Here’s how you do it: come home from work, sit your butt in a chair and write til you drop. Write anything! Write everything! Write into the wee hours!
it’s a great way to eliminate all traces of the work week you just finished.
It’s a great way to get some shit done!
I’ll be starting at about 7pm Alaska time.
We were two musicians playing our distinct parts. She was quick sometimes, light as a flute-note, all over the place. Me, the quiet cello coming behind, rumbly-voiced and talking to myself, liable to forget what direction I was going mid-stride. Together, if a flute and cello can go together–and they did once–we were a whole song.
I miss walking with her.
What is Friday Night Writes? I’ll explain. Pay close attention. It’s pretty technical.
Come home from work, sit your butt in a chair and write until your head hits the table.
Did you get all that?
Write. That’s it!
Write until you pass out.
Here’s the rules: there are no rules. It’s the end of the work week and time to wash off the grime of the day job. Tonight, we kill the rules.
Share, if you want, or not.
“Everything I wanted I fought for–but I didn’t always get it, now let’s not forget that.”
So says Patricia Neal to BBC interviewer Sue Lawley, and then she laughs that famous Patricia Neal laugh, that expansive laugh that always seemed to burst from her heart and fill any room she was in.
What a long and storied life. Patsy Neal from Tennessee, oscar winning actress, wife, mother, lover, author and raconteur. She was one of a kind, truly.
This morning while making my breakfast I ran across this podcast with her from the BBC from 1988. The premise of the Desert Island Discs is that the guest is to be sent to a desert island alone. He or she is allowed to bring one record, one book and one luxury item. How fascinating to hear what Ms Neal would’ve taken with her to a life of solitude. How poignant to hear her at this point in her life, after the years of incredible work, through the love affairs, the marriage and the children, she is alone. And she is laughing.
We lose people, we who are the quick.
Or maybe it’s more accurate to say they leave us. We hold tight to them, for all we are worth, but in the end, if they see the crack in the door and clear path to get to that sliver of sky beyond, they go.
Our mothers and fathers, our brothers and sisters, friends, lovers, enemies, they go.
“Go” is a helpful euphemism, isn’t it? Let’s agree to say go for now, because we can’t bring ourselves to utter that other final verb that defines how a life that walked beside us can end.
I dreamt of lions last night. They moved around the edge of my subconscious, yellow backs parting tall grass. I could hear their chuffy cat breaths and the cracking of dry stalks under their paws. I never really saw them out in the open, but I knew they were there. Large entities of dun color and measured sound circling my field of dreamground.
I wasn’t afraid of the lions. (They’re not spiders or bears, after all.) Maybe it’s because I’m a Leo. Or maybe it’s because of Meryl Streep.
Remember Out of Africa? I barely do. I saw that movie the year it came out (1985). Was it really 30 years ago? While most of this movie is gone to oblivion for me, there is one scene in particular that has stayed me with through everything: a woman fighting a lion to protect what is hers.
You are no longer the child
following your father’s proud back following the word made command
made to bring you to climb the high mountain beyond the fields of tall crops
where childhood’s bees droned their patriot hymns and gathered and gathered
their golden wealth. You are not the Beloved