of time, I was also too deliriously high on it to accept it.

Now whatever depressions I slip into I never dip too low but I also never rise too high. Life is.And I haven’t made myself okay with this yet.

Still, I love the stars. I love the night air in the country. I love just going for a quiet walk alone. In the end, maybe that’s the real essence of life. Finding what yuo like and love and being happy with that.

It’s an endurance test

June 10, 2009

I had something partially finished about the exclamation point. About it’s use, how I use it, how others use it, how it affects dialog, etc. etc. etc. And it all felt dry and academic.

It made me think of something I read on Roger Ebert’s brilliant blog about film criticism. He said something along the lines of that criticism should be talked of in such a way for anyone to make sense of it and that’s why 90% of film studies is complete bullshit.  This is something that I think it applicable to all criticism of any sort. And this was something that I started to worry about the exclamation point essay.

Not that it was difficult to read or grasp but the point of it seemed a bit difficult and lacking meaning. Why the hell would anyone want to read about the exclamation point anyway? And all of this really means that the exclamation point essay is something I’ll come back to in the next couple of days and eventually churn it out.

Instead, I think endurance is something that isn’t talked often enough in regards to writing. I have read that Kerouac took up training before sitting down to write a book, treating it like preparing for a season of football. King has said you have to treat it like work, just show up and do it every day. Bukowski churned out reams of stuff that was never published and never found.  In the Reservoir Dogs special features, Mr. Blue and mystery writer, Eddie Bunker said perseverence trumps everything, which seems like an offshoot of endurance.

You have to endure the hours typing. You have to endure the time, money and effort of sending stuff out. You have to endure the rejections. Then you have to endure the acceptance.

Bang Crunch

June 2, 2009

I just finished a collection of nine short stories by Neil Smith. My initial reaction was, “the former NHL GM writes short fiction?” but, alas, no. This Neil Smith is apparently a translator in Quebec.

As a whole, it’s worth the read and the penny it is currently going for used on Amazon. I got it with a 40% off coupon on Borders and still don’t consider it a bad buy.

While it is worth a read, it is a read that will leave you constantly disappointed. From Isolettes, which leads the collection out of the gate, to Jaybird, which brings the doors to a close, it is a collection of ideas three-quarters formed.  Each story is began and made interesting, they build to the point where you’re curious, but their endings are repeatedly unsatisfactory.  At times it is as if Smith has simply ran out of energy, as if he has spent it all getting to the twenty page mark and has decided it is time to simply bring the things to a close, one way or another.

I have a feeling that Smith knows the majority of the stories have certain problems as he names his book after the one story that works the best (and, perhaps not coincindentally, is also the shortest). Bang Crunch is the eleven page story of a girl who rapidly ages and then de-ages. It is a life condensed. And it is a story condensed. Where the other stories leave you empty  to some degree, Bang Crunch leaves you  full to the point of wishing there was more story into which everything could be emptied. It is a fullness that works very well for Smith.

Smith has skill. He has ability. What it needs is refined and honed. I like forward to his future collections and to see how this translator from Quebec grows.

My last post for awhile about Cleveland and crap

June 1, 2009

I’m reading more lately, I’m trying to write more, just trying to engage myself more.  It’s been a long year or so for me and I think I’m only just starting to come out of it a bit. My grandfather died last April, after an accident around the time of my birthday, and my uncle died this past christmas eve. So celebrating these things have just been sorta blah.

But I think I have been grieving since last April.  Trying to silently sort things out.

So this Cleveland thing is coming up at either a good time or a horrible time. It’s going to provide change and the energies of that change is yet to be determined. It wil either be a new opportunity where new avenues are opened or it will create a shaky foundation that I won’t be able to stand on.

Alright, I’m tired of talking about Cleveland.