Writing, Reading, and Smiling . . . It's Contagious.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Walking Barefoot with Crows

As I awaited my turn in the dentist's chair on Thursday, my eyes wandered to the streaked window above the magazine rack. On the grassy hill overlooking the parking lot was a large flock of crows searching for worms. When the birds spotted their prey, their glossy black heads jackknifed and their sharp beaks stabbed the moist earth.

I often think of myself as wandering over a large field. Whether I'm writing fiction or nonfiction, I hunt for truth along the way. I'm also searching for something new to sprinkle upon the tasty morsel I stumble upon. Whether it be a way to alter style, format, or voice, I consider the newfound understanding to be an hors d'oeuvre that supplements the meal I present to my readers.

Sometimes these hors d'oeuvres alter "the truth" of a piece. When I affix the tag "nonfiction" to a post I often add "creative writing" and "short story" as companions because all writing is a discovery and an adventure. Whether or not I have a fact-based beginning is insignificant. It may give me a point of reference, but it also sparks my creativity and where I'll end up is unknown to me until the last word has been crafted.

Does the writer have a responsibility to readers? Absolutely. My job is to take your hand and guide you through an old idea in a new way. I don't want to lose you or confuse you along the way and I don't want you to feel as if I'm the last word. I want to stir your beliefs, your memories, and your notions of reality and illusion.

Reality and illusion. Different, yet the same. Two people can observe the same situation or scene (the reality) and retell it in two or more different ways (the illusion of the reality).

I wrote a haiku earlier this week that was based upon a dream I had. I dreamed that I got out of bed in the middle of the night, looked through the window, and saw a crater-like hole in the moon. This dream, though fantasy, actually happened. Therefore it is reality. The next morning I was haunted by the phrase "a hole in the moon." After struggling with words, rhyming scheme, voice, and other techniques, I came up with the following:

crooning in the night
closes his eyes and hammers
a hole in the moon

Why "crooning"? Because it gives "moon" some balance. It can also stand for "dream." Why "his"? It sounds better with "hammers" than "her" because of the final S. Anyhow, what I ended up with was a perception of the reality. Although this piece stands for a dream that I had, it can mean many other things depending on who is reading it and the life experiences brought to the reading. A friend of mine asked me if he was hammering a hole in the moon or hammering a hole in his head. My answer: whichever you prefer. My thought: I'm glad I inspired another interpretation. I have encouraged this reader to pierce that hilltop field and pull out a unique morsel or "worm."

So, with all of that said and after the questioning I arouse in readers with each weekly blog post, I can truthfully answer the following:

Who is the real J.E.?

The answer is easy:
Look closely. I'm the one walking barefoot with crows. 


As always, I love to hear from you.
If you're in the cyber-neighborhood, drop me a line.

In the meantime, keep writing, reading, and smiling.
It's contagious.


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