There is nothing like the smell of fresh-cut grass, squishing one's toes into a neatly-manicured lawn, and walking through a hay field before mowing season. For some inexplicable reason, all of those things are pleasing to the senses and calming to the soul. In fact, not much lifts the spirit in the same way as the greenery, surrounding most of our homes. Many pay a premium to swat at little, white balls and chase them down carefully-culled fairways. If all of that is so, why does my wife and daughter poke fun at the yearly, historical tour I take with my friends, by calling it, "The Blades of Grass Tour"?
I know walking around on old battlefields isn't for everyone, but, by calling it, The Blades of Grass Tour," makes it all that more inviting, not less. They even have the nerve to say, "We stop and count each blade of grass!"
No, my friends and I don't count the blades of grass. We may take an inventory of the cannons, and we do look at every angle to ensure the accuracy of what we've read. There is also a lot of talk about each encounter and maneuver, undertaken by the armies of the time. Under no circumstances is there any counting of grass. How ridiculous of them to think that!
It is something to walk, while smoking a fat cigar, on the same ground, men fought tooth and nail over, a little more than a century and a half ago. Reading about the battles does them no justice. Walking the earth, makes them come to life. I guess only history buffs could possibly understand my enthusiasm for trudging these battlefields. My family thinks I'm nuts for wanting to do that, and they're probably right, just not for that reason.
This year, we'll probably revisit Antietam and Bull Run. It has been a few years, since I've stepped foot on those battlefields. Last time, we went back to Gettysburg. You can never visit any battlefield too many times. Each time, something different sticks out. That's the beauty of The Blades of Grass Tour!
My grand-baby is growing as fast as a blade of grass. If the rate of her sprouting is any indication of her eventual height, she is going to be one, tall girl. She is a joy to be around. Being a grandparent is the best thing in the world. I get all of the laughs and giggles, without any of the responsibility. When the little darling needs her diaper changed, it's back to mommy and daddy!
Editing of TWIN COMMISSIONS has been slow, but steady. Editing is much like weeding a lawn. Care needs to be taken to pluck out the unwanted imperfections, without destroying the integrity of the lawn.
The same holds true with the editing process. Carelessly push the delete button too many times, and the story will suffer. Unfortunately, there are far more weeds than I'd like. Nothing to do, but to keep on trudging. Eventually, my lawn will be manicured to my satisfaction.
Now that you know the rest of the story behind, Blades of Grass, until next time, do all you can to keep the sun at bay, and whatever it is that floats your boat, do more of it in the dark and less of it in the light!
There is something about the constant patter of rain; upon the driveway, off the cars, and on the roof of my porch, under which I sit. Darkness and rain go hand-in-hand, like some nebulous, cosmik, mixture of peas and carrots. Smoke, I exhale, hangs and slowly swirls beneath the din of the party lights until it drifts away into the darkness. Oh, I do so love a rainy night!
Bob Dylan's, "If Not For You," adds a some something to the atmosphere, as if he knew when he wrote the song what would be needed at this precise moment in time. I think of my playlists as the soundtrack of my life, as if my life were a movie or some kind of endless novel. Perhaps, something written by Thomas Wolfe, who was prolific with his words and enjoyed twists of irony.
If someone is writing the story of my life, I would want that someone to be Thomas Wolfe. Of course, Wolfe would have to be doing so from a secluded cottage within the ether of his afterlife, which would probably suit the odd soul just fine. From what I've read about him, he didn't seem to be the sort who ever wanted someone to be looking over his shoulder while he wrote. All I can say is, "Write on, Thomas, write on. I fully appreciate the lengthy nuances of the prose, I call life!"
Although rain exacerbates the spinal arthritis that afflicts me, it triggers something deep within me and sparks a mental, powder keg, releasing a shitload of imaginative energy. Add the darkness of night to that, and my mind becomes a flurry of ideas. Some folks may say, "More like a slurry," but who's listening to those jerks. This is my story, at least I think it is, so flurry, it shall be!
Sorry, Thomas, if you are indeed, my narrator. Probably not the best of ideas to irritate the writer of your story. Then, again, I've never been accused of following the path of least resistance, better known as The Trail of Wisdom. Regarding this rainy night, Dylan best puts it into context, "If not for you, I couldn't find the door, couldn't even see the floor. I'd be sad and blue, if not for you, and you know it's true!"
