The Art Of Writing

While My Guitar Gently Weeps- The Beatles
Maybe I’m Amazed-Wings/Paul McCartney
Band On The Run-Wings/Paul McCartney
Norwegian Wood- The Beatles
You Got To Hide Your Love Away- The Beatles
Layla- Derek & The Dominos
Turn The Page- Bob Seger

The boy whose hands will one day be mirror images of mine asks me to explain how writing is like art so that he can be prepared for high school.

I just shake my head and tell him there are things coming down the pike that won’t make sense for a good long while but one day he’ll look back and see how the ripples of the pond he stands in now reach the future.

He tells me it sounds like gibberish and I laugh, “it does and sometimes it is.”

I tell him about how sometimes people look for symbolism that doesn’t exist and insert ideas an author never meant or intended into their work after it is published.

“But that is not right, how can people be so arrogant to believe they know what the author was thinking.

“We want to believe people are logical and they act based upon reason but they rarely do. They act as they will and see as they wish to. People sometimes leave comments about what I have written and I am baffled by their interpretation.”

Show Me Your Veins

We’re interrupted by the call to dinner and I forget to tell him about how Show Me Your Veins showed up in my stats today and how that story still makes me smile.

I wrote it six years ago when I was more of a typical dad blogger than I am today.

When the kids were little I had greater ownership of the stories I shared and no fear that my words might cause issues for them at school or elsewhere.

Back then I had forgotten that words were supposed to be the tools I used to earn my living and so I walked a different path.

Now I look back upon the man I was as a guy who had gotten lost in the forest and wandered in shadow because he didn’t understand how much brighter life could be if he found his way back to the path.

Today I wandered off of the path intentionally because a father has responsibilities and obligations but instead of pebbles I am building a rock garden behind me because I need to ensure the path back won’t be hidden because birds eat the bread crumbs I dropped behind me.

Still I am extra cognizant of the people who don’t support my desire to return to the light because they see that path as being covered in shade.

The question is will they allow their eyes to be opened or will they remain oblivious to the truth and unaware that cross purposes here are the equivalent of crushing a dream.

The Art Of Writing

A better artist than I would express these sentiments more eloquently but I am not yet him, although I strive to be.

I tell the children daily the trick to becoming better is to do more than say you are going to practice. Action begets improvement and that only comes from practice.

There are words that I share with them verbally and those I share by action.

The Lonely Blogger
A five state commute is punctuated by many things but the primary one is the empty desert and the things you use to fill the time as you pass through.

If you don’t get lost between empty and desolate you discover a rich landscape you had no idea existed because until that point your eyes had been closed.

It is not as hard to find as some people suggest. You don’t have to ask Charon to ferry you across the River Styx or be able to do quantum physics.

You just have to be willing to look beyond your nose and to be open to possibility.

The real art of writing is to take a skeleton and dress it in a couple of rags and have your readers believe it to be the most magnificent and meaningful piece they have ever laid their eyes upon.

It happens because somewhere in your words you convinced them to allow possibility to become opportunity and their imagination does the rest.

Is It Gibberish?

We spend a few minutes after dinner talking again about what happens in high school and whether he is prepared.

I tell him he will be fine and explain life experience has a huge impact upon the impact of words and stories.

He asks me if people ever tell me they hate my writing and I laugh because it has happened many times. Some people love me and some people hate me but relatively few are ambivalent.

“Do people hate your stories because they are gibberish?”

“Maybe. Sometimes it is because they relate too well and the pain is too fresh and sometimes it is because they can’t relate at all.”

“Dad, is there a trick I can use to become better?”

I give him a few ideas and when he asks me for my favorite I pull his head next to mine and whisper, “Learn when to say ‘fuck em’ and when not to.”

When he pulls his head back there is a mischievous look in his eyes and I wonder if my advice will bite me in the ass later on or not.

But tonight I am not worried about it.

Tonight I am thinking about how to get back to the path and wondering how many adventures I’ll have in the process.

More story fodder is on its way, no doubt about it.

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  1. Renee McKinley May 12, 2015 at 7:32 am

    Yep, I have been one of those who has misinterpreted a writer’s words. Of course, I see stories in my head to songs that have absolutely nothing to do with the words of those songs.

    Evidently, a word or turn of phrase simply takes my mind on its own trip.

  2. Larry Bernstein May 12, 2015 at 4:54 am

    The line “cross purposes here are the equivalent of crushing a dream” resonated with me. I feel challenged moving forward as I am being pulled in different directions.
    Nice opening line as well.
    It will bite you – and all of us – eventually.

    • Jack May 12, 2015 at 9:55 pm

      It is a real challenge to try to follow your dreams when you are pulled in multiple directions. Not easy, worth doing I think, but not easy.

  3. Jens-Petter Berget May 11, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    I wish you’d share more about the trick … “Dad, is there a trick I can use to become better?”

    The only trick I’ve discovered is to keep writing and keep telling stories, and read a lot. And, one of my frieds told me something I’ll never forget.

    “Never let the truth destroy a good story.” I guess that’s my trick.

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