Day 439, September 7, 2021
A Rafter of Turkeys
It is getting cooler. There was something I was going to write about, but I forget what it was. I think it had something to do with the changing seasons, the cooler temperature, how some mornings it is so chilly that my eyes water and my fingers feel a little numb. But today wasn’t that bad, and I dressed a little warmer for my ride.
It is also a birthday season, where a whole collection of people I love share a few birthday weeks, all Virgos or near Virgos. A strange attraction I suppose I have.
It is hard to have less time to write.
I learned a father of one of my childhood friends has become a writer of books. He was an engineer, I think, but in retirement he translates poetry, writes about opera, goes golfing with NFL football players (he had a funny picture of himself standing next to two guys and said, I didn’t realize I was such a shrimpy guy!). What a marvelous second career.
I have always tried to balance my working life with other things, writing, playing music, and now riding my bicycle. It is these other things that help me retain a sense of myself so that I am not completely swallowed up by work things, because I have that tendency to stay late, to finish what needs finishing, to forget to tend to other things that need tending to.
In the pandemic I have called balance - routine, but it is the same thing. I have things I do that help make the day more concrete, more definable. Like how, this morning, I passed a rafter of turkeys, and for the next several miles, I wondered to myself, what is a family of turkeys called? That separates today from all other days this month, so I appreciate those rides, and how I raced the sunset home tonight.
I have a couple of characters in a short story waiting for my return. They are in a kind of stasis waiting, drifting in an ambiguous ether. If I wait too long they will evaporate into the air like a can of gasoline left uncapped. But, tomorrow it is supposed to rain, so instead of riding, I’ll sit with my toast and coffee and write again. I am looking forward to it, even as I am nervous and a little scared, uncertain what comes next.
And what if nothing comes?
I imagine a limitless imagination, a boundless font of energy, an unbound framework of days and weeks. But the truth of the matter is, without structure, I flounder.
Shakespeare, I used to expound, used structure to his advantage. Working within iambic pentameter in a sonnet structure, he forced himself to choose words and combinations of words that were unique, unusual, and that remain profound even today. Without structure, you are left formless and temporary… like what you are reading here.
Keats’ epitaph… here lies he who writ in water… if I remember correctly, (Actually, “Here lies one whose name is writ in water.”) revealed his fear of irrelevance… so young, and yet how profound a resonance he had.
And yet, even for all its shortcomings, I seem to revel in formlessness. I allow the shapelessness to shape me. Tomorrow, I will be an old man in a not so distant future. Today, I am a surveyor of turkeys. And the day after tomorrow, I will play some jazzy guitar.
Life can be glittery and wonderful sometimes, if it is given the chance.
Take care and be well,