In case the two of you, who actually read my posts to this blog of mine, are wondering what's up with the lengthy period of time between my last post and this one, I've been busy writing and editing my next story, TWIN COMMISSIONS. This tale is almost ready to be sent to my three editors for comment and review. Like Thomas Wolfe's editors supposedly thought, mine might think in unison, something like, "What is this verbose piece of shit?"
Then, my editors will roll up their sleeves and start painting my masterpiece red. Sometimes, they use so much red ink, correcting and improving my stories, I'd swear my babies are being tortured, with some villainous blood ritual. Yes, I always think of my latest tale as a masterpiece, and until I release it to the world, my baby.
Call it, an author's ego, if you will. When you spend so much time, creating a story, it's easy to get attached and feel a deep connection to it. Thankfully, I have three editors, who all get me in different ways, to keep my ego from writing checks that can't be cashed!
With my stogie just about spent, I should get my nose back to the proverbial grindstone. My newest tale won't finish itself. Until next time, I hope you all take the time to enjoy the rainy nights of Fall, and like the gentle droplets coming from the sky, allow creativity to rain down upon you. The rain keeps falling, down, down!
We're living in politically charged times. This isn't news, there's no doubt about it, and there's no escaping it. You see it all over the internet. It's like a virus that won't go away. Social media has been captured by it. Lines upon lines of passionate posts, espousing views with fervent zeal. The news is all about it. Would there be anything for the talking heads to report without it? I wonder, but nothing seems more important than it. I've danced around it, but what exactly is this "it"?
An intrinsic piece of the puzzle is a loss of civility within our society at large. We used to live in an open-minded society, and that when wasn't so long ago. Sure, friends and neighbors always disagreed and argued about the issues of the day. Our society has a long history of strenuous debate. Lately, something different is going on, and I don't like it one bit.
You can see it in the street. Neighbors ready to clock each other over the head. People, who not too long ago got along like peas and carrots. You can see it in the dragging feet. Fellow citizens desperate and despondent because "their" side didn't win "such and such." The same folks who danced down the sidewalks, foot loose and fancy free. Now, look at them. Our society has become a powder keg, just waiting to explode. Everybody has an interest in things not going to those extremes.
Artists have charged into the breach, have chosen sides, set up barricades, and are now taking names and kicking the ass of their perceived enemies. There isn't a day that passes without Stephen King posting on Twitter some inflammatory remark about the "evil right!" I believe art is one of those higher callings that require a different mindset and touch. Artists can have a huge reach and tremendous affect upon society and should be mindful of what it is they actually do. With great power comes great responsibility, or at least, I believe it should.
The calling that used to be the most vocal about free expression because their livelihoods depend on the ability to disseminate their work, have allowed themselves to be captured by political interests. Everyone has opinions, but when did differences of opinion become a call to war? For centuries, the latent self-interest of artists worked for the greater benefit of society. Apparently, those days are long gone.
Which rhetoric do we believe? Is it the left or the right who are evil bastards akin to Hitler and his henchmen? This type of hyperbole runs amok on both sides of the fence. How can any society remain civilized when such rigid barriers are being erected on a daily basis to simply avoid any meaningful debate?
Let's face it, name calling is about as far from intelligent and meaningful debate as one can get and still call it some form of communication. Both sides are doing it to one another. Millions of people are buying into it and screaming obscenities at one another because of it. That nasty, little "it" has reared its fetid head once more!
Both sides are acting like petulant children at a middle school dance, sitting on opposite sides of the ballroom, sneering and jeering at one another, waiting for someone to charge the other side of the room to prove some point long forgotten. Civility is as American as apple pie. It runs in tandem with baseball and Chevrolets. Artists, through their work, need to remind society of this all-important value that is being lost within the nonsensical and inflammatory rhetoric. Restoring civility is what artists should devote their energies to accomplishing, rather than doing their all to get society to explode into a ballroom blitz!
Now you know the rest of the story behind this societal-wide, ballroom-blitz our country is experiencing. I don't expect every artist to see things my way, but wouldn't it be beautiful if they did and acted upon it in a positive way? Until we meet again, don't let the "it" discourage you from doing what's right!