Sunday, December 26, 2010

A History of Silence

"How could you," she asked.
And just for a second, I wondered if she was going to hit me, standing there in the dark so close I could smell her hair and perfume again.
"How could you write something like that for someone and not tell them about it."

How I wish I could get back there. cause now I feel I talk too damn much.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Tower of London and a Death in Golden

yesterday i saw a raven with a mouse in its beak. i knew they were smart birds, but I didn't realize they ate anything other than garbage and carrion. My recent visit to london, and seeing the huge ravens at the Tower has given me a new appreciation for the birds. It was very interesting.
it struck me that several times in recent months I've seen a bird doing something that I found interesting or funny.
the first was a hawk in golden that struck a mocking bird. it landed right in front of my car with the white striped wing of the mocker still flapping. it's mate was extremely distressed and kept flying from power line to power line and making a fantastic racket. the hawk, meanwhile, paid no attention to the noise and sat there, subduing his dying prey.
then, a few days later I saw a huge bird of prey, perhaps an osprey (i've tried to identify it on Colorado div of wildlife websites to no avail) hop off a short post he was perched on and start bouncing along the ground toward a colony of prairie dogs. I thought this was extremely smart of the raptor, as approaching by ground gave it a better chance of catching one of the burrowers unaware since they usually have a couple lookouts that stand up at the entrance to their tunnels and watch for airborne predators.
Then I saw a robin pull a worm out of the ground. But the worm was so long that the robin toppled over backwards when the meal finally came free. it was a little funny.
my time in colorado has started to engender a greater appreciation for wildlife--and more specifically, the personalities of wildlife-if you can call it that--but the way they behave and sometimes do things that are funny, or unexpected etc.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Renewed commitment

I wrote 800 words tonight on Friendly Fire. The main character is proposing to his girlfriend and I borrowed it straight from my own proposal to Amy. It still makes me smile and even feel a little nervous when I think about that night!

so 800 more many more to go? Thousands? Tens of thousands? I guess when it's done it's done.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Time Between the Telling

I'm afraid that one day I'd run out of stories to tell.

I've come to the conclusion that telling stories is one of the things I do best, and one of the ways all people relate. I reminisce with old friends or acquaintances. I share invented stories with people who like to hear stories or read them. But mostly, my conversation is composed largely of telling stories--some over and over again, some only once or twice before they are worn, and then they are gone.

But I'm afraid that one day I might run out. That I'll be sitting around a fire or in front of football game on tv, having a couple beers with the guys after a soccer game, where ever I am, one day, I might be the one who starts a story they've all heard a hundred times and I won't realize it's me they are rolling their eyes at.

I fear this for my father, too. maybe because I have turned out so much like him that seeing this happen to him would be like getting a highly probable look into my own future.

I've grown more into a proper respect for my father than I had when I was a teen. I suppose I didn't hate him or rebel against him as severely as some boys have their fathers, but there were definitely times when I strayed or didn't give his advice the weight the wisdom of his years dictate it should have.

I wouldn't say that I revere him, and perhaps it's because I worry about the imperfections in people in the stories I read and write, that I can certainly say I'm far from sainting him. I don't think there are many people that could/should be sainted.

But I will say that he is a good man. He works hard, even now, when he should be enjoying the lighter load of an empty nester, but perhaps never so hard as when my siblings and I were small children.

Being a father of one, now, myself, and knowing what he accomplished as a father of 4, it seems an almost Herculean task. And he earned stories. Some from his various jobs, some from us being kids. And I always liked hearing his work stories when I was little. I never got tired of them. When I think back, they were most often told to gathered parts of the family when we had all piled into a Caprice and driven the 9-12 hours to Michigan or Ohio. I was probably only 9 or 10 at the time, but the nights, late in the visit, when we'd be thinking more about the trip home, than just being there, when the aunts and uncles were over, and something forgettable was on tv or maybe the thing was actually turned off, but everyone would sit around my grandparents couches and assembled chairs and tell stories.

I loved those nights. So when I go camping with my inlaws, and we huddle around the camp fire or when the holiday dinner is over, and the teams playing on the televised games don't mean a lick to us, I really like the times when the conversation evolves into story telling--everyone has their favorite one they can tell, and some even come with parts for other family members who routinely cut in at the same point to add their part of the recollection.

There isn't anything better than that.

So I'm afraid I'll run out of stories. That maybe one day, I'll have retold a story too many times, and in the time between the telling, haven't lived enough to have any new ones.

Friday, October 30, 2009

9-1-1 Call of the Week

me: 911 What is your emergency?

her: turn on Cnn right now. Angelina Jolie is on there talking all about it.

me: i actually don't have a tv here in the dispatch center. what's she talking about?

her: she's talking about a movie about to come out that's about my life.

me: what do you mean...about your life.

her: in short: I am Angelina jolie.

At this point, I knew I had a CIT call. The young woman on the other end of the line was having a break from reality, but I didn't quite know where this was going.

her: just get a cop here right now. my father is coming. he's coming to rape me and he's been doing it all my life. this time he'll probably kill me.

me: where is your father right now?

her: at the store

me: and he's on his way over there right now?

her: yes. listen just turn it to cnn and you'll find out all about it. there's a movie

me: I can't get to cnn right now, tell me what they are saying?

her: it's me, it's angelina jolie and she's talking about a movie that's based on my life. the main character is based on my life and i'm playing her.

