Note to Self

09/12/2019 1 By BuddyCushman


I’ve been reading a book on the writing of short stories. A ‘How To’ book. And in the reading absorbed

The need – I have a need – to sit at the keyboard, my keyboard with paint splatters all over it, with the intention to tell a story, hopefully a story which will draw you in. And – and this is “the thing” – within the telling make it my clear, conscious, serious-as-shit intention to make every sentence resonate, infuse it with glow, so to move the story forward. Vividly. And ditto that for details, the kind you find within adjectives and modifying phrases and other grammatical tools. So that by “The End” there is not one unnecessary sentence – each one required – and not one superfluous detail. Every adjective adds to the whole, the visual seen in mind’s eye while reading, the all-senses sensual experience, whereby even one slight change, one word too long, one phrase too short, then the reading sensation would be surely diminished. This is my need.

This is a goal for me, at this writer’s place right here today to which I have arrived, and I vow to you – but mostly to myself – to bring this ‘me’ to the keyboard – when next I park myself there and my fingers perform tap-dance upon the lavender and pale blue paint dotted-keys. And from that time going forward.

It is interesting to consider this personal commitment, this clear intention, while looking backwards as regards stories I have already written – some as long as four years ago and still not published – but even of greater pertinence the five or six or seven stories presently, and most for a long while now, incomplete: stopped; dead in the water; up against the canyon wall, dead-ended; all pretty much without a pulse. Do I pull up each one of these stories, and let me name (so as for me to see and acknowledge) those which are most underway – stories worth being told by me: “Bennie’s Berkeley”; “Another Couch”; “To My Keyboard I Go Running”; “Magic”; “A Plethora of Scaries”; “When I Settle For Less”; “Paloma” – do I pull them up with the intent to re-write with this newer commitment to quality, this vision that every word matters, exactly the way it should?

These for certain, these are the stories I most own, those I have deep allegiance to, the ones I care about a lot. Really a lot. At least one with over thirty thousand words, a couple greater than 10K in length. And all of which are nowhere near complete, when you consider completion as a generally accepted requirement of a beginning, middle, and end. All of whom I owe a lot more – more devotion, a deeper ‘all-in’ commitment. So, maybe with today’s intention of more honoring of each adjective, each verb, every sentence, maybe if I bring that standard to yet another re-reading of the language already in these various Word docs – the stories noted above…..I don’t know, just maybe I will find a jump start.

Working devotedly, raising the writing bar, and with no laziness or compromising myself, to clean and cut and amend what is already there – maybe I goose myself into discovering where the story wants to go – even where it has always known it was going. Am I on to something here? Or delusional?

Either way this is a good goal, to write better. So it’s on me to suit up and show up, with the energy and moment-to-moment awareness to become a better writer. Verb by adjective by sentence by paragraph. And maybe – just maybe –  become the best storyteller I can be. Better than the one I was last week.

Because I think we need really good stories.