a week of questions – Four

02/16/2023 0 By BuddyCushman

It’s funny. How little nudges in my life have sent me down this path or that one. Through this thrown-open window, slipping out that cracked-open door. Sometimes these little nudges – maybe a better word is caresses – sometimes they’ve been the usher into a new, upside-down world from the one a week ago; a couple of months ago; five years ago. Sometimes a bit less dramatic.

After having dropped out of Salem State College for like the 17th time, I came back from crashing at a sister’s on Cape Cod and was walking the college hallways – cause it’s good to stay in touch – and I ran into an old roommate and fellow newspaper guy, and friend named Bob, who said, “Hey they started a new Social Welfare program while you were gone. It’s pretty cool. You should check it out.” Such was the nudge that dropped me into a 35-something year career in human services. About a hundred years later I was walking one Saturday morning on the Cape Cod Rail Trail in Orleans, of course crashing with friends that summer, and the thought came into my mind – this is life nudging me through me – I think I’ll move to Portland (OR). Which three months later I did and went on a blind date down the road and fell in love and got married and wrote books and painted and did a doo-wop CD and – Surprise!! – was not gently nudged nor caressed from one world to another via the ‘divorce’ word. I think you know this one, me rolling south down to way southern California and becoming something of a fish on a boogie board and late-to-the-party Zen freak, and then meeting someone who I was waiting to meet all along. Love times 28.

A couple weeks ago my friend the next-door barista Daniel and I sat outside his Starbucks on a Tuesday morning when his shift ended, for an hour, and talked, and he pretty insistently talked with me about finding ways to get writing fiction again – my in-progress fiction books comatose for years – and he took a piece of paper and wrote some kind of diagram about commitments and times and self-agreed deals, it looked like math – and the fact is I came back over here and sat right here and began a new story. And then two days ago he visited me here after his shift, for two hours, and we went over my writing and I shared some of my stories – those incomplete – and just by this friendly nudge of encouragement I have written 45 minutes two days in a row now, far along into an endlessly-previously-stuck tale. Which may not sound like any big shakes to you, but for me it’s a Frankenstein monster deal – “It’s alive! It’s alive.”

All of which begs the question – am I some kind of weirdo? Or does it ever work like this for you too?