Tuesday, May 19, 2015

where the water is smooth

Where four weeks ago, the neighborhood was hip-deep in snow, today the Tree of the Hanging Squirrels as I have dubbed it is plump as a russet potato, leaves strong and healthy and young and full of hot-damn. It gathers today's rain to its bosom like some Labrador retriever fresh from fetching a stick thrown into the pond ... preparing to shake the water off in a great, wiggly, gleeful crescendo of spray. I see no squirrels sprinting among its branches across the street, but that doesn't mean the Tree of the Hanging Squirrels is not ready for them.

Yesterday, I worked on the newspaper column for Wednesday and then, after a bit of editorial to-ing and fro-ing with the editor, passed it in. When I looked up from the work, somehow four hours had passed and you might think I had done a day's work: I was spent.

As usual, once I found the jumping-off point, there was just falling -- writing the next thing that seemed to come to mind. The ending, in the end, struck me as a bit labored and I was, as usual, not at all sure why I had taken the time or written what I wrote. One thing's for sure: I don't have the facility or willingness to write that I once did. The topic may be wondrously compelling in its moment, but I am getting used to the fact that a compelling thought or strand of thought in this moment fizzles or is utterly forgotten in the next.

In the end, I wrote some small piece about Doug Hughes, the guy who landed his gyrocopter on the Capitol lawn in Washington on April 15. Landing on the Capitol lawn is illegal and Hughes, a 61-year-old mailman from Florida, did something illegal in order to deliver the 535 letters -- one to each member of Congress -- protesting the role of big-money in politics and the resulting diminution of what is sometimes called "democracy" in this country. He is due to be arraigned in a federal court in Washington on Thursday (May 21).

All of Hughes' writing I skimmed over (as for example this Washington Post essay) seemed quiet and well-argued. He was not just another loud-mouthed leftie. Why should he not deliver his mail to the people who were theoretically elected to represent the electorate? Is he a wing-nut or is he someone who is fed-up-to-here with the excuses used when it comes to politics and democracy? He planned his flight for two years. He takes responsibility for his actions. Can more be asked?

OK, I wrote the column and passed it in and was exhausted where once I might have skipped energetically to some other topic and found that interesting and written about that too. But thinking and creating take energy and a willingness to credit the juxtapositions of things ... hey! here's another outrage or disconnect or idiocy or delight!

I agreed to write a monthly column at a time, about a year ago, when writing 750 words about damn near anything seemed like a piece of cake. It's still not that hard, but I write better -- or anyway more loudly -- when I found the blowholes of lava surging up.

It's just a whine from here as old habits like writing seem to require more than I actually can bring to it. Mind you, I can still fake it after so many years of practice, but the import and meaning have a harder time convincing me.

It's my blog and I, like other bloggers, get to whine... to shout at the ocean or the sky. These days, the smoothness of things assets itself where once the waves crashed.

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