old-fingered joy

12/20/2022 0 By BuddyCushman

I was attending an LA Zoom writing group back a few months ago, probably went to and with them five times. Then off to Idaho for my son’s 30th birthday, and when I came back I felt a hesitance to commit to three hours every Wednesday morning/early afternoon. Most of which was attendees reading the words they’d written the previous 45 minutes. So, for a couple of weeks I showed up to my recliner, wooden palette balanced on one or another knee, set my phone timer, and wrote for 45 minutes. Like, there in LA in spirit. And then a funny thing happened. I began falling into the recliner, those writing implements at hand, setting the timer for 45 minutes and letting whatever was there to fall out – over and over. Thursdays, and Friday nights, Sunday afternoons, the occasional four in the morning. No schedule. No self-imposed pressure. No good boy, bad boy. Only, this feels like I can sit down now and write the next three-quarters of an hour.

I cannot speak for more serious, devoted, professional writers, but writing 45 minutes is a long time, even though there’s often a couple of more sentences dying to come out when the timer buzzer buzzes. Which, okay, that’s nice, Buddy. You write, I rake leaves, I shovel snow, I play with my granddaughter, I read, I stream “The Rockford Files” – yes, everyone’ got their thing, or things, and I’m not writing this post to say mine’s any better or worse or crazy or wicked smart or anything. But – what has happened with these fairly regular lengthy (for me) writing times is that a whole world of magic has shown up. There in the seemingly endless stream of language. Words. And then more words. Like, where’d all that come from? Like, who wrote there? Like, is Tinkerbell hiding up there behind a blade of the ceiling fan, giggling and spilling her fairy dust all over and through me while the pen raves on and my muscles get stiff and the balancing act makes penmanship kind of a joke – and all that?

People say, “The joy is in the journey.” I ask, “What journey are you talking about?”