March 14, 2016

A Slow Wobble

They were young, the two boys I saw as I ran passed in the park. One of them was wearing a bawdy earring that was too big for his tiny lobe. They were shirtless and lighting cigarettes. They couldn’t have been older than thirteen. I looked for some kind of adult supervision. It was odd to see such young boys smoking on the beach in broad daylight in Singapore. Although their behavior was reckless and irresponsible, although I wanted to slow down, or even stop, and chastise them on their misdemeanor offense, I admired their brashness and slight rebellion. I kept running, because I was maintaining a pace and there was so much more to see.

Thin men with giant dogs and large women with thick ankles. A gaggle of expat wives, speaking what sounded like polish- all smiles and slightly sweaty. Indian girls on a bike they could barely ride. A Muslim mom at the waterfront, fully clothed chasing her toddler while the dad stood back guarding the stroller checking his phone for a message he might need.

I unscrambled these words as I ran. Shuffled and dealt them into hands I could play. I thought of my day and the scene I hoped to write that night. I thought of my to-do list, brimming to overflowing as I approach the final two weeks before Spring Break. I thought about taking Kaia to Bubble Maker diving in Koh Lipe and the running I would do on the island. I thought and I saw and then I thought some more.

Sweat dripped from my upper lip, my shirt soaking through- one foot after the other, back on track.

Cranked out a 1300 word scene and just like that I am back in the book. Felt good to be back with my characters. The scene I was working on tonight, got away from me and took me places I was not expecting. The characters are becoming who they need to be and taking charge of what they need to do. It felt great to set them up in scene and see where they might end up. The book is still a mess, but there are some things bubbling up just beneath the garbage that might be worth sharing. This whole writing a novel thing has been an eye-opening experience to say the least.

After the run and making dinner for the kids and eating it with them and putting them to bed and working on the book, I was able to mark some essays- take that procrastination. Later we drank a glass of wine watched Girls and Togetherness, and now I am in bed listening to the Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield cover album of Elliott Smith songs.

These songs are so god damn powerful. I just want to crawl into myself and burrow into the darkness. The strings and harmonies, so fresh and familiar. These songs are a part of my DNA. They change and grow with me and I need them to live.

I told Laura I would try and write her something pretty tonight. And the only thing that is on my mind, behind my closed eyes is the beauty of a tired well-spent day. There is nothing more powerful or necessary than work that we love. The aching strain of sore muscles. The spinning mind slowing down to a slow wobble right before bed. The breaths deliberate in the quietness of the music. The soft taste of toothpaste. The taunt stretch of your lower back.

On this day, you were alive and you did what you were born to do. You touched the lives of people and allowed them to touch you. You were determined and forceful and in the end, as it winds down you are aware enough to articulate it all in the warm blanket of language. You hope the words are enough to capture this easy perfection.

You sigh before you sleep, knowing that words are seldom enough for anything.

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