Tuesday’s Theme Music

“Shine” by Collective Soul was playing in the coffee shop when I stopped writing like crazy today.

Released in the early nineties, Collective Soul’s CD became one of my car collection recordings for dealing with traffic and the work day. Maybe strangely, but I always thought of the song as almost like a hard rock prayer, alternating between speculation about existence — “What will I find?” — and then a request to know more — “Heaven, let your light shine down.”


Cold Coffee, Hot Writing

It was an exhausting, satisfying, and intense writing session today. All those muses who reside in the apartments of my being were silenced, except one. They knew exactly what I was to write, and one was the designated director.

Barely able to keep up, I hit that flow. The story’s complexities and this path that I’m following demanded that I first edit the two chapters I’d finished yesterday. Then, the muse dictated, start this chapter, and then another, and so on, until five chapters were being written in parallel. Had to be, because of the nature of the unfolding events. I typed, editing and revising, jumping between pages, paragraphs, characters, and chapters as ordered and needed, trying hard to keep up.

Finally stopping, I look up and engage in the coming-out period. Looking out the window, a line from “Uncle Salty” by Aerosmith comes to me: “Ooo, it’s a sunny day outside my window.”

Coming out after writing is always odd. These are the long seconds endured after intense writing when I re-enter life, my existence, reality, whatever you want to call it. I hear music and see other people. An air-conditioner’s chilly breeze teases my bare legs and neck. I feel detached from being there. What feels most real is that my butt cheeks feel sore and numb, and muscle strain stretches across my shoulders.

Still, I feel detached. I continue thinking about what’s been written, and what’s meant to be written yet, and how much work remains. Once the beta version of all four novels in this series are completed, I then need to edit and revise them until I have a first draft of all, something that I feel complete enough to regard as books. That will be a huge chunk of work. I think I’m looking at the rest of the year and beyond.

With those thoughts still strong, I drink my coffee, cold as an iceberg. Three-fourths of that cup remains. It’s time to stop writing like crazy; I can feel that, like the muse has said, “Okay, that’s enough for today. We’ll pick up here tomorrow.”

Still, I feel detached. My fictional world was so much sharper. I was engaged so much more deeply. It took a lot of energy to go that deeply into the flow, I realize. I’ve noticed this before without comprehending it. Going into the flow takes strength, energy, and commitment to induce myself to release enough to accept it.

I’m hungry, too, and realize that I’ve been hungry for a while, and I need to hit the restroom. Yes, time to stop writing like crazy today.

The Shooting Dream

I dreamed last night that I was shooting people. Don’t worry, I hadn’t gone on a rampage; I was being told by others who to shoot and when.

They were real people, and not voices in my head, or ghosts. It was a beautiful day. I cringe to note this, but I was on a grassy knoll. Around me, though, was mostly country side. I had a rifle. A person beside me – not anyone that I know – would be given a piece of paper. They would read something and then look around, and point, and I would aim and shoot.

It didn’t bother me in the dream, but this is not me. I’ve gone hunting a few times, but didn’t like it and stopped. I was in command and control in the military, and controlled nukes, but I eventually grew to dislike that role. As I’ve lived, I’ve concluded that there are enough threats to life out there without us going about killing one another. Yes, I understand that life is finite, and we’ll all die, and killing another is simply advancing the outcome. But I also understand that killing brings waves of actions and reactions. Some of those waves never stop, but build and expand, creating more killing.

So, it was a startling dream for me to experience. But I was just following orders, right?

Be Careful Out There

If you like to walk, as I do, around your town, be careful. 

Caution and awareness are seared in my head. A friend in another town was walking his dog one morning several years ago. A vehicle killed him and his dog. The driver was never identified.

People get distracted, even drivers. Some don’t like stopping for people in crosswalks. I know it, because they’ve told me. They don’t care about the law, safety, or anything else. Some are too busy with other things. I’ve seen people eating as they drive, talking on their phones, or putting on make-up. Some looked at me as they passed and gave me a nod or a wave. So they see me, but kept going.

Crossing in front of the Jackson County Library in Ashland where Main Street becomes Siskiyou Avenue is the most hazardous in my experience. There’s a traffic light – the final one downtown as you’re going south – about fifty feet in front of it. Leaving downtown frees drivers from the multiple crosswalks, traffic lights, and twenty miles-per-hour speed limit. Now freed, they gun their engines and race up into the twenty-five MPH zone. They don’t to stop again, not when they’ve already had to stop so many times, especially for someone crossing the street in a crosswalk. Better to just miss the person and keep going, right?

Yes, it happens. It’s not fiction or exaggeration.

Perhaps the most disturbing incident this week was the Ashland Police Department‘s car that didn’t stop for me. It was about one in the afternoon. Traffic was light, and it was a beautiful summer day. I was in the southern crosswalk, crossing Main Street at First street. An APD vehicle was approaching. The blue and white SUV was several car lengths away from the northern crosswalk in the center of three lanes. He didn’t stop; he didn’t look my way. I could clearly see him, a white guy with a goatee, with a heavy, burly build, and a receding hairline and sunglasses – but he couldn’t see me (I guess).

When he didn’t yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk, neither did two other vehicles, both following him, but in two different lanes. Why should they? The APD car didn’t stop, so it must not be the law, or enforced, they probably assumed. Both of the drivers saw me, giving me a look as they passed, with one driver, a young woman in her twenties waving at me.

The APD car didn’t have his emergency lights on. He, and the others, stopped at the traffic light up the street at Second and Main.

So be careful. Lot of people are distracted. It happens. Many just don’t care or don’t want to stop for pedestrians. And many just don’t see you.

Or so they pretend.

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