There were a couple times in here I had to put her on hold because I couldn't figure out which direction the delusions were taking. She thought she was Angelina Jolie but at the same time she answered to her real name and gave me her real address and phone number. She believed she was Angelina Jolie on CNN talking about a movie in which the main character was raped by her father and that the character was based on her real life.

The real dialogue was much more circular than this, but up until this point, I was asking her to confirm and reconfirm her address and phone number. The purpose of this was to shift her attention away from the schzophrenic break, and calm her down by creating a rhythm of question and answer to simple questions. The rhythm itself, and I'm not sure if there's any research on this, seems to help calm people down==repeating things they know and say in a certain rhythm whenever they are asked ie address, phone numbers etc.

me: is there anyone else in the house with you?

her: no. but my father watches. he watches the house and he knows when the cops come.

me: where is he right now?

Her: I don't know. but he has an explosive explosive temper. he can be very violent. and he always watches.

me: tell me a little bit about what's been going on today. earlier you were saying there was something about a movie on cnn? when did you start watching cnn today?

her: oh man. it's on commercial now. if you'd been watching you'd know. you'd know. we are going to make cinematic history...cinematic history.

From time to time she'd repeat a phrase like that for emphasis. She sounded very intelligent. She had a strong vocabulary and she used little rhetorical strategies like repetition and even pitch changes and interesting sentence construction to emphasize her point.

The trouble was her point was so disjointed that it was frustrating her to try and get it across and it was confounding to anyone trying to draw a linear conclusion from it--other than "o what a noble mind is here o'er thrown."

her: Here's the thing the character that comes in at the end is so sublte that...well let's just say that the people who know what I'm talking about are probably laughing their heads off right now. Cinematic History.

In the end, paramedics and officers arrived and I stayed on the phone with her until she was satisfied that the people knocking on her front door were the police and not someone pretending to be the police. Not, perhaps, my best call, that one was also a CIT call a couple months back, but, still a good one.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gods and Generals

I watched Gods and Generals the other day, and with all that's been going on in the current political scene, I can see how some southerners saw the Civil War as a battle over states rights. Of course, they were fighting for the right to keep slavery going, which I don't condone, but, I can see how the president running roughshod over issues they had historically controlled could be seen as usurpation and really, completely against the idea of States that are United, instead of United States.

I might think some more about this and put up a longer, more thorough post. hmmm. but for now, I've got to get some sleep. It's far too late and I have an early morning tomorrow. Not to mention the fact that I start work tomorrow night and that means when I get up tomorrow, I won't get to go back to sleep until Saturday at 6:30 am.

I will add, in closing, that the movie has given new birth to a longing for my home state. These last couple days I've missed Virginia more than I can say.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


On nights I work, I have a 35 minute drive home to Aurora.

I like it.

The traffic is not too bad at 0600, and I like my work very much so I'm usually in a good mood. I'm usually very tired, but toss in a tall latte and even that melts away.

My drive home this morning, though, was particularly good.

I selected my writing play list from my iPod and let the windows down just a crack so the cool night air that was lingering and brace me while I drove the miles down I70 and I225 on my way home.

The music from that playlist is particulary good. When I've not listened to it for a while, I am surprized, sometimes by how much I like each song when I finally have occasion to select that from the list of 8 or so playlists stored on the thing.

The lyrics, in particular, are all very simple and describe deeply emotional situations in the plainest of terms--as if the emotions themselves were too strong to be held back. The writers could not work them into flowery metaphors or truly describe them with lofty diction. They required blunt, straightforward wording. And though simple and direct, the words still managed to describe the profound.

If the air were a canvas on which the words were painted, the songs on that list are like pouring the paint out in great splashes and blotches. Where working them more would be like trying to pour the paint out into the shapes and hues of a landscape or still life without using brushes.

It's raw. and it comes too fast and too strong to be controlled and poured into the fine lines and shadings that make up a portrait.

There was a feeling that emotion or inspiration was welling up in me, as well. I turned the volume up so that the sound filled the car like standing under a water fall and being completely surrounded by the rush of the water. And like the water, I could felt the music everywhere. It rained down on me in flashes of places and people and I let my mind wander from present to past and then back again.

In front of me, the sun climbed slowly from the horizon to fill the windshield with it's orange light.

The cool air swirling around me made me feel like fall was coming on the heels of this morning. The weatherman is, in fact, predicting that today will be the hottest day of the year so far, but I could tell this morning, that summer was losing the battle.

The frosts of September and the new snow on the mountains will soon be here. Aspens, so rich and green now, will catch fire and burn brightest gold in October.

Yes. It won't be long now till I'll have to wear sweaters when I go outside and I'll be able to see my breath when I walk to and from my car. Leaves will pile up around my feet, and the greens of summer will become the yellows, golds, reds, oranges and browns of fall.

And then the snow will come and it will bury the leaves. It will cover the streets and the grass, and everything will be cold. The dry cold air will hurt my eyes when I walk quickly down the sidewalk. My boots will weigh twice what they do with snow packed into the treads, and I'll take them off at the door so as not to track melting snow through the house.

We'll make and eat stews and soups with grill cheese sandwiches. We'll watch football on Sundays and pray for spring on Mondays.

Oh it's going to be great!