To Tell Stories

10/05/2019 4 By BuddyCushman


There’s too much dawn, I realize when I walked out into the backyard to capture in my eye the familiar constellations I had witnessed an hour earlier when I was back there praying. Before meditation, before cough syrup, before coffee. Way before the writing books.

I’m hung up on this idea of “Need”. I was out there in the dark yard praying about it, asking to be filled with it, a Need — and, yeah, fully aware of the old “Be careful what you wish for” tenet — but brave enough to step forward with the ask.

I don’t believe in God, I don’t care if anyone does or doesn’t, though there’s nothing like a good atheist as a running buddy. I sure do believe in the ‘Great Spirit’ — who do you think I was out in the backyard talking to? — and believe in a character called ‘Lord Dedith’ who has come into my life later on, near the very end of my 60’s and now into my young 70’s.

While drinking coffee in the recliner, later, following a meditation highlighted by both deep stillness and a couple of nasty coughing fits, there floated into my mind the faces of three former lovers — oh they were so long ago — call them Diane and Marcia and Frannie, who are all dead now. A couple as long as 30 years back. I don’t make anything of this fact, not really, that they are gone and I am still here — me as of this morning’s writing up above ground with lungs (even if clouded with minor illness) still pretty much following their prescribed in and out routine. I cannot think of any moral or intellectual divination of why I’m still here and they’re not. Luck? That feels like the best guess on a Saturday morning. This one here, in early October.

Anyway, the sun comes up and the stars, still right there, are blanched out now, and I bang the permanent coffee filter against a porch railing to clean it for my wife and again ask both the Great Spirit and Lord Dedith to aid and abet my need — which after all these years and dozens and dozens and dozens of hours of wondering just exactly what my purpose is — I ask them to grow a need to tell stories. So to wake up every day I am given with an overpowering need to tell stories, which might maybe help to save the dying planet, or maybe they simply serve as comfort food for minds and hearts, or just as likely they simply take up space.

But it’s the best I’ve got, the only idea coming close to “an answer” as regards my personal only-one-of- unique-me obligation — still blessed to be above ground with in and out lung breathing — to, for lack of a better image, stick it to the man. I pray to my two friends that I have never, through all these 70 plus years, actually been or served as “the man” myself, or colluded with the man, or for that matter feared the man. So I pray out among the pre-dawn stars to be filled with the courage to tell stories.

And possibly, just maybe, thereby fight the powers that be.