The Writing Moment

Bright sunshine storms the world outside the coffee shop window. Yes, it’s a sunstorm fronting a blue sky, a cruel thing. Exerts the kind of pull felt when he was a teenager and a girl asked him to come to her house to listen to music.

He’s here to write. Edit. Just thirteen months into the novel in progress. Third revision session. Halfway through. Must be done.

With a promise to the day, I’ll join you later, he opens the novel and resumes.

The Running Dream

A young man once again in my dream, thirty-something, I was staying at a sprawling hotel, enjoying a reunion with friends. Suite doors were open, and we were freely intermingling, chatting, drinking, eating, whatever moved you at the moment. Coming into one unit, four RL friends, military officers not seen in over thirty years, told me they were going for a run and asked me to come along.

Well, I protested, I’m not in running gear and I have nothing suitable to wear. Another old friend came up with something, though, so I agreed to go running. The newcomer was going to, so he waited for me to change. The others, meanwhile, jogged away. As I continued changing, the other guy announced he was going to start running now, too, because he didn’t want to fall too far behind. “Go on,” I answered. “I’ll catch up.”

I was almost done changing by then, and I started jogging a just a few seconds after he began. I caught him quickly.

We were running outside but on the cement balcony that connected our rooms, which were located on the inside of a courtyard. As we ran, we frequently had to dodge non-runners, people go in and out of rooms or standing and chatting or eating. I saw many friends among them.

We were catching the others, but I was impatient with the slow pace. When the opportunity came, I surged forward. Catching the first four easily, I went around them and set out at a faster speed. They laughed, shouting that I was a showoff and predicting that I’d soon tired out. But I found the running invigorating. As I rounded a corner and turned right, I saw a long, straight stretch empty of people, and pressed myself into a higher gear. I was almost flat our sprinting. People were talking about this and watching.

Sweat plastered my hair down and slathered my face. My breathing was hard. The running felt good, so I decided to run as fast and hard and long as I could. Entering into an all-out sprint with others cheering for me, I finished a lap and caught the first running group and passed them. I felt that I couldn’t go much longer and slowed, but then told himself, no, you’re not done, you have more, and forced myself into a max sprint again. I managed to complete another lap as the others stopped and returned to the room where we started. As I finished a third lap, drenched in sweat and cheered on by almost everyone, my original four friends shouted, “Stop running, you show off. It’s time to eat.”

I ran into the room and stopped. Talking about how much I was sweating, they were laughing. Others came in and urged me, take a shower, but someone pressed a plate of food on me, saying, “I made this for you. Eat.”

I started eating. Dream end.

A Complimentary Dream

I was working, just finishing a job. I don’t know any details of the work but it’d been administrative, computer stuff. My boss came over and said, “I just want to let you know that you’ve been doing really great work.” I liked, admired, and enjoyed him, so that really pleased me. Afterward, I went out with a few others. When I returned, I presented my boss with a gift of a bottle of red wine, which he happily accepted. Witnessing this, the company head loudly said, “You know, I like wine, too.” He repeated this a few times in a joshing way. We all laughed, and I told him that I got the message.

Leaving again, I entered my car and drove away. This was a car I once owned in RL, a black1993 Mazda RX-7. After driving some street roads, I entered the outskirts of a city where I picked up a friend to give him a ride.

He and I chatted away. Stopping at a traffic light, I looked over at the man in the car beside me. He was looking at me and my car. I immediately knew he was Korean, although I don’t know why that mattered.

Leaning over, he looked in my car’s open window. He complimented the car’s condition and took out a small brown cardboard box. Inside were two small white pieces. (Awakening, the pieces reminded me of the microwave pieces I’d used to fix it.) Saying, “I know these cars, and although yours is in excellent condition, you’ll need these parts to keep it going,” the man reached into the car and put the box into a small alcove in the dash that doesn’t exist in the real car.

The dream’s end found me in my little black RX-7 with my wife and the guy I was giving a ride. Three in that small sports car isn’t a pragmatic expectation but it worked in the dream. We were driving asses to elbows through city traffic under a cloudless sky. I was telling her about the Korean man and the parts he’d given me. Then I said to my wife, “Oh, damn, I forgot my new uniform.”

Dream end.


Well, haven’t been writing. Not on paper. Or computer. Have been writing in my head.

My wife wanted (needed, she claims) a vacation. COVID-19, you know. Sheltering with me, you know. And the cats. She thought she was going a little crazy.

Her sister called. Hey, she and her boyfriend were coming west. His children (and his children’s children) live on the west coast. He hadn’t seen them for almost two years except on Zoom. So. Would we like to meet up in Seattle? The boyfriend’s son lives in Kent and the boyfriend lived in Seattle for years before retiring from Boeing. He can show us around.

Difficult for me. And yes, selfishly, I was thinking of me. I’m already a frustrated writer. Now I was being asked to travel and surrender more time. More energy. I’m quite jealous of my writing time, by choice. See, I wanted to pursue writing for a looonng time. But I was in the military. Traveling, writing on the side. My wife wanted me to stay in, get my pension. Smart financially. Good security. So I sucked it up and stayed in.

I was 39 when I retired from the military. The plan was that we would now move to somewhere where we could survive on my pension and write. But, she then got a job in advertising that she liked. Could we please stay there, in the SF Bay Area?

I was employed by startups, then was acquired by corporations. Made very good money along the way doing jobs that weren’t too hard. It all meant deferring my writing dream. I ended up staying with IBM for fifteen years after they acquired one of the companies I was at. Yes, good money but soul-sucking employment. No fun for me, for the most part. Some challenges but mostly tedium.

So, this is my state of mind. I am now sixty-five. I’ve been writing and reading, improving my writing and story-telling skills (or hope so, you know?), trying to get to know my muses and discover my voice. It’s a challenge. I love that challenge. COVID-19 was a serious interruption. Just as I felt that I was finally making substantial strides forward.

Writing the current novel-in-progress took me through the end of 2020 and into the start of 2021. I then discovered that I was trying to tell the story in the wrong way. So, recalibrated. Took all that previously written stuff as background work. And kept going, now on the right path.

It’s exciting. Then, vacation. Preparation for vacation. I’m not social. The vacation meant committing to being social. Delaying my writing efforts for another week. But what’s another week, right? Sure. Rationally, I reply, it’s just seven days or so. With writer’s angst, I tell you, it’s a painful and frustrating interruption. An unwanted interruption. The conversation with the muses was going well. I was having a good time. Who likes to stop a good time?

But I try to be a good husband and some kind of contributing member of society. So, the time was taken. The vacation done. Good for me? Sure. Aren’t I nice? You betcha.

Back in the writing seat today. Picking up those story strings that emerged as I was on a ship in Seattle, walking a street, driving the Interstate, observing a person, sipping coffee, gazing at a street scene, etc. You never know when they’ll come.

Got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.


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