Feb 11, 2005

River of words

gonna sweep me away...

I just feel spiritual. *lol* Actually, no, I wasn't. I was sitting here thinking about a picture I have of my father being baptised as a very young man, and thinking of the creek that we used to swim in as kids back in Mississippi, and thinking of what I was going to write. That got me to thinking about the PROCESS of writing, at least for me. I was going to use a current (*giggle* damn I love puns,) or maybe I should say "pop culture" reference to Lord of The Rings, and was going to mention Bilbo saying that 'you have to be careful when you leave your front door, because if you don't keep your feet there's no telling where the road will bring you.'

But that's not right, at least in reference to my personal experience of writing. My writing is more like walking beside a river. I spend all day walking beside that cool, dark river, and it's a very dynamic body of water indeed. Sometimes the river is fast, sometimes slow, sometimes it's barely a trickle and all the banks are showing dry and cracked, and the water seems like it's going to be gone forever, and then there are times when it's racing so hard and high that it's dangerous to even be beside it because the banks are threatening to erode and spill river everywhere unchecked.

My difficulty always arises in where I want to get into the river, and where and when to get out of it again.

I have to watch the river carefully, keep an eye open for a small eddy or a little current or just wait for the spirit to move me, then I leap in, more often than not. It's not as much fun to lead gently into it, to wiggle toes in the edge by the rushes and the irises. It's much more fun to take a big running jump at it, hit it full force and start paddling full force.

Pretty good for a guy who can't swim and got over his fear of water in the past few years.

So there I am, leapt into the river, and I start writing. Flow of words like flow of water, I just sort of let out onto the screen what's in that part of the river. Like paddling along in a current, I tend to stay in somewhat the same place, even though the water around me is...how to put it...it's all river, but the river is different bits of water, and the bits keep changing, but it's still all river. It keeps it's essential riverness.

So there I am, swimming along in the river, tossing off inadequate zen koan references, trying to find the bits of river I want to use, and trying to leave behind all the bits that aren't really necessary or desirable. You know those bits; the leaves and branches, the muddy parts, the really dark bit over there that's really still but deceptively deep and gawd only knows what's lurking in the very bottom of it, and damn it's cold over there, so that bit never gets shared but certainly sometime it gets loose of it's pool and into the rest of the river.

You see my difficulty.

So here I am, swimming gamely along, tossing out bits of river to you, trying to make sure that I get just enough river that you don't get tired of drinking it, but wanting to share enough with you that you slake your thirst, at least for a little while. And all the time I'm tossing river out I'm trying to make sure that it's GOOD river. Just like anything else in life there's good river, bad river, and river that's, well, just water. And there's a lot of "just water." Hella lots of "just water." It's neither good nor bad, it's just there, sort of like all those bits of people that don't seem to do much of anything, they're just space filler between organs. So I try to find the bits of river that taste better, or taste bitter and need to be tasted, or taste so sweet that it's best if I only toss out a few sips and move on to something else, because I'm afraid I'll ruin your taste for river water entirely, and you'll move on to a creek, or a ditch, or a diversionary canal or another river, and frankly, I LIKE it when you drink from this river. It makes me feel like I've got something worthwhile, something worth bottling and putting on the market, something that might never blow off the shelves in case packs, but sells slowly and steadily, the flavor that's not the biggest nor the strongest but one which seems to have a little something that makes you want to keep drinking it for the rest of your life.

Okay, I'm climbing out now, need to dry myself off and get to work.

Damn, the bank is slippery.

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