Friday, February 10, 2012
All the Write Moves
You probably thought I was never coming back. I almost thought so too. I've been going through a rather stubborn streak where writing is concerned. My PC's internet connection was so poor that it made me not even want to log in to check my email. Thanks to my new installation of google chrome, I'm back in the game. Also, I managed to lose my writing files. All my poetry, my novel, drafts of articles... *poof*... gone. Yes, I had a backup, but the backup refuses to cooperate. C'est la vie.
Both things had me kind of rattled. Both things had me kind of figuratively stomping off, and with all the savoir-faire of a surly toddler, muttering, "Who needs you anyway?!"
Truth be told, I do. It was as if my right arm had gone numb. While I could manage without it, life wasn't as good.
The other thing that threw me back into the fray is a discovery I made a couple of days ago while going through an old box of stuff. You know the box. It's the one with a couple of worthy items, but mostly made of I-Can't-Bring-Myself-To-Throw-Away-This-Uselessly-Sentimental-Shit.
Among the worthy items were a half a dozen letters from my Dad. They were written when he was away on fishing trips, when I was in Hungary... letters from whatever few times that we were apart. I knew the letters were in the box, but I hadn't read them in decades - at least two, and Dad's been gone for three decades now. That gives you some idea how old they are.
Now. Let me back up just a skosh.
I know I've mentioned before that I owe much of my skill as a writer to my Mom. She wanted to be an English teacher and instead gave birth to a rather reluctant classroom of five. Granted, I get my love of grammar and spelling from her. As well, I probably get my love of words from her. No denying it. However, as anyone worth his or her salt as a writer will tell you, there's a lot more to writing than knowing how to construct a grammatically correct and properly spelled sentence. Mom can do that with her eyes shut. Her letters are always succinctly newsy and proper, but without any great emotional pull. And it isn't that my Mom is void of emotion. Hardly. It just doesn't come out much when she writes.
Dad, on the other hand (as I discovered after all these years), could write. I mean... the man could fucking write! I sat here reading and re-reading the letters with my jaw perched oh so comfortably upon my toes. I never knew. How could I not know? Still, I never knew. Dad was always the artist, the visual guy. But as I read through the letters, I was drawn in by his vivid descriptions of even the most mundane things, by his abundant use (so like mine) of colloquialisms and slang. Even with all that, he used the right grammatical contexts and the spelling was all spot on (keep in mind, there was no spell check back then). The man could write. He could have been as brilliant a writer as he was an artist.
It made me wonder if he'd ever thought of doing that.
It kind of thunked me on the head in a way that said, "Wake up already!" Although I felt a lot of responsibility to write before, I feel an even greater responsibility to write now that I know that both of my parents contributed genes to that part of my brain. It's as if all the writing muses in the world formed a Greek chorus and sang, "Prithee, wilt thou but pick up a pen?!"