Above. Before.

Most nights, on my walk back to the front door of our condominium after letting the dog out, I turn left around the eastern edge of our building. As I do so, I usually look up at the dark sky. Tonight is no different. The big dipper hangs in God’s kitchen, it’s Pole Star shines down on the earthly heavens around me. The other constellations – those Greek gods and goddesses – the names of which I don’t know nor have ever cared to learn – follow my careful steps along the rough sidewalk. They know of my ignorance, yet they keep their distance. I know of there distance, yet I keep my ignorance.

During each return walk, I recognize that I’ve made the short trip before. That I’ve fallen asleep and been jolted awake before. That I have dreamed before. That I’ve lived life before under these very stars that outline my existence with their outdated explosions.

Written from 10:45 pm to 11:05 pm on Thursday, August 25, 2011 at home in Traverse City, Michigan.

OneWord: Transport, Sinking, Silk, Umbrella, Force

Transport: To transport oneself into the shoes of another takes more effort than simple observation. One must not only be able to appreciate the struggles and triumphs of that other person. Those are easy and visible. One must also be able to . . .

Sinking: I have this sinking feeling about the red blinking voicemail indicator light. ‘Who left the message,’ I wonder. My sweaty palms stick to my coffee cup as I try to lift it to the dry lips of my already over-caffeinated body. It gets this way at work. Sometimes. Not always.

Silk: The seam of her black silk stockings caught my eye. The grip of the delicate lace on her thigh. From her heel up her leg, the vision made my heart beg, just a little, to be bigger, to pound faster, to outlast her. Her silk legs. Her lace flesh. She was a delightful sight.

Umbrella: The dark green golf umbrella that spanned six feet above her damp ponytail created a small haven of calm. Her feet were wet, she was running out of good gloves and was worried that her bra was showing through the light colored shirt she thoughtlessly chose to wear on this predictably rainy day.

Force: The force with which the wave hit my broad hairy torso stung like a giant had was slapping my cold naked flesh.

Link to OneWord.com, which prompts me with each of the words and provides one minute to write about that word. Sometimes I run long.

OneWord: Punishment, Thread, Repeat, Succeed, Deer, Missed

Punishment: The self-inflicted punishment was not worth the mental (and sometimes physical) toll taken by the extraneous actions. I would have played better if I could have kept an even keel – taken the bad with the good – brushed it off.

Thread: A single thread of string dangled from the hem of her skirt as she sat, legs crossed, in a green metal chair eating lunch on the porch of her favorite local diner, “Dalmatian’s.”

Repeat: The show was a repeat. What a letdown for the over-stimulated group of teens that had planned their night around the show. Snacks had been purchased. Drinks poured. Couch seating reserved – tentatively, of course.

Succeed: “In order to succeed in this little world,” he said before pausing to take a drag on the cigarette he found on the edge of the fountain, “you have to . . . ”

Deed: The deer dashed from the dense shrubbery along the right side of Highway 2 in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The night was dark and rainy, and the deer was but a brief silhouette of life frozen in my dim Ford Explorer headlights. Then, we were both gone as quickly as we had crossed. My heart thumped with the weight of what felt like the iron-ore-mine-explosions I have felt while sitting on the living room floor of my grandparents single-story ranch house in Ishpeming, Michigan.

Missed:* The baseball skidded on the pavement and then continued along a trajectory that would eventually lead it directly into the side of Chris’ head, which was only slightly higher than the level of the road because he was standing in a ditch. Todd had thrown the ball hard, just as Chris’ attention was drawn elsewhere – by a bird chirping? a garage door opening? an itch calling? After the fact, when Todd looked closely at the skin on the left edge of Chris’ forehead, he could see that it had left a mark in the shape of baseball stitching. ‘All in a summer day’s work,’ the two muttered as they eventually went back to playing catch – Chris then more attuned to what the baseball was doing and less so about anything else around him. Perhaps this could be taken as a hard-earned lesson to focus on the task at hand.

*I neglected to actually use the word, “Missed” while writing this entry. That is the first time it happened. However, one can gather that the baseball missed Chris’ glove, which may have been where I initially was going with my story.

NOTE: Although the OneWord.com website provides a one-minute time limit for writing these entries, I do not always adhere to the time limit – especially if I like what I am writing, which is happening more frequently, as I get back into the flow of writing in general. Thanks.

Bukowski on Writing

so you want to be a writer?
by Charles Bukowski

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.
if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.
don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.
when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.
there is no other way.
and there never was.

OneWord: Ticket, Ill, Lightning, Root, Brick, Bulb, Answers, Discovery

Ticket: The ticket to the show fell from my pocket and drifted down to the grate on the ground. It rested there for a moment – paused to give me hope – and then slipped through the opening.

Ill: The dog became ill from eating off the dusty garage floor, which the home owner had neglected to sweep since she purchased the home nearly ten years ago.

Lightning: The lightning shot down to the forged steel head of Jack’s three iron. The charge traveled through the shaft to his hands and then to his heart. And this all happened before he knew what hit him.

Root: The root of my happiness can be found in the often overlooked wrinkles at the edges of her smile and the way her eyes look at me so intently when she knows I’m watching.

Brick: There lay a brick, slightly out of place. Its edges softened from decades of sleepy-headed students shuffling their tennis shoes along the paths.

Bulb: The bulb hung from its fraying cord. It emitted a butter-yellow light that dripped thick on the damp pale green walls.

Answers: He didn’t have all the answers. But he had some, and he tried on the rest. That was the best he could do under any circumstances – try his best, that is. Success is in the preparation, not necessarily in the execution.

Discovery: The discovery that she made early that morning in the daisy patch of her mother’s garden changed her life forever. There, buried in the dirt, lay something that . . .

Staring At The Sun

The root of my happiness can be found in the wrinkles at the edges of her smile. I stare at her as if I’m staring at the sun – squinting for the details I’ve overlooked – the faded freckles of childhood – the adolescent scars – the collegiate wounds. These individualities are the roots to her past. And each one of them tells a story that she might not remember, but that I can imagine. Some day I’ll let her fill the gaps of my make believe memories with her stories of truth, but for now I’m in love with what I know.

Written from 9:15 pm to 9:35 pm on Monday, August 1, 2011 at home in Traverse City, Michigan.