“I would come, many years later, to understand why ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ is considered ‘an important novel’, but when I first read it at 11, I was simply absorbed by the way it evoked the mysteries of childhood, of treasures discovered in trees, and games played with an exotic summer friend.”
– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A blinking cursor.
I’ve been staring at it for fifteen minutes. I’ve also smoked two cigarettes, heated up some vegetable soup for lunch, petted my dogs, chatted up my girls about stuff like Supernatural and the possibility of an afternoon swim at the somewhat-local pond, petted the dogs again, and sent the youngest to buy me a Mountain Dew. Because cigarettes and Mountain Dew are the stuff of writing.
Prior to all that nonsense, I spent about an hour trying to remember how to do this. I finally remembered my WordPress password, and then my Google password, and then how to clean up the old stuff in my footer, and how to delete pages that are woefully obsolete. (My son at fifteen, back when I had illusions of coolness and relevancy.) I found a new website to help me find interesting and thought-provoking topical quotes because my old go-to site shut down and I’m just not smart enough to remember all the cool stuff I used to know. Then I visited Flickr and found a neat picture of a knothole in a tree. And then I had to remember that I use Live Writer to write blog posts and not Word or my dashboard. And then . . .
The blinking cursor.
An old friend told me last night via Skype that I used to write blog posts that made him cry. We talked about blogging and books and the state of the world and about the lack of compassion so prevalent these days, and how no one wants to walk a mile in anyone else’s shoes anymore, and how I’m losing my once-bountiful hair, but not the unibrow, and how I don’t really listen to Stryper anymore. He recorded the conversation for his new podcast, Hobo Safe Camp. An hour of me, the inaugural “astral hobo,” going on and on and on. I haven’t had that much fun in ages . . .
And then I spent another hour chatting with another old friend, my Canadian brother-in-arms. He barbequed chicken and red peppers and drank Canadian beer one handed because he had to hold his phone with the other. Such was his concentration and skill that he never faded out of the camera lens, always kept it pointed at his face, so I could see him and he could see me. He’s that way. Mindful and aware of the needs of others. I longed for an app that would let me smell the fire, the chicken sizzling, the hops and Canadian air. The sun went down and I smiled . . .
My oldest daughter just threw the cat at my youngest daughter. She got two scratches on her legs and one on her face. The cat, apparently, does not like being tossed . . .
She told me to write that . . .
My dog just knocked over my Mountain Dew. Then he smiled at me . . .
She told me to write that, too . . .
I recently listened to Sissy Spacek read To Kill A Mockingbird. Hers is the southern drawl that tops them all. I’m forty five years old. Tom Robinson is still guilty. Tom Robinson still got shot. And Scout still couldn’t see much of anything because of that damn ham costume. But she saw everything that needed seeing. She still took Boo Radley’s hand and showed him kindness. And received kindness . . .
This post probably won’t make you cry . . .
And now I am going to go swimming. Because my youngest daughter wants to go. Need a cure for depression? For the oh-hell-no that settles in the bones during times of apathy and laziness and woe-is-me? Have a daughter. One that will drag you out of bed and make you do stuff. Will harass you and poke you with nine irons and tickle you in that tender spot behind your knee and say things like I’m so bored! or Come on! fifty thousand times until you do it. Until you get up and do it . . .