Sometimes I shake my head and think, “Neruda, Neruda, it would have been nice to have known you so that I might have picked your brain.”
I look at your words and my mind is flooded with moments experienced, felt, believed and imagined.
Old Pablo catches me again, and again because I have walked the roads he writes about, sometimes in darkness and shadow and others in light.
Writers Must Paint A Picture
I am a simple man with simple needs and simple desires but I know one thing for certain, writers must paint a picture.
When we figure out how to use our words to draw giant murals inside the minds of our readers they won’t point and click their way other places.
It doesn’t always have to be bright splashes of color that make them think of the warm sun upon their back.
You can talk about the darker things, the black moments that slow our hearts and make us reach for things that will comfort us.
The in-between the shadows, the places where uncertainty lies provides endless opportunity to capture their minds too.
Paint that picture and you won’t worry about whether you have the best images or greatest layout for them to see and use.
But don’t ignore those either, make it too hard and some will walk away because not everyone will hold on when things get rough.
Some will move and some will stay.
And some won’t know whether to do either, so you have to help give them a shelter they can return to or an anchor they can hold on to.
Bloggers Should Write Like This…Too
Bloggers should figure out how to paint that picture because the only people who read their words are those who are online and that guarantees that they will have ample competition for the attention of the readers.
Some of them might be people like me who have teenagers who once kept their rooms spotless but have suddenly developed an inability to do so.
Teenage boys who have grown around 7 inches in a year, who have hair growing from everywhere, hands that are suddenly huge and voices that aren’t quite as deep as their fathers but well on their way.
And they, or you might relate to these tales and wonder how hormones could suddenly mess up a boy who thinks he is damn close to a man’s ability to maintain order in his room.
When I lay down the law and demand that this nonsense end…it ends.
The room is cleaned and order is restored, but it doesn’t take much for chaos to try to regain its role as top dog in the room.
So I take the teen’s hand in mine in spite of his complaints that he is not a baby and tell him to look into my eyes.
I no longer have to bend down as far, because his face grows ever closer to my own and I tell him to look into my eyes and listen.
The Ghosts Of Jerusalem Are Here
Something in his eyes reminds me of who I was when I was his age and I think about the 15 year-old who had big plans for moving from 1984 into 1985.
I would get my driver’s license and be free of my folks, granted it wouldn’t be until May but that was ok because I knew that I would have six weeks of driving before I left for Israel.
And I knew that even though there would be adults in Jerusalem there would be too many of us for them to pay close attention and that I would have an entire summer of freedom like I had never experienced.
I would be 10,000 miles from home and…free.
The time between that moment and when I actually left seemed far longer than it was, but looking back I can see how fast it went.
And I wonder if my parents had any real sense of what sort of plans I had, of the ideas that lay behind my eyes.
Were they as adept at reading me as I am at reading my own children?
But they couldn’t know all that would happen or anticipate everything that I would do.
They couldn’t foresee their son standing in a pub in Jerusalem with a ton of other teens, drinking beer and singing along with the bands and artists at the Live-Aid concert playing on the television.
All they could do is hope they had taught me well and that I would be smart.
Thirty-one years later I can affirm that both were true and that I benefited from my own share of dumb luck.
That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.”
― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
I don’t ask or wonder if I have contributed a verse because I have contributed many.
I have lived and loved and will do much more of both praying that when I do them, I do them hard.
Not just because January of 2016 will be remembered by some as when music died because that is an exaggeration.
Neither Glen Frey nor David Bowie would utter such exaggerations nor would any other artist.
No, they would look at us and tell us to live hard because the threads we walk upon can fray ever so quickly and you can’t always grab a handful of another.
In the midst of my thoughts, I am interrupted by a call and accidentally hit a link that takes me to a post called Grandpa Is Still Gone.
The funny thing about it is that my sister and her kids were just here and are gone again.
But this time they didn’t search for their great-grandfather because ten years has passed and time moves on.
That was the last time they’ll pass through the house. The last time we’ll all roam through it because the sale has been completed and packing has begun.
The house that holds so many memories will be taken over by another and those of us that still walk will take those memories with us.
Time to find new places to contribute those verses and new moments in which to create new memories.