Saturday, June 15, 2019

August 13, 2013

August 13, 2013 

Fly and Me

The lake house my wife and I are at is perfect. This may not be the nicest thing to tell you. It lacks grit and reality for any reader and changes even the least boastful of all writers (which I already severely lack any claim to) into a bit of a braggart. But I cannot tell you this tale without starting here. It is perfect here. And perfection, personal and eternal though it may be, also somehow only exists in bookends, in the niggling bits of imperfection that obsessively sketch its borders. This is about a small imperfection looming large and the restoration of harmony.

We are much in and out here, onto the balcony, testing the air, down to our great lake, in and out through sturdy wood doors made, like our walls here, mostly of glass. Outside there are sometimes many bugs, and I have perhaps enough mosquito bites to satisfy those readers bored with my claims of perfection. Sometimes we are chased inside or just choose to come inside and someone slips in with us. A moth is not so great a problem, and I have caught one in a glass and taken it out. A mosquito or two is a misery, but it is not hard to get lucky with a stray swat, and, if not, ten minutes of concerted hunting will always do the trick. A fly though, a fast, uncanny, smart fly can be a small torture of surprising persistence and near unsolvability. Last night such a fly slipped into our house.

This fly was a genius and a miracle of speed, a master of irritation. It began its visits at dawn, buzzing loudly about our heads, landing on our skin, circling, racing, always patternless and endlessly interested in our company. For reasons of its own it would disappear until the exact point where my spirit would start to calm, and then it would return. All through the morning hours I'd engage in long, futile hunting expeditions with a rolled up magazine. I'd wait for it, through long tracking operations, to land some place whackable, and I'd whack. There'd usually be a slight injury to my hand, a loud noise, and a curious sense of missed opportunity, curious because one wonders what opportunity I was missing when I was not getting within the realm of distant hope of even coming near this fly.

I wanted to kill this fly very much.

I was not going to kill this fly.

The morning advanced and the fly only grew faster and louder and smarter.

I so wanted to kill this fly.

I won't draw this all out with all the long tales of all the ridiculous things whacked and flung with all the comedy of something so utterly without effect. But it was all there. Know that it was there.

I was in the kitchen. The fly landed on the counter. My thousandth chance. I swept my hand across the counter, an odd attempt even more futile than most, and the strangest thing happened. I caught the fly. I caught the fly!

I took the fly outside. I threw it out of my hand onto the wide wooden plank of the balcony railing. The fly, unphased, looked up at the sun and clouds and felt the wind.

"It's nice to be outside." It seemed to say.

I breathed in the perfect air that smells of pines and almost of the sea. I was calm for the first time in five hours.

"Yes it is." I seemed to say. "Yes it is."

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

February 2, 2019

There comes a time in every blogger's life where, under the imperative of writing a daily post, they must sit down to write not knowing what they're going to say. There is a time in every writer's life where they have no plan.

This is my 473rd time for that personally.

So you are in experienced hands.

But what if you want to know how it all works? What if you are, perhaps, a blogger yourself? Or maybe you dabble in one of the lesser writing forms? What if you saw the title of this post (which I am going to make up just now): "100 Things to Do If You Don't Know What to Write" and you want to learn the techniques I am employing to dazzling effect at this very moment?

Well, worry not. I present to you:

100 Things to Do If You Don't Know What to Write

1. Go big. 

Promise the stars. It gives you something to shoot for. You can always, on the off chance it becomes necessary, adjust things in the accounting later.

93. Just start writing. 

It's not like we don't speak until we have something to say. We almost all have nothing to say. We merely say it and then pretend like we meant to do that all along.

94. Take inspiration from your immediate surroundings. 

Like there's a computer in front of me with a half written "humor" piece called "100 Things to Do If You Don't Know What to Write". So I'm writing about that.

95. Never give up on y

96. Don't be afraid to rethink things.

Trust your first instincts and stick with them.

97. Whoa, I am getting so dizzy.

But this brings up an essential point; the reason we write is to create a tiny Universe in which we are gods. Try to have fun with it. Like the work of all gods it's all going to contradict and end in disaster anyway.

98. Random anything just words cheese Thursday keep going blue light horizon.

There is nearly always time to clarify and refine in the editing process.

99. Throw in a quote by someone famous to inspire yourself and your readers.

"Il n'est pas de plaisir plus doux que de surprendre un homme en lui donnant plus qu'il n'espere."

100. Never underestimate your audience.

I, for instance, would not even think of doubting your ability to read French!

101. But hedge your bets.

After all, as Baudelaire once said: "There is no sweeter pleasure than to surprise a person by giving them more than they hope for."