June 24, 2015

Bridge Fishin'

Bridge Fishin'
By John R. Greenwood

Bridge fishin' with dad
kids with friends
the scene across an outlet
paints a smile upon me 
as I spy from an opposing bank

nibbles of anticipation mount
trucks roar by above 
unaware of the
summer memory born below

these are the days we cherish
years after the fish 
no longer bite
neglected tackle lay rusted
deep in garage shadows

June 09, 2015

Sleep Writing

This photo from an old magazine
has nothing to do with the story.
I have a problem posting without
an accompanying picture.
It's a thing.
Plus I like it a lot.  

Sleep Writing
By John R. Greenwood

I have this disease where my mind is always treading water thinking of something to write about. I do it in my car, in the shower, and in my sleep. I'm afflicted with a need to be looking for something. I may be part beagle. I've used that metaphor before when describing my visits to a bookstore. "Rooting around the tables of books like a hunting dog trying to pick up the scent of a cottontail."

I woke up this morning with the joints of my feet and knees aching. You could feel them tightening like a cinched belt. It gets so bad I dream in discomfort. I'm not complaining. Achy joints are better than a lot of other problems I could have. These are things I should expect after forty years of making a living with a two month college education. I'm good with that. It does get me up and moving quicker than normal because once in motion the pain dissipates. It's like breaking up the chunks of sugar in the sugar bowl. You squish them against the sides of the bowl, stir them around a little, and in no time at all the sugar is back to it's old self. The heaping teaspoon of sand-like grains don't even recall being a clump.

Enough whining, back to writing.

Here's my problem. I'm a lazy writer. I have a short attention span. I would be the perfect caption writer for a card company or a cartoonist. I have such a short attention span I lose interest by the end of page one. I love the thinking and searching part too much. I haven't figured out if it's an extreme case of procrastination or a minor case of not being able to identify my true niche?

Maybe it's simply a case of hero worship. I am enamored by the vision of a hermit writer with mussed hair bent over a 1940's Smith Corona at an antique desk perched in front of an open window that overlooks a cornfield or a city street. I have a deep admiration for someone who spends years and thousands of dollars researching another book about Abraham Lincoln or the Kennedy Assassination. I shouldn't admit that, but I honestly don't have that depth of commitment.
 Maybe it's more about the timing- too much life going around me. I would surely be a starving artist if I had to write to pay the cable bill. 

I think this is a deeper issue. This is about enjoying life in general. It's about turning over every stone and looking around every corner. The, "What ifs?," and "I was going to's.," are in our veins. They inhabit all of us; some more than others. 

I took a couple vacation days off hoping to regroup, reorganize, and recalculate my priorities and clear my head. The result is anything but. Quiet time is like pouring lighter fluid on monkey-mind. My brain races like a driverless motorboat circling in the waves until it runs out of gas. 

I need professional help. Not the, lay-on-the-couch kind but the technical skilled kind who is proficient in editing and organizing thoughts into an understandable collection. I need someone who can stop the swirling long enough to recognize whether it's a true tornado or just a wind sheer. I'm a mess. 

I do have a writing project and an idea. I have a subject, reams of material, and a vision. What I need is real life direction. The whole thing bounces around my head frantically looking for the outlet. Its like that word you're trying to think of but can't, or trying to remember the name of the family that used to live across the street when you were a kid. It's so close, yet you can't grasp it. That is where I am and where I've been for a while. I seek inspiration and I find it, yet the underbrush is thick and I get lost again and again. 

I can do this. I will do this. The problem is another 365 days just blistered by and they won't slow down. I keep reading books by others and enjoying their stories. It's my turn. I have a passion for something that I can't describe. 

I need a nap. 

Maybe it will come to me. 

June 07, 2015

Birthday Blues?

Birthday Blues?
By John R. Greenwood

It’s always funnier when it’s someone else but when a milestone birthday like your fortieth, fiftieth, or your …, comes a tappin’ on your own shoulder the laughter seems to vanish somewhere between, “Do you remember?” and the ‘King Size’ bottle of Advil. 

Such was the case this morning when a 12:01-am FB birthday message popped up on my phone and reminded me how old I was.

 At first I wanted to cry like a kid wanting his mother to kiss it and make it better. Remove the rusted joints, dandelion wisps of white hair, grumpy old man exterior, and I’m still raring to go and happy to be here. 

I have nothing to complain about, although it seems to be an increasing hobby of mine. I’m still above ground. I have all my parts except a right index finger. I still have my high school sweetheart there to remind me what real love is. I have two grown sons with families of their own and I was fortunate enough to see all of them on my sixtieth birthday. 

You don’t have to kick me in shins, I get it. I am a lucky man and I know it. American Pharoah may have won the Triple Crown yesterday but I’ve been winning it everyday for years. I have a good job, a comfortable home, and a great family who loves me. 

I celebrate life in simple ways. I love to sit on my back steps and reminisce. I love hearing stories as much as I love telling them. As I scrolled down the list of kind and generous friends and relatives who wished me a Happy Birthday today it dawned on me just how lucky I really am. I have a wide spectrum of friends; young and old, far left, far right and everything in between. I sometimes smile to myself when I think of the range of my friends including my own family. It’s what I love most about my life and my journey. 

Happy Birthday? You betcha! 

Happy life? You betcha! 

Blue? Not anymore, I just needed a millisecond to think about it. 

Ready for the next 365? Yes I am! 

To all the wonderful friends and family who sent me a Happy Birthday wish I thank each one of you for being who you are. 

Oh, there’s one last thing you can do for me. 

Please, please, please slow down and appreciate what you have under your feet and in front of your eyes. 

It’s a pretty great place once you get used to it, it just takes some of us longer to get there.

Be kind to one another.