Saturday, October 6, 2012
I need words and lots of 'em
Is there a story in me? They say a novel can be written by anyone because everyone has a story in them. If there is it seems to have been lost in the fog of years.
My son writes and is so much better at it. I have come to the conclusion that he is much smarter than I ever was. I always enjoy his pieces when he is willing to share them.
As for me? My vocabulary is limited. My understandings of the subtleties of writing are sorely limited. the choice word and the delicate phrasing are at present beyond me. My sentences tend to smack one over the head with the simplest of Anglo-Saxon words. But you don't care about my limitations, do you? It's the story that's most important. Well, once again, I must let you know that those ideas for stories are extremely limited to beginnings with no endings or endings with no middle or a middle with no way to start or finish.
Let me show you. We'll drift back to a time when life was an adventure. Back to the days when responsibilities was a word that had no meaning. A time of ponds and bare feet as the family dog ran beside you while you explored. He was a toy collie and was there with us kids always checking out the area to be certain it was safe for us. His name was Rex. He had a dark brown coat edged with black around the white patches along his paws and underbelly.
We walked along the fringe forest of the golf course on a daily basis. Old man Williams was always on the look out for us kids walking over his golf course. We were distractions to the golfers who complained about the noise or the fact that we were on the fairway as they were about to tee off, not to mention the time we would throw their beautifully driven balls from the middle of the green back to them. Their tendency to stand waving their clubs and yelling to god were well known to us as we ran into the trees away from their threats.
Our walk this particularly fine day... There that is an example. I tell you it is a fine day. A writer would describe the day to allow you, the reader, to make your mind as to whether the day were fine. Slipping in description without intruding into the story so that it tends to interrupt the flow is tricky. I haven't discovered the way to do this. It's a fact that the more reading one does the more exposed they become to the conventions. A simple study of how other writers do this would be easy enough by stopping and analyzing what transpired in the passage to move one from this point in the narrative to this without the reader being made aware that it happened. That is part of the problem. My reading has become limited to a computer screen and snippets of info that filter through my eyes into a sieve at the back of the brain. The info is of no particular value other than to be lightly interesting at the moment of reading but of no real significance to anyone or anything when all is said and done. It is simply a time filler and progresses to a time robber which affects the mind by removing it as surely as a surgeon's scalpel removes the frontal lobe in a lobotomy. Just as effective without the physicality.
Oh where was I? Oh yes. The description of the day to set the scene of kids exploring their neighborhood with their faithful dog Rex. Now there was another dog in the family whose name was Ginger. She was a full grown collie who was, naturally, ginger in color with a white underbody and paws. She didn't wander with us as faithfully as Rex. However, she did have a shining moment one bright afternoon on the golf course. She was with my uncle.
Now you have to realize that my uncle was a little different from most people. He saw the world totally different from your average person. He saw it in the colors of the artist along with the deeply embedded desire to be Douglas Fairbanks with sword in hand or Kirk Douglas with saddle bags on his shoulder. He wanted to know all there was to know. He asked countless questions of everyone until he became a complete nuisance to them. The questions weren't those of a general variety. They might begin as a general question but with an answer they would become more and more specific until the one being questioned became frustrated enough to yell go to hell or answer with a fist.
He walked out onto the golf course with a six shooter strapped to his leg. It was a time when the open country was less populated. The river was west of us and the opposite shore was not inhabited nor developed as it is now. One could shoot a pistol in that direction without the fear of hitting a living soul. It was a perfect place to practice a quick draw and fire at a target set up in the trees. With visions of Doc Holiday and Wyatt spinning in his head he walked toward the tree line with determination. Ginger was at his side. She must have known because she remained at his side instead of bounding into the trees ahead.
His determination was apparent as he slowed with eyes ahead staring at the tree before him the imagined insult by said tree to his manhood lingering in his fantasy riddled brain. He stopped. Ginger looked up at him and took a few steps away and behind him. His face locked in concentration. A word slipped into the afternoon air, "Draw!" His right hand slipped to the butt of his gun gripping and pulling in from leather and sending a blast of flame and an ounce of lead slamming into the trunk of the tree which allegedly insulted him. The tree before him buckled and fell forward face first. Of course the tree did not fall in the actual world but for him it was a dead man who had insulted him.
A short walk forward brought him to the site of the bullet's impact. He took out his knife and dug into the tree to retrieve the slug. It had hit dead center. A heart shot splattering the tissue of his imaginary foe killing him immediately.
He checked the cylinder and removed the spent cartridge, replacing it with a live round. Satisfied he was prepared he slammed it home into the holster strapped to his leg. He turned and walked back along front street headed for the saloon he pictured there when one of the other trees called out to him. "Hey, sidewinder. You just killed my buddy. You gotta answer for that you son of a bitch!"
He spun around to face his new nemesis. "Smile when you say that hombre," he said in a slow drawl. "You don't want any part of this iron I'm totin'."
"I said you killed my friend. You gotta answer for it." The slender pine rustled in the wind. The movement was just enough in his eyes to see a gun slipping up and out of a holster. My uncle's hand was like lightning. Down went the palm to cover the butt, his finger slipped around the trigger, his thumb fanned back the hammer. The barrel cleared the holster. In the excitement of the new kill he pulled the trigger at this juncture of the quick draw sending a half ounce of lead into his leg. He collapsed.
Ginger, who was a safe distance from his shenanigans, whimpered and slunk over to the writhing body. She avoided the smoking six gun lying on the ground and nuzzled him. She lay up against his body and remained there until help came.
She was a gentle girl who was half as high as I was tall. She stayed around the yard mostly. Her excursions were few. She didn't have the curiosity or the protective instinct of the smaller Rex.