Month: January 2013

Pop’s Stories

My thoughts are spurred  by a Tweet from Roger Ebert, referencing this blog post:

Raised in Fear: Horror Films as Schoolyard Lore | Press Play.

Grandfather Stories

Reading this blog post brings back pleasant memories of my Grandfather, who I call Pop. I remember him telling stories to my sister and me.  Not stories of ancestral heroes, no tales of  ancient tribal  battles and victories. Sadly, those stories faded during the Middle Passage.  Pop tells  us funny stories, scary stories, sometimes funny scary stories.  There are jokes, but mostly  stories that have us laughing and crying.

I remember how he acts out the stories, sitting in his chair and gesturing and moving and mimicking the action as he talks.  My favorite, really the only one I remember the most details about, is about this bad-ass brother who is either the devil or a zombie – I really wish I can remember the details.  Devil or dead, he is a Spook, and I do remember he shows up unexpectedly at a campsite.  Pop becomes the characters.  His eyes open  wiiiidddddeeee as he and his friends see this devil. Then Pop becomes The Spook. He grabs the frying pan off the fire and dumps  the food right into his mouth, hot grease and all.  He  grabs  the hot coffee and does the same.  He wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and in a low, gravelly voice asks the frightened campers for “More!”  Then he reaches into the fire, grabbing a handful of hot coals.

And a little boy and a little girl can’t stop laughing with Pop.  I know now how much fun he has telling us these stories.  I see his face, and see how much he enjoys making us laugh.

I don’t remember when he stops, probably as I get into my teens.  At that time in my world twelve is  the cutoff for “childish” games and innocence.  As damn near every adult reminds me, it’s the age that Jesus assumes His ministry.  Thus, on my twelfth birthday my sins are now my own!  I have to stand before God and account for them, can’t blame it on being a kid anymore!  I’m pretty sure the stories ends well before then.

I do get a chance to be Pop as I become a substitute teacher after my first retirement.  I have an absolute ball reading “Two Bad Ants” to a first grade class.  It’s not on the lesson plan for that day, but once I see the title all bets are now off – I know I HAVE  to read it, for me a much as them.  I can’t act out like Pop, but I read with all of the fun and enthusiasm like him, hoping they are enjoying it as much as I am.

STARTING 1ST ARTICLE: PROJECT 2013

DOWN  THE RABBIT HOLE

I surprise  myself over the holiday.  I do  a little reorganization in my home office.  Rearrange my bookcase, file  away the books and papers from the completed CNF classes, putting current projects close at hand, and so on.  I grab a new project folder for the first article I want to publish, label it, and as I turn to put it on the shelf I thought, “Let’s just see what’s out there, just get a little taste of the project, enough to really get the motor running.”

I already have a roadmap in mind: lots of research, interviews, pictures, and footwork.  I receive tremendous feedback from my last instructor, a lens through which I can  focus  more clearly. What I don’t know yet is how long it would take to complete.   All I want to do now  is  just see what a quick glance at  Google tells me.

I peek into the rabbit hole, the ground under me gives way, and down I go.  Four hours later, I have  two pages of handwritten notes, several links and web pages copied to Evernote, a couple of YouTube videos marked,  and I have to force my self to stop.  I am supposed to be reorganizing.  So, quicker than planned I’ve  begun to gather material for the article. OK, I guess this is a good sign, and encouraging.

MUSCLE MEMORY CHALLENGE

Just about every book I’ve read about writing has one common recommendation:  write, read, and write.  Rinse and repeat.  Or, as they describe it, develop my “writing muscle.” What I’m doing lately is posting comments to web articles.  Getting in a little of both at the same time.  The temptation I’m fighting is to start another blog.  I want to keep this dedicated to  my writing journey, but  I know I’d like to  follow up on my second blog idea, which lost out to this one as my initial foray into blogging.  Trust me, the temptation is strong.  Thankfully a quick glance at everything on my desk yells “Caution: Overload” and I come back to earth.

Still, there’s a lot of fun in the back and forth with people (especially sports and politics) and I find myself wishing I could preserve the dialog.  Thus, the thought about following through with the second blog.  Reading, writing, and preservation. Thank God blogging is cheap!  Thank God I’m reminded I really don’t have the time.  Thank God for knowing that somehow, someway, I might  try anyway!!!!!